Human Dignity and the ACLU

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dominic Verner:

On the same day last week, the ACLU both filed suit to protest NSA surveillance and filed suit to block abortion restrictions in Alabama: the dignity of phone users upheld, the dignity of womb dwellers denied. The passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday had Laura Murphy of the ACLU in a huff of moral indignation: “Today’s vote is part of a wave of ever-more extreme legislation in the states and in Congress that interferes with a woman’s ability to make personal and private medical decisions.” …

It’s easy to assert human dignity. It is, after all, a rather flattering complement to our species. Who but the most self-pitying soul would reject such a sincere compliment? Dignity? Yes, please. Rights? Certainly!

Humanism is easy, but to its devotees in the ACLU we might pose the following challenge: What happens when your assertion, your flattering compliment to our race, is asked to prove its conceptual credentials? As flattering as it may be, human dignity can become rather inconvenient, burdensome, and undesirable, because human beings, even innocent ones, can become inconvenient, burdensome, and undesirable. Can you demonstrate that human dignity is more than an emotivist flattery?

It is of course, but to make such a demonstration the ACLU will have to hear something of the rights of God. Our nature does not belong to Caesar, but neither does it belong to us as individuals. There is only one who exercises the owner’s right, the right to inscribe the order of justice into our very nature. If our nature is merely our own, if it is not a gift from our Creator, then justice, rights, and even “dignity” remain but artifacts, convenient creations of those possessed of political might. The only solid foundation for human dignity lies in this: “we come from God and must return to Him.” Apart from our belonging to God, human rights are as invented as unicorns, human dignity as fictitious as witches.


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