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Letter: Let history speak for itself
Re: Keep religion and politics separate, Jan. 23
On Jan. 23, the Wilson County News published a letter to the editor by Tracy Bogert in which he argued to keep religion and politics separate, apparently as it pertained to the Second Amendment.
It seems Mr. Bogert was offended by a statement made by Jerry Patterson, the Texas Land Commissioner. And what was this egregious comment? Mr. Patterson was quoted as saying, “The Second Amendment was not granted by the Constitution, it was granted by our Creator.” Mr. Bogert then asked to be corrected if he (Bogert) was wrong.
Please let me be the first to correct him.
Any reading of true American history -- not liberal revisionist history -- will show that Jerry Patterson was correct. The Founders wanted to develop a document to protect liberty, not invent rights. They firmly believed that what an authority could grant, that same authority could also deny. Some of the Founders were practicing Christians and some were not, but it is undeniable that all agreed with the concept of natural rights or natural law.
The Founders, on a number of occasions, quoted Paul when he wrote of the conscience in Romans 2:15 as, “the work of the law written in their hearts.” The Founders did not all worship in the same way, but they all agreed that liberty comes from rights granted by a higher authority, not some manmade government.
Constitution signer John Dickinson, like many of the others in his day, defined an inalienable right as a right “which God gave to you and which no inferior power has a right to take away.” John Adams agreed, declaring that “Rights [are] antecedent to all earthly government; Rights cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; Rights [are] derived from the great Legislator of the universe.”
Time and space limit these examples but Zephaniah Swift, author of America’s first legal text in 1792, wrote that “self-defense, or self-preservation, is one of the first laws of nature, which no man ever resigned upon entering society.”
Englishman William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws, the most influential legal commentary in America in the late 18th century, said this about a citizen’s right to own and use arms, “The right of the citizen is that of having arms for their defense.” He went on to say, “This is the natural right of resistance and self-preservation when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain oppression.”
This concept was universally understood. The Second Amendment was co-authored by James Madison, a Federalist, and George Mason, an Anti-Federalist. All agreed on Dec. 15, 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, that the rights protected by the Bill of Rights were granted by God, not by the government or the Constitutional Convention.
Mr. Bogert, please become familiar with our history before you speak or you are likely to continue to be factually wrong.
Your Opinions and Comments
Publius Valerius Publicola
January 30, 2013 3:23pm
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