18 Mar Are “Sexual Rights” Legitimate?
I had thirty seconds to tell a room full of delegates at our recent County convention why they should vote for me to be a delegate to the State Convention. Standing in line, nervously awaiting my turn, I had listened to those who went before me; we were all just everyday folks taking pride and interest in our American elections process and each one of us stated as quickly and clearly as we could, what issues and freedoms were most on our minds, and which ones needed to be emphasized and defended. My fellow delegates mentioned freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Some highlighted the 2nd Amendment, but most referred to the Bill of Rights in general, and the essential freedoms they felt were slipping away. By the time it was my turn, I was able to squeak out my genuine admiration for the entire Constitution and share my passionate pro-life position.
No one mentioned “sexual rights” that day. Frankly, it would have been out of place. The people at this convention were concerned about their country, their families, and their liberty. Actual rights like freedom of conscience, of religion and speech, are all fundamental concepts that have been the focus of ethical thought for centuries. Although the “right to life” for the unborn has been recent in comparison, following the sheer magnitude of abortions that have occurred since Roe v. Wade, there is a moral chasm between fighting for the right to live and fighting for the alleged “right” of sexual preference or experience.
However, we must ask, are “sexual rights” legitimate? Organizations like Planned Parenthood (as well as others) tell us that they are. This terminology is used to validate their disturbing trend of selling sex to children in schools, exposing them to graphic material and suggestions at younger and younger ages. However, in order to answer this inquiry, we must begin from where rights originate.
The founding documents of our country, our system of government, and the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, are all based upon the concept of unalienable rights. These rights are unalienable because of their origin, our Creator. This worldview, that all men are created, determines that there is a higher and permanent authority that has granted certain fundamental conditions upon human beings. First and foremost, that each and every individual is valuable. This value is not determined by their fellow men, but by God. When Thomas Jefferson stated “All men are created equal,” it was an acknowledgment of the special creation of man. What separates mankind from the rest of creation is the conscience, which gives us the ability to understand right from wrong and ties the moral responsibility of each person to their choices. Freedom of conscience is fundamental to the human condition, and from the beginning of the human race, has proved that virtue must be freely chosen. Otherwise, it is coerced and violates individual moral responsibility. It was this view of the human race that rights found their origin and meaning. Rights are “just claims” that are legitimate and permanent because they are bestowed by the ultimate authority.
We must place an emphasis on what is just when we question the claim that human beings, including little children, have “sexual rights.” The Biblical, ethical, and traditional view of sexuality is that it is an intimate act, rightly and justly carried out between a husband and wife. It is something wonderful when experienced within a marriage. Sexual intimacy strengthens the bond between a man and woman, and brings forth precious life.
What “sexual rights” as proposed by Planned Parenthood imply, is that human beings have a just claim to whatever sexual act they want to carry out, at any age. There is no reference to the moral, spiritual, or real physical consequences of these choices, and the only legitimacy given for this proposed right is desire. Desire as a foundation for rights means that I can say “If I want to do this act, if I feel an inclination, I have a just claim for carrying it out.” There is no reference to the ethical or moral foundation of this claim, and such a viewpoint reduces the status of the human condition to an incoherent myriad of impulses.
If this is just, then the ancient and traditional definition of justice has lost meaning. Every law and human act has to be redefined (if we are to use desire as a foundation for morality) within this context. Experiencing pleasure becomes more important, and more “moral” than even life itself. This is a dangerous and frightening world view, and when taken to its logical end, it is an anti-human basis for both laws and “rights.”
The fundamental and unalienable foundation for our rights as Americans goes deeper than mere physical desires. If we are honest about the human condition we recognize not only that we are a special creation, but that we are also a fallible one. Desire does not justice and morality make, and we must not exchange “the Good” for what “feels good.” There is no legitimate basis for the claim of “sexual rights”- to say there is, is to redefine and devalue the human race. Freedom of conscience carries with it a temporal caveat; our choices matter, they have consequences, and affect much more than the individual making them. If we change the definition of what is ethical and just, and change the premise of our rights, it will change the fabric of our families, our communities and our nation. We must reason together and cross the moral barriers that have been created by those attempting to redefine humanity.