Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Q. Many people say that our rights as Americans are from God. Could you tell me where in the Bible these rights are stated? For instance the right to life, liberty and property.

A. The idea that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (originally property) comes from the Declaration of Independence, not the Bible. It reflected the beliefs of the document’s authors, rather than actual Scripture, although it is consistent with Biblical teachings on individual freedom. Their intention was to refute the claim that these rights are granted at the pleasure of the King and therefore could also be revoked at his pleasure, and to assert a divine right to these things.

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