The theory of human rights is an old one. It dates from the ancient Greeks to today’s civil rights movement. The argument is that humans have certain things that they must have based solely on their status as humans. This belief is the basis of our American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact this theory is so strongly held in this country that it is no longer believed to be a theory but an ironclad truth.
Serous thinking on this subject leads to the question of what is a right. It seems to be that a right is something that cannot be taken away because it is inherent to a person’s status as a human. It is impossible to take from a person the status of being a person; therefore it should be impossible to take away a right. If this is so, then do we as humans have rights? The foremost right is the right to life. This right is taken from people every day. It is physically easy to take someone’s life. New devices to make this easier are constantly being devised. What then of the right to freedom of speech? Can someone make you unable to express your thoughts? Yes, they can simply by removing your right to life. Property rights? Stop paying your taxes and see if you keep grandpa’s farm. One of the most talked about right in today’s society is the right to keep and bear arms. This right is constantly being degraded. It is beginning to be seen as antiquated, unnecessary, and dangerous. This particular right is being fazed out of existence. People everyday say that this right is inherent in the American way of life and can never be taken away. Ask the Australians, the Canadians, or the British if the right to own firearms for protection can be taken away.
Does a person have any rights? If a right is something you cannot have stolen from you, then yes each person has spiritual rights. No one can take from you your dignity. Truly they can make it hard for you to keep it, but it cannot be taken. You must give it up. No person can dictate to you what to believe. If you believe in God, no one can force you to stop believing in Him. They may be able to keep you from physically expressing those beliefs, but they cannot take God from you. You have the right to stand up for your rights. If you believe you have the right to something, you can always fight for the right to use those rights.
This might be overly simplifying the idea, however it is important to know that when the founders of this country created our system, one of them was heard to remark, “We have given you a Republic. Lets see if you can keep it.” It is up to each person to define their own rights and to refuse to give them up without cause. Each time someone lobbies for some group to lose some right distasteful to them, they make it easier for their own rights to be taken away. Simply stated if they take the Second, the First will quickly follow.