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

By Fred Lucas | September 7, 2012 | 6:04 AM EDT

Charlotte ( – Asked by if he agrees with the Declaration of Independence that all rights "come from God," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) responded, “Yes I do. I think it’s right there in our founding documents.”

He downplayed this week's dispute in Charlotte arising from the omission of God from the Democratic Party platform:

“Our rights are derived from God and nature,” he continued. “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, who had just finished speaking at a health care policy forum, was asked if health care is a God-given right:

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

His staff then ushered him away.

The Democratic Party platform made news this week for not having a single reference to God, as it had in past years.

On late Wednesday afternoon, in a hotly contested voice vote, convention delegates voted to amend the platform to include language, “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 decision to amend the platform.

President Obama reportedly intervened directly to get the language changed both on Jerusalem and to reinstate God in the platform, according to the Associated Press.