phenomenal piece! i really enjoyed her take down of the whole "rights came from God" argument.
What’s nice about the “rights come from God” theory is that it makes it easier to deny that new rights can be established. Since the 18th century, a lot of rights have been granted that didn’t exist back then: The right not to be enslaved, the right of all adults to vote, the right to have some time off from your job. Conservatives resisted each of these rights and continue on that path today, resisting more recently established rights, such as the right to be free from discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. By saying that God informed the Founding Fathers what rights there were, conservatives can claim that any rights that have been developed since then are illegitimate. Sure, it’s a lie, but it’s an awfully convenient one.
The words I'm quoting deserve to be spread far and wide!
So does "the Rev." Huber's parable, "Kissing Hank's Ass":
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the shit out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? [....]
(And it continues, complete with a list of "commandments" Hank reputedly dictated to a good friend of his many years ago, including "Use alcohol in moderation", "Everything Hank says is right", "Don't use alcohol", "The moon is made of green cheese", and "Eat your wieners in buns, no condiments" -- nicely parodying a better-known cult's teaching.)
Speaking of "Kissing Hank's Ass"...
Joan, I think you already know that answer to that one! Please go right ahead!
In any democratic country, rights come indirectly form the people themselves. No law recognizes rights coming from anywhere else. I am not aware of any god of any religion talking of peoples rights. Every religion talks only about people's duties towards their religion and god.If rights are given by god then a theocratic state should be giving better rights to its citizen. Look at Pakistan, where a woman is stoned to death only for possessing a mobile phone.
Madhukar, may I use your piece on Facebook with attribution to you? The general public needs to read your ideas.
Matthew, two responses from Facebook:
great stuff, Joan. keep up the good work. you do Facebook way better than i do :)
Your rights have to do with human progress, growth, and development. None of this has anything to do with a god.