the collision of patriotism and xenophobia

Since this has been the topic on my blog here of late, and Julie (aka Cookie) puts the case so well…..

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“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith
becomes an American and assimilates himself to us,
he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else,
for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed,
or birthplace, or origin.
But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American,
and nothing but an American…
There can be no divided allegiance here.
Any man who says he is an American, but something else also,
isn’t an American at all.
We have room for but one flag, the American flag…
We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…
and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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( part of the health screening for those passing through…

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37 thoughts on “the collision of patriotism and xenophobia

  1. Stephen

    “Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all.”

    The drumbeat of the Nativists beats again. The Lyman Beachers, the No-Nothings, the burning of convents, and the lynching of priests are coming back to the beat of the drum, the same drum that beat the Roundheads into their columns as they ransacked Ireland, starved her people, and instituted three hundred years of slavery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Stephen

      Why are you trying to twist the meaning of Theodore Roosevelt’s words? Why are you behaving like an idiot? The context make it perfectly clear that Roosevelt was talking about loyalty to country, not our religious choice.

      Theodore Roosevelt was a Christian. I think he understood the most Americans understand that what we owe to God overrides what we owe to America. Catholics have been here since the founding. Have there been issues? A few, but you are the one making an issue out of it now.

      Of course, some immigrants bring with them certain religious beliefs that are incompatible with our constitutional republic (Catholics don’t pose that problem.). Is there some reason we should ignore what people say they believe?

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      1. Stephen

        “Why are you trying to twist the meaning of Theodore Roosevelt’s words?” Because those are the words used today. Open your eyes and see. Between the likes of Coulter saying that Irish Catholics became successful when they became more American and less Catholic and the numerous calls from the right now as well as the left for Catholics to conform are escalating.

        If I have said nothing except what I have been taught by the Church to believe–which I have–and you find my opinions so Un-American, how easy would it be for one who is of similar mind as yourself and less tolerance to argue that Catholics, too, are a threat to the Constitution?

        Those issues include being forced out of the only colony granted specifically to Catholics; being barred from voting and holding office in other colonies until the Constitution was ratified and even then it was difficult; and having our churches burned, our priests lynched, and being relegated to lives of poverty by bigoted industrialists. These are not a few; they are a stain upon this country. And the old prejudices are firing up again. Clerics are receiving threats, not just from radical lefties but from people who used to be quite nice right wingers. Things have changed and not for the better.

        Just keep your eyes open for when they come for us because it is likely you will be next. How many more will be declared enemies of the people? How many more?

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        1. @Stephen

          I have better things to do than debate stupid stuff.

          Is freedom of religion in jeopardy in this country? Yes, but all Christians face this problem, not just Catholics. The only people who come even close to facing the active sort of persecution you mention are black Christians and Jews. Yet you have the nerve to act like you some sort of special victim. Your crap insults people with real problems. You have reached the point you are so deluded you are not worth taking seriously.

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        2. Stephen

          “Yes, but all Christians face this problem, not just Catholics.” When your religious leaders get death threats from white nationalists calling them communist globalists, then come call me.

          I don’t twist Roosevelt. The people defacing Jewish cemeteries and threatening clergymen are twisting Roosevelt. You need only look up to see it.

          We debated at length what it means to be American. Roosevelt had an idea of what it was in his “New Nationalism.” The seeming reluctance to define America is dangerous as the examples I have given show. Each person is defining for themselves what America is and are committing crimes in its name. White nationalism, black nationalism, Christian nationalism, liberalism, conservatism, and so on all have their own definitions that they are fighting tooth and nail to impose upon all the others.

          I have not found a single American, however, that disagrees with the proposition that our rights are derived not from men but from God and Nature. When we use the words of Roosevelt to declare Unamerican all things we disagree with, we run the risk of suspending natural justice for the relief of fevered minds. I am reminding you that it was not long ago in our history that the SAME things that you are saying about immigrants are the SAME things that people said about Catholics as recent as JFK.

          I cite the history of Catholicism in America because I see the same hatred of “the other” manifesting itself now with regard to refugees and immigrants. Yes, for the upteenth time, a nation has the right to secure its borders against legitimate threats.

          But it does not have the right to suspend the natural laws of justice to alleviate the fears of 30% of the nation. No country, no administration, no man has that right. Therefore, while what the president has done may not be illegal according to the laws of men, it is a violation of the rights of the human person, the rights of the family, and is unconscionable for any American who believes that ALL MEN are endowed with inalienable rights to support such measures.

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        3. @Stephen

          You made a direct correlation, a foolish correlation with this post.

          What does xenophobia involve? It involves an irrational fear of foreigners. Yet humans are the most dangerous creatures creature on this planet. When another creature kills a human being, it is quite likely that creature is another human being.

          It is a fact of life. Immigrants can come here for the wrong reasons, or they can bring trouble we don’t want (disease, for example). To the extent immigration poses a threat to the people of our nation, we expect our government to deal with that threat.

          You disagree with what is advocated here? You have that right. Whether things have happened or not, equating this post with anti-Catholicism, however, is just idiotic.

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        4. Stephen

          “To the extent immigration poses a threat to the people of our nation, we expect our government to deal with that threat.” You mean the extent that every agency tasked with determining that says doesn’t actually exist?

          “Whether things have happened or not, equating this post with anti-Catholicism, however, is just idiotic.” Really? Well, I am sure I know where you stand when the pogroms start up.

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        5. @Stephen

          Consider again your question here.
          => https://citizentom.com/2017/02/20/the-collision-of-patriotism-and-xenophobia/#comment-72826

          Consider my answer.
          => https://citizentom.com/2017/02/20/the-collision-of-patriotism-and-xenophobia/#comment-72828

          You have immodest notions of the functions of government. Just because you want people to behave a certain way, you demand that they do, and you don’t have the right to make such demands.

          So what are you doing now? You are having hissy fit spouting stupid accusations. Well, have at it. Make yourself ridiculous.

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        6. Stephen

          “You have immodest notions of the functions of government.” Yes, because believing that a government should be ordered to reflect the Natural Law, which is in turn an imprint of the Divine Law is so radical and immodest.

          “Just because you want people to behave a certain way, you demand that they do, and you don’t have the right to make such demands.” Says the person who just argued that a verse from the Gospel disallows social programs when such an interpretation of the verse had not entered Christian exegesis until the modern age. You have demanded that the government conform to your own interpretation of the Gospel lest it be considered “criminal.”

          “You are having hissy fit spouting stupid accusations.” Really? Are you sure?

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        7. @Stephen

          Tony responded to the following in your comment.

          I have not found a single American, however, that disagrees with the proposition that our rights are derived not from men but from God and Nature.

          I sort of chuckled when I read that, but I was more amazed. How could you not know?

          Tony’s comment is here => https://citizentom.com/2017/02/20/the-collision-of-patriotism-and-xenophobia/#comment-72745

          I seriously doubt that the Democratic Party agrees with the proposition that our rights are derived not from men but from God and Nature. Given you are trying to impose your own version of Socialism, I don’t think we even agree on on the definition of rights. I know Tony and I don’t agree. It is unfortunate that we do not define our rights the same way the Founding Fathers defined our rights, but I suspect that is just another example of why we should never trust politicians with the education our children. Too many politicians have more desire to add confusion than they do clarity. When we don’t define our rights the same way, we talk past each other.

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        8. Stephen

          He makes a distinction where there is no difference. Rights come with responsibilities inherent in them; that doesn’t mean the rights don’t exist.

          Do you doubt that? Have you asked one? How about these democrats? http://www.democratsforlife.org/

          “Given you are trying to impose your own version of Socialism…” Right, typical. Misunderstand something and then call it socialism. It is like you are a cartoon of what a modern conservative is.

          Funny you ask about the Founders. Hamilton said, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

          Rights, therefore, come from human nature. I doubt anyone really debates that point. Rather, the debate is a metaphysical one that rarely gets addressed because it asks uncomfortable questions that you call tyrannical to answer i.e who is man, why is he here, and how does he relate to other men?

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        9. @Stephen

          All along I have called you a Socialist. You refuse to believe it. Yet you keep building the case. Otherwise, you would be debating Tony, not me.

          Matthew 22:21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          21 They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

          Do we render unto Caesar what is Caesar because Caesar demands it or because God expects us to do so? If our responsibilities come from God, does it not follow that government cannot define our rights because God has already done it?

          Whose servants are we? Are we the servants of government or God?

          What do our rights involve? The primary right we have is freedom of religion. Each of us is entitled to worship God as we see fit. That includes the free exercise of our religious beliefs. Nevertheless, because you and Tony are Socialists — believe in Socialism — both of you keep insisting that everyone else must render unto Caesar what belongs to God. Only God can rightfully command us to love our neighbor. Government has no power to make us love anyone.

          Effectively, you and Tony insist that you have the right to make other men practice your religious beliefs. Hence, both of you advocate extensive government-run health, education, and welfare programs. How you would have government run these programs is a distinction without a difference.

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        10. Stephen

          Ok, lets back up a bit. Tell me, does a good government only legislate according to natural law or can it create new natural laws?

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        11. @Stephen

          Hello. Curious question. If a government legislated according to a “new” natural law, would that be natural law or a man-made law?

          What scientists do is try to discover (model) the laws of nature (i.e., natural laws). That is, scientists try to figure the rules by which our Creator’s universe functions. Effectively, what a scientist wants to discover is the rules of our Creator’s universe. We cannot change the rules. However, if we understand our Creator’s rules, we can make better use of them. That is in fact what successful inventions do.

          Because God created us — because we are part of His creation — we function according to natural laws, our Creator’s rules. If our legislators want to create “laws” that work appropriately, they must legislate according to God’s design for us, not according to their own. They must follow our Creator’s rules.

          Where I think our leaders usually err is they forget God is God and they are not. Then they demand that the people render unto government that which belongs to God. When our rulers demand god-like obedience to the state, we get messes of the sort created by Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. When our leaders have a modest assessment of their powers, we get something like a constitutional republic.

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        12. Stephen

          “What scientists do is try to discover (model) the laws of nature (i.e., natural laws).” That is not really a route you want to go. If you state that the natural laws governing human behavior come from the natural sciences, and the natural sciences have determined that gay marriage is perfectly natural, then you seem to have a conflict on your hands. The natural law is, as our founding fathers believed and really all of western civilization, a product of reason, not the sense. That is, the natural law is perceived through logic and reason, not observation and tests. For the ancients, this was the difference between the higher and lower sciences i.e. bodies of knowledge, not what we tend to think of them.

          “If our legislators want to create “laws” that work appropriately, they must legislate according to God’s design for us, not according to their own.” And yet, when I argue that there is a moral imperative in the Gospel and Christian theology spanning almost 2000 years that there is a collective, human responsibility to help the poor, suddenly I am enforcing my own morals on people? Methinks there is a great disparity in your reasoning here.

          ” Then they demand that the people render unto government that which belongs to God.” And yet, according to the burden you place on me, that determination would be an attempt to enforce your own personal morality on others. We seem to be getting closer to the problem classical liberalism has with authority.

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        13. @Stephen

          People can say anything. That does not make anything we say true.

          If you state that the natural laws governing human behavior come from the natural sciences, and the natural sciences have determined that gay marriage is perfectly natural, then you seem to have a conflict on your hands.

          It fairly obvious that homosexually is a aberation. Just because it not politically expedient for some people to state the obvious, so what?

          What you are arguing is that government has the right to mandate charity. There is no natural law to justifies that. Charity by definition stems from love, not legal force.

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        14. Stephen

          “It fairly obvious that homosexually is a aberation.” Really? Are you a scientist?

          “What you are arguing is that government has the right to mandate charity.” I am saying and have said that society has a duty to care for the poor. The Gospel mandates it. Reason mandates it. The only people who don’t seem to get it are the liberals of various shapes and sizes. Marxist, classical, socialist, etc, it makes no difference; you all make the same mistake by reducing everything to base materialism and then use your respective appeals to authority be it history, “pure reason,” progress, etc.

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        15. @Stephen

          Don’t be dense. It fairly obvious that homosexuality is a aberration. We are born knowing the difference between right and wrong. Fornication is wrong, and that is all homosexual sex can be.

          I wrote a series of posts on homosexuality in 2010. Here is a link to the series => https://citizentom.com/2013/03/27/rerun-reviewing-the-arguments-against-normalizing-homosexuality-part-1/.

          Here is a quote from the last post.

          Furthermore, homosexual sex is unnatural. If Nature’s God “ruthlessly designed” every aspect of sex to further reproduction, not frivolous pleasure, then what is the likelihood a same-sex relationship will function properly to form and sustain a family? When Nature’s God has no interest in such a relationship, why would he want two people of the same sex to complement each other as well as two of the opposite sex?

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        16. Stephen

          You said scientists apprehended the natural law. Scientists have, by and large, apprehended that homosexuality is normal.

          You go on to argue it, not from a scientific or natural science perspective but from a philosophical perspective. That was my whole point in calling it out. The lesser, natural sciences cannot apprehend metaphysical concepts such as the nature of human sexuality because it is related to the unobservable nature of man.

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        17. @Stephen

          If we don’t apply philosophy to the world we live in, it is not of much use. We cannot apply philosophy to the world we live in with a system for understanding how it works. That is science.

          We are finite. Our scientific laws are necessarily incomplete. The more complex the system, the more speculative our understanding. Without some understanding of the physical and mental aspects of a subject, we are in no position to make moral decisions about it. That is, we cannot make wise decisions about something we don’t know anything about.

          Human sexuality is complicated. Therefore, we have an incomplete understanding of the physical, mental, and philosophical aspects of human sexuality. Is our understanding sufficient to form a sound opinion on the morality of homosexual sex? Yes.

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        18. Stephen

          “If we don’t apply philosophy to the world we live in, it is not of much use.” I agree, but why that means we have to sacrifice the good for the convenience of doing nothing is something you shall have to prove.

          “We cannot apply philosophy to the world we live in with a system for understanding how it works.” That is illogical. You can always apply philosophy. Aristotle didn’t need modern psychology to be able to say that all men desire the good. You just need logic and logic is rather straightforward.

          If what you are saying is true and our ability to make moral judgments is dependent on our understanding of the natural sciences, then logically we would be a more moral people. But you have said we are actually less moral than our less scientifically advanced predecessors.

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        19. We cannot apply philosophy to the world we live in with a system for understanding how it works.

          The “with” should have been “without”. I thought I had corrected that statement, but I guess not.
          😦

          Anyway, as I actually stated it (instead of what I intended to say), that quote is exactly what I thought you were advocating. Apparently, I was wrong about that too.

          Then again, maybe not. You seem to be of two minds. What you seem to be missing is that logical thinking depends upon beginning with a correct understanding of the facts, premises that are correctly stated.

          Unless we know the facts of the matter, we cannot reach a correct conclusion except by accident. For example, what is the correct ethical decision about global warming? What is the true scientific relationship between the activities of man and global warming? Which groups take their position based upon an incorrect premise? Which groups take their position based upon a correct premise?

          Anyway, here is why I think you are confused about this. For the most part the things that philosophers deal with don’t involve disputes about the meaning of scientific data. That is because most philosophers consider science outside their purview, and that is unfortunate. Because we don’t apply rigorous logic to subjects like global warming, with respect to scientific issues, many people have formed their opinions quite thoughtlessly. So we waste hundreds of billions and murder the unborn by the millions largely because so many of us never learned to think logically.

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        20. Stephen

          Prior to the kerfuffle of liberalism and rejection the ancients many ironically call the Enlightenment, science was divided into two main categories: the natural philosophy and philosophy. The former is what we would now call science and encompassed everything from Mathematics to Biology. Philosophy proper was centered on moral, metaphysical, political, and other abstract thinking. You can think of it this way: human beings have six senses with five being related to natural philosophy and the sixth, reason, being related to philosophy. With the rebellion against plain logic that was the Enlightenment and the rise of inductive reasoning, the order of the sciences whereat philosophy ordered one’s perception of natural philosophy was flipped, most famously in modern times by Max Weber in “Science as a Vocation.”

          I am merely repeating what our ancestors knew for thousands of years prior to the inventions of liberal ideologues in the 16th-18th centuries i.e. that one can reason to moral principles without the benefit of precise natural philosophical definitions and that moral imperatives order our perception of natural phenomenon, not the other way round. For example, our ancestors didn’t need to know what we do in order to reason that infanticide was wrong.

          So your thinking about climate change is backwards. You are beginning first from what the natural phenomenon is rather than apprehending the moral duty man has to creation and then ordering human action accordingly. The former position inadvertently treats morality as if it can be changed according to subjective circumstance whereas the latter holds that there is an objective moral order that must be followed regardless of circumstance. Not to some strict legalism, but to the understanding that there is a way things are supposed to be and we, as human beings, have the obligation to order ourselves, society, and creation, towards that order.

          In short, scientific data is not necessary to make moral determinations since morals and theology are higher sciences than weather and biology.

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        21. Stephen

          And here we come to the division in our thinking. Whether or not man causes climate change is irrelevant to the moral imperative to preserve the environment and protect it. This was the duty laid upon us from the beginning of creation: to guard all living things given to the use of all mankind.

          From this, it is reasonable to say that sustainable energy that reduces the exploitation of the natural world and actually contributes to its cultivation and growth is implicit in the positive right to the fruits of the earth all men were granted from Genesis.

          The existence or nonexistence of man made climate change would be irrelevant to whether or not we have caused growth or harm to the earth. Consider the long term effects of cash crops. Prior to a return to sustainable farming practices that our Medieval and early American ancestors practiced, the cash crop was introduced to produce large quantities of a single crop to sell each year to meet demands. What this did to the soil was expend the nutrients in the soil to the point where it took years and new technology to replenish them. With the reintroduction of crop rotation, a basic and ancient farming practice, fields became more sustainable and better able to produce a diversity of crops, entering several produce markets at once, rather than trying to cash out with only one and thereby creating a more sustainable supply to the market with the problem of diminished soil health solved by being better farmers to the soil.

          From my position, farmers would never have practiced cash cropping because it was bad for the soil. From your position, farmers should only refrain from cash cropping if scientists prove AND convince EVERYONE that cash crops are bad and will effect your profits.

          You see, by having the moral imperative prior to the scientific evidence, we can avoid such things as, say, embryonic stem cell research or human cloning.

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        22. @Stephen

          So what you are saying is we should place the cart before the horse because it is a moral imperative? Neither the horse nor the driver will like that.

          The primary problem with fossil fuels is that we will eventually run out. Given the scarcity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for the most part we can expect (and some studies validate that expectation) plants will respond to a small increase by growing more easily. Because fossil fuels will become increasingly scarce for the sake of future generations, I would be delighted to replace the income tax with a carbon tax. Given I am retired and don’t have to pay much in payroll or income taxes, that is saying something.

          Should we return to sustainable agriculture? That question presumes our forbears practiced sustainable agriculture. The Bible actually required the Hebrews to practice crop rotation. One of the reasons God punish their descendants is that they disobeyed.

          What I think is true is that when land is scarce people tend to treat it with more respect. We are reaching that state. So I don’t think there is much requirement for government to force to respect the land. The price tag is sufficient.

          Anyway, agriculture is not my business. Congressmen have no special wisdom in this matter. Even if were so wise you knew what to do, no one will make you king. Therefore, we don’t have much to gain by delving into the details of how to farm. As citizens, what should concern us is soil erosion and the poisoning the land with pesticides. That affect stream health and our health. Farms are actually responsible for quite a bit of pollution.

          If a farmer destroys the health of the soil, that will contribute to erosion as well as financial losses. Hence, both the EPA (should be the EPA equivalent at the state level) and the market will punish irresponsible farming practices.

          As a practical matter, to do its job our government has to keep it simple. When a farmer allows his soil to erode and uses pesticides improperly, he hurts neighbors. When someone violates the rights of another, that calls for government intervention. That kind of intervention is what the government does best. Telling farmers how to conduct their business is not.

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        23. @Stephen

          I suppose I owe you an apology. Instead of saying you are not worth taking seriously, I should have said your protest against this post was not worth taking seriously. It is not you I emphatically reject, it is the proposition that this post is some kind of anti-Catholic diatribe. I don’t think Roosevelt wrote one, and I am absolutely certain Julie (aka Cookie) did not intend to write any such thing.

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  2. oh dear, I didn’t mean to bring a brouhaha your way Tom—I wholeheartedly agree with you—no witch hunts here… yes Roosevelt was very much speaking of loyalty and patriotism of Country…and as an Anglican who leans to her more Catholic roots, nothing of what he said was in any way, shape or form anti Catholic, anti Jew, anti religion…..
    and might I add that my great great grandparents where some of those very Irish immigrants who left starvation behind in order to begin again…making the hazardous crossing, entering via Ellis Island, and making home here….
    mercy….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Julie (aka Cookie)

      My father was of Irish descent and Catholic. I was raised as a Catholic. I don’t see any indication of what Stephen thinks he sees. When people take offense at imaginary slights, they have a personal problem they, not everyone else, need to correct.

      I reblogged your post indifferent to any brouhaha it might bring. So what if somebody finds silly excuse to complain? What your post says is as true and correct as you know how to say it, and that is what matters. You have right to say it, and I have right to reblog it. And I am pleased to do so.

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  3. Tony

    Stephen wrote:

    “I have not found a single American, however, that disagrees with the proposition that our rights are derived not from men but from God and Nature.”

    Well, I disagree with that proposition, but only indirectly. I believe that we have God given “responsibilities” rather than rights. In other words, God does not give anyone the “right” to life or liberty or the pursuit of happiness. God does, however, in ways that are pretty indisputable among theists (and especially Christians), charge us with the “responsibility” to respect another person’s human life and human dignity (inclusive of that person’s reasonable liberties and that person’s reasonable efforts toward personal happiness). One can therefore imply indirect and ambiguously ascertainable “rights” that should be “human afforded” as we attempt to meet our “God given” “responsibilities”.

    Why is there a distinction in this “indirect” difference? Well, first of all, whereas the whole concept of “God given responsibilities” has ancient theological and substantial scriptural support, the idea that we receive direct rights from God is a fairly recent philosophical idea with a quite disputable theological reasoning and sparse, if any, “direct” scriptural support.

    Secondly, if certain rights are indeed so “natural” and “God given”, then why weren’t those first proclaiming such rights for themselves also recognizing them for others. Although it upsets some Constitutional Originalists to point out the clay feet of our sainted founders, let’s not forget the obvious truth that Jefferson actually OWNED people and was procreating with at least one of his slaves more of his own slaves even while he was so grandly echoing Locke to declare “inalienable” rights that are supposedly “endowed by the Creator”.

    For one third of the population, it took a bloody war and the enforcement of the modern Civil Rights Acts for these supposed “God given” rights to be even recognized, much less applied. Half the population that were enslaved to the male half only began to see many of their inalienable rights legally applied at the beginning of the 20th Century. All this begs the obvious question: If these human rights were indeed so “natural”, then why have they been so alien to human thought and so scarce in their application for almost all of the history of human civilization until fairly recently? And as Stephen points out, there is also an echo of Jefferson’s hypocrisy in the selective application to citizens verses noncitizens by the those who claim to believe that such rights are “God given”. Why is that?

    Finally, in modern democratic states around the world, rights seem to be blossoming and multiplying exponentially. Determining which ones are “God given” and which ones are merely human manufactured seems to be the endless source of fruitless theological dispute, sort of like the question of how many angels can sit on a pin head. Whether or not any one of these manifold newly minted individual rights to tangible and intangible property and to material and spiritual personal liberty are actually “God given”, the inescapable fact of the matter is that, until these rights are “defined” by human government, “enforced” by human government and “arbitrated” by human government, they have not actually historically existed. Meanwhile, our natural and universal “God given responsibilities” to God one another have been recognized, categorized and have continued unabated down through the ages, regardless of government enforcement and individual human perfidy. In other words, although Jefferson had a human granted “right” to own people, he never, ever had a God given right to, but ALWAYS, regardless of law and regardless of those slaves’ own claims to sacred rights, Jefferson had a God given duty to not enslave his fellow man and woman.

    Why is it important to this argument to see this distinction between human rights and God given responsibilities? Well because the “rights” argument just plays into this era of individualist emotivism that seems to have corrupted both the Right and the Left. If we forcus on our Christian duties to God, we invariably get to the same place of treating each other with tolerant compassion and then to the difficult (indeed, often impossible) answers to questions of legally conferring into rights those God given duties, but at least we are working from the same language and from the same set of priorities. On the other hand, a focus on MY “God given rights” has an inherently individualistic and selfish quality to it that obscures the ordering of priorities between what I want and what God wants and emotivistically blurs the lines between what is sacred duty and what is just legal, between virtuously determining the ranking of our higher moral goods and what are just our material wants.

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    1. Stephen

      “Well, I disagree with that proposition, but only indirectly. I believe that we have God given “responsibilities” rather than rights.” Rights implicitly come with responsibilities. But we have rights from God. There is no question of that. You comments about selfishness dissipate in the face of the fact that if all men have the same rights from God then no person can rationally argue that the preservation of their right can trump those of another.

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