The Great Commandments, And The Source of Human Rights



After discussing the civic application of the divine law of Ten Commandments, Patriot, Statesmen, and modern Apostle, Ezra Taft Benson presents this summary as regards the commandments of God and the civil law, as well as his testimony as to the Great Source of all human rights:

Two other commandments we must note. On the Sabbath, when Jesus came riding into Jerusalem upon an ass, the Sadducees, scribes, and Pharisees came to Him in the temple, vainly trying to entrap Him, that they might arrest and wreak their vengeance upon Him. One of the Pharisees, a lawyer, asked of Him: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” And Jesus, quoting the law given to Israel under Moses from Leviticus, replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35–40.) These Mosaic laws contain the basic principles upon which all civilized governments and our present civilization have been built. As man is now constituted, neither permanent government nor civilization can be built in violation of these principles. A little reflection will persuade any right-thinking person of this.

It must be remembered that the Founding Fathers of this great nation were men imbued by these principles. There are those in the land whose faith it is that these were “wise men whom [God] raised up” for the purpose of establishing the Constitution of the United States. They recognized that there are two possible sources to the origin of our freedoms we have come to know as human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of a divine plan or they are granted as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, and religious conviction and belief in the sovereignty of God led these men to accept the divine origin of these rights. To God’s glory and the credit of these men, our nation was uniquely born.

If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations—a throw back to the feudal system of the Dark Ages. We need to keep before us the truth that people who do not master themselves and their appetites will soon be mastered by government.

Source: Ezra Taft Benson. “This Nation Shall Endure,” p. 66 -67. Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1977.

Called Unto Liberty is researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional introductory notes and commentary) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal. Copyright © 2009-2015 Steve Farrell.