“Don” is one of this blog’s regular most prolific “commentators”. He recently posted the following comment:
“THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION
“ARTICLE 1. BILL OF RIGHTS
“Sec. 1.”FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. . . .”
“FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE>>>>>subject only to the Constitution of the United States. <<<<< This should make a light come on, especially when you consider IF it said: “subject only to the Constitution of the United States as unlawfully amended.”
In Reference to New Mexico, Don wrote:
“Text of Section 1:
Supreme Law of the Land
“The state of New Mexico is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.
The words above prove, at least to me, the relinquishing of “State Sovereignty” to the Federal Government. I call it betrayal of trust & worse.”
Don apparently sees State constitutions that recognize the supremacy of the federal Constitution as potentially dangerous. I more or less agree with him but, as I’ll try to explain, I’m not overly concerned with that possible danger.
I’ll explain my nonchalance by noting, first, that the second sentence of “The unanimous Declaration by the thirteen unites States of America” (a/k/a “Declaration of Independence”) of July 4th A.D. 1776, declares in part,
“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.”
That’s the single most radical sentence in at least 2,000 years of western political thought. It’s the basis of declaring that every man, woman and even unborn child is a “sovereign” and government is a “public servant” rather than ruler.
Let’s dissect that sentence:
1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident”
The authors are about to list several “truths”. These “truths” are “self-evident” meaning that they require no evidence or proof to be established. In theory, you and I could build arguments in court based on these “truths” with nothing more than a claim and reference to the “Declaration”. These “truths” are the legal and spriritual axioms on which our nation was originally built. These “truths” are probably more powerful than mere “facts” in that “facts” can be denied or even disproved. I doubt that a properly established “truth” can be refute or denied.
I suspect that, properly presented, these “truths” may be irrefutable in an American court.
After all, we celebrate the “Declaration of Independence” every 4th of July in America’s single biggest national holiday. (Only Christmas—an international holiday—is “bigger” than the 4th of July.) If I were to use one or more of the “truths” found in the “Declaration” as premises for an argument, what judge or adversary would expressly deny those “truths” on the record? How could they deny the validity of those “truths” without openly declaring that the principles of the “Declaration” had been abandoned and there was no longer any reason for 4th of July celebrations?
2. The first irrefutable “truth”: “all men are created equal”.
Every “man” is “created” by God. Even though each of us carries our parents’ DNA, it’s also probably true that each man is individually created by God. If so, it at least seems unlikely that any such man is “evolved”.
While each “man” is created “equal,” there is no declaration that such equality extends to “persons,” “citizens,” “inhabitants,” “taxpayers,” “fiduciaries,” “occupants,” “animals” or “residents,” etc.. If you want to claim your endowment of God-given, “unalienable Rights,” you’d better start by establishing that you are a “man” (or woman) made in God’s image.
One distinction between “men” (made in God’s image) and “persons” may be that “men” are created by God while “persons” (according to the 14th Amendment (A.D. 1868)) are merely “born”. If so, you were a created “man” in your mother’s womb for roughly 9 months before you were born and deemed to be a “person” under the 14th.
Which came first? The man or the person? The answer’s obvious. You were a man made in God’s image before you were born and deemed to be a “person”. More, you were made a “man” by God and a “person” by society. Which capacity carries more weight?
The moment of a “man’s” “creation” is not his birth, but is instead, no later than his conception (when the sperm joins the ovum). As you’ll read, the moment of each man’s or woman’s creation also marks the moment when that man/woman is “endowed” with God-given, unalienable rights.
While speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, God said at Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; . . . .” Thus, if God knew any of us before we were formed in the womb, our creation must have preceded our conception, and certainly preceded our birth.
3. Second irrefutable truth: “that they [men] are [equally] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
I don’t know the source of “inalienable rights,” but I know that it is a self-evident and irrefutable truth that my and your “unalienable Rights” flow from our Creator-God, our Father YHWH ha Elohiym.
Because unalienable Rights flow from God, no one can lawfully deprive us of such rights. These unalienable Rights are as much a part of us as our eye-color or DNA. No living man, institution or even government has the right to arbitrarily deprive any man of any of his God-given, unalienable Rights.
More, because these “unalienable Rights” flow from our “Creator,” it follows that those “unalienable Rights” attached at the moment of our creation. Thus, insofar as any man has the God-given, unalienable Right to Life, that right would attach no later than the moment of the man’s creation. That moment of creation is no later than the moment of conception (and, as per Jeremiah 1:5, may even have preceded the moment of conception).
That means that under the principles found in the “Declaration,” every abortion is an act of murder. None of us have the right to deprive an unborn “man made in God’s image” of the God-given, unalienable Right to Life that attached at the moment of that man’s (or woman’s) creation.
According to the “Declaration’s” first irrefutable “truth,” all men are created equal. Given that our unalienable Rights are an attribute of our creation, it follows that all men made in God’s image are equally endowed at the moment of their creation with an identical set of God-given, unalienable Rights. No man (or woman) made in God’s image has any more—or less—God-given, unalienable Rights than any other such man.
4. Third irrefutable truth: “that among these [unalienable Rights] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Three God-given, unalienable Rights (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness) are specified in the “Declaration,” but because these three are only “among” the list of unalienable Rights, they are not the only unalienable Rights.
There are other, unspecified unalienable Rights. But what are they?
I can’t say for sure, but I can say that all “unalienable Rights” flow from God. Therefore, I presume that any other right that flows from God, would also be an unalienable Right.
The Bible does specify some such God-given rights. For example, we each have the right of “dominion” over all of the animals as per Genesis 1:26-28.
As per Genesis 1:29, we have the unalienable Right to eat “every herb that yields seed”.*
However, searching the Bible for express declarations of God-given “rights” is difficult since God rarely specified any rights that He’d given mankind. More typically, God specified the duties he imposed on mankind.
Nevertheless, it’s axiomatic that one man’s duty defines another man’s right. Rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. If you can find a duty that’s imposed by God, you can—by implication—also find a correlative right. If a duty is declared by God, the correlative right is arguably unalienable—and, incidentally, “spiritual” in nature.
• The third sentence in the “Declaration of Independence” declares:
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Let’s dissect the first half of that sentence:
1. “That to secure these rights . . . .” Which rights are they talking about? They’re talking about the God-given, unalienable Rights declared in the 2nd sentence of the “Declaration”.
2. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men . . . .”
Q: What is the primary purpose of government, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers?
A: To “secure” the God-given, unalienable Rights to every man, woman and even unborn child. This was the basis for describing this country as the “land of the free”. Government was obligated to secure your unalienable Rights even you were too young, too ignorant, too lazy or even too drunk to know what your unalienable Rights were or how to secure them. (Today, of course, if you don’t know your rights and know the exact procedure for claiming them, you don’t have any. As such, this is no longer the “land of the free”.)
3. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men . . . .”
Q: Are all governments expressly obligated to secure our God-given, unalienable Rights?
A: No. The only governments that are expressly obligated by the “Declaration” to secure our unalienable Rights are the “Governments . . . instituted among men”. Thus, if a government were not “among men,” the obligation to “secure” our “unalienable Rights” could not be based on the authority of our “Declaration of Independence”.
Q: Which governments are “among men”?
A: Thirteen States were created by the “Declaration of Independence”. Those thirteen States were independent from Great Britain and also from each other. It is inconceivable that the Founders expressed fundamental principles of rights and correlative duties in the 2nd and 3rd sentences of the “Declaration” but did not apply those principles to the governments of the thirteen States created by that “Declaration”. The governments of those States have to have been governments “among men”.
In A.D. 1781, those thirteen, independent States united under the Articles of Confederation into a perpetual Union styled “The United States of America”. I can’t quite prove it, but I have no doubt that each of the resulting “States of the Union” remained “governments among men” and were therefore still obligated to “secure” each man’s God-given, unalienable Rights. Each new State that joined the Union would join in an equal footing and would therefore also include a “government among men”.
I also can’t quite prove it, but I’m confident that the “federal” government created by the Articles of Confederation was also a “government among men”.
But it’s much less clear to me if the subsequent government created by The Constitution of the United States in A.D. 1789 was also a “government among men”. Article VII of that Constitution declares, “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” It’s arguable that the States of the Union are composed of the People, that the People are “men,” and thus declaring the federal government to be “between the States” is tantamount to saying that the federal government is also “among men”. If so, our federal government was also originally obligated to secure each man’s God-given, unalienable Rights.
But my scant reading of history doesn’t necessarily agree with that conclusion. Instead, it appears to me that if the federal government was involved in securing unalienable Rights, it happened only in relatively rare instances wherein the State governments had failed to secure such rights and the injured man appealed to the federal courts.
I’m not saying that the federal government was never obligated to secure our unalienable Rights. Maybe it was; maybe it wasn’t. I am saying that the governments of the States of the Union were clearly “governments among men” and thus, if you wanted to secure your God-given, unalienable Rights, the courts of a State of the Union (if you can still find such courts) would be the ideal venue.
But let’s suppose that the federal government was never “among men” and the governments of the States of the Union have been supplanted by the administrative, territorial governments of “this state”. Would any current government still be a “government among men”? Would any current government still be obligated under the 3rd sentence of the “Declaration” to “secure” our God-given, unalienable Rights?
Maybe not—especially if you were a 14th Amendment “person” rather than a “man made in God’s image”.
Nevertheless, all hope is not lost. As you’ll read, the 9th Amendment remains as a possible “self-help” remedy for enforcing our unalienable Rights.
• Unalienable Rights are the “gold standard” of rights. Civil rights are granted (and easily voided) by governments or even other men. Civil rights are trivial compared to God-given, unalienable Rights.
Therefore, I’m obsessed with the idea of establishing that I am a “man made in God’s image” (Genesis 1:26-28) and “endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights” (“Declaration of Independence”). I will gladly march into any court in the world so long as that court recognizes my God-given, unalienable Rights.
So (finally getting back to Don’s complaint about State constitutions that admit the supremacy of the federal Constitution), I’m not rattled by any potential dangers posed by The Constitution of the United States because the 9th Amendment to that same Constitution opens the door for me to lay claim to my God-given, unalienable Rights.
I recognize that the State constitutions drafted after the Civil War may include some dangerous language that tends to make the federal Government “supreme”. However, I don’t mind being deemed subject to the Constitution of the United States so long as there’s a 9th Amendment which declares:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
The 9th Amendment expressly guarantees that all rights held by the “people” shall be retained even if those rights aren’t expressly mentioned in the federal Constitution. The God-given, unalienable Rights declared in the “Declaration” are not expressly mentioned in the Constitution. Nevertheless, under th 9th Amendment those unalienable Right are still retained by the people and should therefore be accessible to the people.
More, It’s an axiom of law that for every “right,” there must be a correlative “duty”. Thus, for any right retained by the “people’ under the 9th Amendment, there should be a correlative duty on the part of government to recognize and enforce that right. If the government can be made to recognize my unalienable Rights under the 9th Amendment, it follows that the government should be subject to also enforcing my unalienable Rights.
But, note that the rights retained and enforced under the 9th Amendment (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”) must be held and claimed by the “people”—not by the citizens, inhabitant, taxpayers, occupants, employees, residents or persons of the United States.
If you want to claim your God-given, unalienable Rights, you must first establish that you are one of the “people” of a State of the Union and/or of the Union itself (“The United States of America”).
Therefore, I contend that, so long as I can establish that:
1) I am a “man made in God’s image”;
2) that I’m a man endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights;
3) I’m one of the people [not one of the “persons,” “citizens,” “taxpayers,” “fiduciaries,” “employees,” inhabitants,” “animals” or “residents” etc.] of a State of the Union and/or of the perpetual union styled “The United States of America”; and
4) I can make a claim as one of the “people” under the 9th Amendment (and possibly also under the 1st Amendment (freedom of religion)); then
5) I have access to my God-given, unalienable Rights, I am nigh unto a “sovereign” and I am good to go into any court where this system or the Good LORD places me.
• I do not propose that using the 9th Amendment constitutes a “get out of jail free” card. I don’t suggest that using my “theory” guarantees that I will win every, or even any, court battle. I can easily be defeated. If they could crucify the Christ, I guarantee they can crucify me—and you, too.
But if they’re going to punish me, they won’t do so with my consent. If they are bent on punishing me, they’ll have to ignore what I regard as a strong claim on my God-given, unalienable Rights—and knowingly breach their correlative duty to recognize and “secure” the unalienable Rights granted by our Father YHWH ha Elohiym. If they want to openly and intentionally violate God’s law, that’s their business. I leave it to the Good LORD to judge them however He sees fit. But, until He imposes such judgment, there’s nothing I can do about it other than “stand firm to the end”—and that suits me just fine.
• So, in sum, this article is simply a convoluted attempt to illustrate that the “unalienable Rights” declared in our “Declaration of Independence” can be accessed by means of the 9th Amendment. Therefore, I don’t find The Constitution of the United States to be particularly scary. Could there be dangerous elements (14 Amendment) in that Constitution? Sure. Could there be near-blessings (9th Amendment) in that Constitution? Yes, indeed.
Is the Constitution half empty or half full? The answer’s up to you.
*God introduces the concept of “seed” in Genesis 1:11-12:
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
That’s a particularly interesting description of the food we have a right to eat since I doubt that any “herb” (plant) could be found at the time of Genesis that did not “yield seed in itself”. All plants were capable of reproduction (having its “seed”—the capacity for reproduction—“in itself”) and therefore all presumably yielded seed.
So why not simply declare that we could eat all plants? Why add the “seed in itself” condition?
I believe “seed in itself” condition meant that man was entitled to eat only those plants that were fertile and capable of reproduction. But why include that condition if all plants 3,500 years ago had “seed in themselves” and were capable of reproduction?
Curiously, the “seed in itself” condition was recently compromised with the advent of hybrid and GMO plants which may “yield seed” but do not have “seed in themselves” (the capacity to reproduce).
Likewise, GMO and hybrid plants are the result of the union two “kinds” of plants and therefore, the GMO plants do not satisfy the Genesis 1:11-12 reference to “yielding seed after his [singular] kind”. GMO foods yield seed that are after two [plural] “kinds” of plants.
As I understand the Bible, the descriptions of plants suitable for us to eat implicitly warns against eating GMO foods.
Is that warning a mere coincidence, or could it be that Genesis was intentionally written to warn against eating GMO plants 3,500 years before GMO plants appeared?
Could it be that GMO plants were specifically designed to be incapable of reproduction and therefore outside of the realm of God-given, unalienable Rights to eat virtually all plants? Could it be that, being incapable of reproduction, GMO plants are therefore suitable to be exclusively owned and controlled by major corporations?
I think the answers to those three questions is Yes.
I always stand to be corrected, but I find the “seed in itself” requirement for plants suitable man’s food to be mind-boggling. If it’s true that Genesis warned against GMO foods, 3,500 year before GMO foods existed, that warning would constitute an astonishing evidence of the existence of God and the power of the Bible.