James R. Rogers is department head and associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He leads the “New Man” prison ministry at the Hamilton Unit in Bryan, Texas, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

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Serving the Least of These

From Web Exclusives

Matthew 25.31-46 exemplifies the divine inversion. Inverting worldly expectations, the king explains to those gathered before his throne that they served him as king by serving the least kingly people of all: the hungry, thirsty, naked, and the sick and imprisoned. The king identifies these individuals as his very brothers… . Continue Reading »

Collective Action and the Declaration

From Web Exclusives

Modern Americans read the Declaration of Independence too individualistically. We think of it as a revolt against high taxes and big government. While the Declaration does object to violations of “individual rights,” its understanding of how individuals exercise these rights is broader than modern Americans generally conceive of them. Take the Declaration’s best-known complaint against the King, “for imposing taxes on us without our consent.” This is not about high taxes… . Continue Reading »

The Meaning of the “Pursuit of Happiness”

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The right to “the pursuit of happiness” affirmed in the Declaration of Independence is taken these days to affirm a right to chase after whatever makes one subjectively happy. Further, the Declaration doesn’t guarantee the right to happiness, the thought usually goes, but only the right to pursue what makes you happy. But this reading of the Declaration’s “pursuit of happiness” is wrong on both scores… . Continue Reading »

More on Giving Away Life and Liberty

From First Thoughts

Over at Ethika Politika, Mattias Caro asks this in response to the discussion in my On the Square column discussion about inalienable rights: An interesting question arises if Professor Rogers has inadvertently created a problem: if certain rights are inalienable then would it not be immoral . . . . Continue Reading »

Rights You Can’t Give Away

From Web Exclusives

Most Americans know the Declaration of Independence states that God endows people with certain “unalienable” rights. When I ask my students what it means for a right to be inalienable, they respond that it means that government cannot take those rights away. I follow up that modal answer by asking whether that means that government can then take away rights that are alienable. At that point we usually need to pause to consider a bit more rigorously what it means for a right to be inalienable… . Continue Reading »

Leithart on the Eucharist

From First Thoughts

This is in the “day-late-and-a-dollar-short” category, but, on Friday, my friend Peter Leithart posted thoughts on his exclusion from the altars of several churches, most notably those of Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod churches. Peter’s substantive argument . . . . Continue Reading »