Your “right to life” is not your critic’s “right to life”
When our critics talk about the right to life, they often confuse positive rights with natural rights
Welcome everyone to the case for life. We are here to equip you to defend your pro life views and it’s delight to be with you. I’m Scott Klusendorf, the president of Life Training Institute. And I want you to know that we are not doing social media plugs just to get our name out there. We want to equip you to be an ambassador for the pro life position wherever you are. That could be work, that could be school. That could be in your Sunday school at church. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, but we’ve got resources there to help you. And one of the new resources we have that I’m very excited about, of course, is the new edition of the Case for Life book, second edition. You can see it’s quite a bit larger than what the old one used to be. And there are all kinds of things in here to help you equip yourselves for engagement in a hostile world. One of the things you’re going to hear out there is that when you are pro life, you, you don’t understand what a right to life means. And critics will say things to you like, Oh, well, you don’t get a right to drive till you’re 16. You don’t get a right to vote till you’re 18. So why shouldn’t the right to life. be a gradient right, much the same way as the right to vote and the right to drive are. This reflects a fundamental mistaken notion of what it means when we say that a human being has rights. And let me unpack that for you because more and more people are confused about what what we mean by the word right. For a lot of people, they think if I desire something, I have a right to it. I have a right to a same sex marriage because I desire it. Or I have a right to doctor assisted suicide and having a doctor help me kill myself because I desire to die rather than live. Rights are not based on desires. They are based on something more fundamental. And let me talk about what we mean. When we say the unborn have a right to life, we do not mean the unborn have what we call a legal or positive right that the government grants you. So, for example, you have a right to vote in, in this country at age 18. You have a right to drive at age 16. That right is not a natural right that emerges from the fact you’re human. It’s something you earn. It’s something you attain through age or development or wisdom or jumping through certain hurdles, whatever, that qualify you to have that right. The right to life is very different. It is what we call a natural right. And the confusion between natural rights and legal or positive rights leads a lot of people astray on the topic like abortion. When we say the unborn has a natural right to life, here’s what we mean. In virtue of their humanity, they have certain fundamental rights, including the right to life, that precede politics, precede government. And the best way to illustrate this is to imagine that you are over in England, in the United Kingdom, and you are walking through Trafalgar Square in the middle of London. You do not have a right to vote in the next UK election because you’re not a citizen of that nation. However You do have a natural right not to be gunned down when you’re visiting that country in the middle of the street. Why is that? Well, that right not to be gunned down is not a political right that the American government grants you, or that the British government grants you. Rather, it is a natural right that flows from your humanity. And our forefathers understood this. When you look at the Declaration of Independence, for example, you hear them talking about truths that they consider to be self evident. These are truths that spring from our humanity. They are not truths that government grants. For example, all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. You all know the passage. Okay. None of those rights that were articulated there have anything to do with government granting the right. Rather, they are rights that flow from your nature as a human being. And these natural rights are there in virtue of your humanity. Not some function you perform, not because government decides to recognize you or grant you status as a human being with rights. Rather, government’s job is to understand that as a human being you have rights that are interior to the state. Meaning these are rights that are pre political. They have nothing to do with the government making them up and granting them to you. This is the true basis for human equality. that we all have certain fundamental rights that flow from our nature as being human, not something government can give and take away with the same breath. If you ground human equality in anything other than our natural rights as human beings, what you end up with is equality that can be given by one government and taken by another. That is not a very secure foundation for human rights at all. So the next time somebody says to you, well, It’s no big deal to say that abortion should be allowed up until the end of the first month because after all, we, we have driving privileges that are gradient. We have, we have, um, voting privileges that are gradient. Why not have the right to life be gradient? And the simple answer is because you’re talking about rights in two different ways. In the first way, you’re talking about a right that you have in virtue of your humanity. In the second way, you’re talking about a right that government grants you, and the same government that grants rights can take them away. We say a lot more about this, as I said, on our social media sites that are there for you to equip you. Another thing I want to tell you about, in addition to the, the new book being out, we have a course up now, an online course that you can take 10 sessions that will equip you to defend your pro life views. And let me tell you something about this course. We did not spare any money doing it. We had it professionally recorded. We had the sessions tightened to be very clear about the objectives for each session. And when you take this course, here’s what you’re going to walk away with. A thorough understanding of the pro life view. That means you’re going to know the worldviews that are undergirding the whole debate over abortion. You’re going to know who the major thinkers are. What they believe and how you can respond to them. You’re going to know what a pro life church looks like. And why you play a role in bringing that about. These are just some of the takeaways you get. I encourage you to go to ScottKlusendorf. com and register to take that course. You can do that. Ten sessions. And it will equip you to be a very polished pro life apologist. I hope you’ll take advantage of that. Till next time, we’ll look forward to seeing you then.