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Human rights


scenario Scenarios

  • I believe in Human Rights

oneliner One-liners

  • Where do these come from?

body In-brief

  • No culture in history has ever defined 'human rights' as Western culture has, not a single country has deemed all people equal, with concrete freedoms. The US Constitution may say they are 'inalienable' and somehow a secular natural law but this is not so. They only exist because they have come from a culture with a Christian foundation where God declares that all are equal before Him.  The fact that there is a 'Declaration' of Human Rights (UN 1948) shows that they are not natural - you don't have to 'declare' the law of gravity.

    The shield verse encapsulates Jesus' words on this - but this is the second commandment and the first is to seek God's way.  When some say 'I know my rights' another can say 'well I know mine' - there is an atmosphere of entitlement, of competition.  The more we codify these the more confusion and competition there is, not only between individuals but also between pan-national 'human rights' law and a nation's longer-standing legislation.  This arrangement, though it sounds virtuous, does not seem to fit in with Sphere Sovereignty.

    In the European Court of Human Rights, non-UK judges will make rulings that go against the democratically elected government. There have no powers other than brow-beating to enforce their rulings but usually, the 'good' countries go along with it. The not-so-good will not bother - but then maybe few cases come from these places and maybe the judges don't want to risk their reputations and lose face by taking them on and then being ignored?

    Going back to the First Commandment, we have to think about others in the context of respect for God and his wider remit and about our responsibilities to him.

    Nigel Biggar's book  What’s wrong with rights unpacks this, and more. Short interview here.

shield Shield verses

  • The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:31 cf Lev 19:18

deeper Digging deeper

Stream: Society / Section: Human rights