"All lawful authority comes from God to the people."
Constitution of the Irish Free State, Preamble, 1922
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Reader comments about this quote:
The first gift we are given by God or nature is life itself. The first property we have is our own bodies, our thoughts, our speech. The governments of the day seem to want to negate those very basic rights. How can such a system be "just"? You don't have to believe in God to understand this, its something a 5 year old can grasp.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    No comment
     -- RobertSRQ     
    There is Natural Authority and there is Man-Made Authority.Both are lawfull in their own right. Now,you might want to ask yourself: 'What is lawfull'? What have government legislatures determined to be lawfull ? MAN'S LAW VS. GOD'S LAW. That's what EVERYTHING comes down to!
     -- Anonymous     
    Well, you either agree that we are "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights," or you don't. You either believe that your rights come from man, or from the Creator. If you believe that your rights come from man, then all rights are ALIENABLE and there is no firm foundation against usurpation, because what man has given man can take away. If the basis of government rests upon a Creator giving rights, then it presupposes that there are rights that cannot be taken away by man. "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..."
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Not just to the people but, to everything. The legalism / colloquialism 'God of Nature' was a catch all phrase that generally meant Abraham, Issac and Jacob's Father in Heaven. For all readers, it was the intended understanding that rights were inalienable as a faculty of birth with no one individual or group of individual's having authority, power, right or ability to remove or alter such. Add what Logan said above and you have a more clear picture concerning the government of law the founders intended. For Anonymous, man's ability to make law is a lie told often enough that people believe it. Man's Actions are only lawful when they harmonize with Creator endowed tangible realities (fiscal law, sanctity of life, etc.). The term 'legal' is a term of color covering both lawful acts and man's unlawfully forced codes, rules, statutes, etc. The word and term 'God' was a foreign concept to the ancient Hebrews with all its various meanings and understandings, as their personal relationship and conversations were with their Father in Heaven (part of Jefferson's and others of the time quandary) and only became part of the language by foreign oppressors. If the nebulous term 'God' distracts from your understanding of inalienable rights, please, go to the source and get an educated understanding.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Oh, boy, here we go. Shall we debate the existence of God again? Sheesh! The Muslims would agree with this statement, too, and they have the books that say what God said -- then again, so do the Christians and Jews -- unfortunately they don't agree, do they. The other guy is always wrong. "Nature's God" is as close as we can get to a definition of what to call the natural laws that have created and govern the universe. We cannot define it further -- God is a mystery, and will forever remain so. However, Libertarians 'assert' that we are born 'free', that is to say, that no man may lay claim to him as a subject or as property (as has been the case historically for eons). We say we have inalienable rights -- since they are natural-born, they are not granted by men, but by our Creator (as man has not created himself -- he has not created anything -- he has merely rearranged elements already found in Nature). Why do we have natural-born inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator? BECAUSE WE SAY SO! That is why it is called a DECLARATION -- we declare it so, and stand ready to fight to defend it. Do slaves have inalienable rights? Well, not until they say so, no matter whether they were born with them or not. The quote means simply that the origin of authority is within each of us (the kingdom of God is within you) -- it is the very life force whom we credit to our 'Creator.' But the Creator didn't publish a book of his laws -- men did, and some wrote those laws and signed God's name (pick your favorite prophet -- God said this, God said that, God said hit them with a baseball bat). All of Nature's Laws have needed to be discovered (and rediscovered by each new generation) -- we learn what they are by trial and error, and passing down those 'discoveries' to future generations. But the 'Truth' already is, whether we know it or not. And I think that is as close to the authority of "God' we will ever get. The main point is that one man has no natural authority over another -- if a man has authority over me, it is because I gave it to him in one way or another. We are not born free -- we are born dependent. We claim our Freedom as we develop the capabilities to be Independent and Self-Reliant. There is no Freedom without Responsibility -- whether God is the authority or man.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, said very well. Jesus the Christ is who ever He is and, it doesn't matter what I or anyone claim him to be or what the validity of his assertions are concerning the temporal affairs of man. As far as the temporal affairs of man goes, history can be studied for cause and effect to establish the most free non-theocratic administration of law as it exists. In the U.S., the founders were most familiar with the policies of a Judeo / Christian tradition thus, a religious overtone with all inclusive language.. Religion's morality is also a time tested method of enlightening man as to desire rule of law adherence (that one's been debated too).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Logan. Right on. Reason prevails.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Logan, rights do not have to come from an authority figure like God to be unalienable; rather, I think if rights are things given to us, they are in fact privileges and can be as easily taken away as granted. Rights come from existence, and are all derived from this basic principle: self-government. In other words, I belong to no other being but myself, and because of this I have the power to determine what I do, what I believe, etc., so long as nothing I do not keeps others from exercising their rights as well. However, it is often preferable to not exercise complete independence and give up some of my time, capital, etc., and use it to help others. And once you join a society, I think this preference becomes more or less an obligation. As Social Contract theory states, the people creating a government surrender some of their individual liberty to it in exchange for certain things--security, improved quality of life, order, for example. Now, don't get me wrong; I agree with Benjamin Franklin when he said "Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security." Well, maybe not the part about not deserving liberty; I think people always deserve a degree of liberty. But I also think that a limited democracy (or republic on the large scale) makes for a nice happy medium.
     -- O. Delusional Liberal     
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