As a spin-off from the other thread, I believe that human rights come to us in a natural way, in other words, from God. Some of them are based on scriptural principles. For example, God, in His word, has prohibited murder. Based on that and other passages of Scripture, it can be determined that we have a God-given right to life. Other rights can be determined from the way God created us. Our natural desire is to own and hold property, for example. We can tell by our own conscience that stealing is wrong. Therefore, it can be surmised that we have a right to own property. As another example, our God-given sense of justice tells us that it is wrong to deprive another of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. That can be carried out in a number of ways. In the United States, we require a jury trial in all criminal prosecutions unless the defendant pleads guilty or no contest or waives his right to a jury trial, except for the common-law exception of petty crimes. I bring this up because I do make a distinction between human rights and legal rights. The right to due process is a human right; the specific provision requiring a jury trial is a legal right. Human rights, because they come from God, can not be revoked by government, only violated by government. A person in North Korea has the same freedom of religion rights that I have, but the North Korean government violates that right. Legal rights, however, do come from government. As an example, the law says that children have a right to a free and appropriate public education. While I'm a supporter of that legal right, it does not rise to the level of a natural, human right. The authority of government also comes from God. I do not believe that an absolute monarchy is inherently immoral as long as it does not violate human rights. However, in a free society, the government must have the consent of the governed. In the United States, that is accomplished by having elections for legislatures. The primary function of government is to protect natural and legal rights and to establish justice. The government's other functions arise from the consent of the governed. As part of the government's authority, the government has the authority to levy taxes against my income, levy a sales tax when I buy stuff, require that I truthfully answer all questions on a census form, require that I have vehicle insurance and a driver's license to drive my car, build roads and post offices, etc. However, in our democratic republic, the government's authority arises from the consent of the governed for all but the most basic functions. Also, no government has the authority to violate legal or natural rights.