Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Natural Rights of Christian Nationalism

He's right, you know.
In 2021, the conservative author of "The Good Constitution: A Moral Account of U.S. Constitutionalism in Clarence Thomas's Political Thought" approvingly noted that the Associate Justice in his memoir had written

I led my staffers (especially Ken Masugi and John Marini) in discussion of the natural-law philosophy with which the Declaration of Independence, America’s first founding document, is permeated. “All men are created equal,” Thomas Jefferson had written in 1776. “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” That’s natural law in a nutshell: if all men are created equal, then no man can own another man, and we can only be governed by our consent.

His "unalienable Rights" work accomplished, Mr. Jefferson returned to the plantation and tended to his slaves.

If basic human rights are endowed by the Creator, someone forgot to tell the rulers of the 167 countries which today practice slavery. Admittedly, this includes not only slavery in the classic sense but also forced labor, sexual exploitation, forced marriages, and human trafficking.

Though abiding in Asian countries, in a surprise to all those who smear western civilization as oppressive and decadent, slavery is more prevalent per capita in African and Middle Eastern nations. Wherever, it exists.. 

The Creator- or God, as Jefferson presumably meant- did not intend to endow some individuals with the right to own other individuals, nor the right to be owned by other individuals. Slavery is not an expression of individual freedom. (Sorry, Nikki Haley.) If all men (and women) are created equal and slavery is a real thing, clearly mankind has gone asunder. Where there is no slavery, rights obviously were created by man, even if God the Creator gave mankind the ability to establish those rights. Ultimately, the choice was bequeathed to human beings.

As Przybyla (a great name, if you don't have to go through life spelling it) suggests, Christian nationalism is a thing apart from Christianity. It is not exclusive of Christianity but is in tension with the religion because it contorts theological belief to try to validate political ideology.  And radical Islamism has taught us anything, it should be that extremism fueled by religious fanaticism is not a recipe for individual freedom.

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