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« Goldberg on A-jad and Columbia | Main | Watergate Revisited »

September 28, 2007

Colson on A-jad and Freedom

And, to make it a trifecta, the third strong Friday column on A-jad's excellent Columbia adventure belongs to our own Chuck Colson, who reminds us of the true foundation of human freedom:

On the international stage this week we saw on display two visions for the world and its people: a vision of tyranny, a vision of freedom.

First at Columbia University, and later at the UN, we had a preening and blustering Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the apocalyptically minded president of Iran.

While the invitation to speak at Columbia was outrageous, I do credit the students for asking the right questions. They forced attention on Ahmadinejad’s crimes, present and planned: the dream of an exterminated Israel; the death penalty for homosexuals; oppression of women and persecution for Iran’s Christian population; the quashing of political dissent; and the funding of regional terrorism.

...In 1973, President Nixon sent me to Moscow to negotiate for the release of Soviet Jews. I told Vasily Kuznetsov, the hard-line Soviet deputy foreign minister, that if the Soviets did not allows Jews to emigrate, Congress would not pass the trade treaty, which the Soviets desperately needed to get grain.

Kuznetsov pounded the table and shouted, “You have no right to interfere in our internal affairs!”

I told him, “These aren’t your internal affairs. Human rights are not conferred by government, and they cannot be denied by government. They are God-given to everyone.”

Kuznetsov finally backed down, and that year 35,000 Jews were released—and the grain was shipped.

This vision of human rights is only possible in a Christian worldview—the one that shaped the founding of our own nation, one that sees man as made in the image of God and, thus, with certain inalienable rights, as our Declaration of Independence puts it. It stands in stark contrast to worldviews whose followers, like Ahmadinejad, are bent on destroying freedom.

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Comments

Brian

Thanks for those excerpts and thanks to Chuck for the compelling article. Chuck comments:

Bush reminded the General Assembly that the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as “the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

And so with that in mind, I hope that Chuck Colson will stand by those sentiments which he touts. That "inherent dignity" and those "equal and inalienable rights." I hope that when Chuck Colson thinks of his wife, that thought will spur him forward to speak out on behalf of lesbian and gay people currently denied equality in parts of the country and the world. Because right now, not all are granted equal rights.

I hope he truly means what he says.

Gina Dalfonzo

Brian, Chuck did mention the unjust executions of homosexuals in Iran.

Brian

While I appreciate that Chuck doesn't think I should be hung, that's pretty much the ceiling for civilized society.

Not being subjected to the death penalty because of who you are is not equal rights, it's common sense. Having the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else IS equal rights.

I hope that Chuck Colson will really stand by the "inherent dignity" and "equal and inalienable rights" for ALL people, even gay and transgender people.

Steve (SBK)

Brian,
"inherent dignity" and "equal and inalienable rights" does not mean "live and let live" for ALL people in ALL circumstances. "gay and transgender people" have all the same rights (in 'the West') as everyone else. What they, like everyone else, do not have (or should not have) is the ability to change definitions of words (such as 'marriage') to justify their behavior.
I hope you do not understand 'stand by inherent dignity"' to mean 'approve of anything done by a person'.

Or do you?

Lee

Common sense, as you put it, Brian, is little practiced in the world; have you been following the blogs on Rwanda? (I'm mildly disappointed because I can usually count on much more insightful thinking from you.)

The American Declaration of Independence used the phrase "the pursuit of happiness", not merely "happiness", to describe one inalienable right. Chuck Colson certainly thinks you have the right to life and liberty - so we won't kill you, nor jail you for life. (Hmmm - just yesterday a young couple introduced themselves to me as being "from Siberia". My thoughts raced to Solzhenitsyn's works, and I thought to myself that the introduction was like hearing "Hi - I was born in a prison." Prison Fellowship has reported on cases of children who lived with their parents in prison, because there was no where else to go.) Happiness itself can't be guaranteed, because you might find yourself in unhappy circumstances (either by birth or by choices or even by forces beyond your control).

Because I was not born as a Native American, I do not have access to certain government programs. Am I being denied equal rights? If not, then evidently it's not a violation of equal rights for government programs, or any other regulations and benefits, to be discriminatory.

It just seems to me that generally speaking, most of the time, people in the USA do in fact have equal rights. And this becomes extremely clear when an A-jad comes to speak, or when we venture into one or more of the world's current Killing Fields.

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