Wednesday, December 21, 2011

America, Rights, and Entitlement.

With elections drawing close, and as we live through this period of fast moving, unusual political and social movements, it is interesting to see the human race, and particularly the American people, taking pains to point out their depravity. In the past few years, most especially, the insanity of things has reached a stage that makes our nation and our people not only the laziest people on earth, but the most entertaining. I can only imagine the other nations of the world looking on and laughing.
Yes, be warned: This is a rant.

As the elections come near, everyone starts to once again pay attention to the thing that makes us, as Americans, different and unique, and our greatest national tradition. Every four years, people from one state to the next buzz about various political figures, the media, poll figures, and every kind of social and ethical issue in our world today. We also sit back and watch contenders for the various offices debate over them, and make our judgments accordingly. You know what I mean. We're Americans. This is what we do.

Though recently, in the past couple of years, I recently realized a pattern in all of these movements and political/social events that all seem to push for the same thing.
We all know of the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. In short, the movement was a group of broke college students, bums, and many outright freaks protesting that they were being deprived of goods and wealth because of the corruption of corporations and the government. In other words, they felt these evil, powerful organizations were oppressing themselves and the nation by hoarding wealth for themselves. And more importantly, demanded that they share.

Now, I heard every opinion and side to the issue I think existed, from the most radical supporters to the most disgusted reporters. And it seemed the nation had mixed feelings about it. Some supported it, some shrugged and went on, and some groaned and told them all to get jobs. But mostly, I saw many people condemn the movement, for varying reasons. The people were greedy, spoiled, or perhaps just ungrateful.

Such a movement is simply unbiblical. It demonstrates nothing more than ingratitude, greed, and a poor idea of “rights” they are delusional in believing they have. I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but you don't deserve anything but death and Hell. Furthermore, I have my doubts about if these protesters were in the other side's shoes, if they were the rich, powerful CEOs and government officials…would they not do the exact same thing, and hoard the wealth? They've already demonstrated greed well enough.


This post is not just a rant on the ingratitude of these people. Generally, this movement is considered liberal, socialist, and far left on the political scale of conservative estimate. Right? The liberal student crowd, of course.

But I recall something else. Let's look back perhaps two or three years. Anyone remember the Tea Party movement? Somewhere around the last election period, all over the nation the Tea Party movement developed, mostly of angry conservatives, irritated families and also some outright freaks. The movement's bottom line was this: The government must be changed and people's rights must be reinstated, rights such as rights to bear arms, rights to rule the government by the people, and definitely, to protest being taxed so much. Less taxes, more rights, and less government was the core belief of the Tea Party people.

Sound familiar? Exactly.

Brothers and sisters, this reeks of the exact same core mindset that disgusted people with the Occupy movement. Entitlement. Ingratitude. And definitely a major misunderstanding of people's “rights.” In all frankness, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Tea Party movement, and many other movements in the past recent years all demonstrate this same human, depraved quality of feeling as though we “deserve” something, either from the government, other people, or businesses. Whoever it may be. We're being mistreated, and deserve better. And I notice it usually has a lot to do with money and their lack of it, both for Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street people.

And these, the Tea Party personages, were considered the far right, conservative, radically republican/libertarian people. Interesting how both left and right, politics and society, really center on the same mindsets. We're Americans.

These two come principally to mind, but I can think of other movements too in recent years. The feminist movement. The socialist movement. Various voices in Congress, or every other commercial on television. All of these send the same message: You deserve better. You have rights. You should be free and allowed to do thus and so, whatever it may be.

Excuse me, but a few Scriptures come to mind.

“Do all things without complaining or arguing.” - Philippians 2:14

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” -Romans 13:7

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and unholy.” -2nd Timothy 3:1-2 (emphasis added)

I thought that the entire understanding of the Gospel, and of Jesus Christ Himself, was that we deserved nothing? Nothing but Hell and punishment! We are commanded to avoid ingratitude, to respect and love fellow men, and especially those in authority and in government. What part of 'undeserved life and grace' did we decide to disregard?

While I see this as a human problem, throughout the world, it has especially taken root here in America, where we are so concerned with rights and money. Since when did human beings have “rights?” Since when did human beings “deserve” anything? Since when were we entitled to any kind of standard of living? We have so much forgotten that we live by undeserved grace. We do not deserve anything, nor have any rights or claim on any material possessions! Especially material possessions!

The people of this nation, and the world, would do better to stop living and fighting for their rights, and demand what they believe is their just due. Because if we were given our justice, we would all be in Hell tonight. I thank God that we do not, or should not, live by rights. We live by undeserved grace. And that alone.
Therefore, liberal or conservative, right or left, let us stop fighting for our 'rights,' and live by grace. We are not entitled to anything. If the very air we breathe and food we eat is a undeserved gift from God Almighty, then let us rely on His faithfulness and mercy upon us, instead of fighting over 'rights' we do not deserve in the first place.
If the early churches of the New Testament could submit to a hateful, persecuting government that burned Christians alive and threw them into lions' dens, if they could scratch a living off of rock because they were shunned for their faith, could trust in God to provide for them, and rejoice at the opportunity to give away all their goods and wealth to serve their brothers and sisters…surely, SURELY, good brothers and sisters, WE can strive to live by gratitude, peace, and grace.

God bless,
Philippians 4:13


  1. You have made some great points! As someone who has seen many elections and studies of governing principles from a biblical perspective, though, I understand the depth of some of the issues a little differently. I don't see any similarities between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, and am frankly surprised anyone does--the Tea Party group had 0 arrests, never camped out or did any other obnoxious takeovers of public areas, and left them clean after their "protests." They were orderly and did not ask for "rights," only for the government to stop taking their hard-earned $ to grow in power to take over the country instead of letting people face the consequences of their own behaviors, good or bad. Can you give any examples of a "right" that they asked for? They didn't want any hand outs and didn't want to pay for funding hand outs to other people. Since the founding of America was too much of a miracle to have just "happened" by man's will, I see it as God's, and we would be expected to be good stewards of His gift and plan--expected to keep it as close to the founding documents as possible, before there were such things as income taxes, government regulated everything, etc.

    Since the early churches of the New Testament did not have a choice or a voice in their persecution or leaders, they can not be used as a similar comparison to Americans or any free nation. God used their persecution to scatter the gospel around the world, which has ended now except for countries the Americans can go into to share it. Other countries are so secular now that there is not much interest in missionary work, and many will not endure any to enter at all.

    We live in a country where we can affect changes and stand to uphold the biblical principles that are the foundation of our government and judicial system. God called His people to make a difference, to be a "city on a hill," and salt and light. If any are called by Him to be a voice or stand for what is right, why would we be critical of that call? There are only a few of us--the ones in the narrow gate--so we can not expect that people gathered in protesting groups, good or bad, will be mostly Christians, and therefore will not act like them. They will not understand living by grace, or depravity except in the sense that they know evil things are happening all around them. The lost should not lead the saved, if the Lord gives us a choice. And He did. I know what I will do with the freedoms and choices He gave me--I will be a good steward! :-)

  2. Oh boy... I'm gonna have to take issue with some of this... sorry Alex. :p

    Pt. 1:

    First of all, I have to say that yes. The Occupy movement is largely comprised of delusional, confused people that really are messed up in their priorities. Yes, I agree that America as a whole has real problems with entitlement. "I deserve this because everyone deserves it. I shouldn't have to work for my things, America is the land of the free... stuff. Blah blah blah." It's ironic that the very businesses that the protesters are rambling against are the ones who propitiated the ideas that prompted the feelings of entitlement--via advertisements and other media." Eh.. end rant against Occupy people.

    ANYWAY. I'm afraid I might be a bit confused by what you're saying in the rest of the article.

    1) You compare the Occupy movement to the Tea Partiers. That's a bit of a stretch, wouldn't you say? Sure, both of them are arguing for their own causes. Both of them are arguing for things which they want, but to (essentially) say that they are the same is just wrong. They are arguing for very different things. Using this logic, we could say that the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement (19th amendment), and opposition to human trafficking are all unscriptural and evil. These movements fought (and still fight) against governments for the rights of the people, just as Occupy and Tea Party are doing. I think you will agree with me when I say that fighting bigotry and human slavery is very much in line with Scripture. Granted, I do not agree with illegal means of protest; I do not, however, see any wrong in legal protest.

    A friend of mine said, “The idea behind protests is that we feel entitled to justice, which we are, but have different ideas about what justice is. The key is to know what justice is, then fight for it. Just because some people have a skewed idea about what is right doesn't mean that they shouldn't want justice.”

    We are entitled to justice, Scripture makes that very clear. Justice to God is that our sins should be paid for. Death. That’s our justice. The confusion here, though, lies in that you use this same argument for men. We are also entitle to justice from men. We cannot say that we deserve nothing from others when they do us wrong. We are subject to the laws of the land. The laws say that it’s illegal for one entity to steal from another. The laws also say that it’s legal to protest and change the government when it becomes too powerful or corrupt. If the people believe that the government is stealing from them, then they legally have the right to attempt to change the government. If the government started mandating that Christians should be restricted even more than they already are, would you protest?

    Continued in next comment...

  3. Pt 2:

    2) You say that each group is arguing for the rights of the people, and that people have no rights. That is interesting. I suppose that if I were to come over to your house, take all of your food, computers, and clothing, you could do nothing in retaliation? Sure, it would be wrong for me to do so, but humans have no rights. You deserve hell. Why should you be able to demand justice for my actions? When your "rights" become more important than anything else, most importantly God, then yes, they are void, but to make the blanket statement that humans have no rights? Paul used his rights as a Roman to see Caesar. You say that the original church stood up under a harsh government. That is true, but we actually have a legal opportunity to make sure that our government does not become the totalitarian, tyrannical setup that the Roman empire was. The early Christians didn't have that option.

    3) You argue against yourself.

    "We are commanded to avoid ingratitude, to respect and love fellow men, and especially those in authority and in government. What part of 'undeserved life and grace' did we decide to disregard?"

    The entire point of political activist parties is to change the government. The government made a promise to us (the people) in the Constitution. In that piece of paper, the government was given to the people to control. It is up to us (the people) to enforce our rights that were given to us by the government's founders. It would be pretty ungrateful of us to throw away what we have been given in the constitution. We are respecting and loving fellow man when we argue for his rights.

    I get what you’re trying to say. People are living in a state of entitlement and greed. We shouldn’t concentrate on the government when we have been given so much and there are people with so little. We should concentrate on living for God and glorifying Him. However, I must say that we can do all that and still participate in our government. Governments are instated by God, and this one is set up with the goal of including the people in its procedure and process. I don’t think non-involvement is the answer, and I think that’s really how this post comes across. I’d consider major revisions on this.

    Take care,

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Oh sithspit, I didn't mean to delete it! Here it is again...

    Cosmically, yeah, you pretty much nailed it. All we deserve is gnashing our teeth on worm s'mores.

    There is a reason though that the Declaration of Independence states "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

    I agree however that what we define as "rights" should be a short list indeed. We have corrupted the very definition of a right. You should read "The Death of Common Sense".

    And yes, the longer you look, the more you get this uncomfortable feeling that the Democrats and the Republicans are just two sides of the same coin.

  6. I would like to know where it says in scripture that God has endowed us, as believers or not, with any "rights", no matter what your nationality or form of govt. Where exactly did the founders find that one?

    I agree the definition of "right" is corrupted and a right and entitlement are becoming one in the same, or maybe they always were?

    Not saying this applies to anyone here, but I think one must take care that your rights and pursuit of them don't become an idol.

    Jane Reese
    (Alex's mom)

  7. I think the wording of "endowed by the Creator" was once understood but is not any more. Language has degenerated and much has happened since these words were written. The rights we have as humans come first from God, but they are universally recognized within what He placed within us. Not everything is simply laid out for us in scripture, like a list--though I often wish it was. It is more the blessing of searching God's will out to get to know Him more. It would once have been understood that within the 10 Commandments, there is a clear list of "rights" God gave us as men relating to men on this side of heaven. These reveal God's view of humanity functioning in a way that He set up for governing. As another comment mentioned, God ingrained justice on our hearts and minds. Even unbelievers 'know' on a basic level that it is not right to murder, steal, rape, cheat on spouses, etc., and that there are supposed to be consequences. There would be no consequences if there were no "rights" of the offended parties. These are not new--see Genesis' opening chapters for Able's blood crying out for justice--but since God gave these "rights" to His called people to govern by, written specifically in stone by His own hand, it is logical to lay the foundation of thinking of God bestowing rights to those He created. That is why the founding principles can be truly said to be biblical in nature. If they were once ordained by God as He set up the Israeli nation and America as a nation, then they would be worth standing up for, and for soldiers fighting for. Since many scripture verses encourage God's people to stand for what is right in the face of our adversary, Satan, then doing so does not promote the "right" to the status of an idol--rather, it keeps us from making our own opinions about them to be an idol. We can rest on His wisdom rather than our own fallible efforts.

  8. On another level, a secular one, I find this whole issue a little bizarre. After all, if we were given rights in our founding documents as a country, and leaders and special interest groups came in and kept acting as if we didn't, to suit their agendas, wouldn't it be silly of people NOT to protest this and correct the offenders? If they didn't have the intelligence and courage to stand up to those offenders for their already provided rights, they would deserve to suffer the consequences. That is not the same as protesting for some new perceived right for a special interest.

  9. To those seeing "rights" as a negative concept, not granted by God- What is the alternative? How should our government be? To have no rights, while a government is in place, is to be a slave to the state. This is beyond whether the Bible explicitly told us to form a democratic republic or not. I do not wish to exaggerate anyone's position. So if the alternative is not a dictatorship/slave state, clue me into what I am missing. I've been expecting some disclaimers that just don't seem to appear. Very extreme position, also not explicitly described in the Bible. So if we are to choose between a slave state and having a few rights/freedoms, I'll go with the rights/freedoms state any day.

  10. @ Mrs. Poole, long time no chat. :D LOL!

    First, since you see no differences between the two issues, the main one I have is this: Entitlement. Both movements feel they deserve better standard of living, treatment, and both definitely are highly concerned about wanting or having money, whether hard earned or handed out.

    For example, the Tea Party demanding these things:

    The demand for less taxes. (Romans 13:5-7, Matt. 22:21, “render to Ceasar,” etc.)
    The demand for rights to bear arms. (Where is that in Scripture, exactly?)
    The demand for less government. (Romans 13:1-4, submit to governing authorities, etc.)

    All of these are things demanded as 'rights' by the Tea Party Movement.

    Secondly, as to your next statement about the Early church not having the voice or ability to speak out against their persecution or treatment…oh, but it is a correct comparison! If you recall, we were asked to model Paul specifically, that is, all good Christians, who gladly allowed himself to be persecuted, tormented, and mistreated for the sake of the Gospel. Much of the Early church followed his example. As evidenced by the later rise of the Holy Roman Empire, the church was still a formidable force in the early days, it wasn't as though they couldn't have avoided persecution if they so desired. If nothing else, they could have fled. I'm not arguing ability, I'm arguing if they had the right to at all. And since the Early church largely followed the life example of Paul, whom we are called to model ourselves, I would definitely compare our nation to this, and definitely chose their example over this one.

  11. This struck me in my Bible reading this afternoon:

    "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. They silver is become dross, they wine mixed with water: They princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come to them." Isaiah 1:16-23.

    This passage reveals a picture similar to America today. Clearly God had peoples' rights *as well as* a proper walk with Him in mind.

    Also, where in the Bible do you see a passage that does actually say that humans have no rights?

  12. Also...

    "The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him." Acts 22: 24-29

    And again, "And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgement seat, where I *ought* to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, of have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no may may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Has thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go." Acts 25:7-12

  13. (Emphasis was added in that last verse).

  14. Andy, thanks so much for the evidence in scripture that Paul demanded his rights, and that even in the OT it was judged as wrong NOT to stand up for rights. Some things, even doctrine like the Trinity, are implied, not spelled out in a particular verse.

    @ Alex, I see now where some of your confusion in playing into this, and I don't see how you could have read all that's been written here--you would have picked up on it by now. Here is one problem--you are confused about what a right given to a citizen is compared to an entitlement, and it may be helpful to look up definitions. Several of us have tried to point out that a 'right' given by a country to its citizens is not the same as one given by God in a specific scripture verse. It is their law, and when leaders disregard the law, the citizens are in a position to say they have been offended. It is not an ungodly thing--it is calling on truth and justice. There is no shame in saying that an established right, say, to bear arms, should be upheld. Why shouldn't it? It is the law! I am astounded that you think it is wrong for a citizen to say someone is breaking the nations laws, and that citizens would be claiming an entitlement for pointing it out. I really can not believe you are defending lawbreaking! Your position shows a lack of understanding. God did not have to say, "Thou shalt have the right to bear arms," for a country to give their citizens that right and for them to ask to keep it. Have you even considered WHY the founders put that into the country's rights? No offense intended, but out of concern, I am seriously questioning your texts for home educating. You will need more well-rounded understanding of American history and politics if you want to engage the culture.

    As for less taxes, there were not taxes in the Constitution, etc. There were no income taxes established permanently until 1913, and since then, government has grown to include many wasteful and corrupt institutions, raising taxes to do it. It has decided to give entitlements that are not fair to taxpayers to have to fund, and causes untold hardship and cost for doing business. Since these are correctable offenses not granted in founding documents or intentions, it is right for citizens to demand accountability and consequences. THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR ANY ENTITLEMENTS--only for the protection given them in the founding documents with the founders' intentions. I can not stress this enough. They are asking for a correction of the wrongs done them. It is a government by the people, for the people, not like a NT government. Tea Party citizens pay their taxes--they are not doing wrong under God! The difference is they have a voice to change what Caesar taxes them, so they use it.

    I rest on my case for no contest in the comparison of the persecuted Christians--you did not prove your point.


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