Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Human rights born of Christianity

Published:Saturday | March 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I wish to congratulate Daniel Thwaites for his excellent article, 'The Christian root of human rights' published on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, which showed up the folly of Hilaire Sobers, who had the privilege of addressing the Public Law Forum at the Norman Manley Law School recently.

In direct opposition to Mr Sobers attempt to break the link between human rights and religion, Mr Thwaites showed that human rights assume the moral imperatives of religion, especially those of the Christian faith. However, I believe that Mr Thwaites could have gone further, as what is now being extolled as natural human rights owe their historical origin directly to Christianity.

taught by christ

The modern concept of human rights is the product of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. But the United Nations is the product of the League of Nations, which was formed after the First World War. The main person who was responsible for the formation of the League of Nations was President Woodrow Wilson of the United States.

What was the motive for his advocacy for this body? He wanted to put the Sermon on the Mount taught by Jesus Christ into international relations. In other words, the root of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the teaching of Jesus Christ.

It is sad to see intelligent persons trying to establish a philosophy not only on sand, but on quicksand.

The truth is that the theory of human rights has never rested on man's humanity, but on man's divinity. The basic premise of the original theories of human rights was that human beings were created "in the image and likeness of God", and so had certain inalienable rights.

As merely advanced animals, human beings have no more rights than a cow, or a chimpanzee. God is essential for human rights. For them to be valid, therefore, human rights have to be thoroughly theocentric. One hopes that Mr Sobers' philosophy will have no influence in Jamaica.


Spaldings PO, Clarendon