Too many people in America act and speak as if they believe rights, protected by the US Constitution, are granted by government, and therefore can be diminished or abolished by government decree. This assumption is not only wrong it is dangerous to the well being of every man, woman, and child in America, because if government is allowed to do this then no one’s life, liberty, or property is secure. Legally, this assumption does not have any precedent set in America’s founding documents and will not stand up in a court of law dedicated to biblical truth and justice.
The Declaration of Independence clearly defines the Creator as the origin of rights. Accordingly, the fact that rights come from the Creator is an indisputable established legal standard from the United States’ first founding document.
Although the Constitution is “the supreme Law of the Land”, the Declaration of Independence is also legally binding, because the Constitution not only dated itself from “the Year of our Lord,” but also from “the Independence of America”. By doing this the founders established two facts, the supreme Law of the Land is founded on and linked to the Declaration of Independence, which makes the Declaration a legal document, and that Christ is the Creator to which the Declaration of Independence referred.
The fact that our founders understood Christ to be the Creator is substantiated in a multitude of ways. The most convincing of these is the 1892 Supreme Court case Holy Trinity Church v The United States, in which the court unanimously declared “the United States is a Christian nation.” In making this statement, the court was not just saying there were many Christians living in America, but that our entire legal system and government was built on a Christian foundation and that it was intended to maintain America’s Christian character. Chief Justice Brewer’s own words attest to this understanding in the official opinion he passed down from the bench. His court based their findings on an in-depth and detailed survey conducted of a range of America’s documents and previous court cases, which, in addition to the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, included: the commission to Christopher Columbus, the first colonial grant made to Sir Walter Raleigh, all other colonial charters, the Pilgrim’s Mayflower Compact, the 1638-1639 fundamental orders of Connecticut, the constitutions from each of the then existing States in 1892, and previous legal cases from the States and the Supreme Court. All totaled, the court referenced 87 precedents that confirmed America as a Christian nation in which many of the referenced documents openly professed the intent to propagate the Christian religion in America and the others upheld Christianity in some other way.
Because our founders understood Christ to be the Creator, it is from the Bible we must look to define our rights. Biblically, rights are derived from obligations we, as individuals, owe to God. For example: God commanded us not to commit murder, including suicide, which means God obligated us to uphold life and therefore we have a right to defend life including our own. God gave us ten fundamental laws, which were things we cannot do, and everything else we are at liberty to do, therefore we have a right to liberty. God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth, therefore we have a right to property. Other rights can be derived from the Bible by similar reasoning and it was to these rights, derived from biblical obligations, our founders referred in the 9th Amendment by the clause “others retained by the people.”
Rights are not absolute, but neither are they bounded by public opinion. If they were bounded by public opinion, then a majority of citizens could take them away, which is another way of saying they are no rights at all. Since God is the only entity that can grant rights, because governments and people are only able to grant privileges, it is only God who can take them away and it is He who sets their boundaries. This is why rights cannot be sold or transferred.
As such, people can only lose their rights through their personal behavior. For example: if an individual commits murder, then he or she has forfeited their right to life; if an individual commits fraud or theft, then he or she loses their right to property in an amount equivalent to their crime. Similarly, if an individual violates one of the other Ten Commandments then he or she loses liberty proportionate to their infraction.
It was under this understanding the founders wrote “that [all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” and they went on to say “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men.” For this reason every government in America (local, State, and national) should secure biblical rights and not attempt to take them away. Any government that tries to take away even one of an individual’s God granted rights without due process of common law is engaged in tyranny and in such an occasion, like the Declaration of Independence declares, it should be the government that is limited or abolished not an individual’s right.