Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Source of Our Rights

"...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life..." 

- The Declaration of Independence

The Charlie Gard case in Great Britain is a stark warning of the dangers inherent in government-controlled healthcare. This ill and helpless 11-month old baby boy has been handed a death sentence from the highest British court by the decision to discontinue treatment. It's in Charlie's "best interests," the court has declared.

Charlie’s parents are, understandably, quite invested in their son’s survival and continued treatment. As his parents, they should have the right to pursue that course of action. But as the British courts have affirmed, the nationalized healthcare system of Great Britain has the power to usurp parental rights and order their son’s state-mandated death. This is a chilling scenario darker than the foreboding premise of Aldous Huxley’s prescient novel, Brave New World.

This is exactly the type of situation constitutional conservatives are fearful of in an ever-expanding “Big State.” Our U.S. Declaration of Independence clearly states that human rights—the first among them, life--are bestowed upon us by God. Great Britain is not the United States, but all people, everywhere, are endowed by God with the same rights. Put biblically, what the Lord gives, the Lord takes. The Founders recognized that life is the Creator's jurisdiction and incorporated the concept into the text of our first national document. All of humanity exists under one authority.

But if humanity decides to make the rules, exactly whose authority are we under, and how do the rules shift with the changing tides of history and culture? Rights granted by human beings can also be revoked by human beings of a different mindset, in a different time. That’s terrifying.

In Great Britain's national healthcare system, the almighty state has assumed supreme authority over life and death. The parents’ rights come not from God, but from human bureaucrats. So what the government gives, the government takes away.

I don’t know if anything can be done to help poor little Charlie, but that is far from the point. The point is that he has two loving parents who are willing to try anything to save him. The point is that Charlie's parents have that right--in fact, they have that moral obligation. The point is that there are doctors outside Great Britain who are willing to help them in that effort. They, too, have that right.

The point is that God, not the government, endows us with our rights--beginning with life itself.