Friday, April 15, 2005

Richard Land, Natural Rights, and Foreign Policy

Baptist Press covered Richard Land's recent trip into the belly of the beast--Harvard. Land spoke to a class and attended an evening forum where he addressed, among other things, America's "special" obligation in the world:

We believe that America has a special role to play in the world. Now we do not believe that America is God’s chosen nation, but we do believe that God’s providence has blessed this country, and that that is a belief that brings with it obligations and responsibilities and that America has a special obligation and responsibility to be the friend of freedom and the friend of democracy in the world.

And I cannot tell you the number of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals and Catholics who told me that they were moved to tears by the president’s second inaugural address and the statement that we are going to be the friend of freedom. People of traditional religious values believe America has a special obligation and responsibility because of the blessings we have received to be the friend of the oppressed ... and to help those who want freedom for themselves.

In the inaugural speech to which Mr. Land refers, the president said, "it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Earlier in his first term, the theologian-in-chief invoked natural law in this speech as the foundation of American foreign policy. Bush said:

In the struggle of the centuries, America learned that freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation. This belief in the natural rights of man, this conviction that justice should reach wherever the sun passes leads America into the world.

With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there is suffering, and liberty where there is tyranny. And these commitments bring me and other distinguished leaders of my government across the Atlantic to Africa.

Compare this to the words of John Q. Adams in 1821:

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

I am no expert on matters philosophical, but it would seem that natural rights imply something of a social contract whereby the government or state created by the contract has an obligation to protect the rights of ITS OWN CITIZENS!! The goal of foreign policy ought to be protecting liberty for our posterity--not spreading "democratic values" to every third-world hellhole.

And by the way, when will "ethicists" like Dr. Land point to a single Scriptural text to support their baptism of messianic globalism, their perversion of Christianity into an apology for unceasing war, and their deification of democratism?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

Hope things are well with you and family.

I'm happy to see that the recent defacing of your blog has been addressed. It almost seemed as though someone had spammed you.

Anyway, the Land thing and the matter of a connection in natural law to the Bushian construct of freedom. There have been moments when I've heard him speaking that I've been tempted to believe that Bush has been alluding to the concept of man's natural desire for God when he makes these comments about freedom. God, of course, is free in the most infinite way and there is no freedom worth the name that isn't grounded in His. But these temptations pass quickly enough as I realize that Bush is unlikely to have been schooled in the Fathers and Doctors of the Church or, particularly, in the most facinating recent exploration of the question which occurred roughly in the period 1946 - 1968 with Henri de Lubac and Karl Rahner as principal contributors. I am something of a de Lubac enthusiast so my thoughts move in these directions out of habit, I suppose. Both men explored the question at very considerable depth, each from a different starting point, however, Rahner from below, de Lubac from above. de Lubac, to whose view I'm quite partial, sees a certain, fundamental continuity between human action and God's communication of Himself in grace, one in which the desire for God is itself seen as an always-present sign of His acting in us, a constitutive and simultaneous gift-as-orientation as it were. What is most intimate to us then, is something really quite other than us and only to be experienced as gifted. Here, perhaps, is the question posed in term of nature but I'm not pursuaded that Bush is thinking at that level. I have little doubt that he is offering more flourish than philosophy.

In Christ,

John Lowell

2:11 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Personally, I just think these guys are looking for an ideological cloak for their revolutionary predilections. I certainly doubt that Mr. Bush is "alluding to the concept of man's natural desire for God." In fact, I doubt is ever given the idea much thought at all. Steve Sailer once said that the only two things that ever interested Mr. Bush were baseball and the manipulation of people. I think this is more about the manipulation of the sheeple.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,


John Lowell

11:56 AM  
Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...


Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by nature
and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria.
Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive characteristic
is, and of Right ought to be, the natural foundation of his
environments, institutions, and respectful relations to his
fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented to a Freedom whose roots
are in the Order of the universe.

- from Human Defined: Earth's Choicemaker

11:40 AM  

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