What is the origin of our ‘rights’?


The silence is deafening from a recent court ruling. No mainstream news agency reported this significant decision from the European Court of Human Rights.

Just weeks ago this high European court reaffirmed its 2012 verdict stating there is no right to gay marriage. It is as if the event never happened, unless you read Breitbart.com.

This is because the media along with the cultural elite in this country are convinced that gay marriage is a fundamental right, so any story that opposes that narrative will get little traction.

It is just another example that journalists no longer report the news, but create the news that furthers their idealistic vision of a perfect human society. As important as it is to develop a healthy skepticism news reporting, jaded journalism is not what should concern you.

Some federal courts have declared gay marriage bans to be unconstitutional, implying that the courts believe there is a right to gay marriage. So which is it? One high court says there is no right to gay marriage and another one says that there is. How can we say if gay marriage or anything else is a fundamental human right?

If a court or government declares something to be a right, then we have no rights at all. A society or government that can grant rights to us can also take them away. What is a right today becomes not-a-right tomorrow, and what is not-a-right today can become a right tomorrow. All that is needed is for the leaders to change their mind or different leaders to take charge.

Well, this means that a right is just an expression of what the cultural leaders like or don’t like – essentially what is popular or in vogue at the moment. But the arbitrary preferences of a controlling elite is a lousy foundation on which to establish rights.

For instance, people have the right to life and liberty, not because a court or government says we do. There are some governments that restrict and even deny the liberty of its people. Yet, even slaves have the right to be free regardless of whether they actually are free.

This is because liberty is a basic human right that cannot be taken from us – it is a part of who we were created to be – and has nothing to do with the preferences or policies of a nation.

If it is true that society does not grant rights, then where do they come from? “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …” succinctly reflects the truth our American Founders knew and we are forgetting. Fundamental human rights that cannot be taken from us – unalienable rights – are given to us by God.

No human or human agency can grant rights to us. If a human can confer rights upon us, then a human can also rescind them.

We have a Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, but that list of amendments is not the source of our rights. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is not to give us rights, but to protect the rights we already have. We already have them because we are endowed with them by our Creator.

While we are breathlessly distracted by government policies or court decisions that may establish gay marriage, let’s remember that no law, regulation, or verdict can give us a right to anything.

They can make certain things legal. Yet, just because gay marriage may become legal does not mean it is a fundamental human right. There is a huge difference between the two.

No human can grant a right to anyone. That is God’s purview alone, because our rights are a reflection of the basic human nature hardwired in us by the God who designed us.

We already know His design for marriage. We may not like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that humans are designed to reflect who God is. God-ordained marriage does that where man-made gay marriage does not.

Of course, if we want to disregard God or pretend He does not exist, there are consequences. Prepare to lose your right to life, liberty, and property. Be careful before you say something silly like you have a right to healthcare, a job, an education, gay marriage, or a piece of someone else’s well-earned money.

None of these human wants are God-given rights. If you erroneously assume that God is not the source of your rights, then powerful or persuasive humans are the foundation of your rights. You really have no rights. They have been cancelled, and you better get used to tyranny and oppression. They will be the main dish on the menu with no other selections.

[David Richardson of Peachtree City is the executive director of The Assumptions Project. He has a master’s degree from Oxford University, and is a university consultant in education and culture. He is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife and children have lived in Fayette County for more than two decades.]