Apologetics for the Masses #254

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

I hope all of you are doing well.  I had intended on getting out a newsletter today comparing the teachings of several different Protestant catechisms, and the discrepancies therein, which would serve as a follow-up to some recent newsletters (Issues #250 and #251) that contained my email exchanges with a guy named Michael who, among other things, claimed that there is indeed a Protestant equivalent to the Catholic Catechism.  However, something kept tugging at me as I was doing my research yesterday and today, so I am going to hold off on the Protestant catechisms until next week, so that I can address something else this week.  What I'm going to do this week is somethng that I don't think I've ever done before - an extended comment on a very recent news event - however, this particular issue just flew all over me, so that I just had to say something.


I don't know if you guys saw it or not, but yesterday on CNN (http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/curtis-kalin/cnn-anchor-our-rights-do-not-come-god), their anchor, Chris Cuomo, was debating the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama - Judge Roy Moore - on the issue of same-sex "marriage" here in Alabama.  Many of the "sophisticated crowd" around the country take Judge Moore to be some sort of ignorant backwoods country bumpkin.  Sorry, but whether you agree with him or disagree with him, you make a big mistake if you judge the Judge in that manner.  Anyway, in the course of the debate, Chris Cuomo, who I believe professes to be Catholic - his daddy, former Governor Mario Cuomo of New York, who was famous for his, "I am personally opposed to abortion but I can't force my beliefs on you," philosophy, also professed to be Catholic - said this to Judge Moore: "Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man...That’s your faith, that’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.” Well, I just felt the need to answer Chris Cuomo, so here goes...


Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor, in a debate on same-sex "marriage" with Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, stated the following: “Our rights do not come from God...They come from man."  He also essentially stated that even though it is Judge Moore's faith, as well as Chris Cuomo's faith, that our rights do indeed come from God, "...but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise."  I assume Cuomo is referring, first and foremost, to the Constitution of the United States and, particularly, to the Bill of Rights - which enumerates our rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and so on - a document about which it can indeed be said it originated from the collective agreement and compromise of men. 


The problem here, though, is that Cuomo appears to be ignorant of the fact that the founding document of our country, the Declararation of Independence, states quite clearly that our rights do in fact come from God - "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" - and it was this document that served as the philosophical well from which the Constitution of the United States was drawn. In fact, this idea among our Founding Fathers that our rights emanate from our Creator - God - was so pervasive that the Consitution did not have an enumeration of our rights in it.  Why?  Because James Madison, the main author of the Constitution, thought it unnecessary to list any of our rights in the document as the Constitution had nothing to do with giving us our rights, but was merely concerned with setting up a government whose function it would be to protect our God-given rights.  In fact, Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, argued against having the Bill of Rights amended to the Constitution.  In Federalist Paper No. 84, Hamilton stated, "(B)ills of rights...are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous." He went on to say, "For why declare that things shall not be done (by Congress) which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given (to Congress) by which restrictions may be imposed?"


Why would Hamilton and Madison argue against a Bill of Rights if the Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention all believed that our rights do not come from God, but from men?  Wouldn't they want the Constitution to grant them those rights and that liberty that just a few years before they had risked their lives, reputations, and properties for, if they thought it was man who indeed gave them their rights and their liberty?  "Well," one might ask, "why then did Thomas Jefferson and George Mason argue so strenuously that the Constitution did indeed need to include an enumeration of our rights?"  Why?  Because they were concerned that if our most basic rights were not enumerated in the Constitution, then the government (Congress), once formed, would be tempted to think it could put limits on them.  Any serious student of history knows that Hamilton and Madison were not arguing the end with Jefferson and Mason, they were merely arguing the means to the end. The end they all wanted was protecting the God-given rights of all Americans.  Hamilton and Madison thought that would be done best by not enumerating rights in the Constitution; whereas Jefferson and Mason thought it would be done best by enumerating rights in the Constitution (or the amendments thereon.)  They all recognized that our rights were God-given, they simply disagreed on the best way to preserve and protect those rights in and through the constitutional process.


Which means that Chris Cuomo has no clue what he was talking about when he said that in our country our rights come from man.  As further evidence that in no shape, manner, or form was the Constitution seen by our Founding Fathers as granting us our basic rights and liberties as human beings, all one has to do is look at Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights:


Article [IX] (Amendment 9 - Unenumerated Rights) - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


It specifically states that just because certain rights are mentioned in the Constitution, that does not mean that other rights are not "retained by the people."  This amendment was essentially a compromise in response to Madison's and Hamilton's arguments.  In other words, Amendment IX of the Constitution tells us that the Constitution does not give us our rights.  Because if it did, then where do these "other rights" that it speaks of the people as having, come from?  Who gave the people of the United States these other rights that are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution if it was the Constitution that gave us our rights?  Where did they come from Mr. Cuomo? 


Another thing that really bothers me about what Chris Cuomo said, is that even though he believes our rights come from God, "that's not our country."  Sounds just like his dad - "I personally believe that my rights come from God, but I can't force my belief on you."  Really?!  First of all, I just spoke to the fact that it is indeed "our country" wherein our fundamental rights as human beings are seen as coming from God.  Secondly, doesn't a law forcing people to accept a particular type of sexual perversion as legitimate, force the beliefs of those who agree with sexual perversion onto those who disagree with sexual perversion?  But you have no problem with that, do you, Chris?  But still, the underlying issue I'm getting at here, is that he seems to treat his "beliefs" as something that really don't count.  Or, maybe as something that doesn't reflect reality.  "Well, yeah, I believe that our rights come from God, but that's because I'm Christian.  But if I had a brain, which would mean I wasn't Christian, then of course I would know that our rights come from men."  It's almost as if feels his "beliefs," his Catholic faith, is good for Sunday morning, but it doesn't really apply outside of the church building.  I find that attitude disingenuous at best, intellectually dishonest and hypocritical at worst.  Why say you believe something on one hand, but then say it isn't true on the other hand?


What Chris Cuomo stated to Judge Moore is something that carries within it a very dangerous idea.  The idea that our rights come from man, and not God ((which, of course, happens to be the only conclusion an atheist can come to), carries within it the logical extension that our rights can, therefore, be taken away by man.  If man gave Jews in Germany the right to life, then it's okay for man to take away that right.  If man gave the Native Americans the right to property, then it's okay for man to take away that right.  If man gave religious freedom to Christians to believe that homosexuality is wrong, then it's okay for man to take away that freedom.  To drive home this point with Mr. Cuomo, I would like to offer an amendment to the Constitution:


Proposed Amendment #28 to the United States Constitution: Be it resolved that Chris Cuomo's rights come from man, they are hereby removed by man.  Henceforth, Chris Cuomo shall no longer have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  He shall no longer have the right of free speech or the right to freely assemble or to address his grievances in court. He shall no longer have access to the press.  Furthermore, Chris Cuomo shall henceforth be employed by the City of New York to scoop dog excrement out of Central Park, 60 hours each week, for an annual salary of $520.


And here's the thing.  If Chris Cuomo is to be consistent, if he does not want to be seen as a hypocrite, then even though he might fight with all his might against the passage of the proposed amendment (which he has the right to do...for now), he has to defend with all his might my right to propose it.  Given what he said to Judge Roy Moore, Chris Cuomo cannot say that it would be wrong to propose and pass such an amendment.  After all, if it were to pass, it would be because of the "collective agreement and compromise" of man.  


Okay, I said what I said.  Now, everyone get on Twitter and Facebook and wherever else and call your political representatives and your friends and neighbors and let's get this Amendment 28 passed!  [Insert smiley face here]


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Apologetics for the Masses