Yet our government is not Santa Claus writ large, and our rights are not wish lists drawn up by eager tots on Christmas Eve. Any fair-minded reading of the Constitution reveals that it does not grant us the wonderful rights we embrace. It handcuffs the government from infringing upon them. Or at least it used to be that way.
Our Founding Fathers did not see government as a benevolent Santa Claus guaranteeing an ever-expanding wish list of rights. Rather, they viewed government as a necessary evil -- far preferable to anarchy, but nonetheless a serious threat to liberty.
Liberty was the ultimate goal of our founders, and for its sake, they were willing to lay down their lives. In the famous words of Patrick Henry, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
That spirit continues to inspire oppressed people around the world. It should inspire all of us fortunate enough to live here every day. And it certainly should deter us from thinking that our rights come from anyone other than God.
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