Sunday, June 09, 2013

Was Locke the First Liberation Theologian?

That question brings to mind the legendary Princeton scholar Paul E. Sigmund, who is one of the foremost scholars on both liberation theology AND John Locke (I may be wrong; but I think he sees a connection.)

As I noted earlier, I don't see this part of the Declaration of Independence as coming from Calvinist resistance theology:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This is Lockean and it is revolutionary. Lino Graglia, who last I checked wasn't particularly religious (at least he wasn't when he wrote what follows), draws the necessary connection between God and revolutions:
"What [the Declaration of Independence] is, of course, is a document meant to justify revolution -- that is, illegal action. Having no human law to rely on -- being in defiance of authority -- revolutionaries necessarily come to rely on the law of God, who, happily, rarely issues a protest."

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