I think American voters would do better to think about the influence political leaders exert by their words and actions, instead of treating their speeches (not to mention their sound bites and 60-second spots) as evidence of anything but what they think we want to hear. This came to mind last week as I read the report about Sarah Palin's non-appearance at this year's biggest conservative non-event (or should that be biggest non-conservative, pretending-to-be-conservative event?). She released a statement intended to keep her distance from the individuals and organizations whose non-appearance was meant to convey disapproval of CPAC's trendy surrender to the homosexual lobby.
Why, you rightly ask, would someone touted as the maverick spokesman for the pro-life, pro-family tea-party grass roots of the GOP be anxious to make it clear that she had no problem with the push to make GOProud an icon of conservative legitimacy? "Palin suggested that conservative groups had more important issues to worry about than which groups were attending the conference. 'There are so many life-changing, life-and-death issues out there in front of us. You know, we'd better be concentrating on what is really important here. …'"
Whatever the touts have made of her, the fruit of Palin's statement is clear. Someone influenced by it would logically reach the conclusion that the ongoing effort to legitimize homosexuality by redefining marriage is not a "life-changing, life-and-death issue." Is this true? I know few serious pro-family people who would dismiss the health consequences of homosexuality so easily. Be that as it may, however, Palin's words also imply that the homosexual lobby's effort by law to discard the Creator-endowed unalienable rights of the family has no implications for the life and death of America's Constitution and liberty.
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I wonder if Sarah Palin and others like her have ever bothered to consider, much less think through, the profound implications of the idea of God-endowed unalienable right asserted in the American Declaration of Independence. (People who have bothered may enjoy reading the article "Legalizing homosexual marriage impairs unalienable right" and other related articles at my blog. I deal with this vitally important subject in some depth.) I wonder if they have ever thought through the connection between the rights of the natural family and the implementation of government based upon consent.
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The whole basis of constitutional liberty is the foundational assertion that government exists to secure the unalienable rights with which we are endowed by our Creator. The act by which the United States appeared in the world as a free and independent state was accompanied by a Declaration that succinctly summarized the understanding on which the idea of equal rights for all depends. Relying on the authority of the Creator God, it reasoned from the self-evident truths of human equality and unalienable rights, to the conclusion that lawful government comes not by power but by the righteous consent of the governed. (Their aim when they institute government is to secure their unalienable rights. In this regard their consent is guided by the standard of right, and is therefore righteous.)
Procreation is one of the natural obligations of humanity. Just as individuals cannot survive without doing what is necessary to eat, drink and protect themselves from hostile conditions, humanity as such cannot survive without procreation. In this respect, procreation is the paradigm of the natural obligation all individuals have to the human community. This natural obligation gives rise to the natural rights associated with family life, including parental rights grounded in the parents' obligation to care for their children. Like all natural rights, these natural family rights are antecedent to all civil government. They are among the unalienable rights governments are instituted to secure.
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Politicians like Sarah Palin readily appeal for support from people who believe in America's creed. They adopt a posture intended to get votes from those who sincerely want to restore and preserve the Constitution of the United States. To this end, they mouth words that sound like they still respect the allegiance the Constitution requires them to affirm. But if Sarah Palin and others like her were sincere in their professions of moral and constitutional concern, they would never speak as she does, saying that the moral issues raised by the effort to legitimize homosexuality are not matters of life and death. On account of such views, their supposed professions of allegiance to America's creed and Constitution ring utterly false, just like the similar words of Barack Obama. Their sly encouragement of an understanding that gives the name of rights and family to the impulses of merely self-regarding passion and emotion seems rather to justify the suspicion that they are complicit in the elite agenda that seeks to destroy, not save, republican self-government.
America's creed is the heart of the nation's identity. America's conscientious adherence to that creed is its spiritual life's blood. But her heart will be broken and her moral life's blood poisoned in the core substance of her being if we continue to tolerate the ignorant, careless or willful incompetence of such leaders. In ordinary times, they would be bad enough. In these days of American liberty's fateful and decisive trial, their deficiency is not just bad; it is very likely to be fatal. I think that's a life-and-death issue for America.