The Government Does Not Grant Us Rights


Most people misinterpret where rights come from. Even our constitution does not grant rights. Many of the founders considered our rights to be God given.

In an essay on the Bill of Rights at the Daily Signal Michael Berry makes an important distinction:

The governed gave their consent to lend some, but not all, of their individual authority as human beings to a central government. For instance, while they would remain free to defend themselves individually, they would vest the authority for the collective defense of the new nation to a government that could raise an army.

Thus, it is significant that after outlining the positive rights of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government on matters ranging from taxation to foreign relations, the Bill of Rights begins by negating the power of Congress—“Congress shall make no law … ”—and recognizing the inherent rights of the people.

The reason for this is simple, revolutionary, and profound: Congress shall make no law because the people retain those rights articulated in the Bill of Rights by virtue of their humanity.

He also destroys the notion that the First Amendment covers toleration of private religious practice. 

But mere “toleration” of “private” religious conduct was precisely what James Madison, a primary author of the Bill of Rights, was careful to avoid. He favored the protection of robust freedom.

Take God out of the freedom equation, as many have done and you still need to consider this: Those freedoms are ours. Call them natural rights if you want to.

We allow government to take a bit away from us, but only with our consent.  My right to peacefully assemble, speak, to offend, to carry my faith into my public life, and my write to type these words…all are mine and guaranteed by our government. 

Or not. We’ve been there before.

This entry was posted in Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, Protests, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Government Does Not Grant Us Rights

  1. I’ll go a step further, almost all of our founders believed that man’s rights come from God not government. Those couple who did not necessarily believe in the more orthodox ideas about God believed these were innate natural rights. You’d maybe be surprised at how very near uniformly our founders believed in one branch of orthodox Christianity or another. This is, in part, because of the miseducation the illiberal Left has spread as a modern heresy. George Washington and Ben Franklin experimented with Deism for a very short time and walked back into Christianity. And I’ll be quiet now, except to say that I have read at least one biography per each of the Founders. It was the beginning of me realizing we are taught some lies in school about these things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. onwyrdsdream says:

    Pretty much
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ”

    The government doesn’t give rights to the people, it’s the other way around. At the least, that is the theory of OUR government. The left likes to look at it the as though the government owned the people, which is why they think of tax cuts as costs to the government. We aren’t the serfs of the government, belonging to it; the government belongs to us. That said, the reason that we created the constitution and the bill of rights, besides defining the FORM of the government, was to limit it’s scope. Because 50% +1 can agree on some truly terrible things. For instance, just imagine, if you will, if someone were to decide the government should take control of education or health care. *shudder* When a single entity produces something, it’s quality/quantity is always lower than it should be, whereas it’s price is always higher than it should be.

    Liked by 2 people

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