In a heated debate over same-sex marriage with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Thursday, CNN morning anchor Chris Cuomo exclaimed that Americans’ rights “do not come from God.”
Cuomo’s abrupt response came after Judge Moore stated, “Our rights, contained in the Bill of Rights, do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. That’s clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
Cuomo, a licensed attorney, sharply interrupted Judge Moore, arguing, “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that.
“They come from man. … That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”
Watch the debate between Cuomo and Judge Moore:
After the segment aired, Cuomo took to Twitter to vent. He tweeted:
“Natural law = universally recognized truth. To you, nature = God. Not all agree. That’s why ur religion is not the rule for all.”
Did Cuomo miss this U.S. history lesson?
American history is replete with references to God as the ultimate source of man’s natural rights.
In fact, biblical scripture directly and profoundly influenced America’s Founding Fathers, who envisioned a nation based on Christian moral truth and natural law.
According to a peer-reviewed study titled, “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late-Eighteenth-Century American Political Thought,” published in the American Political Science Review, an estimated 15,000 political writings produced by Americans during the founding era (1760-1805) revealed 34 percent of all quotations were drawn directly from the Bible, particularly Deuteronomy.
America’s Founding Fathers also drew inspiration from the philosophy of Englishman John Locke, who advocated limited government and recognized unalienable rights. Locke wrote, “In the state of nature, all men are equal to one another because they were created as such by God.”
The Founders referred to Sir William Blackstone, an 18th-century legal scholar whose philosophy inspired the Constitution, more than any other English or American figure.
“[M]an, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator …” Blackstone wrote. “This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. This law of nature … is of course superior to any other. … No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”
St. Thomas Aquinas – a philosopher who is known to have influenced John Locke and Thomas Jefferson – believed that while natural law can be discovered by reason alone, it “contains an explicit reference to God’s will, to which it owes its moving force.”
And the Founders’ God-centered worldview is apparent in the nation’s founding documents.
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On June 12, 1776, the Virginia Convention adopted one of the most significant documents in American history, the Declaration of Rights, which influenced the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. It stated “that all men … have inherent natural rights.” That principle would play a fundamental role in colonists’ fight to be free from England’s control and forever serve as the foundation of American governance.
The Declaration of Independence, adopted just weeks later, relies heavily on divinely inspired natural law: “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 …”
And a reference to God’s “blessings of liberty” can also be found in the Preamble to U.S. Constitution.
James Madison, “Father of the Constitution,” wrote of a “duty” that every man owes to God:
“This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society,” he wrote. “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”
Likewise, James Wilson, a Supreme Court justice and signer of both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, declared, “[T]his law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God.”
Alabama marriage battle heats up
As WND has reported, the CNN confrontation is just the latest move in an escalating fight in Alabama over Judge Moore’s order that the state recognize same-sex marriage, overruling voters who approved an amendment to the state constitution defining the institution as the union of one man and one woman.
The probate judges already have been ordered by Judge Moore to follow the state constitution and ignore the federal judge’s ruling. Some have chosen, however, to follow the federal ruling and disobey Moore’s administrative instruction.
Moore has told WND he’s not backing down, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined so far to step in directly, declining a request from the state to extend a stay in the case. The high court is scheduled to listen to arguments on the very issue in a few weeks.
Ironically, Englishman John Locke shared another nugget of wisdom Cuomo might consider:
“There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.”