Did you hear the one about the veteran Washington journalist who apparently hasn’t bothered to read the Declaration of Independence? His name is Chuck Todd, and the only joke here is him.
You see, Chuck Todd took issue with something Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore said.
From The Federalist:
Apparently MSNBC’s Chuck Todd has never read the Declaration of Independence, or doesn’t think its ideas are true. On Wednesday night, Todd accused Alabama Republican Roy Moore of not believing in the U.S. Constitution because the senatorial candidate said our rights come from God.
Yes. That really happened. Watch.
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) September 27, 2017
“First off, he doesn’t appear to believe in the Constitution as it’s written,” Todd said, before playing a clip of Moore referencing what is written in the Declaration.
“Our rights don’t come from government,” Moore said. “They don’t come from the Bill of Rights. They come from Almighty God.”
“Now, that’s just a taste of what are very fundamentalist views that have gotten him removed from office twice as Alabama’s chief justice,” Todd said in response.
Now, if the idea that rights come from God sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably read 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.
Wow, that’s some very fundamentalist thinking there, especially since it’s from the same guy who first wrote the words “separation of church and state” so popular with folks like Todd.
While I have no doubt Moore will take issue with a more secular description of this concept, it doesn’t change the fact that what Moore said and what many millions of American believe is that our rights stem not from the government–a concept not disputed by the Constitution, contrary to what Chuck Todd implied–but from our mere existence as human beings. These are the epitome of human rights.
After all, should people living under totalitarian regimes enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Shouldn’t people be free to assemble and petition their government over grievances?
More important, though, is whether or not the laws of the land forbidding these practices should be ample reason to pretend those rights no longer exist.
Todd apparently believes that totalitarian states shouldn’t be called to task for denying someone’s free speech rights and that we should turn a blind eye to the reformer who is thrown in jail for political crimes. That’s terrifying, because a large number of people listen to folks like Todd, trusting them to pass along the meat of any topic.
He failed. Oh did he fail.
Instead, he presented the idea of natural rights as some concept unique to fundamentalist Christianity and not something embraced by people of all faiths as a central tenet of our nation.