ORIENTED TO LIFE
We Have a Human Right to Life
Today is Human Rights Day. It is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document proclaims the inalienable rights to which every human being is inherently entitled, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.
There are thirty articles to this document. I recommend reading them all and considering if you are taking advantage of these rights.
I would just like to mention three articles that relate to our right to Life.
Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Once the document establishes that one and all have rights, it goes on to be specific.
The very first right mentioned is our right to life. It is the most fundamental right.
Article 3 Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.
It doesn’t say everyone has the right to partake of industrial consumerism. It doesn’t say everyone has the right to pollute the planet. It says, “Everyone has the right to life.”
If we have a right to life, then we also have the right to everything that supports life. We have a right to food to eat without harmful pesticides, clean air to breathe, and unpolluted water to drink. We have the right to have resources that renew themselves, and to be connected to people who care about us. We have the right to have life continue and not have life be compromised simply for the sake of financial profit.
President Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” Still, it is up to each one of us to ensure that our inherent rights as humans are honored and respected, both for ourselves and others.
If we are, then, to claim this right for ourselves, and grant it to others, then the primary questions for human activities would be “how does this action contribute to life?” and “how does this action harm life?” How well something helps Life thrive should be the guiding principle for everything.