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Human Rights, Part 1 -Inalienable PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 14:54

HUMAN RIGHTS, part 1- INALIENABLE

The Bill of Rights says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

"Inalienable" means = incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred

“The doctrine of natural rights was the hard core of Revolutionary political thought; the possession of natural rights was the essence of being human.” So says Clinton Rossiter in his “Political Thought of the American Revolution” (p.104) Natural Rights were defined as “those rights which belong to man as man” (ibid) in the nature of things.

Specifically, it was held that there are five major rights:

1. Life (corollary: self-preservation)

2. Liberty, i.e.- freedom and power to act as one pleases (corollary: to move and live wherever one pleases)

3. Property, free use and sole disposal of one's tangible possessions (Note: Liberty and Property are inseparable)

4. Happiness (Happiness here and now, not salvation)

5. Conscience (to believe whatever an individual wanted to believe- especially freedom of Religious belief)

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2008 14:58
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REVISED: Human Rights, Part 2- Who defines them? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 14:49
The on-going debate about “Gay Marriage” is commonly framed in the language of  Civil Rights.  There are civil rights, legal rights, employees’ rights, consumer rights, etc, but Biblical Rights and Responsibilities take precedence over them all. Indeed, all other Rights are to be evaluated, accepted or rejected, in light of God given and truly inalienable rights. This must be the basis, even though it is repudiated by many in our Society.  There is no other valid basis for specific human rights, especially not the will of People themselves.

What is a "Person"?  What does it mean to be "Human".  A discussion of Human Rights must begin here
There is an unshakable, irrepressible, universal, and seemingly timeless, conviction that there are such things as “human rights“, even among the most secular and non-Christian societies. We simply, intuitively, know our “Rights”.  In this sense, human rights are both from God and are “natural”, i.e.- innate- they are part of who we are as human beings- who God created us to be. Human Rights are about the protection of the opportunities and freedoms necessary to be a full and complete human being.  But what is a "Human" Being?  What is a "Person"?  These are interchangeable terms.
A “Person”, as  commonly defined, is someone who is knowable, someone who communicates meaningfully and can share in “personal” relationships; a change agent who has a will and makes considered judgments.  There is more to being a “person“: there is also rationality, creativity, morality, community and spirituality. Those characteristics give us our value and dignity.  Rights are not created or bestowed by “Society” through consensus, legislation or the Courts.  Rights are not something we deserve.  Rather, they were given to us by our Creator when He made us.  They are intrinsic to who we are.  They are essential to our person-hood, too being "Human". What are the “opportunities and freedoms necessary to be a full and complete human being”?
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Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 10:58
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REVISED: Human Rights, Part 3- Biblical Basis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 14:20

The Law includes more than 10 Commandments.  The Law begins with the Book of Genesis and extends through the Book of Deuteronomy.  These five Books are the Torah.  When we say the Law of God, we mean the Torah.  There are important principles involved in how to interpret and apply the Law today. [See other Articles on this website]

The first principle we use on this subject of God-given Rights is to determine in the Torah those Laws which apply universally to all humanity.  Long before the Decalogue (and Israel) was the Creation.  In the Creation Narrative, found in the first two chapters of Genesis, we find Three Universal Human Rights and their corollary Responsibilities.  I will summarize them here.

1. Everyone has a right to physical life
- to live. No person has the right to deprive another person of life or of anything essential to living. Every person has the responsibility to live and to see to it that other persons live as well.  (This includes the life of the person being carried by a pregnant woman even before birth.)

2. Everyone has a right to those resources that are essential for maintaining life. Everyone has the responsibility to work, to work for the development, procurement and equitable distribution of the necessities needed to sustain life, for self and for others

3. All men and women have the right to marry and produce children. All men and women have the responsibility to marry and produce children [unless God has made this impossible in specific cases]  This Right and Responsibility has to do with fulfilling the Command to multiply, fill and subdue the Earth as part of the “Cultural Mandate” (Genesis 1: 26-28)

NOTE:  the use of “men and women” here is based on the Biblical definition of Marriage which is the prerequisite for procreation.  By that definition (Genesis 2:18-24, Matthew 19:4-6), homosexuals do not have a God-given “right” to either marriage or children (family)
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These are the most fundamental Human Rights and Responsibilities.  If any are “inalienable“ Rights, these are the ones! In order to have a realistic opportunity to actualize them, there is a logical, concomitant Essential: Freedom.  All human beings must have political and economic and social freedom, opportunity and security to enable them to exercise these rights and responsibilities.
The 10 Commandments as Rights:
1. God has the exclusive right to our allegiance (no other gods)
2. God (His Name and Day) has the right to be honored,

3. All People have a right to live

4. Human beings have the right to work and to periodically rest from work

5. Husbands and wives have a right to the fidelity of their spouses

6. Parents have the right to be honored, respected and obeyed

7. Property owners have a right to their property

8.  People have a right to a fair and honest trial
9.  Neighbors have a right to their privacy
Special Note:
a.  the Rights of Women are not to be denied;

b.  the Right of Widows and Orphans (the truly Poor) to be cared for are to be maintained

c.  the Right of all accused of crime to due process, as well as a fair trial are to be preserved

d.  the right of the Land to be cultivated and not ravaged and the right of animals to be cared for are not    to be abused.  These latter Rights include the responsibility to care for animals and the environment.

The 10 Commandments expressed as personal Responsibilities-

1. I owe God my allegiance above all else.

2.  I owe my honor and respect to what belongs to God, especially His Name and His Day.

3.  I have the responsibility to both work and to rest periodically

4.  I owe my parents honor, respect and [while I live at home] obedience

5.  I owe respect to the life of others. I am my brother's keeper.

6. I owe fidelity to my spouse. I am responsible to respect the marriage vows of others.

7.  I owe respect to the property of others

8.  I am responsible to be honest with others and to never slander them

9.  I am responsible to stay out of other people's business

This summarizes what the Bible teaches about essential “Human Rights” and Responsibilities. The Decalogue builds on the Universal “Human Rights” in Genesis. Later the Prophets appeal to the Torah/Law and apply it to Israel and to the Nations; and even later, Jesus and his Apostles add new depths to its meaning.

Many evangelical Christians are not used to thinking of these matters, especially of the Torah (including Genesis) as “Law”, nor do they usually take the Bible as authoritative in such matters as “family planning”.  But they must!

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All of this gives us general Biblical principles by which we judge all claims to Rights in our Society.  The Law gives us the Principles by which we can judge our Government and its Administration, all our elected and appointed Leaders, all domestic and foreign policies and programs, all budgets and legislation.  It remains, of course, to work out definitions and details involved with the application of each.  Christians must do the work involved as part of their commitment to obey Christ as their Sovereign.



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Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 12:38
 
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