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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights October 16, 2013

The above Zen Pencils cartoon was accompanied by a reminder that October 16th is Blog Action Day, with a focus this year on human rights.

Human rights are things that we as humans define. But we do so rationally, by declaring that the same rights, freedoms, and protections that we want, all should have. Looking to ancient texts will not get us to them – the collection known as the Bible both declares humans as made in the image of God, and legislates slavery and even genocide.

It is important to recognize the human origins of notions such as human rights, because, if we want to add free healthcare, three meals a day, leisure time, and a decent wage to the list, we can do so. And I would argue that we should do so. Because human rights is not a default position that we naturally revert to. It involves commitment, effort, struggle, as we seek to not merely declare, but achieve the reality. And because reciprocity is at the heart of what motivates work to ensure that all have basic rights, many Christians find that undertaking to be not merely consistent with, but a natural outworking of, their core moral convictions.

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