'West Wing' Actor Says His Rights Come from a ‘Piece of Paper’

September 7, 2012 - 5:55 AM

Richard Schiff

'West Wing' Actor Richard Schiff in a screen shot from the Fox television network. (File Photo from Fox)

Charlotte (CNSNews.com) – Actor Richard Schiff, who won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the dreary White House communications director “Toby Ziegler” character on the hit show “The West Wing,” said that his rights come from a document written by men.

CNSNews.com asked Schiff, “Given the whole party platform dust up, would you agree with the Declaration of Independence that all rights are God-given?”

Schiff didn’t object, saying, “If you believe in God, sure you can say that.”

“I think man wrote that. I think it was a group of men who sit down and wrote it,” Schiff, who was attending the Democratic National Convention, told CNSNews.com.

“If they decided that God gave them the right to write it – you see how confusing this is? If you believe in God and you believe God gave you that right, good for you, man. Keep on believing that. The piece of paper gave me the right because it says it and it made it law. This is a country of laws. And if you want to believe in God, and abide by those laws, fantastic.”

Schiff was at the convention promoting his upcoming moving “Knife Fight,” a political drama that also includes former West Wing co-star Rob Lowe in the cast.

The Democratic Party platform made news this week for omitting any reference to God or to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something that previous platforms included.

On Wednesday, in a hotly contested voice vote that was taken three times to get the desired result, Democratic convention delegates voted to amend their 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.”

The voice vote also restored the “Jerusalem” mention. Boos greeted the decision that the “yeas” outnumbered the “nays.”

Schiff said he did not fully understand why these points were so divisive.

“Whenever you touch upon religion, God, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, you know, I don’t quite get it, but people have radar,” Schiff said. “They look for reasons to get upset. They look for reasons to become warriors for their religion. And so, it’s always a very tricky minefield for politicians to walk across. Sadly. So, I understand why it was controversial. I understand why it’s tricky. Other than that, you know, stop. Just stop being silly.”

CNSNews.com followed, “So you don’t think it’s an important issue at all?”

Schiff said people needed find peaceful solutions.

“It’s important to the people – I don’t know. I don’t have a solution. I don’t know how to resolve Israel and Palestinians without any conflict,” Schiff said. “I don’t know how to resolve Israel’s place in an Arab world. I don’t understand the Christian right’s interest in that. There’s so much I don’t understand because I’m not a religious fundamentalist.

“So I don’t get upset. I look for reasons people can come together. I look at economic development in the Gaza Strip. I look at a way to make Jerusalem a shared city for all three of their religions. You know what I mean? Look for ways to bring people together. Look for ways that we can stop fighting over words and literally like radar looking for a reason to get angry. It’s a confusing subject for me. I don’t have an answer for it.”