Dignity, ‘rights’ and biblical Creation1
Published: 29 August 2013 (GMT+10)
Earlier this year, the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a document offering guidance to employers relating to religion and belief in the workplace.2 In this, they stated that they support “individuals’ right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” In answer to the question, “How will an employer know if a religion or belief is genuine?”, they answered that, among other things, it should be “compatible with human dignity and should not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.” They then went on to give some examples of how such guidance might be applied. In their view, it might be appropriate to exempt a vegetarian from fridge cleaning duties where meat is stored. However, it would be inappropriate, they said, to exempt a magistrate from duties requiring him to place children into the care of same-sex couples, as this would be “incompatible with upholding the dignity and fundamental rights of same-sex couples.”
Dignity and a person’s world-view
So, they say, a belief is genuine if it is compatible with human dignity. But what makes something compatible or incompatible with human dignity? The answer depends on your world-view. One with biblical beliefs would hold that people have dignity because they have been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). So, anything that preserves the image of God in someone confers upon them dignity; anything that mars that image robs them of dignity. The secular view appears to be that anything that supports a person in living the lifestyle of their choice gives them dignity; anything that obstructs this, or makes them feel uncomfortable in it, denies them their dignity.
These different ways of thinking lead to very different conclusions. For example, according to the Bible, marriage should be between one man and one woman. Such a union was ordained by their creator; He made them to be mutually compatible, so that, both individually and as a couple, they reflect God’s image in them. In secular thinking, promotion of ‘gay rights’ liberates people to live as they wish. Denying the gay community the ‘right’ to adopt children, for example, would prevent them from living full lives.
The secular view, of course, is coming to dominate in both legislation and general practice. When a Christian counsellor was unhappy about giving sex-therapy to same-sex couples, he was sacked.3 He could easily have been exempted from these duties; but simply questioning homosexual practice, it was claimed, robbed homosexual couples of their dignity. Andrew McClintock, a South Yorkshire magistrate, was forced to resign his position because he felt unable to place children with same-sex couples.4 In contrast, excusing vegetarians from duties requiring them to clean a meat fridge is seen to preserve their dignity.
Beliefs about origins are crucial
What determines which view is held? I think there’s little doubt that it will be established, directly or indirectly, and very largely, by what people believe about their origins. If, along with the animals we are the product only of natural processes, then perhaps animals have as many ‘rights’ as humans. Why, then, should we eat them? If we are as we are because that’s how nature turned us out (i.e. that’s how we evolved) then whatever we feel is surely natural—and if we feel attracted to someone of the same sex, surely that’s natural too.
Belief in creation leads to a very different way of thinking. Those who believe they were created will naturally want to know how the creator intended us to live. Wise people who buy a new car read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, so as to understand how the vehicle should be used and serviced. Just a cursory consideration of human anatomy makes clear that woman was made for man and man for woman. The Bible teaches that man has a place far above animals and that animals were made for man. After the Flood, God gave people permission to eat meat (Genesis 9:3–4); Jesus himself declared all foods ‘clean’ (Mark 7:19).
Needless to say, as always, the secular view is contradictory and self-refuting. The ‘right’ of homosexuals to adopt children infringes the ‘right’ of children to be raised by a mother and father. The ‘right’ of vegetarians to be exempt from cleaning meat fridges infringes the ‘right’ of others to eat meat free from any sense of guilt. If it is offensive to act in a way that expresses the view that homosexuality is wrong, why is it not also offensive to act in a way that expresses the view that meat-eating is wrong?
It is for good reasons the Bible begins with God’s act of creation. Without the creation world-view, people will lack the framework with which to think rightly about themselves, the family and society. This is one of the many reasons why the creation/evolution debate is so important. It really is no side issue. Indeed, its outcome will determine the laws, the morality and the very ethos of the nation.
- This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of Prayer News, the newsletter for CMI (UK & Europe). Return to text.
- Religion or belief in the workplace: A guide for employers following recent European Court of Human Rights judgments, Equality and Human Rights Commission, February 2013; equalityhumanrights.com. Return to text.
- Christian counsellor Gary McFarlane who refused to offer sex advice to gay couples fails in religious discrimination claim, MailOnline, 30 November 2009; dailymail.co.uk. Return to text.
- Wynne-Jones, J., Christian magistrate sues Government over placing children with gay couples, The Daily Telegraph, 26 November 2006; telegraph.co.uk. Mr McClintock lost his case. Return to text.
Excellent article on how the Christian world view is being dismantled one small piece at a time. It is an excellent example of how morality can be legislated and immoral propaganda forced upon the people.
I would like to add a couple of thoughts to this excellent article. God didn't just give Noah permission to eat meat. He actually commanded it. In the original Hebrew, the verb is in the qal form, which means something that God commands that WILL happen; it's inevitable. So we are actually commanded to eat meat. A vegan diet is deficient in a number of critical nutrients that were undoubtedly supplied by vegetables and fruit in the ante-diluvian world. These were no longer available after the flood. The second point I would like to add is that children deserve dignity as well, and forcing them to be raised by a homosexual couple violates THEIR dignity. Children NEED and DESERVE a parent of each gender, in order to learn how to relate in a close relationship with each gender. I have seen the damage when a parent of one gender is missing from the home, and it is NOT pretty. And the damage can last for generations.
What annoys me most about this issue is that politicians are afforded a conscience vote on legislation to remove everyone else's right to have a conscience. Once the legislation is in, you don't have a choice anymore and the talons of discrimination are able to be extended and perverted to circumvent your constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion. We already see this in abortion legislation where those doctors that have a moral compass and are uncomfortable killing human babies are persecuted.
That said, I think we as Christians need to be more careful with the message we are sending with respect to the homosexual community ... we should not be afraid stand up for what God thinks is wrong, but Christ would want us to genuinely care for the gay community as much as anyone else in need.
It is shocking (for us Christians) to see how ''good'' is defined by society. That ''human rights'' prevail over God's laws. That children are put in harm's way to benefit the devious ways of some people who intentionally reject what God intended for us. But i'm no longer surprised. It is to be expected when the general population is walking against God. And we shouldn't be surprised if things get much worse. By messing up the children , the enemy is preparing the next generation to be worse than this one ! Christians should definitely stand up for God & His ordinances but at the same time , we should keep in mind that this world will be restored ONLY when Jesus comes back. (Acts 3:21).
In short, true religion supports "good"; the state defines "good."
Winston Churchill who symbolized the struggle against such evil is rolling in his grave.
What is ironic is that the UK shelters, and protects from criticism both the Islamists and homosexuals, yet the Quran instructs faithful Islamists to rid the world of homosexuals!
Anything that is contrary to the biblical worldview has to use the disingenuous subterfuge of arbitrarily defining the premise and the meaning of words in order to hoodwink the many into accepting their cause. For example the catchwords "human rights", "tolerance" and "equality" are defined by the ungodly in such a way as to stack the deck in their favor but nevertheless any discerning person would immediately notice all their inherent contradictions and such have been illustrated in this article cogently and clearly.
This is just the beginning of a process that will lead to Christianity being seen as a deluded, anti-social, or even dangerous, worldview. I think we all know what will follow.
Yes, sadly the UK's definition of 'rights' is nothing of the sort. The gay rights agenda (for example) has become so populist among political circles that any hint of anything that is deemed 'intolerant' towards them is persecuted. The once 'persecuted' have become the persecutors with intention and aggression at times. This has gone so far as to remove capable and sound Christians from employment and to close down Catholic adoption agencies in a time of shortage of adoptees. The god of 'equality' has become king in the UK, unless you are talking about equality for Christians. Time after time we have seen Christians persecuted for simply believing something from the Bible. Yet (for example) the gay rights agenda does not want equality - it wants to force everyone to accept, agree with, support and even promote its agenda (as does the humanist lobby). At the same time, Christians are wrongly accused of 'bigotry' while sometimes vicious voices (and death threats) are hurled at very peaceful and loving Christians, accusing them of 'hate' (This reveals the true demonic spirit behind it). Yet Christians are not hateful! Who is the real bigot? The one who wants freedom to believe the Bible? Or those who seek to silence any view but their own and to force others to believe their view?! The same is true with creation, where aggressive atheists demand to silence and oppose God's truth, demanding no school teaches creationism. Meanwhile, society continues to crumble and the very people working to strengthen the nation (the church) are often silenced. But there is hope... The church in the UK is growing and inner cities are seeing change through prayer and God's transformation of lives! God's Word is true and the gates of hell shall not prevail !
They upheld the 'rights' of the parents, but ignored the 'rights' of the child. Would they allow the child to be given to a couple of parents who were addicted to LSD and guilty of past homicide? No, of course not! Why? Because it may harm the child! They need to consider all of those who are affected by the action, and not just people who have become politically correct to defend, like homosexuals in this case. The fact that they defended the homosexuals and not the child shows that they are more concerned with their reputations than the well-being of others. Did this child at least get to choose whether or not to become adopted by the homosexual couple?
"Denying the gay community the ‘right’ to adopt children, for example, would prevent them from living full lives." Seriously?!? If you choose a lifestyle that prevents you from NATURALLY living a full life, then you have to live with the consequences of that decision. If you choose a homosexual lifestyle, then you naturally deny yourself the right to have children. If you want the right to have children, don't choose a lifestyle that robs you of that right. If you want to preserve your "dignity" then don't choose a lifestyle that robs you of that dignity. Simple!!! No magistrate on earth should be forced to forego their own dignity in order to restore someone else's. And as you mentioned in the article, what about the dignity of the children involved? By placing a child with a homosexual couple, the rights of the child to have a mother AND a father are being denied. So, the dignity of two sets of people is being robbed in order to satisfy the aspirations of one set of people! Where is the justice in that?
We are all equal but some are more equal than others.
This article (and others that are like it) makes me worried that the U.S. is going to be just like the U.K. if we as Christians do not stand up to the atheist/evolutionists. We have to find a way to show people (who are open to truth) evidence for creation. We cannot let Bill Nye, Dawkins etc just walk all over us.