On radio this morning, Glenn offered an in-depth response to James Kirk Wall, an author and philosopher, who took issue with Glenn’s recent remarks about our rights originating from God.
“Where do our rights come from? Our rights don't come from religion. They don't come from a pulpit. They come from God,” Glenn explained. “[Wall] wrote a response to my claim, and let me attribute where actually I first heard the outrageously ridiculous claim that our rights come from God: America's Founding Fathers. That's how ridiculous my source is… In fact, I think you'd probably actually have to go back to Moses maybe, but why quibble here?”
In an article for ChicagoNow, “Dear Glenn Beck, human rights have never come from god,” Wall argues that anyone who claims rights come from God actually wants to take those rights away. “That is someone who wants a theocracy,” he writes in the October 27 post. “It’s not about using god to claim that you have rights (even though that in itself is absolute nonsense), it’s about others claiming that their rights come from their god to take your rights away.”
“So James, the common theme among the atheists is that people of God are the ones that take away the rights and human life. But if you really understand Christianity, human life is sacred and it is absolutely absurd to think otherwise,” Glenn said in response to that particular claim. “But sadly, James had much more to say:”
Our rights do not come from god as no one has ever had the authority to speak for god any more than anyone else. We can’t even get people who follow the same book to agree on the interpretations and meanings. We don’t even know what god is or even if god exists at all. Someone stating, or even taking the impressive effort of writing down that they speak for god doesn't make it true.
“And James, I mean this sincerely: You may not, and that's totally cool. It's totally cool that you don't think there is a god or you may not know if there is a god. It's totally cool. I do, and I respect your right to not believe in God. And I'm not going to kill you or take away your right. I don't want to take away your right,” Glenn said. “I was an atheist for, it was about a month... maybe. But I was an atheist too. I couldn't get my arms around it. I read Carl Sagan. I've read Stephen Hawking. I get it. I get it. Stephen Hawking – I think black holes and baby universes explain God. Now he thinks the exact opposite, but that's okay. Hey, to each his own.”
Wall continues: “In reality, our rights come from mankind. Our creator is not a divine moral law giver, it's 3.6 billion years of evolution.
“Well, then James, I just want to make sure I have this right. You would have no problem whatsoever when mankind takes your right away. You should simply accept it as the new reality that we've evolved into, right? If we just evolve into a society that says God should make sure that James doesn't have a right to speak about his godlessness, then we have evolved into that. Or is it only evolution one way or another?”
“You have it exactly backwards… Here's what you have wrong: Rights dictate laws, not the other way around,” Glenn said emphatically. “The United States Constitution dictates our rights. The United States Constitution, based on the rights given to us by God. From there, the Constitution says these things cannot be changed at all. You cannot change these things because these come from God. Now, make all the laws you want. And that's where mankind changes his mind: Slavery's right, slavery's wrong; smoking's good, smoking's bad. That's man. That's not God.”
“You're confusing laws with rights. If rights come from people, then they can be taken away,” Glenn continued. “For instance, in China the people have rights. We know it. They're living in abject poverty and slavery of a system, and we know that if they come over here, they have the same rights that we have. If you were over there, James, if suddenly let's say there was a transporter and you could say, ‘Beam me to China’ and it beamed you over to China, you would say, ‘But wait, I have rights.’ No. No, no. They would say, ‘Where do you think you are? America?’ No, we have laws, and this man who's in charge, he's the one who says who has rights and who doesn't have rights. You have no rights [because] there's no place to go because there is no higher authority than the man in charge.”
Using Wall’s argument the people in China (regardless of where they live) do not have the right to be free. They do not have the right to speak their mind. They do not have the right to protest.
“So it's not about taking away your rights. If you're looking at all laws come from God, well, then you are talking about a theocracy,” Glenn conceded. “If you're talking about all rights come from God, you're talking about freedom because then man cannot touch those rights.”
“I could go on, James Kirk, but I know you have planets and stuff to go visit and places to explore that no man has gone before. It would make a lot of sense if you would look things up and you would look up the definition of rights and the definition of laws. I highly recommend, James Wall, that you would read our Founding Fathers… I don't know where you're getting your information, but actually look into it with an open mind because atheists can come to an understanding and be totally cool with natural rights, nature's god, and nature's rights, different than man's laws… So you keep your prime directive. I'll hold fast to the divinely inspired United States Constitution and rights, where I know the difference between the two.”
You can read Wall’s entire commentary HERE.