Just a quick note on civil rights.

Last week, the attorney general of the United States said that citizenship is a civil right.  He was speaking in the context of immigration reform, and his words renewed a curiosity within me.

So today I got out my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary and looked up the word civil.

According to the most definitive dictionary in the English language, civil refers to attributes belonging to citizens.  Unless there is a law on the books (or in the Constitution) guaranteeing that all people are to be considered citizens, then citizenship by very definition cannot be a civil right–civil rights are the result of citizenship, not the root cause.

What about the Civil Rights movement?  That was an attempt to see that all citizens received the rights guaranteed them by Constitutional amendment.  The term civil was used correctly.

One of the other definitions offers an alternative name for the Civil Rights movement–the Natural Rights Movement.   Civil rights, endowed by citizenship, can change; but Natural rights are endowed by God based on our very existence as beings made in His likeness and image.  All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I think I read that somewhere.

And, Mr. Holder, God never promised anyone citizenship in the US or any other nation–though He did offer citizenship in Heaven for all who will come to Him by grace through faith.

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