The Corner

A Second Recent Debate about God

President Bush has kicked off a bit of one in the blogosphere by telling Rich Lowry, David Brooks, and some other conservative columnists that “a gift of [the] Almighty to all is freedom.” Ross Douthat has, for example, written an uncharacteristically heated post about how un-conservative and un-Christian that comment allegedly is.

Now it may be unconservative to think that an aggressively liberty-promoting foreign policy follows from the idea that all human beings have a God-given right to be free, and certainly Christians are not obliged to believe that it does so follow. But the proposition that our rights are a gift from God is neither un-conservative nor un-Christian; it is a commonplace observation in the context of American political history.

My own view of the matter is that human beings have rights by virtue of the kind of beings that they are, and they would possess these rights even if, so to speak, God did not exist. But I also believe that human beings are the kind of beings we are as a result of the free and creative act of a loving God who chooses to create man in His image and likeness. (I’m leaving aside, as irrelevant, the means He used.) So in that indirect though important sense, our rights are God-given.

Most of the time, however, when people say that our rights come from God what they are most concerned about affirming is that those rights are not created by human beings. That, it seems to me, is true, or else there are no human rights at all.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More