August 11, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Paul Ryan Says Rights Come from Nature and God, Not Government
After being introduced as Mitt Romney’s running mate on Saturday, Representative Paul Ryan (WI-R) said that America was founded on an idea. What is the idea? Ryan said, “Our rights, come from nature and God, not from government.” Oh really? Ryan, which God are you referring to? The Christian God? I’m willing to bet there are Americans who are members of a different faith who might think their rights come from God too. The problem is that the rights people believe they have from God might not exactly line up depending on which God they pray to. This is why Paul Ryan is wrong.
America was founded on an idea, the idea of government by the people. The United States Constitution begins with “We the People.” And there is a peculiar omission in the constitution, there’s no mention of God. None. If America was founded on the idea that our rights come from God, shouldn’t we expect the constitution – the framework for our system of government – to make mention of it?
In fact, the closest the constitution comes to mentioning anything related to God is to say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This opening line of the First Amendment has been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court to mean exactly what Thomas Jefferson said, “A wall of separation between church and state.” It means a government by the people will determine the rights of all its people and that no one person’s religious faith will determine those rights. The big idea that became the United States of America was the idea that we would not be ruled by monarchy and religious dogma.
No Paul Ryan, our rights do not come from God. They come from us. We the People. This is the idea that made America special. That is the idea that continues to make America special. / photo by Gage Skidmore