My problem with the "God-given primacy" argument is that a) it's unnecessary and b) it's unprovable. It also hinges on how one reads the statement, putting the stress on either "they are endowed by their Creator" or "with certain unalienable Rights". Is the first incidental to the first, another way of saying "they've been there since the beginning" (I think CK suggested as much in a recent post I perused)? Or is the key point that they come from the Creator, and that of course the Creator is Judeo-Christian God (not, oh, say a Deist one, a first principle who then left mankind to its own devices).

The basis of liberty does not need to be that Papa Up in the Sky granted us the privilege of being free. It can more firmly be based on the notion that we are inherently independent of other beings and that any infringement upon our freedom of mind or action is a violation of "self-evident" right. And since definitions of God vary, not to mention belief in anything that could be called God (including amongst many on the right - what would Ayn Rand make of Palin's statement? there's probably a quote out there somewhere that tells me, of course), resting our natural rights on this foundation seems to be planting the Constitution in a pit of quicksand.

Personally, I do believe in God but don't think he cares much about us, indeed I don't think he's a "he" at all but an "it"; in fact, looked at rationally, the notion of a Big Person in the sky feeling and thinking like we do, investing us with some sentimental patronage because, you know, we're we and who wouldn't like us, seems monumentally preposterous and hubristic. As I see it, God or no God we are in fundamental ways on our own and a stronger sense of rights and liberty can derive from an ethical framework which recognizes the tangibility of suffering and, yes, the "self-evident" nature of personal freedom and tries to avoid the first and facilitate systems which will guard the second.

Malia Litman's article is stupid and tired. And this is appalling:

"Many Americans, men and women, knowing of the risks of having a baby when over the age of 40, undertake to have a surgical procedure to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Even if people might be opposed to surgical intervention, they still take responsibility to use birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Not Sarah Palin."