By Alex Gonzalez
With the issue of gay-marriage before the Supreme Court, it is important for people to understand the religious roots of what we tend to recognize as Natural Rights. There’ is powerful connection between Protestantism and the Constitutionality of those “Rights,” and how they apply to “all person.”
As a Christian nation, we draw our “unalienable Natural Rights” from Hobbes and Locke who argue that God is sole provider of our freedoms, and Churches have had an instrumentals part in developing an American character of patriotism and love for God, law and order.
As a nation who believes that we are Godly people and “rational” beings, we presume that our national charter often is the desire of God to have our Shinny City on The Hill; we argue that thanks to our Godly Constitution, we are rational beings who live in an orderly “civic society.” The Laws of nature are a precept, or general rule, based on God’s cause of “liberty and necessity”. These “Laws of nature” clearly entitles men certain rights and “Obligations” (respect for one another) and cannot be taken away by the sovereign—government. these are our Natural Rights and they are both, Godly and Constitutional.
Moreover, this religious civic activism and Godly connection between our society (system of laws and government) and God can be traced to early Pilgrim Puritans. The Puritan moral ideal in the 1640s tried to exemplify the word of God in their political actions; live by the words God had authored. By becoming political actors, Puritan found fulfillment of their religious beliefs where obedience to an imagined author—God— entitled them to rebel and authorize an actor as their representative. Therefore, traditionally, religious leaders have always had this pious power to guide our society and policies, God have entitled them to oversee our “civic politique” society and intervene when our elected Representative failed in obligations to be moral beings.
Moreover, Thomas Hobbes developed the notion that all men are imbued with Godly Natural Rights: “it is not against reason that a man does all he can to preserve his own body and limbs, both from death and pain. And that which is not against reason, men call than “RIGHT.” Hence, according to Hobbes, being a creature of God, and set and motion by God’s own cause–an act of reason–come together and voluntary under this “covenant” of religion and civic society.
But because any man‘s act is to be considered a cause set in motion by God (a link), God himself is the cause of the covenant and man’s perpetual liberty. A “covenant“, which has is based on God‘s own creation. So any action by reasonable man and our government—civic politique– must be guided by the God’s desire. And thus, man’s actions is the manifestation of God’s own will. So our Christian religious activism by leaders—Protestant and Catholic– are indeed are God’s own actions and desires to guide our compassionate government policies; God’s desire if for our Representatives to act as “rational” beings and pass rational laws. Thus, it is the role of religious leaders to to remind elected officials what those moral Goldy values are, without violating the right of others.
Furthermore, according to Locke, Laws of nature regulated the state of nature. “Natural Rights, thus, are those rights found in a state of “perfect freedom” where man is the master of his will and person and the creator of laws for the preserving of property and equality and public good. For Locke, man is filled with religious goodness and guided by a Godly “reason”, he toil and he has the natural desire for industriousness…” But here too, men have an uncontrollable freedom of possession, but even in the state of nature those rights are subjugated to the supreme laws of the Scriptures. In other words, our core Christian values can never be suspended, or substituted.
And even the most Anglo-phile conservative scholar Samuel Huntington argued in his book How Are We, that “we are a deeply and primary Christian county” encompassing many religions; and Thus, our policies aimed at helping immigrant have always been promoted by Religious movements. In Huntington argument, religion has been and still is a central part of our identity: “America was founded by religious reasons, he argues, and religious movements have shaped its evolution for nearly two centuries.”
In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, 98 % of the population was broadly protestant sharing common culture and the political values embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution–principles of equality and individualism, which are central to the American character, according to Huntington.
Additionally, before there was democracy in America, congregational representation was common rule within the churches–common people elected their representative to regional conferences. Thus, early Protestant churches help develop representative form of government. So the fact that even before there was an American government and a Constitution, religious leaders were already guiding the colonies in creating a moral, civic, orderly and fair society.
That is the true meaning of the our Godly Constitutional Natural Rights, an organized civic society in in which the “rights of all” are protected equally.
Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. He earned a BA in Political Sciences with emphasis in on American Politics from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org