Do people have the right to bear arms? Do people have the right to publicly speak their mind on controversial matters, to worship as they feel is appropriate and to live their lives in privacy? As Americans we have The Bill of Rights which specifically outline certain behaviors the government will not (or should not) seek to control and since it's called "The Bill of Rights", most just assume those activities are indeed rights…but on what basis are those behaviors deemed as such? Who determines what sorts of behaviors are "rights" and which are not?
Generations of Americans have lived their entire lives not needing to give much thought to questions like these. Rights are rights, everyone knows that. But I assure you, as nearly half of this country lurches hard-left these fundamental questions regarding the nature of rights are going to become hotly debated for the first time since at least the Civil War and probably since the pre-Revolutionary War period (it is worth pointing out the end result both times the nation was this divided regarding the basic nature of rights was the nightmare of war).
Do women have the right to an abortion? Is healthcare a basic human right? Is public education a right? Is a living wage a right? Do same-sex couples have the right to marry? The Democrats believe all of those are so and will be running more and more on the basis of being the champions of human rights. They are framing their entire mission around being the torchbearers of civil morality. For example, we are now told it's immoral to become a billionaire and it's immoral for a nation to allow billionaires to exist when that same nation has poor people living in it. Or how about errecting a border wall, is that immoral? According to liberals and Democrats, it absolutely is.
Remember when it was the "religious right" who was accused of jamming morality down people's throats? Yeah.
So here we are, at another significant crossroads in history were Christians need to, once again, be salt and light in society. Part of what God calls Christians to do is to bring moral clarity to culture, not by force or compulsion, but by the supernatural power of preaching and teaching from the Bible. I'll say it again and again…if the people of God will not bring clarity to society when needed the World will be glad to define terms for us. We need to be strong, clear and quick with deep simplicity.
So, how are we supposed to think about all these new "rights" people now claim? Does something become a right if I claim it as my right? Does it become a right if the government endorses it? How this question is dealt with will determine exactly how rights are treated…and that is no small matter whatsoever. This is a big deal.
There is actually a deeper question still which probably needs addressed and that is regarding if rights are a "thing" in the first place or are they just a social construct? Do people have ANY rights by austere birthright? The answers to such questions are found as you might imagine in the Bible. Here are a couple Scriptures which explicitly confirm for us that people do in fact have "rights"...
Psalm 82:3 ESV
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
There are a host of other Scriptures which detail specific rights but suffice it to say here at the outset that "rights" are "real" …and people have them. No matter if they are rich or poor, strong or weak, male or female, sinner or saint, people have rights.
And since the Bible confirms for us the reality of rights it is not a hard step to take from there to understand that those rights have come from God (because all good gifts come from Him). They are not invented, they are discovered. They are not developed, they are recognized. They are not devised, they are identified. If this way of thinking regarding the origin and nature of rights is not understood and respected chaos will ensue, it has always ensued, it will always ensue, and it did not ensue in America because it was understood and respected! Next time we will begin the hard work of determining which rights God has granted to people and which claimed rights are usurpations.
Genesis 1:26 ESV
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."