Yesterday Americans commemorated the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document which tells us that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” And this is one of the most beautiful and powerful aspects of America’s government – that the Constitution acknowledges the rights that are given to us by God, rights that are unalienable to us because of our human dignity.
Recently on Go Ask Your Father™, in response to a call from a listener, Msgr. Stuart Swetland explained the ways in which the Constitution acknowledges our God-given rights, and why we need to keep vigilant to ensure those rights are respected.
He told the listener, “I agree with you that the Constitution is a great thing. Of course, the Constitution reflects God-given rights. The State is just recognizing rights that are inalienable to us.”
“Some of the rights in the Constitution are given to us by the State,” he said. “Our right to a lawyer to represent us, that’s just about judicial things. But many of the rights, like the rights enumerated in the First Amendment are God-given, and the State is recognizing the reality that there are God-given rights that transcend the State. That there are certain places the State cannot and should not go.”
And yet, throughout the history of America, there have been times when the State did not uphold the God-given rights enumerated in the Constitution. As a democratic republic, the American people must keep vigilant and work to ensure that the rights granted to us by God and acknowledged in the Constitution are respected and upheld.
Msgr. Swetland pointed out, “People in California are battling this as they’re trying to destroy the sanctity of the Confessional, among other things. So … we have to keep vigilant as we protect these precious freedoms. They are God-given and the Constitution reflects that fact. It’s a good republic, if we can keep it, as the Founding Fathers told us. And it takes virtuous men and women, moral men and women, to live a representative republic like we have.”
Listen to the full conversation below: