Author: ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently addressed the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. Her remarks, which you can read in full here, start out spot on. She acknowledges that rights are not creations of the government but are something we are born with. She said, “rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.” She’s right. The unalienable rights our Founding Fathers risked their lives for are something governments have a responsibility to protect and no right to take away.
But she ignores the underlying questions of where those rights come from. Many academics today expect us to believe unalienable rights have been evolving along with us as we’ve made journey from Big Bang fodder, to primal ooze, to self-aware beings at the top of the food chain. But the idea that all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, even if they are not strong enough to assert those rights on their own, contradicts the natural selection principles upon which fundamentalist Darwinism stands. A couple of hours watching the nature channel demonstrates that only humans have “evolved” the characteristic that even the weakest and frailest among us have basic rights that we all must protect. The point of this post isn’t to demonstrate that humanistic theories on the origin of basic rights are flawed. You can read more about that here. Suffice it to say, the only sufficient answer to the question of where basic rights come from is God, or as the Founding Fathers often phrased it, our Creator.
So if Secretary of State Clinton is willing to acknowledge that rights aren’t simply something we’ve made up ourselves as we bump along evolutionary path to self actualization, why didn’t she say they emanate from God? The simple answer is she probably knows God not only gave us rights, He’s given responsibilities. The whole point of her speech is she believes the freedom to engage in homosexual behavior is a basic human right that even trumps religious freedom. She says, “The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” In other words, even though all three of the major religions in the world teach that homosexual behavior is harmful not only to those who engage it, but society as a whole, that should never be used as a reason to treat those engaging in that behavior differently. She doesn’t acknowledge rights come from God, because that tacitly affirms we should embrace all that God has given us, including responsibilities – such as the duty to resist temptation to engage in sexual relations with anyone except one’s opposite sex spouse. See, e.g., Romans 1:24-27.
This is very dangerous for those who believe what the Bible actually says (not what many have twisted it to say in an attempt to justify their actions) and do their best to practice it. Under Secretary Clinton’s new rule, sexual freedom trumps religious freedom. A pastor cannot discriminate against a same-sex couple that wants to “marry” in his church and have him officiate the wedding. A church cannot expel a member for engaging in homosexual behavior. And certainly a Christian counselor can never advise a client that they will only be physically and emotionally healthy when they stop engaging in homosexual behavior. That would be discriminatory. It would also be the end of religious freedom.
The idea that we can enjoy God-given rights without accepting God-given responsibilities is not a new one. Adam and Eve eagerly bought this lie in the Garden of Eden. They believed the serpent when he told them that God didn’t really say certain fruit is forbidden. They were just misinterpreting God’s words. And even if He did say it, they won’t die if they eat it. God just made up that rule to restrict their freedom. There will be no consequences.
The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Many of us still believe we can enjoy the right God gave us to rule and care for the earth without heeding His instructions regarding how we should live. Secretary of State Clinton’s speech lays the groundwork for building this false teaching into our laws. If she succeeds, don’t be surprised when we experience the same fate as Adam and Eve and lose the God-given freedoms we hold so dear.
This post originally appeared here.