One of the phrases that I’m trying to purge from my vocabulary is the phrase “constitutional right.” You hear a lot of people talk about their own “constitutional rights.” The problem with this type of talk is that, in a very important sense, there are no such things as constitutional rights. This type of speaking conditions people into wrongly thinking that their rights are somehow grounded in the Constitution and arise therefrom. This is a dangerous way to think. If it is the case that a right is grounded in the Constitution and arises therefrom, that right is as tenuous as the Constitution itself. Such rights can be dissolved as easily as the Constitution can be changed. In reality, our rights do not stem from the Constitution. Rather, rights are endowed by God. This is the truth that our founding fathers recognized that led them to begin this country. “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.” This phrase is probably the most familiar from our Declaration of Independence. It goes on to say “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” In other words, our rights as Americans, indeed, as human beings, are grounded in our Creator and are known by Natural Law (the subject, perhaps, of another blog). As such, they are real, objective, and immutable. Further, it is the duty of government to secure these rights. It is not government (or the Constitution) that grants these rights. So the next time someone mentions what they think is a constitutional right that they posssess, remind them that in fact those rights are endowed by God not government.