I am intrigued by Mike Pence’s use of the phrase “God-given liberties” in his tweet. I’m sure he is using language that religious people and/or those who believe in God could relate to.
But I do wonder why he couldn’t have used words such as “inherent,” “self-evident,” or “unalienable,” rather than “God-given” to describe these liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
I’m pragmatic enough to understand the broad appeal of the phrase “God-given” when it comes to liberties and rights, since most Americans claim Christianity, in one form or another, as their religion and also espouse a belief in God.
I see references to “God-given” all that time, so Pence’s phrasing is not that unusual. But I am a little bothered by the implication that rights and liberties bestowed upon Americans by the Founding Fathers are “God-given,” especially since the word “God” appears nowhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
Some might argue that the rights and liberties the Founding Fathers articulated when they wrote the Constitution, which is the very foundation of our republic, are God-given because their actions were guided by the hand of God. Perhaps our Founding Fathers simply forgot to give God credit for their work.
What is a little hard for me to swallow, though, is the somewhat arrogant notion held by many Americans that the “Almighty” is nationalistic enough to have granted us — Americans — these “God-given” rights and liberties while withholding many of them from “his children” in countless other countries.
Americans are convinced that God is on our side, plain and simple. Yet Christianity teaches that all humans are God’s children. So if these rights and liberties that Pence wrote of are “God-given,” how come God didn’t give them equally to all of his children around the globe?
Why would God pick and choose only certain people to give these “God-given” liberties and rights to? Why does he give some people more rights, and better rights, than others?
Why does God grant us freedom of religion, but withhold that freedom from Jews in various nations at countless times throughout history? What was God thinking when he permitted the genocide against native Americans and when he allowed white Americans to enslave black Africans?
Why do we, in America, deserve the “God-given” right to a fair and speedy trial in front of a jury of our peers, but those who live in Islamic countries, for example, don’t enjoy that right? If it’s God-given, shouldn’t they, who are also God’s children, have that same right? Are we, in America, God’s favorite children while those in other countries are his mistreated and abused stepchildren?
Did God guide the actions of our Founding Fathers, but not the actions of those who founded other countries? Why has God chosen to bless the lives of people living in America, while not blessing the lives of all people on Earth?
And as to Mike Pence, does he believe that a woman’s right to manage her own reproductive liberties, that a gay’s or a lesbian’s right to marry the person of their choice, and that immigrant parents’ rights to be with their children are not among the God-given liberties envisioned in our Constitution?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. So, like everyone else, I made up answers to fit my particular world view. To me, the reason that this omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God is so inconsistent in the way he treats his children is really quite simple: there is no omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.
Man created God in man’s own image in order to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of our very existence, of why and how it all began and what it all means. God is a device that enables us to try to make some sense out of the things that we find incomprehensible and unknowable.
As this concept of an all knowing, all seeing God, an entity to be both revered and feared, evolved, it became a powerful lever useful to the High Priests, kings, and nation leaders as a means to control and manipulate human behavior.
Naturally, all of the various religious hierarchies embraced this “God-fearing” theme and vigorously promoted it to the gullible masses who longed for an explanation, regardless of how inconceivable or incredible that explanation was, for why things are the way they are.
But hey, if people want to embrace that kind of thing in order to feel better and feel empowered, that’s fine by me.
Apparently, that is one of their God-given liberties.