The Civil Rights Movement — like the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Suffragette Movement before it — fought for the US to live up to the timeless ideals proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr won the last great victory for the Natural Law-Natural Rights principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
In his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963, Dr. King said:
“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
He said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
And Dr. King won, ending the “manacles of segregation.”
Two flagship organizations have subsequently adopted Declaration of Independence-type names and declared themselves to be engaging in the next great battle for Civil Rights.
So the question is, what is the great civil rights battle of our time?
The fact that in many states same-sex couples cannot marry?
Or the fact that every day legal abortion takes the lives of more human beings than were lost in the September 11 attack upon the World Trade Center in New York?
It is easy to argue for “Gay Rights.”
“If two people love each other, then why should they be banned from getting married?”
There are two accurate counterarguments from the Declaration of Independence Natural Law-Natural Rights perspective:
The Natural Law answer: “The Natural Law forbids one person from using another person to fulfill some lesser desire. Sexual love is intimate and must therefore be unconditional. Accordingly, sexual love should incorporate free will (no outside pressure), understanding (no profound ignorance or deception), full self-gift (no polygamy or prenuptial agreement), permanence (no temporary love), and openness to life (no deliberately sterile love). Any other form of sexual love is in some sense using the other person for some reason while holding back from the full power of the sexual act — whether for pleasure, for money, for societal status, or for some other reason. Same-sex relations are inherently and deliberately sterile. Therefore, no institution (such as ‘same-sex marriage’) can be built around endorsing it. Human law should not be in violation to Natural Law.”
The Natural Rights answer: “Government is charged specifically with protecting Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness — in that order. No lesser Right can trump a greater Right. In the Natural Order, children are begotten and raised by their biological parents by virtue of their parents’ psychological, spiritual, and biological complementary called conjugality. In the Natural Order, this conjugality bears fruit at conception in the child’s Life and at the raising of the child in the Natural launching pad for the child’s pursuit of Happiness. Therefore, being raised by their biological parents is part of the child’s Right to the pursuit of Happiness. The governmental recognition of voluntary conjugal marriage protects the child’s right to the pursuit of Happiness without infringing on the parents’ more fundamental right to Liberty. Marriage is exclusively designed to protect the Natural Rights of children to be conceived and raised by their biological parents. The government has no authority under Natural Rights theory to proactively recognize or endorse any other form of marriage, including but not limited to ‘same-sex marriage.'”
There is no question that most people find the articulation of such positions daunting.
Fortunately for social conservatives, the pro-life position is much easier:
“Why shouldn’t a woman be allowed to do what she wants with her own body and the parasitical fetus attached to it?”
Natural Law: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Natural Rights: “The unborn baby from the moment of conception is, biologically speaking, a human being, with a right to Life that cannot be infringed even in the name of Liberty.”
As a result, most social conservatives are more confident about arguing against legal abortion than against legal same-sex marriage. Many of these social conservatives express optimism about the abortion debate and pessimism about the same-sex marriage debate.
The Left’s predictions of inevitable victory on LGBT issues are rattling social conservatives now just as those same predictions on abortion rattled social conservatives in the 70s.
This is misguided and dangerous.
There is only one question that needs to be resolved in the mind of the American public:
Who is the heir of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Declaration of Independence?
The Human Rights Campaign or the National Right to Life Committee?
Both social conservative issues will live or die as the result of the answer to this question.