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Christopher Cuomo denies the moral basis of justice

[God and our Rights: Part II]

Christopher Cuomo has apparently forgotten, (or perhaps has never reflected on) the relevant thought Martin Luther King expressed in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

“One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”  The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are SmallLogoLTLunjust laws.  I would agree with Saint Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now what is the difference between the two?  How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.  An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.  To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust”.

Whether they know and admit it or not, people who share Chris Cuomo’s view are challenging the premise that has been vital to every advance of justice in the history of America.  This is obvious in the case of someone like Martin Luther King. I have repeatedly alluded to that fact in my speeches and writings over the years.  But even though I’m sure she’s a hero to many of the very people who think they agree with Cuomo’s position, do you know whose most famous speech relied on the Declaration premise of God-endowed rights? Susan B Anthony.  When she was brought up on criminal charges because she contrived to vote when it was against the law for women to vote in her state, she did a speaking tour in her area before the trial was scheduled to begin. In the speech she gave during the tour, she thoroughly laid out the reasoning that supported her action.  The Declaration’s logic was the foundation of her reasoning:

Our democratic-republican government is based on the idea of the natural right of every individual member thereof to a voice and a vote in making and executing the laws. We assert the province of government to be to secure the people in the enjoyment of their unalienable rights. We throw to the winds the old dogma that governments can give rights. Before governments were organized, no one denies that each individual possessed the right to protect his own life, liberty and property. And when 100 or 1,000,000 people enter into a free government, they do not barter away their natural rights; they simply pledge themselves to protect each other in the enjoyment of them, through prescribed judicial and legislative tribunals. They agree to abandon the methods of brute force in the adjustment of their differences, and adopt those of civilization.

Nor can you find a word in any of the grand documents left us by the fathers that assumes for government the power to create or to confer rights. The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the constitutions of the several states and the organic laws of the territories, all alike propose to protect the people in the exercise of their God-given rights. Not one of them pretends to bestow rights.

“All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Here is no shadow of government authority over rights, nor exclusion of any from their full and equal enjoyment. Here is pronounced the right of all men, and “consequently,” as the Quaker preacher said, “of all women,” to a voice in the government. And here, in this very first paragraph of the declaration, is the assertion of the natural right of all to the ballot; for, how can “the consent of the governed” be given, if the right to vote be denied.

Here again we see the logic whereby any human law or authority that contravenes God’s endowment of right is not lawful at all.  So, Susan B. Anthony laid persuasive foundation for the ultimately successful battle to secure women’s suffrage, she set it in the bedrock of Declaration principle.  She acted as America’s founders did when they prepared the people of the thirteen original states to endure the rigors of the ultimately successful battle to preserve representative government in the New World.  She acted as Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln did in the ultimately successful battle to abolish slavery.  She acted as Martin Luther King did in the ultimately successful battle to end Jim Crow racial segregation and discrimination. She acted as I and many others have lately done, in the battle to preserve and perpetuate respect for life, natural right, and the institutions of democratic-republican self-government based upon it, in the United States.

It would seem that the fact Americans have, throughout our history, acted on the fact that the Creator, God is the source of our rights.  It has clearly been regarded as the first self-evident truth, and the basis, in reason and common sense, for our ability to recognize, define, and exercise our unalienable rights, including the right of self-government, which our Constitution exists to implement.  It makes no sense to speak of an American political consensus without taking it into account.  Indeed doing so poses grave risks to the future of liberty and justice in the United States, which I discuss in Part III of this essay.

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Cuomo deceitfully attacks America’s founding principlesCuomo rejects America’s just consensus

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