"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."
This is the most famous quote in American history, but sadly many people don’t understand the exact meaning of it.
If you go up to the common man on the street, and ask them what the definition of an "unalienable right" is, they would be in trouble. Normally, people say it is a right inherent to a person. This answer misses the true definition.
So I ask how can we understand and defend this phrase when most of us can’t define it?
The definition of this great term, "unalienable rights", that Jefferson so carefully chose in this powerful document that unleashed freedom around the world is precisely defined as a right that "can not be transferred, taken or forfeited." It is held and controlled on the Divine level; we have no control of our unalienable rights, or anyone else’s. Jefferson knew if we had any possibility of controlling these rights on a mortal level, even controlling our own, the government would sooner of later seize them and control them. Jefferson purposely put these rights on the Divine level because they would forever be out of the grasp, and control, of the government.
So… by this document, we can not "transfer" these rights: Doctors, friends or spouses can not make the decision on our behalf when our life should end. Physician-assisted suicide is in direct conflict with this document.
By this document, we can not have these rights "taken": Abortion is in direct conflict with this great document. Terri Schiavo’s death/Euthanasia is in direct conflict with this document.
By this document, we can not "forfeit" these rights: Capital Punishment is positioned that the guilty has forfeited his right to live. A district attorney once told me this is the legal logic behind putting someone to death. This is in direct conflict with this document.
It is worthwhile to review this document every year at this time. Unfortunately, the Declaration of Independence is just a historical document, with no legal barring. We have to work to make these absolute principles part of our lives and laws.
Enjoy the 4th of July! God Bless America!