Rights! All Kinds Of Rights!
you ever heard someone say, perhaps even to you, you have no right to tell
me what to do? Sometimes folks get a little huffy about being told
"what to do". Why do you think that is? Could it be that a
"right" has something to do with who is saying it,
something to do with authority?
Going first to Webster to see what he has to say about rights. Aha!
There it is: the noun right (not the adj. or adv.) has to do with "authority;
legal power. We, (states Webster) have no right to disturb
others in the enjoyment of their religious opinions."
says, don’t have the authority to tell others what to believe. Only
has total authority in every realm of life to tell us what to do-unless He
has delegated that right or authority to someone.
"You," we read above, "have no right to tell me what to
do!" No wonder
folks sometimes get huffy about that! Usurped authority is always
So, thinking about our title, what kinds of authority or rights do we
have? Lots of rights! Webster tells us there are "natural, civil,
political, religious, personal and public (rights)."
Certain rights/authority are ours having been given/delegated to us as
a result of our position or office: legislators, judges, elders; some
because of the responsibility laid on us by God: fathers, mothers,
neighbors; and some are ours because they came with us at birth as our
Declaration of Independence states: "all men are created equal,
...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
When we think of rights as being our right to do or think or speak
because we have the God-given authority to do so, we see rights in an
entirely different light.
I, friend, have the right to do only that which is beneficial to me and
to others for authority, according to the Scriptures, is for the
benefit of the one over whom it is exercised. That, wouldn’t you
say, obviously, includes every kind of right, all kinds of rights! And
rights that are synonymous with authority come, wouldn’t you say, with
the responsibility to be responsible?
Quoted in Federalist No. 03-16 on 14 April 2003 (Monday Brief)
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Who made the following statement? Here is my principle: Taxes shall be
levied according to ability to pay.