No rights for the Godless

It’s a rights free-for-all these days. Rights are in conflict with other rights; rights are being conferred and rights are being confiscated. And a lot of folks are feeling fairly frantic about it.

Can a right be legitimately taken away? Yes, and no. It depends on what kind of right it is and how we obtained it. If you as a parent decide that your 16-year-old has the right to stay out till midnight then discover that he’s been getting into trouble, you have the right to revoke his right. Because you are the one who gave it to him.

But what about those “certain unalienable rights” referred to in our Declaration of Independence? Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. They are ours not by fiat but as fundamental to our humanity. Who gave them to us? Or did anyone?

Of course, if they were conferred on us by someone, that someone would have to be God. But if there is no God, do we actually possess even these rights?

The cacophony of complaining about illegitimate rights and rights revoked should, in a sane and decent world, lead us to examine and discuss what a genuine right is and what (or who) guarantees it. Many believe our constitution guarantees a right to abortion, but our Supreme Court declared that it does not. Individual states still can, and many do.

But many others believe every human being, born and unborn, has an intrinsic right to life that supersedes any declared right to abortion. Actually, even abortion-rights supporters acknowledge a fundamental right to life. They just limit it to those outside the womb. But many of those reject God or dismiss him as irrelevant. If we were not created with inherent worth but instead evolved from simple life forms through random mutations and natural selection, who or what confers on us the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Why should we refrain from killing the innocent for our own benefit? Other animal species don’t. A Godless ideology cannot ground a right to life even for the born.

Those who pontificate about rights as functional or actual atheists should not be listened to. In ignoring or disregarding the most fundamental basis for our fundamental rights, they present their declarations and demands without a foundation to support them.

Without God, we have no unalienable rights by virtue of our humanity. All our rights are determined and given arbitrarily by those in power, and as such, are neither guaranteed nor irrevocable.