President Obama’s editing out of the words “…by their Creator…” from the Declaration of Independence on the 15th (video and transcript here) is a remarkable act for sitting president. It suggests that the purported constitutional law expert needs some remedial education.
The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson (when he was 33 years old), based on a list of points laid out by a 5 person committee which also included Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. The most famous part (for good reason) of the Declaration of Independence reads:
“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.”
Jefferson was a deist who did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and wrote his own version of The New Testament titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. In this work, Jefferson attempts to extrapolate the precise doctrine of The New Testament by removing acts which he deems to be “supernatural”. Thomas Jefferson’s notion of a Creator in The Declaration of Independence does not have anything to do with establishment religion or dogma (theology); it is strictly a philosophical construct.
Further, the idea that all men are equal was a very radical idea in 1776, and its purpose was two fold:
First, under Feudalism (the political system of Kings and peasants,) it was widely accepted that some people were in fact better than others, and that the people’s rights were given to them by their Kings. Jefferson flatly rejected this idea based on the core precepts laid by “Natural Law”, ideas which had been written about by not only thinkers like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, but also Cicero of Rome 2000 years prior. Under Natural Law, mans rights are innate to himself, and those rights can not be created nor destroyed by anyone or anything. In America, our rights are given to us by our Creator, whether one believes that to be God, nature, or the universe. We The People in turn lend those rights to our government, on a very limited basis. Our rights never, ever come from the government. To claim otherwise is, yes — un-American.
Secondly, Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal” for the express purpose of abolishing slavery, which he believed at the time would take about one generation. Strangely, it must be conceded that Jefferson kept slaves until his own death, exactly 50 years to the day from which the Declaration of Independence was signed. Jefferson was as enigmatic as he was brilliant.
Lastly, the American Constitution is a charter of negative rights and negative liberties. It outlines a basic structure of government based on separation of powers, conveys approximately 20 specific powers to that government, and then states “…shall make NO law…, …shall NOT be infringed…, …shall NOT be violated…” over and over. Unless The Constitution says the government can do something, it cannot do it (legally). When We The People allow the government to grant us “rights” such as health care or education, we are now making the government the purveyor of our rights, instead of our Creator. If you think this is okay, you are a fool and there is a box car or relocation camp waiting for you or your descendants someday.
If we let the government become the purveyor of our rights, I guarantee a mountain of corpses in return.