Shocking News: Some Christians Subscribe to Natural Rights Theory

The WaPo has an article about how Christian Nationalism, as WaPo misdefines it, is a strong predictor for whether you believe in gun control or not. The idea that rights come from God didn’t originate in Jerry Fawell’s basement. It originated during the enlightenment. The whole idea of natural rights it nothing new. The people who wrote the Second Amendment were very highly influenced by the works of John Locke who died in 1704. The whole article reads like “can you believe people are crazy enough to believe this stuff?” Christian Nationalism was actually a thing, founded by Gerald Smith and peaking the 1940s, but its chief philosophy was highly anti-Semitic and racist, a trait you seldom find today in mainstream religious conservatives. So how does WaPo misdefine this?

  1. “The federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation.”
  2. “The federal government should advocate Christian values.”
  3. “The federal government should enforce strict separation of church and state” (reverse-coded).
  4. “The federal government should allow the display of religious symbols in public spaces.”
  5. “The success of the United States is part of God’s plan.”
  6. “The federal government should allow prayer in public schools.”

OK. That could possibly mean you’re a dominionist, especially if you answer yes to number one. But even I think the federal government should allow, and actually think it is compelled by the First Amendment to allow, prayer in public schools as long as the schools aren’t compelling it. I even agree that the federal government should allow display of religious symbols in public places as long as the state didn’t put it there, or it doesn’t represent any establishment of religion (like Moses being on the Supreme Court building). And what Christian values are we talking about here? I’m OK with the state promoting not killing, treating other people as you wish to be treated, etc. Am I OK with the federal government forcing people to go to church? No. Am I OK with laws against blaspheming other people’s faith? No. But if you answer yes to most of these, it doesn’t make you a “Christian Nationalist.” Christian Nationalism was disgusting. Conflating mainstream Christian beliefs with that philosophy is wrong. Sadly, most journalists these days know almost nothing about what these philosophies are, where they came from, and what their intellectual roots are.

18 Responses to “Shocking News: Some Christians Subscribe to Natural Rights Theory”

  1. Sean D Sorrentino says:

    Like I said on Facebook

    Overheard at the Progressive media spin session:

    “What two swear words can we use to signal our hatred of people who believe that the foundational principal of US Law, as expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence

    ‘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….’

    actually means exactly what it says?

    How do we take a giant dump on people who believe that our rights come from God (or the ‘Creator’ if you prefer) and not from government, so the government can’t take those rights away?”

    “Let’s call that “Christian Nationalism!”

    “Yeah! If we called them ‘Christ Nazis’ like we want to, no one would take us seriously. But ‘Christian Nationalists’ implies ‘Nazi’ without actually saying it. We’re so subtle!”

    “Ain’t we just?”


    Reading the questions, all they discovered was that the more hostile you are to religion, the more hostile you are to our civil right to keep and bear arms. The questions are coded very well to mean two different things to two different groups of people. They don’t, in fact, mean the same thing to Christians and non. Because there is very little Christian cultural literacy among non-Christians, non-Christians will have a difficult time decoding the actual meanings of these questions to Christians. Which is by design.

    And don’t feed me the “I read the whole bible! I know what it says!” guff. You can read a book and not have a clue about a culture. For a group of people who trumpet their willingness to accept and try to understand other cultures, the Left doesn’t even try to understand Conservatives, Christians, or gun owners. Which leads me to believe that they’re kind of like 1800’s, early 1900’s missionaries. They pat their ‘little brown brothers’ on their heads, learn just enough of the local culture to be able to relate, and then set about ‘uplifting and civilizing’ the heathen. Maybe not to “Christianize,” but certainly to shove their religion down the throats of everyone they can.

    • Alpheus says:


      I hate the assumption made by many atheists that make, that one who reads the Bible becomes atheist. I have read the Bible cover-to-cover several times, and while there are parts that trouble me, there are nonetheless parts that become clear to me the more I study it. Additionally, I have also attended classes discussing various stories within the Bible, which helps me appreciate the entire book. And that puts aside the fact that there are plenty of things to appreciate about the Bible, even for an atheist, if they would just be willing to treat it as a mythology on par with Greek/Roman, Norse, and other traditions.

      On the flip side of this coin, there are a lot of atheists that appreciate Natural Law theory, because even if they don’t literally believe in a Supreme Being granting rights, they appreciate the value of philosophically believing that we have rights that no government should trample on.

      There are a lot of anti-freedom types, however, that are convinced that a belief in atheism means you believe in government control of all the things….

    • Brad says:

      Christ Nazis? Actually there already is a term of hate that the Left coined years ago to describe politically active conservative Christians:


      • Hank Archer says:

        And it’s not just the non-religious left that uses that derogatory term, it’s also commonly used by devout, but leftist, Christians to describe Christians they don’t like.

    • beatbox says:

      I am an athiest, and I absolutely believe in natural rights. They are not mutually exclusive. What pains me about the article is it reveals how little people know about the founding of the country.

  2. Richard says:

    Looks like more “gorillas in the mist” journalism from the WaPo.

  3. Padre says:

    Based purely on anecdotal evidence, it seems that younger conservative evangelicals are tilting more towards libertarianism. I’m 36 and when I talk politics with my peers within the church chances are we both voted for Rand Paul. We’re not interested in fighting the culture wars and just want to be left alone. (Which, coincidentally, is the strategy St. Paul commended in 1 Timothy 2:1-4.) The writings of Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are a good example of the new way we’re thinking about political engagement.

    • rd says:

      You may want to be left alone. I want to be left alone too.

      I have learned that the same self righteous, nanny state, overreaching social justice bullies will not respect our wishes. The only way to stop them is to engage them politically. Not just “Leave Me Alone!”, but “Leave All of Us Alone!”, leave our kids alone, and drive them out of our schools and institutions.

      That is why I absolutely love PDT. His simple existence drives these people to their natural level of hateful insanity, and makes them alienate normal people. He has exposed the true faces of so many people that have been fooling all of us for years with their patronizing words. People that pretended to oppose Socialism and Big Brother, but just wanted their own place at the table dividing up power and riches. People that willingly sold us out, and told us “Just wait until the next time, then we’ll fight for you” time and time again. People have really exposed their true selves when exposed to his presence.

  4. Zermoid says:

    1, 2, 4, and 6 I have no problem with.
    The govt needs more Christian influence in it, in my opinion. And there was never supposed to be a “separation” of church and state, the state was supposed to Not Interfere in religion, not push it away as so many twist it to nowadays.

  5. SPQR says:

    What a load of anti-Christian bigotry. This whole “study” and article was nothing but giving people big fancy academic clothing for their bigotry.

  6. Brad says:

    Christian Nationalists? Would that be the opposite of Godless Internationalists?

  7. Ignorance? Only intentionally.

  8. Chas says:

    The bad guys are not in my house, but they might be on my street.

  9. National Observer says:

    “I think the federal government should allow, and actually think it is compelled by the First Amendment to allow, prayer in public schools as long as the schools aren’t compelling it.”

    That already is the case. Courts have held that students may hold prayer services (for example) before school around the flag pole or in the cafeteria so long as faculty or outsiders do not participate. You appear to imply that the restriction on administration advocacy or staff participation is not acceptable, so forgive me while I discuss that.

    The problem with a state authority “allowing” an activity is that it unavoidably implies advocacy, and thus the further implication that force or sanction will be applied for non-participants. That applies in particular to issues involving strong personal commitments, and where a community majority might discriminate against non-participants or dissenters.

    For example, a teacher or coach signaling strong support for visible participants in classroom prayer would incline non-participants to expect discrimination in subjective things like grading or team assignments. Thus students not inclinced to participate would still feel “compelled” in some circumstances to participate. The inverse could of course be true, with a virulently atheist teacher discriminating against observant students.

    Your approval of “prayer” also implies you have a vision of prayer as practiced by sects “established” as acceptable by local majority officers of the government. In the vast majority of our schools, I could not imagine a few students feeling comfortable laying down their prayer rugs and facing Mecca, or putting their faces to the wall or into a corner while reading from their prayer books.

    On the latter issue, members of my family who are teachers have told me of Jehovah’s Witness students being discriminated against and/or bullied for not participating in classroom activities proscribed by their religion. The government school staffs did not force them to participate, but the existence of social compulsion was very real.

  10. Iwasnevergivenaname says:

    How does one reconcile “stand your ground” with “turn the other cheek”?

    • Sebastian says:

      Turn the other cheek is a parable about an affront to pride. It’s not about someone trying to inflict grave bodily injury or death upon you.

      • Arnie says:

        Well said, Sebastian! You’re exactly right. Moreover, the context concerns Jews being LEGALLY exploited by their legitimate Roman authorities, not Christians being illegally assaulted by criminal thugs. The scenarios of being made to give up one’s cloak and carry an official’s baggage for one mile confirm this.

        Sincerely, Arnie

    • Padre says:

      What Sebastian said. See also Luke 22:36 where Jesus specifically instructs His disciples to arm themselves with the means of self defense.