Where did the idea of “civil rights” come from? Some people believe it was a Western invention. I don’t know about that. The ancient Romans played an influential role in shaping Western thought and it was Aristotle himself who said, “some races are born to be slaves.” Can we really say “civil rights” are a Western ideal?
Early in Genesis, God makes a powerful comment:
“...from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being” (Gen. 9:5).
What was God saying? He’s saying, “I’m going to hold you accountable for your treatment of your fellow man.”
One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s chief motivations for his civil rights work was the Bible. In his sermon entitled, “The American Dream,” King said this: “There are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God…This is why we must fight segregation with all of our nonviolent might."
There are no gradations in the image of God. King absolutely right.
It applies to race and it also applies to human capacity. The Western world lacks this in the way in which the unborn, special needs, and the elderly are treated.
A few weeks ago, CBS reported that close to 100% of expecting mothers in the country of Iceland who receive a positive test for Down syndrome are terminating their pregnancies.
The network tweeted, "Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion."
Actress Patricia Heaton, from Everybody Loves Raymond fame, took to Twitter with a reply saying, "Iceland isn't actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They're just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
When I think about the issues of racism and abortion, I wonder what a community would be like if everybody regarded every human life as sacred regardless of race, stage of development, or capacity. This is the way life was meant to be.