Add CNN's Chris Cuomo's name to the list of progressive thinkers who get the business of rights all wrong. His thoughts were expressed as he interviewed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore over his efforts to defy federal courts by blocking same-sex marriage in his state:
“Our rights do not come from the Constitution, they come from God,” Moore opined.
“Our laws do not come from God, and you know that,” the CNN host said. “They come from man… Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith, that’s my faith. But that’s not our country. Our laws come from the collective agreement and compromise.”
Lord, Chris. If our rights come from men they are as ephemeral as anything else humankind does. The only way to keep any of our freedoms is to insist that some rights are beyond the scope of government. I don't mean to start a religious argument; you can call them "God-given" if you are a believer or "natural" if you are not, but there are fights we must demand that are ours just because we are human. They are not granted like the privileges graciously conferred by a king, and they cannot be taken away.
But of course tyrants try to take them away all the time, which is why we must insist on them, loudly and often. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the principles this nation was founded on and so many people fought and died for.
Alas, the president of the United States is the top name on that list. Apart from whatever you think of Moore's opinions of gay marraige, he is right about the Constitution. It does not confer rights. It recognizes them.