Rights


The March for Life, 2017

March for life 2017

The Washington Post finally reported on the pro-life event this year.

compare & contrastCompare and contrast is one of my favorite teaching methods.

 

 

French DeclarationTeaching the biblical basis for government I have had students read The American Declaration of Independence (1776) and The French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789). I asked students to notice similarities and differences between the documents.

DeclarationStudents discovered the same ideas each time. The French document premised its authority on “the people” (or “citizens”). The American document based its authority on “Nature’s God,” “The Creator,” “The Supreme Judge of the world,” and “Divine Providence.”

Landscape

The French document concedes a “Supreme Being” but one who is only “present.” The French declaration says government “recognizes and declares the rights of citizens.” Notice it is the government (“the National Assembly”) which gives rights.

Students were surprised at the human-centered French document.Statement #6 always stood out:

“Law is the expression of the general will.”

 

lady justiceThey would often ask after reflection, “If people are the sole authority—the “law”—how do we know which people should have authority?”

More reflection and discussion brought out the basic belief: the French declaration assumes humans are basically good and have the authority to grant rights.

Pro life Pro womanBut what happens when people disagree? Who grants “rights” then? And if I’m in authority, don’t I get to decide who gets rights and whose rights get taken away?

The room always fell silent when I told them that 30,000 people were killed—their right to life taken away—during the French Revolution. They were considered “enemies of the state.”

To summarize:

If rights are given by government, government can take away rights.

If rights are given by God, government’s role is to protect those rights.

every life is sacred“Reproductive rights” and “reproductive justice” are phrases used today by those who want to decide their rights. Pro-choice advocates say only the woman should decide to keep or kill her baby.

If humans are the authority, they can decide their own rights, making any pregnancy choice they desire.

If rights are my “choice,” then my choices can be imposed on an unborn child without restraint.

The word “choice” comes from the middle ages: To taste or try, a willful selection based on preference or individual option.

Here is my definition: choice is bowing to the altar of self.

ethanAs my nephew Ethan has pointed out, abortion is the obvious outcome of a culture obsessed with self. If I make my own rights, then I can make my own choices. But if my choices are limited by God-given rights, then my choices are limited and my rights are held in tension with my responsibilities.

March for life wo17-2Over 55 million American children have been killed through abortion since the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. The unborn have become the new “enemies of the state.” We are a nation, much like the French, wanting our authority, our rights, and our choices.

 

2016 March for Life WaPoCompare and contrast:

Who or what do you worship?

What options exist for the origin of rights?

What is the authority for being pro-choice or pro-life?

March for life 2017Mark believes that we must stand together for two beliefs: life and freedom. Dr. Mark Eckel is President of The Comenius Institute and writes every January in support of The March for Life.

Picture credits: Washington Post, March for Life, Ethan Renoe, Wikipedia

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The Comenius Institute is a Christian educational institute that will engage in the teaching-learning craft. In doing so, the organization will encourage study, discussion, research, and collaboration of students and scholars in the pursuit of theological truth with academic excellence. The Institute may present relevant materials for discussion through lecturers, guest speakers, authors, resident scholars, and students. It may facilitate the learning process through small group dynamics, mentoring relationships, and open forum discussion. It is the hope of Comenius to provide a place for learners to engage in spiritual-intellectual growth in an environment that encourages study, reflection, curiosity, discourse and collaboration through the in-depth pursuit of wisdom.

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