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Secularization of human rights

July 24, 2015
Robert Guglielmi
San Francisco

When we lose sight of the origin of human rights, we can easily have a false interpretation of those rights. Freedom of speech can become the license to say whatever we wish whenever we wish, giving no thought to prudence. The mockery of religious leaders is a prime example. The right to life can become the license to take the life of an unborn infant as is the case in abortion, or to take one’s own life as in euthanasia. Most recently we’ve seen the judicial system apply the right to marry to a same-sex union and consequently overstepping its authority in redefining the nature of a marriage.

If we fail to see that human rights have their origin in the rights of God and his eternal law, we can easily have tyranny both in the social order and in government. A state that dictates the size of a family is a state that has usurped the rights of both God and man. A social order that puts the welfare of a party or institution over the good of the individual is a social order that can easily usurp the rights of both God and man. Communism is a prime example.

Neither can human rights be determined by the vote of the majority. Rights become arbitrary when we put them up to a popular vote without having any regard to principles. Can you imagine the futility of trying to uphold the right to private property if we did not have the moral imperative, “Thou shalt not steal.”

Human rights are meaningless without a stable moral law, and both human rights and moral law have their foundation in the eternal law of God.

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