Rep. Van Hollen: ‘Our Rights are Derived from God and Nature’

By Fred Lucas | September 6, 2012 | 7:21 PM EDT

Maryland Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen (AP Photo)

Charlotte ( – Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told he agrees with the Declaration of Independence that rights come from God, sharing his view just one day after the Democratic National Convention (DNC), in a contentious voice vote, re-inserted a reference to God in the party platform that was initially absent. asked Van Hollen on Thursday, “Do you agree with the Declaration [of Independence] that all rights are God-given?”

Van Hollen said, “Yes I do. I think it’s right there in our founding documents.”

“Our rights are derived from God and nature,” he said. “So, I don’t think there’s any disagreement on that question and I’m glad that the platform made that absolutely clear if it hadn’t been already.”

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Van Hollen had just finished speaking at a health care policy forum near the site of the Democratic National Convention. asked the congressman, “Also, is health care a God-given right?”

“I think everyone in our kind of society should have access to affordable health care,” he said, without definitively calling it a God-given right. “I think it’s the decent and moral thing to do.”

The Democratic Party platform made news this week for not having a single reference to God, as it had in past years. The platform adopted last week by the Republican National Convention included 12 references to God.

Late Wednesday afternoon, in a hotly contested voice vote, convention delegates voted to amend the platform to include the sentence, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

Democrats gathered in Charlotte also voted to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Many Democrats in the audience booed the decisions to amend the platform.