Individual Rights Come First

By State Representative Curt Nisly

CurtNislyWhen the founding fathers wrote the United States Constitution, they really wanted to make a statement to the rest of the world. Their intentions were clear from the very beginning with the words, “We the People.” The founders told the entire world that in the United States, the individual was sovereign over the state, and not the other way around.

The American Republic was unique in the history of nations in that the government was chained down by law in a written contract that has endured for more than 200 years. It has been a model for the constitutions of the 50 states and for written constitutions throughout the world.

The U.S. Constitution echoes the theme of the Declaration of Independence, which notes that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights, and that the proper role of government is to secure these rights.

The people of the United States acted together through their founders to establish the government. In a similar manner, the people act together through their representatives to pass local, state, and federal laws.

However, the rights secured by the Constitution are individual rights and not collective rights. This is a critical point.

Again, from the Declaration: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights of individuals. A collective cannot pursue happiness, because this would require everyone to have the same exact definition of happiness. The Declaration was pointing out the rights of individuals.

The U.S. Constitution, likewise, is geared to the rights of the individual. The Bill of Rights spells out many rights for individuals, such as rights to freely exercise religion and speech, to keep and bear arms, to be secure from unreasonable searches, and to own private property.

The Indiana Constitution follows this model as well. Article I, Section 3, of the Indiana Bill of Rights states that, “No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.” Like other rights protected by the Indiana Constitution, this is an individual right.

There is a current attempt by some members of the Indiana General Assembly to downgrade the right of religious expression by making it a collective right in which certain groups such as churches would enjoy more rights than individuals. The proposed measure is called Senate Bill 100 (SB100), and you can read it online here:

Senate Bill 100 represents a wrongheaded and dangerous attempt to carve out a few certain instances in which property can be exchanged through voluntary mutual consent. In all other cases, government would force interaction between two parties in Indiana. Property would be exchanged through the force of the state.

It is wrong to allow collective freedom over individual freedom in Indiana. People have different beliefs based on their own individual moral conscience. I do not believe that individuals should blindly accept control of their freedom because of the whims of the state.

The real push for SB100 is coming from individuals who seek preferential treatment in Indiana based on sexual preferences. Those who advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual lifestyles have every right to their beliefs. But they do not have the right to force those beliefs on Hoosiers who hold differing personal views. That, my fellow Hoosiers, is called freedom.

Curt Nisly
State Representative, House District 22

Source: Curt Nisly
Friends, this is an example of one state lawmaker who truly understands what our founders did when they gave their blood for our liberty. It is critical that you speak with your lawmaker and ask them to take a stand.

Some, even though they believe in liberty are choosing silence. Their silence will simply allow the media bullies and corporate thugs to pile on to wear them down. Remember the economic terror threat last year? Representative Nisly understands the meaning of liberty, and is not afraid to defend it. If you believe in it… defend it!

Here are three things you can do to stand for individual liberty.

  1. Call your State Senator and State Representative to ask them to take a stand!
  2. Send them a copy of this courageous letter! It’s not an emotional issue. It truly is about liberty.
  3. Sign the petition to protect religious liberty.  You can find the information in the following link.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Individual Rights Come First

  1. Thank you for standing for what you believe in and for trying to protect that right for the individual. I’m new to the state of IN but want to learn more about it’s governing people and it’s legislators. ~Rebecca D. Hall