A Second Bill Of Rights?

In his Annual Message to Congress, delivered on January 11, 1944, FDR proposed a second bill of rights. He acknowledged the roll the first Bill of Rights played in the founding of the nation and bringing it successfully to that day:

“This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.”

But he also believed “these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Therefore, in his mind, a second bill of rights was necessary.

Why did FDR believe the first Bill of Rights were inadequate? Simply because it permitted people to fail.

FDR, and the rest of the world witnessed how failure in Germany through the 20’s and 30’s, a byproduct of European leaders desire to make Germany pay for WWI (reparations), gave rise to Hitler and his fascism.

To FDR, “People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” Therefore, to avoid WWIII, he believed that the U.S. should fight against poverty, and nothing could fight it better than create a second Bill of Rights guaranteeing jobs, food, a home, medical care, education. In FDR’s words, “All of these rights spell security.”

But can a nation’s constitution guarantee a “right to success” in the same breath as it guarantees a “right to free speech”? Should a nation guarantee a “right to security” in the same line as it guarantees a “right to equal protection”?

No. To do so is impractical (there are as many definitions of “success” and “security” as there are people because we are all unique individuals) and strikes at the heart of the sovereignty of God and the inherent choice God has given man to determine his own destiny.

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