David Robertson: The religion of Human Rights is anti-democratic

Protesters take part in an anti-terror and Human Rights march  in Germany. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)

Protesters take part in an anti-terror and Human Rights march in Germany. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)

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The elites tell themselves how they ‘care for the poor’, but they want to nanny them, says David Robertson.

There is a new religion in town. It alone knows the truth. It is intolerant, authoritarian and anti-democratic.
Like many of its cult-like forbears in the West it has its roots in Christianity but has become quite specifically anti-Christianity– the child seeking to devour the mother. It is very powerful and holds sway amongst many of the academic, political and economic elites. It’s the religion of Human Rights.

Rev David Robertson former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland

Rev David Robertson former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland

Why call human rights, surely de facto a good thing, a religion? Because it carries all the hallmarks of the narrowest of fundamentalist religions. Human rights are of course a good thing – just like peace, love and justice are good things.

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The major difficulty is that the term Human Rights is used as though it were self-evident what it means. But it isn’t. Let’s just take one example – abortion. Is it a human right for a mother to be able to take the life of her child in the womb? If you understand that the baby in the womb is just a blob, a clump of cells, then there is no problem for you. I am not going to rehearse all the arguments here, but this issue is just one that challenges the narrative of those who believe that human rights are self-evidently obvious. The question then moves on from what, to whom. Who decides what human rights are? The answer is of course those in power. The wealthy elites. Those who control the media, politics and the academic, legal, arts and economic establishments are the ones who determine what the rights are for the rest of us.

The danger of this is that is becomes a self-perpetuating elite that negates democracy.

In a debate on abortion I was told that ‘you don’t get to vote on abortion’. This new authoritarian religion means that ordinary people don’t get to vote on many major social, political and economic issues. Who cares about how people vote or what elected representatives do – all the elites have to do is go to the unelected institutions to overcome democracy and get their way anyway.

Why does this matter? Because when we live in a technocratic rather than a democratic state it is the poor, the powerless and the marginalised that suffer the most.

The elites will of course tell themselves how much they ‘care for the poor’, but they want to nanny them, not empower them. You don’t get to vote on what the Establishment has already decided.

If we refuse to regress to the idea that the state determines morality and creates its own human rights religion, then is there an alternative? Where does morality come from?

The Christian answer was and is, God. An absolute morality is the only way to prevent the rich and powerful determining morality for us all. The West was able to develop concepts of freedom, equality, diversity and tolerance because of its Christian heritage. If we replace that religion with a human rights religion, which takes the fruit of Christianity without the roots, we will soon find that the fruit too will wither, and we will be left with an authoritarian, anti-democratic elitist technocracy that damages society and humanity. It’s time to return to our roots.

David Robertson is a former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. He blogs at www.theweeflea.com

David Robertson is a former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. He blogs at www.theweeflea.com

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