Do human rights come from God or the nation?



The R.I. Catholic is to be commended for its astute editorial observations on the French Revolution (7/25/2019). Although the American Revolution and the French Revolution were only a decade apart, they were worlds apart in their cultural foundation. The American revolutionaries understood that the rights for which they were fighting came from God. Human rights are Creator endowed.
The French were convinced that their rights came not from God but from the nation — la patrie. French rights were a matter of legislation. And what the nation can confer, the nation can just as easily defer.
Today, the United States is facing a similar challenge to that faced by the French revolutionaries. Do human rights come from God or from the nation? Are the human rights to life, liberty and private property truly “inalienable” or are they subject to review and reassessment by the state? The present generation has witnessed a radical revision by America’s courts and assemblies of formerly unassailable, God-given rights: Abortion denies the right to life; same-sex unions alter the nature of marriage; legalization of suicide transforms the momentum of death; the disconnect between biology and sexuality transforms personhood; the redefinition of family endangers new generations; the diminished placed of God, religion and prayer in public life revises greatly American’s self-understanding.
The excesses of Bastille Day are clearly manifest in our own government’s Godless disregard for the inalienable rights of the unborn, of the family, of the desperately ill, and of believers. Rights are God’s gift; they are not a government grant.

Father John A. Kiley, Woonsocket