Human rights predates official government sanction by a few thousand years. Much of the ancient Jewish law and the New Covenant under Jesus Christ were codification of relationships among the human species, created in the imago dei, the image of God. Sinful humans, loved and valued by our Sovereign God to the person, knew many violations of relational integrity. Hatred, anger, killing, vile behavior and language, and many other personal sins were evident in those earliest years after creation. These sinful actions toward other humans were more than a breach of basic human rights. They were infractions against God.
Clans, tribes, communities, villages, and nations ultimately became the habitat of our species. Rules and laws were adopted to provide a livable framework for the common good of the people who occupied them. In our own nation The Constitution of the United States was adopted by our new government in 1788. Since the Constitution originally proposed few human rights articles, South Carolinian Charles Pinckney presented several items considered more rights oriented. His first enumeration of them were articles assuring the freedom of the press and freedom of citizens from quartering of soldiers in private homes. They were initially disapproved. After much debate The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of our Constitution, were approved. If you would like to read a great article about our Bill of Rights, please click here.
So, in our government system, these rights guarantee our freedom of religion, freedom of speech (now freedom of expression), freedom to bear arms, rights of assembly and protest, rights of a speedy trial, the right to trail by jury, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and several others related to protection from government intrusion. In total, this Constitution has been amended 27 times in further protection of basic human rights. Over the years, in times of human difficulty, these rights have become a basic response of citizens from each other and government excess in guiding the nation.
Currently, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd these rights have been utilized and stretched to permit behaviors that seem so contrary to their intent. Even more, certain elements of the population have lobbied for extensions of these basic rights---rights of free education, health insurance, citizenship requirements, the right to vote for illegal residents, and many other liberal and progressive ideas of human rights adjustments. We have the Bill of Rights, 27 amendments, and now, a few lefts in our governing principles.
Please forgive my biblical and Christian worldview assessment of our obsessive handling of human rights in the current milieu. They remind me of a time in human history when people had turned from their basic legal precedents to matters beyond the scope of the rights guaranteed by God. The author of Genesis wrote it his way---
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
intention of the thought of his heart was on evil continually. And the Lord regretted that
he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
Genesis 6: 5-6, ESV
You know, the flood epic. This may seem an extreme comparison. The truth is, however, we humans are never satisfied to live according to God's plan. We have to modify and impose further restrictions or expansion of our basic rights. There is never enough. Yes, we humans do practice the evils of hatred, anger, prejudice, mistreatment of others, and many sinful thoughts and actions against fellow humans. The poor, aliens, minorities, differing lifestyles, and many other distinctions draw out our dark sides. But, continually imposing limitations and unnecessary extension of human rights, especially through government fiat, is not the answer. When we we ever learn that we cannot legislate morality, decency, respectful behavior, or kindness.
What is the solution to the awful mess we've created? It is that we humans learn again the necessity of living this life as God planned it. Our answers aren't in the halls of Congress or state houses. They are in our places of worship and homes. We can live decently, with respect for one another, without government dictate. Our nation was founded on Christian principles. If we live those precepts in daily life. we together can insure that human rights are guaranteed for every human being, without more complicated rights, or lefts.