Dec 14 / Luminn

Inalienable Rights: The Bedrock of Freedom and Democracy

The Universality of Human Rights: A Divine Endowment

In his academic journey at the University of London, Michael Farris explored Public International Law, grappling with a fundamental question: Why are human rights universal? The eloquent answer, according to the Declaration of Independence, is that our Creator endows us with certain unalienable rights. This principle, transcending societal constructs, suggests that the primary role of government is to protect these divine rights, not merely to cater to the evolving needs and wants of its people.

Deconstructing Modern Theories of Human Rights

Modern perspectives often portray human rights as products of societal evolution. However, this view crumbles under closer examination. If rights are mere social constructs, their universality and authenticity are compromised, subject to the whims of those who define them. In contrast, the Christian doctrine, as articulated by thinkers like Hugo Grotius, offers a more consistent and enduring foundation: rights are universal because all humans are created in the image of God.

The First Amendment: A Guardian of Our Inherent Rights

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is often misconstrued as the creator of our rights to free speech, press, assembly, and religion. However, it is essential to recognize that this amendment acts as a guardian of these inherent rights—not their creator. Universal rights which predate any legal document or government institution. This understanding is crucial for discerning the true purpose of government and the role of political leaders in a democratic society.

The Indispensable Nature of Free Speech

Michael Farris's experiences in Spokane, Washington, as a law student, highlighted the critical importance of free speech in civic activism and public discourse. Legal precedents have firmly established that the government cannot suppress speech based on its content. This right to express one’s views without fear of government retribution is a cornerstone of a free and open society.

Religious Expression and Free Speech

In his legal career, Michael Farris has consistently defended the equal status of religious speech under the First Amendment. Landmark cases like Widmar v. Vincent have underscored that religious expression cannot be relegated to a secondary status but must be protected with the same rigor as other forms of speech.

Rethinking Free Speech in the Digital Era

In today’s digital age, the principles of free speech face new challenges, particularly with the rise of social media platforms. The debate over whether these platforms should adhere to the same free speech principles that govern traditional media is a complex and evolving issue. It prompts us to reevaluate how constitutional principles apply in the rapidly changing landscape of digital communication.


Understanding inalienable rights, especially the freedom of speech, goes beyond academic study for Michael Farris. It is a civic duty that lies at the heart of our democratic society. As individuals navigate through the course and in their daily lives, remembering and upholding these principles is essential for preserving a society that cherishes liberty, justice, and the free exchange of ideas.

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