Biff America: Exercising my God given right to write
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – “I’m just exercising my God-given rights.”
“God-given rights.” You often see that expression in letters to the editor and editorials and propaganda pieces on both sides. It seems that we have God-given rights to own guns, ban guns, enjoy a quiet backcountry, enjoy the backcountry on something motorized, worship at the church of your choice, marry someone of the same sex or keep someone of the same sex from marrying.
I have nothing against God – she’s the head of my church – but that expression, “God-given rights,” kind of ticks me off.
God does not grant rights. If She did, everyone would have them.
Americans have more rights than residents from most other countries; to suggest that those rights are God-granted would suggest that God likes us best. If that were the case, we would always win the Olympics and be able to beat the Chinese in ping-pong. God doesn’t like us best. In fact, I would bet she likes better the people from those nations who have no freedoms (or at least She feels more sympathy for them).
You often hear the plea, “God protect out troops.” If God decided to protect our troops, she would have to endanger the troops our troops are trying to shoot. I can hear the Lord now, “OK, I’ll protect those guys because their country puts my name on their money.”
Rights are not given. They are earned, won, negotiated and legislated.
As our country gets more crowded and mobile, it seems that we are gaining more social freedoms yet losing some personal rights. Because of the increase in population our government and voters must to balance how the behavior of some affects the lives of others.
Does the right to own guns infringe on the rights of those who don’t want guns in the hands of criminals? (Disclaimer: I own guns.) Does the right to own a big-ass truck infringe on the rights of those wanting clean air? (Again, guilty of a big truck.) Is the right to pull weeds in your front yard while not wearing pants overridden by the rights of your neighbors to not have to look at your hairy butt? (Innocent. That would scare away the hummingbirds.)
You hear a lot about those who have fought, served, suffered and died in order to provide America with our rights. That is certainly true, but as important as the founding fathers, some of whom were pacifists, who created a living document that guarantees some rights yet provides a recourse to add and amend others. Not to be forgotten are activists, organizers and forward-thinking public servants who bucked the system and were the catalyst for change.
God didn’t grant equal rights to African Americans in 1964. That right was won by the blood of martyrs, the vision of civil rights activists and a few politicians who voted their conscience which in some cases went against the will of the voters who elected them.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the result of unimaginable bravery, and in other cases, shocking ignorance. Many who opposed to granting equal rights to all were some of the most devoted Christians in the Senate.
Many Southern Democrats did all in their power to prevent equal rights being granted to African-Americans. This effort was led by Georgia Sen. Richard Russell, who said, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our Southern states.”
God could have granted equal rights to blacks any time she chose . Instead, she waited for fearless men and women to do the dirty work.
I think we’ve had enough of God justification. God gets credit for everything -cshe gives rights, wins ball games, protects our troops, and people scream her name during sex.
Perhaps we should quit all that and just be kind and respectful to each other in her honor.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or from http://www.webersbooks.com
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