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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Our Natural Rights Come from God and We are Answerable to Him for What We Do with Them

Words and actions are not the same thing. Saying something that the listener does not want to hear is not the same thing as committing an act of violence against the person. It neither picks the listener's pocket nor breaks the listener's leg. - JBK

From The Founders, Religion and Government:

"The error seems not sufficiently eradicated that the operations of the mind as well as the acts of the body are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
~ Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia Q.XVII, 1782. ME 2:221

Note: it does atheists no harm for their neighbor to say there is a God. 

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