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Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God

[Part 7 of 8 in the series God and our right]

It can rightly be said that the whole point of America’s founding was to reject the notion that a consensus for injustice and tyranny, in violation of God’s authority, can be said lawfully to  govern any community of human beings who are willing and able to exercise (implement) the right, as God gives them to see it.  The Declaration states unequivocally SmallLogoLTLthat when convinced that any government is systematically engaged in imposing such an unjust consensus on such a people, “it is their right, it is their duty” not to obey, but to resist that consensus, and if necessary, alter or replace that government. On one of the seals Thomas Jefferson used for his correspondence was the motto “Rebellion to tyrants is Obedience to God.”

The pursuit of justice, by way of implementing the unalienable rights God has endowed for each and every human being willing to do so, is the ethos of America’s democratic, republic constitution of government.   Instead of lying about the Declaration’s acknowledgement of God’s authority; Chris Cuomo and others like him should read the Constitution of the United States in light of that acknowledgment.  Instead of pretending that the Catholic understanding of justice, which is fully in harmony with Declaration principle, must be left outside the precincts of our politics, Chris Cuomo and other Catholics like him like him should accept the challenge of upholding the Constitution, using the insight made easier by their Catholic upbringing and education.

In his battle to end racial discrimination, Martin Luther King, a Baptist preacher, and followed the logic of St. Thomas Aquinas.  He raised the standard of God’s authority. Yet putative Roman Catholics like Cuomo pretend that they must deny that God’s authority is the root of justice when it comes to defining and defending human life, or the unalienable right to respect the God endowed institution that, on the whole, preserves humanity through the work of men and women who choose to be bound by their natural responsibility for the its perpetuation.

We live under a Constitution that was framed to encourage and enable the good will, faith and courage of people determined to resist unlawful government.  Instead of betraying the sacrifices of generations of Americans who risked their all in order to exercise of such God-endowed rights, Chris Cuomo and others like him would do better to imitate the Founders, whose faith devotion to the common good they ignore or willfully seek to defame.

The Framers of the Constitution respected the standard of unalienable rights, even though they could not yet fully enact it.  They could and did set the example for such respect by explicitly safeguarding some of those rights in the Constitution and, in its Ninth Amendment, making provision for future generations to defend the rest.  That amendment plainly forbids any interpretation of the Constitution’s provisions that “denies or disparages” rights, not enumerated, yet retained by the people.  Such rights must, of course, include all unalienable rights. This may include rights some Americans had had British subjects under the Common Law.   But it certainly must include the unalienable rights of all.  Such rights are antecedent to human law and man-made consensus. They are a heritage endowed when man was made after a fashion known but to God, before the beginning of time as we know it. Encoded in the very substance of human nature, they cannot be surrendered without setting aside our humanity.

This observation makes sense of the appeals, made in behalf of justice throughout our history that decried not only the physical and material effects of injustice, but the demeaning slanders that often accompanied it.  The perpetrators and beneficiaries of unjust practices and laws portrayed their victims as subhuman, bestial, noxious creatures.  They offered people of weak in good will and conscience an excuse for ignoring their claims.  Thus the enslavers of mankind made use of ethnic bigotry and racial diffidence.  Using such tools, they exploited the ignorance of many, silenced some, and whipped the resentment and personal insecurity of others to a red-hot pitch against those they were determined wickedly to abuse for purposes of greed and ambition.

Besides fomenting contemptuous and hateful passions, these profiteers of human bondage used a portion influence and profit they reaped to entangle people in the web of its material benefits. Combined with the appeal to hateful passion, this allowed them to forge a durable consensus that compromised the decent heart and conscience of the nation.  Perhaps Mr. Cuomo is among those willing to mistake this lamentable aspect of America’s history for proof that respect for God-endowed right is “not our country.” Until I learned to see this pattern of unjust abuse writ large in the history of humankind, I was tempted to agree with him.  But once I did, I realized that the exceptional character of the United States has more to do with the fact that, from the beginning, people who had every motive for doing otherwise, chose to promote the standard of justice that opposes this universal tendency of our fallen nature. They did so even though the standard they chose, God’s standard, made them tremble  to “reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever” as Jefferson put it.

Series NavigationAll that may become a manFreedom means having the choice, Liberty means using it to do right

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