The Universal Right to Be Human

Copyright ZenPencils.com

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is HUMAN RIGHTS.

According to the ZenPencils website, who designed the above poster:

After the horror of World War II, the United Nations was formed in 1945. The UN charter’s main two objectives are ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ and ‘to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.’ In 1946, the UN Commission on Human Rights was established. Chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, the commission drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 ‘as a common standard of achievement for all people and nations’. Today, it is the job of the Human Rights Council, an important body of the United Nations, to promote and protect people’s human rights around the world.

When I read the rights enumerated in the Declaration, It strikes me as sad that it is called a “Universal Declaration” rather than a Universal Statement of the Obvious. Sadly, in the world today. I don’t know of any country, including the United States, where all of these rights are fully embraced.  What is perhaps even more overwhelming is that even in countries where most if not all of these rights are embraced, many people who will claim these rights for themselves, deny them to others in their heart.

I would like to propose that these rights, listed above, represent the famous line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In the scriptures it says in Ephesians 1:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

This passage says that because of God’s grace, he makes known to us his will, which is to bring everything into unity with himself. When we embrace the rights enumerated in this declaration, we participate in God’s plan to bring peace, love and hope to every corner of humanity.

Today I embrace what I like to call the Universal Right to Be Human. Isn’t that really the core of the issue? We each have a right to be human. To be seen by the other as equal. And isn’t that where the breakdown occurs? When people see the other as less human, less valuable, less equal than themselves? When you see someone else as less human/equal than you, it is much easier to mistreat them or deny them the same rights you enjoy. You and I have a right to be fully human and to embrace the freedom that comes with these rights. And, as we all know from Eleanor Roosevelt, “With great freedom, comes great responsibility.” You and I also have the responsibility to see that these rights are afforded to everyone we come in contact with; personally, locally, federally, globally and universally.

I know it is a big ass job. I know that sometimes it seems like an impossible task. But I for one am willing to use whatever voice I have, including this blog, to further these rights. As I said in a previous post, where I likened the dawn of change to the unfurling of a giant flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies where people grab a loop and run across the field revealing the banner:

Now, imagine all of us, men and women, young and old with Jesus in the middle, our hands on the loops of the terminator of history running like hell for the horizon pulling the light of the new dawn across the whole surface of the earth. Do you hear us? Shouting and singing and proclaiming justice for the oppressed and freedom for the captives? C’mon. Grab a loop and run with us. And look! He is making all things new.

Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, I invite you to stand with me as we proclaim the right to be human in every corner of the world. For me my faith compels me to speak justice, to love mercy, to proclaim forgiveness, hope and freedom. If we pray his will be done and then do nothing to see it happen, what good is that? Are we not his hands and feet?

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