Godlessness in High Places
Last Wednesday evening President Obama addressed members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute at the organization’s 33rd Annual Award Gala. According to the Huffington Post, the First Lady put on her glam, but it’s what her husband said that’s now going viral on the internet.
The distinguished Constitutional scholar made reference to the opening words of the Declaration of Independence, but he left something out. Specifically, he said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The quote is very soon after the 22:00 minute mark.
Did you notice what was missing? The the actual quotation is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (emphasis added by me)
This is no small matter. America was the first nation on the planet, except perhaps ancient Israel, which recognized that rights are inherent to individuals because they’re people created in the image of God. In other words, the rights begin with God, and the State is obligated to recognize them. They do not begin with the State or any king, legislature, or president. They begin with God. This is foundational to freedom.
I have no designs on discussing the President’s personal religious beliefs here. What I want to put the spotlight on is his rewording of this central phrase from America’s Declaration of Independence. Either this omission was (a) intentional and calculated, or (b) unintentional, a simple oversight. What do you think? And why?