Natural Rights

Our nation was founded upon the principles of “natural rights,” based upon the concept that our Creator gave us all basic freedoms. This is established in the Declaration of Independence, establishing the three most important natural rights, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
These natural rights are sometimes called, “negative rights,” because they do not take anything away from anyone else. Free speech, religion, 2nd amendment, etc, all were put into the Bill of Rights to establish some of those natural rights, which the government could not take away from us.
It is this concept of each person being his/her own free agent that has allowed people in many nations to arise out of poverty and terror, and into a truly meaningful life, which they can pursue for themselves.
The Constitution was established to ensure our natural rights, founded in the Declaration of Independence, would be protected by government. Our president, Congress, judges, military and others swear an oath to defend and protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. This ensures the citizens are free, as long as government remembers its key role is to protect our natural rights.
Some people, however, including many in Congress, want to add to these natural rights a group of claimed rights called “positive rights.” They aren’t called positive because they are good, but because they require limiting someone else’s personal sovereignty, freedoms, and natural rights, in order to give something to someone else. Medicare for All is an example of a positive right, taking money away from some to benefit others.
The problem with positive rights is it trashes the key concept of the Declaration of Independence. Instead of us being free citizens with natural rights from the Creator, rights suddenly are given by the government. No longer free, but subject to the whims of a changing government, we become slaves.
A government that gives us rights, can also take away our rights. We then are no longer citizens, but serfs. We can hope for benefits from the government, and fear its punishing wrath, when it becomes no longer the protector of natural rights, but the one who bequeaths rights.
This is exactly what our Founding Fathers sought to avoid. European kings and lords were the ones who provided benefits and rights to the people, mostly serfs. Serfs could only hope to dwell under a kind lord, who would not overwork them, overtax them, or imprison them for the smallest things. Remember Prince John of Robin Hood fame? He was notorious for taxing the people to enrich himself, but also to pay for King Richard’s expensive Crusades (and a ransom, when Richard was kidnapped). When starving, the poor could only hope for a bit of bread from the Lord’s largess.
Once freedom became a part of the reality, people fled to freedom. Pilgrims and many others chose the dangers of the American wilderness over the captivity of England’s rulers. They risked starvation and death, but freedom raises all boats, and citizens became well off.
As other nations began accepting even a little freedom for its people, extreme poverty shrank from 90% of the world to under 10% in the last 150 years. China’s acceptance of free markets has created a middle class of 600 million people over the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Venezuela languishes in militant violence and poverty, because of government taking away rights from the people of what once was a free, healthy and wealthy nation.
For those government people who think they do us a favor by regulating our lives and offering us new “rights,” please don’t. You are going against your oath of office. Protect our natural rights. Protect our freedoms.

Taxation is Theft (mandatory Libertarian stock phrase).

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

30 thoughts on “Natural Rights

  1. I am curious as to how you would respond if you were a healthcare worker in the following realistic scenario: Say someone arrives at the ER with a severed leg from an accident from a not up to State standards vehicle accident. Not the victims fault and the victim cannot afford to feed his family, and have health insurance despite the two full time jobs he has. The victim not only has active bleeding but also will require several days in the ICU, if he survives, but will require, no doubt several surgeries to not only save his life, but to allow him some sort of existence just to appear decent. He may not walk again but will need several months of rehab etc. all told his bills will be more than 1 million dollars if he is lucky to survive at all. Health care workers take an oath to treat and help everyone.
    At what point are you implying that we stop saving this guy’s life if he has no insurance, or money to pay? The other guy at fault had no insurance either. Are you suggesting that our society’s health care costs should be defaulted to “Go fund me” programs? What if we are in a recession and the best this guy can raise is $10k? Under your idea of governenthoe would you solve this problem? Would you prefer the healthcare workers stop before soing any lifesaving treatment to first, determine if he can pay? If not then watch him die? Granted he most likely will never be able to work again due to his injuries so he will not be able to pay anyone back if he survives.

  2. “Would you prefer the healthcare workers stop before soing any lifesaving treatment to first, determine if he can pay?”

    What fantasy land did this scenario ever happen in before LBJ?

    By the way, the government does nothing in this scenario today if the person worked hard themselves but couldn’t afford health insurance due to being driven orders of magnitude up by regulations and corporate crornyism by the government.

    If this guy is unemployed on a welfare program sure, Medicaid or Medicare picks up the tab, hard working guy, the government isn’t doing anything in this scenario to compensate the healthcare worker, so in a true market scenario, I don’t see how your example makes any difference.

    His bills would be a million dollars again because the government has caused healthcare bureaucrats to grow at 10X the rate of true healthcare providers.

    Ram, thank you for sharing. Not coming many conservatives that believe in these principles anymore.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with the article.

    Rights (i.e. benefits or entitlements) have been created (by the government) can be taken away if and when the government sees fit to do so. Rights that are intrinsic do not need to be given and therefor cannot be taken away. We all have these rights because we are what we are: human beings. Religious people will say these rights come from God. Atheists may say natural law establishes these rights. The result however is the same.

    So there is no God given right to health care. There is no God given right to (affordable) housing. There is no God given right to Medicare or Medicaid. Rights are intrinsic (God given / natural law). Benefits are man made.

    The problem I see: The more benefits and entitlements established, the more rights will slowly vanish.

    I might be biased because of who I am and where I live and grew up. I grew up in the communist part of Germany. I still live in Germany and I’m a German citizen (not an American). At the end of the last century I studied law. Topics on the German (and foreign) constitution were an important part of the curriculum.

    The German constitution knows a lot of benefits or entitlements. Nothing of that can be found in the U.S. constitution. The German constitution also has rights in it. The first 20 articles are comparable to the Bill of Rights. You will find the right to live, as well as freedom of speech, religious freedom, property rights and so on.

    So pretty much like the U.S. constitution, right? Wrong! Every single right in the German constitution has a second paragraph or sentence: These rights are limited by law.

    What does this mean? You only have rights (God given / natural law) as long as the government does not say otherwise in any kind of law. But boy, the entitlements granted in the constitution are plentyful. But you have to think hard before uttering an opinion – it might very well forbidden by law. There are people who have been incarcerated for over ten years only because they had voiced their opinion. But I digress.

    Germany has on of the highest tax rates of all OECD member states (benefits are expensive). The U.S. have a much lower tax rate. But people in the U.S. donate on average more than ten times what people in Germany donate. And why should they? They pay extremely high taxes. Should the government take care of those in need.

    Knowing you intrinsic, God given rights makes you charitable, makes you compassionate, makes you sensitive to the needs of others. Having entitlements however is a perfect antidote to that.

    During my study I grew to love and respect the U.S. constitution. As somebody who does not enjoy the protection of the U.S. constitution let me tell you one thing: Do not meddle with it! Don’t!

    Every new benefit will rob you of your rights. Every new benefit will make you less compassionate, less charitable, less sensitive to the need of others. And all of these are Christ like attributes which we should strive to achieve.

    Health care is a delicate topic … and not an easy one. And I certainly have no perfect answers for the problems associated with health care. But don’t “solve” it by meddling around with your God given rights.

  4. I agree. Modern politicians have confused the correct meaning of the word, “right”. I believe a highly evolved society can protect the weakest of its citizens by establishing healthcare benefiits, etc. But, it does still not make healthcare a “right”. Call it a safety net, charity, or whatever, but do not call government benefits a right. We have lost the meaning of the concept.

  5. Hopefully this blog is an extreme point of view. Perhaps you could view the government as a service provider. There are some things governments provide better than free enterprise, roads, police, defence, healthcare, social security, education.
    Healthcare is there, because it is more efficient for governments to provide hospitals, pay doctors, and compare records to evaluate problems etc.
    Instead of seeing the government as theives, how about you overcome your prejudices, and see them as service providers. They are best to provide services, as described above.
    Some facts: of 36 OECD countries 32 provide universal healthcare.
    USA 17.2% of GDP spent on healthcare average per person $9892.
    Australia 9.6% of GDP, $4708 per prrrson.
    So healthcare costs your economy nearly twice as much, do you get better healthcare? Life expectancy is one measure.
    US Men 76.4 Aussi men 81.5 US Women 81.4 v 85.5 for Aussie women..
    We are not slaves. You are paying a lot for your idiology, and getting poorer service as well.

  6. GEOFF:
    So where exactly is your material proof for your opinion that government would be more efficient in providing education, health care and so on?

    BTW: Health care is heavily regulated in the U.S. an is far from operating in a free market environment.

  7. Government benefits, although seemingly good, usually makes the situation worse in the long term.

    Jimmy Carter’s Dept of Education and all federal efforts (No Child Left Behind, etc), have not produced any improvement in test scores. In math and science, we’ve dropped to around 25th in the world

    Since LBJ started his war on poverty, we’ve spent .over $22 trillions, but have increased the number in poverty, due to regulation that keeps people from rising above poverty.

    Obamacare was supposed to take care of everyone, while reducing cost and letting you keep your doctor. Insurance prices swelled. Medicare is almost bankrupt, and caused prices to skyrocket.

    Social Security is bankrupt bound, unless benefits are greatly reduced for future users.

    I could go on with dozens of examples. Government does nothing efficiently. It’s involvement almost always harms citizens and the free market in the long run. Medicare for all would seem great, until the money runs out. Then benefits will greatly reduce or no one will get the benefit.

    Meanwhile, free market always gets better and cheaper. Lasik surgery is now $250 per eye. It began at thousands per eye. The first computers cost $5000, now a decent laptop is under a grand. This is a pattern. Free markets work. If something is too expensive, competition and innovation will bring the costs down.

    In China, everyone was poor until the free market came in 30 years ago. Now they have 600 million people in the middle class and several million millionaires. Same happened in India.

    St Jude and Shriners operate excellent hospitals, free to the patient, due to free will donations. Most hospitals take in poor and absorb the cost. Who needs government intervention on something that already works?

    On extreme examples, British healthcare refused to let the parents of two very ill kids (2 separate families) take their children to America and Rome, where experimental treatment may have saved them. Instead, the government got court injunctions forcing the children to remain in British hospitals, untreated and left to die. This is a “right” given to the Brits by their government.

    This same mode of thinking on positive rights (taking someone’s natural rights away, so someone can have a benefit) allowed Nazis to take rights away from Jews, and allowed Americans to take the natural right of Life away from 62 million unborn children.

    Think about it. Your “free” medical benefit may be costing the poor person a decent job in the free market.

  8. And GEOFF,
    For every good example you give, I c as n give many examples against it.
    Greece, Italy, ireland, Spain, Portugal and others required bailouts for government spending. France has long had 12% or more unemployment, due to government inefficiency. Venezuela was once a rich nation.

  9. Rob,

    “Just let him die?” Is the lefts version of when a conservative uses a “hitler analogy” when comparing evils. What you concluded is a mischaracterization of a very complicated event.

    First off for those that made the hypocratic oath…keep it.

    For those that have received a Christian baptism…serve with all your might, mind, and strength.

    All others had no responsibility prior to president Regan passing a law that hospitals would be compelled to perform free care in emergency rooms. We had many religious hospitals. Now we have less.

    Proving that Forcing healthcare displaces religious organizations.

    In summary save the person kill the church. There is no free ride. When tramatic accidents occur someone must die and it has been americas religious organizations and America’s soul has paid the price.

  10. Seb, you remind me of Chris Banescu’s commentary on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Templeton Address “Men Have Forgotten God.”

    State control is based on atheism because it denies natural rights. Atheism denies natural rights. Atheism always eventually leads to totalitarianism.

    It has taken America a few generations to “use up” our Judeo-Christian “social capital”, wherein morality weakens with each generation of atheists. (Pick any Christian’s atheist child who claims to be moral , and watch how each succeeding generation will be less moral.)

    Here’s Banescu’s commentary, along with what Solzhenitsyn said. You seem to have a lot in common, with both of them.

  11. I know I will not persuade the more extreme of you, as you will not persuade me. If I show that US spends nearly twice as much on healthcare as Australia, and the next comment is where is your evidence that governments can provide healthcare efficiently, obviously not going to persuade some people, no matter what the facts say.
    Like someone asserting that france always has unemployment above 12% not above 10% this century, and all you have to do is redefine what employment looks like to not make figures comparable. Say you require a full time job with a living wage, to be counted as employed, Americas employment rate would be higher than France.
    As 32 out of 36 OECD countries provide universal healthcare, most countries believe it is one of the services a government should supply. As universal healthcare can be provided for less than US pays for its system, there is no reason to link universal healthcare to countries with financial problems. America could save billions by implementing universal healthcare efficiently, but people like some on this blog have been sold that it could not be done, so you are stuck with what you have.
    An example. At 50 and then 60 and 70 we are sent a poo test to allow early detection and treatment of bowel cancer. Mine at 70 came back positive, so within a month I was at the hospital for a colonoscopy, all free of charge. Preventative programmes like that are why our life expectancy is higher than yours.

  12. So you say France’s unemployment number has to be looked at carefully and in detail because otherwise it is not comparable to numbers in the U.S. and other countries. And you are right. Every country counts unemployment figures differently.

    But one sentence before you say that because the U.S. pays more per capita in health care cost than Australia it shows that government run healthcare is more efficient. And there would be no need of further proof.

    Sorry, but I will not go into a discussion with somebody who “argues” like this. Engaging in a meaningful discussion means to share meaningful arguments with each other.

  13. Bookslinger,

    thanks for the link. I will read it right away.

    But let me add one thing: My position is the default libertarian position and nothing out of the ordinary. With these opinions I might be part of only a very small minority in my home country … but that is certainly nothing I care about. There are also only about 40,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany … which has 83 million citizens. So I’m used to it.

  14. Ameiicas healthcare is expensive due to government regulation. Medicare unfunded mandates require hospitals to charge more to insured people. And then there’s Obamacare…

    Compared to this mess, Geoff is correct that other government healthcare systems are better than what we have now IN SOME RESPECTS.I


    A free market solution would be most effective anf efficient.

  15. Interesting that the folks who sit in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court all have health care provided by us, the citizenry. Why are they so reluctant to provide the same for us?

    Don’t know whether that’s “negative” or “positive” from whatever perspective. Just know someone’s getting the short end of the stick.

  16. Congress doesn’t “provide” anthing. They take our tax money and use it on their programs, often promisong free stuff to buy votes from ignorant voters who do not understand the importance of natural rights.

    We end up getting the short end of the stick, because they take our money, start a program, then cause prices to artificially skyrocket.

    Why is insulin so expensive? Because government provides pharmaceutical companies long patents. A free market would drive prices way down thru competition.

    And if they control our healthcare, they can later reduce benefits like they are doing wiith social security.

  17. The simplest formulation here is this: You have no right to anyone else’s resources, in any form. Not to their time, not to their expertise, not to their money, not to their produce. If it doesn’t belong to you, there is no (moral) construct that will allow you to force people to give it to you. Your goal or stated need is irrelevant. You simply have no right to take anyone’s stuff, for any reason, ever.

    We should be fine with that. But then comes the siren song, and some among us create huge statistics-driven illusions about how submitting to a coercive regime will allow for maximum efficiency of resource-distribution, ensure equal outcomes, and help everyone. If everyone was forced to act properly at all times and in all things, no-one would be lost, right? Right? Sound familiar?

  18. Not engaging in the natural right debate directly, but as an inhabitant of the DC metro region, I am amused to remember that the US capital was sited in DC specifically because it was an unbearable swamp during the warm part of the year that would allow representatives to travel to the location of central government. By this measure, those involved in crafting the Constitution expected to naturally limit the power of federal government.

    Then someone invented A/C…

  19. Latterterian,
    Your first paragraph sounds like a description of the labor market, where workers provide their labor to make their employer wealthy.
    In your second paragraph “submitting to a coercive regime”, could more charitably be described as having a common cause. Or of one heart and one mind.
    I don’t quite understand how this political philosophy can fit with the gospel, which I understand to be about united, loving community?

  20. Geoff

    Jesus taught charity is an individual thing, freely asked, freely given.
    Government is not charity. It is coercively taken. There is no direct connection between the giver and receiver. In fact, personal charity goes down as taxes arise, regardless on what those taxes are used.
    Common causes are based on free will giving, such as tithes and offerings.

    With government, there is always something government does that our taxes susyain, which we are not of one heart and mind, such as funding casual abortions.

    Finally, government does not lead us to Christ. Most western governments are secular, and do not teach the gospel of Christ. Many, in fact, are hostile toward Christian principles.

    Charity is the Love of Christ. Government does not teach that, especially not in conjunction with taxation and expenditures.

    So, your analogy falls very short.

  21. There are no natural rights. The Greeks, as recorded by Thucydidus, were right. The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. At least until the Saviour comes again. Although at that point, He will be the one to which every knee will bow so the Melian Dialogue will still hold true.

  22. I think I understand the perspective from which “Taxation is Theft” derives, as it seems to be defined in terms of “what I earn is my property, so to take it is theft.” But I struggle with how to calculate ownership of all that flows to me by my effort when I derive so much personal benefit from the effort of others, especially those things which no one person owns. There is no such thing as entirely “Private” in any “Society”. Some things are and must always be shared. And no one in a gospel conversation can argue for complete privacy since that is antithetical to God and His plan for His children. Society is essential to spiritual growth.
    So what to do about those things for which a society pools their resources for the common good? Roads are a prime example. They are essential to socialization aren’t they? Can we allow one man to say, “Don’t need no roads,” “Don’t need no socialization.” “Won’t pay to keep ’em up,” and get away without contributing because to take from him would be theft; even though at night when no one is looking, he uses the road to get back and forth from the lake where he takes fish. I find it hard to accept that all taxation is theft and bad, and that all forms of coercion are disallowed by God’s plan. Yes, I completely understand that growth only comes from willingness. But, I don’t believe that means that we cannot in some respects coerce the recalcitrant without wholly giving ourselves over to Lucifer’s “plan”. We are not forcing them to be good, or even do good, we are only not letting them selfishly take advantage of others good deeds. Captain Moroni’s conscripted army is an example of this kind of coercion of some for the preservation of the better society.
    If being subject to human government is truly God’s will (AoF 11), then that leaves us with arguing about where we draw the lines. And I would sooner see universal health care for children up to adulthood, and emergent/catastrophic care for all, paid at the rate the market demands, than any kind of money dole (welfare).

    In the law were are taught to connect discrete facts to the law to prove our position. The parallel to that in this setting requires me to always make a connection to God’s plan and weigh the affect that implementing my thinking would have on my own and my spiritual siblings spiritual development as laid out in God’s plan.

    First is agency of course, with a huge BUT: We cannot allow some to undermine ordered society (that society which affords individuals the best opportunity for spiritual development), and may use coercion even to the point of execution. If execution is on the table, i.e., permitted by God to keep an ordered society, as previously parenthetically defined, then what of taxation? Captain Moroni demanded their goods as well for the support of the army.
    It seems to me that it really is a matter of where we draw the line. And where that line is reasonable people may differ.

    Thanks for your post, agree with much, and appreciate the opportunity to weigh in.

    As an aside to some of the comments, sadly, social and economic statistics are a bad foundation upon which to base an argument to change anyone’s mind. They are usually created to bolster an already decided upon position and therefore inherently biased. I always end up having to go directly to the source to sort it out. And that takes a lot of time.

  23. Yes, there are tyrants continually seeking to take away or vcontrol natural rights. But those rights still exist. Atheists seek to destroy God, yet he still exists. And under God and Christ, all will happily bow the knee, in order to escape hell and be saved (Alma 36).

    Natural rights exist.

  24. Jesus didn’t advocate for changes in governmental (Roman or local) taxes or social programs. Rather, Jesus asked individuals to be mindful of their neighbors. In D&C 104, He said, “…it must needs be done in mine own way…”

    This doesn’t mean I am opposed to all governmental taxes or social programs — I’m not, and we need to keep up with the times — but I don’t like to use Jesus as the reason to demand that others support whatever I support, or for others to use Jesus as the reason to demand that I support whatever they support. I generally prefer keeping keeping public policy and religious practice in separate spheres, where each informs the other to one degree or another but where neither controls the other. I can sustain a neighbor as a good Latter-day Saint even if he or she disagrees with me on a matter of public policy, and I can sustain a neighbor as a good American even if he or she disagrees with me on a matter of religious practice.

  25. An important issue that some must have missed in focusing on Government assistance, is the point of Natural Rights. Do you believe they are from God, or granted by government?
    If from God, is it bad for government to involuntarily restrict or abolish your rights? If not, why not?
    If you believe government can take rights from you, which ones? If you approve of taxes, what percentage of your income can they take without you feeling they are stealing your hard earned money?
    Do you consider taxpayer money going to fund Planned Parenthood or Elon Musk’s enterprises as acceptable forms of charity? How about billions given secretly to Iran? Or do you feel government does take too much in providingg these expenditures?

    Where do you draw rhe line on where your natural rights start and where the government ends them?

  26. A large part of the difference is that you see governments as bad, and taxation as coersive. If you agree that governments are there to provide services, and we agree to fund them to do that. I think this is the church position. I think I get better service from my government, than I have had from the church and tithing. I don’t think of either the gov or church in these terms.
    You can assert that Christ taught limited charity. He does say a lot about caring for the poor, and the only universal way to do that is by government. I don’t see him saying no no, the poor are only to be helped by individual charity. There are some places where collective responsibility is required. That nations that fail to care for the poor will be held responsible.
    I don’t understand your belief that when you liive in a country that provides services, you can not see a collective responsibility to pay for those services. The government is no more coersive in collecting tax than the church with tithing. Each asks nicely that you pay and punishes you if you don’t.
    Perhaps you are having some influence because US have the highest rate of poverty in the OECD, and the highest rate of inequality. In other words each man is doing his thing without responsibility for others. I have trouble believing that the Lord looks at that and says it is good.

  27. Geoff, i see you emoting, but not addressing any issues. You Like your government. We get it. But that does NOT equal charity. An atheist or secular government cannot teach the Love of Christ, which is the real definition of Charity or Agape.

    Second, if some taxation is good, then 100% taxation must be great. Right? What is the line of demarcation between taxation being voluntary and taxation being confiscatory?

    I have not said government is rvil. It can become evil by taking away natural rights, rather than protecting them. Or do you think the Soviet Union, Venezuela s socialist Gove and others, are not evil?

    You haven’t yet answered any of my question. Please answer these.

  28. GEOFF:
    You wrote: “The government is no more coersive in collecting tax than the church with tithing.”

    Nothing could be farther from the truth. 

    Church cannot compel you in any way to pay tithing. The church can ask you nicely, quote scripture and prophets. But that’s all. There is no punishment whatsoever. You can freely decide whether or not you want to pay tithing. Sure, if you don’t tithe you cannot go to the temple. Or in other words: If you don’t pay for a service you don’t use the service. [Yes, I know, of course tithing is not an actual payment for using the temple.]

    If you do not tithe you will still be a church member and enjoy anything else the church offers.

    Governments will use force to make you pay your taxes. They eventually will use weapons and will put you behind bars. They will confiscate all your property, destroy your career and family. And no, you cannot opt out. 

    If you really think taxes and tithing are comparable you sadly have no understanding whatsoever about what tithing is and how it works. 

    Christ never ever taught the state has to care for the poor. Charity is an individual decision. WE are asked to be charitable … not the state. Christ never taught anything like collective charity. 

    Sure, a society can agree to delegate some service to the state. What services and how much of them we delegate is a political decision. We can disagree about it based on our individual political views. But in no way does this interfere with our faith. 

    We are held accountable for what we did or did not do. The state/government will not, because the state is a faceless entity. There is no such thing as collective responsibility in the eyes of God, neither is there a collective salvation. Salvation and everything that is connected with it is always individual and not collective. That by the way is the big difference between socialism and capitalism. 

    You wrote: “In other words each man is doing his thing without responsibility for others.”
    Wrong! Everybody is responsible for his or her own decisions. You are asked to be charitable. You decide whether or not you follow this call of the Lord and to what extend. But you are in no way responsible for what I am doing … and vice versa. 

    The U.S. is the most charitable nation on earth. That means on average each person pays more in charitable donations then any other person on the face of this planet. And I say this as a non-U.S. citizen. 

  29. Let’s back away from the assumption that the Declaration of Independence is God’s word. Inspired, sure. The word of God/a part of the canon, no.

    So what are recorded, canonical (i.e., scriptural), directly given (not inferred) God-given rights? I have a couple of ideas, but am interested in your perspective.

  30. PassTheChips,

    No, let’s Nor back away. D&C 134 and every prophet since Joseph Smith have spoken on the Constitution. Is it perfect? No. But then, neither are the scriptures. This is why both have an amendment process. Without the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, there would be no Restored Church of Jesus Christ. These were so important to world events that Nephi saw the Pilgrims and Founding Fathers in vision. Wilford Woodruff would see those same Founding Fathers in the St George temple.

    No other modern governing documents nor nations have ever been given such high praise in scripture and modern prophets.

    No, they aren’t officially canonized. But what does that mean? We haven’t canonized the Proclamation on the Family, but it directly influenced the updated temple ordinances. Again, prophets and apostles have spoken highly of it on many occasions since its inception 24 years ago.

    To wave past it is to look beyond the mark.

    Now then,

    God given rights are natural rights. They don’t demand that something be taken from someone else, just so you can receive a benefit.

    My salvation does not require a coerced sacrifice by anyone, only the voluntary charity/agape and sacrifice of Jesus. This is our example to look to for our own voluntary efforts of consecration.

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