It was in grade school that I first learned of the expression about schools teaching the three R’s, which were then reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.
I wasn’t witty enough to realize that perhaps these educators should have spent more time on spelling.
Today I think the three R’s that should concern, not just school children but all Americans.
My new three R’s are rights, responsibilities and religion.
Of the three only the first one seems to get any mention in any sort of public venue.
We hear so much about a person’s right to do just about anything under the sun.
I am talking about the right to choose, which is a code phrase for the legal authority to kill one’s own flesh and blood.
Then there are the new rights to a job, health care and so on.
The rights business has been great for the legal profession.
It seems that our political, social and even religious leaders are always finding a new right for the government to underwrite and protect from its abusers.
There seems to even be a right not to be offended.
Some individuals and even groups find any mention of God or patriotic symbols, such as an American flag are an affront to their sensibilities.
I believe there must be an Orwellian Ministry of Rights, buried somewhere within the bowels of the federal government that spends all its time, money and energy in conjuring new limitations on human freedom.
I say limitations because these are not really rights per se but government privileges that begin with their power over their subjects and end there as well.
I say that anytime that a new right is born, in the zero sum game of life, it impinges the freedom of another.
This is true of the basic rights in our constitution, such as the freedom of press, religion and speech, everyone knows that these rights are not absolute.
As any high school history textbook will teach, my right to freedom stops at where your nose begins.
No one has the right to shout fire in a crowded theater.
Religions that involve human sacrifice, the degradation of women and the abuse of self or child are overruled by not only man’s law, but also more importantly, God’s divine law.
Unfortunately millions of Americans have become addicted to the largesse of their neighbor’s goods, as a form of entitlement.
This is a form of lower case greed that you never hear the churches preaching against.
I guess the new mantra that trumps Gordon Gekko is that Greed is only good if someone else has more than you do.
The unwritten word in these examples is the second R, that is responsibility.
Responsibility is like the flip side of a hit record.
When I was a teen, recording companies produced a hit on one side with an often obscure recording by the same artist on the backside.
With the exception of Elvis records, no one would ever play the backside and it was virtually relegated to oblivion.
Every real right has a concomitant responsibility with it.
We all have the right to life…except our unborn, the most endangered species in our society.
But even that right is not absolute.
My college ethics book listed three exceptions to the commandment Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Self-defense is perfectly acceptable when one’s life is endangered.
This self-defense principle is behind the logic of capital punishment and a just war.
Now the latter two are debatable and not written in stone.
The one kind of life that is totally protected by the First Amendment is the innocent’s right to life.
Innocent life represents the pure image and likeness of God and must be respected as such.
With regard to the right to food, shelter, a job and health care, the responsibility for all these relies primarily on each individual.
Parents and those with dependents also have the primary responsibility of those in their care.
These so-called rights while all subset of the right to life should never be the responsibility of the federal government–the so-called Nanny State.
If individuals are unable, through no fault of their own to provide these basic necessities of life, than they are subjects for charitable institutions.
If someone is destitute or just down on his luck because of accidental occurrences, his welfare can be incumbent on private groups or citizens to tend to his needs.
But for the federal government to assume this as part of its mission in life is wrong.
I say this because all government handouts have strings…long strings that can tether a person to them for the rest of his life.
This is a certain forward step toward a life of tyranny.
The third R is religion.
Now most people say that religion doesn’t belong in anything to do with rights…unless it is civil rights and priests and ministers are solicited to march in the forefront of civil rights protests all over the country.
But when it comes to abortion, euthanasia of embryonic stem cell research, they are reminded of the extra-constitution threat of the separation of church and state which effectively moves many to the sidelines for fear of losing their tax-exempt status.
Many religious groups erroneously believe health care is a right, and expensive right that someone else should pay for.
Now religious leaders have every right, even a sacred duty to urge us from their pulpits to help the poor, give to the needy and the like.
But they have no right to support a government confiscation of personal wealth and redistribute to others without any form of accountability.
This is breach of the 7th Commandment —Thou Shalt Not Steal (For Catholics) and an abuse of their preaching powers.
What about the president’s continual use of the class envy card that has contributed a virtual class war betwen the various segments of the population?
It is this very participation with big government that has caused these religious leaders to lose sight of their real mission on earth and become nothing more than loud carnival barkers for a secular government that would just as likely relegate all religious fervor to the ash heap of history.
Just as teachers today seem to have ignored the original three R’s, our religious and political leaders have virtually ignored or confused the true meaning of the new three R’s.
It is time that their proper relationship be restored so America can stay on its proper course.