Which Is The Greater Right?

Washington DC 6

(FreeImages.com/GregPinkston)

I was recently involved in a friendly debate/discussion regarding rights.  I awoke this morning, thinking about individual rights, and my conclusion to the matter is also my introduction to this post:

Both the Democratic party and the Republican party support the free exercise of rights.  The debate is really over which right or which freedom is the more important one to protect with legislation.

Which is the greater right?

I am going to do my best to respectfully express both views and the rights and/or freedoms that are being debated by each side of the arguments.

I will try to not over-simplify the issues, but realize, for the sake of clarity, the arguments will be abridged.

I. Gun Rights Vs. Gun Control

Gun Right activists believe in the right to protect oneself and to bear arms.  They believe that, according to their Second Amendment rights, they should be able to buy firearms in order to defend themselves or another innocent citizen from dangerous criminals.

Gun Control activists believe in enforcing stricter laws to protect the welfare and safety of the general public.  Their goal by enforcing stricter gun control laws is to prevent criminals from having as easy access to weapons that can be used to harm the general public.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Freedom To Protect Oneself & Bear Arms

Vs.

Protecting The Welfare Of The General Public

Note: There is much more to this debate.  For example, Gun Right Activists debate how personal firearms have been used in numerous occasions to protect citizens.  They also argue that criminals never obey laws so gun regulation is really about curbing the rights of law-abiding citizens rather than criminals.

Gun Control Activists argue that they are for legislating the regulation of specific types of firearms.  For clarity, see the following link, differentiating the types of firearms and what those actual terms mean: http://www.gunsandcrime.org/guntypes.html

II. Wearing A Burka In Public

Vs.

Public Safety (Travel) — Protecting The Welfare of The General Public

France passed a law on April 11, 2011, preventing the wearing of Burkas in public places.  The argument, supporting this legislation, was for the safety of the general public.  To understand some of these issues at stake, read the following: http://www.dw.com/en/five-years-into-ban-burqa-divide-widens-in-france/a-19177275.

The argument supporting an individual’s right to wear a Burka in public places falls under the category of Freedom of Religion.  Those arguing in support of Burka-wearing in public places believe that individuals should have the right to exercise their personal religious convictions.

The argument against Burka-wearing in public places is that religion is a private matter and should not be expressed when it places the public sector at greater risk.

Freedom Of Religion (Within The Public Sector) Vs. Welfare Of The General Public

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

III. Socialized Healthcare Vs. Individual Health Plan Options

The arguments for socialized healthcare is that every individual should have access to the same healthcare as everyone else.

The arguments for individual health plan options are that individuals should have the option whether they want to purchase healthcare or not, to have healthy competition within the healthcare marketplace, and to have options when it comes to the price and quality of their healthcare.

For more information on this debate, see the following sites: http://healthcare.procon.org/ and http://www.balancedpolitics.org/universal_health_care.htm.

Right For Every Citizen To Obtain Proper Healthcare

Vs.

Right To Have Individual Freedom Of Choice In Their Own Healthcare

Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

IV. School Vouchers Vs. Mandatory School/Property Tax

The argument for school vouchers is that citizens feel they should have a say in where their money goes and therefore greater choice in the where and what of their children’s education.

Those supporting mandatory school taxes argue that it is the government’s responsibility to insure that all children receive a proper education.  (Therefore, the government needs to tax its citizens in order to cover the costs of education.)

Freedom To Choose What Type Of Education Your Children Receives And To Have A Say In Where Your Money Goes

Vs.

Right To An Education

The argument could be made that this over-simplifies the issue because vouchers do not prevent children from having an education.  It merely gives greater opportunities in the selection of educational choices.

V. A Woman’s Right To Choose (What Affects Her Body) Vs. The Unborn’s Right To Life

The argument in support of a woman’s right to choose abortion is that it’s her body and therefore, her choice.  It is argued that she should not be forced to become a mother if she doesn’t want to be.

The arguments in support of the unborn’s right to life is that the unborn baby is a separate being (separate blood types, different gender, different physical characteristics, different DNA, etc…) — a human.  Therefore, it is argued that the unborn baby has the right to the most fundamental and basic of human rights: the right to life.  It is argued that the child’s right to life should not be based upon its ability to defend itself or upon its dependence upon another to survive.

Freedom To Exercise Personal Choice Vs. Right To Life

Declaration Of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,

VI. LGBT Couple’s Right To Hire Any Professional Or To Shop From Any Business They Choose

Vs.

A Private Business Owner’s Right To Choose With Whom They Make Business Transactions, Based Upon Personal, Religious Convictions

The arguments in support of the LGBT Community’s right to shop where they want is that they should have equal opportunity to obtain the same goods and services as any other individual.

The arguments in support of the private business owner’s right to choose with whom they interact with in business transactions is that they should be able to choose how they operate their own personal business and that they should not be forced to do something that goes against their religious or moral convictions.

Again, this is another sticky debate — with many sides to consider.

It is argued that views against homosexuality are a personal matter and therefore should be kept out of the public sector.  In addition, it is argued that every paying citizen should have equal access to services.

It is also argued that private business owners should not be forced to do something that goes against their religious convictions, thus infringing on the Freedom Of Religion.

It could be argued that there are many choices available from where to shop, and you don’t have to force your lifestyle/opinions on another.  The point of this blog is NOT to make a stand for or against this issue, but I would say that my husband and I choose to not shop at various stores due to the dubious ingredients they use, due to the offensive content of the merchandise they carry, and/or due to unfair business or trade practices they use.

It could also be argued that there would be a major civil issue if business owners started to withhold their services to various groups of people, based upon their ethnic or religious backgrounds. Again, the point of this blog is NOT to make a stand for or against this issue, but I would be upset if a business owner decided to prevent me from shopping at their store due to my religious affiliation.

Once again, the debate is over which right or freedom is perceived as the most important:

The Right For All Citizens (Regardless Of Lifestyles/Values) To Have Equal Opportunity Vs.

Freedom Of Religion (To Exercise Religious Values Within The Public Sector)

Note: I need to clarify that this is not preventing religion within the private sector, but it is preventing the free exercise of religious views by a private business that interacts with the public sector.

Bill Of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What I find interesting is, when you look at each of these separate issues and then at the issues at whole, people often pick and choose which right and freedom they support — rather than the actual right or freedom those issues support.  When you look at the actual freedoms and rights these issues represent, you see that there are double-standards on both sides of the political parties.

If we want to see these issues with clarity, maybe we need to stop shouting the buzz-words and being distracted by all of the personal issues but instead look at the issues from the standpoint of which right or freedom is truly the more important freedom or right to defend.

One final thought: I actually think it is possible, in a number of these cases, to be able to find a solution that integrates and supports the rights and freedoms of both groups/individuals. 

Save

Save

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Which Is The Greater Right?

  1. Interesting unbiased perspective. Personally I will vote for what more closely associates with my convictions from a biblical perspective. I don’t want to force my beliefs on others but I will vote for my personal convictions as I believe others should. Everyone has a right to their own opinions and to vote how they choose. That’s the beauty of having freedoms in America and I hope these are never taken away.

    1. Heather, I definitely vote according to my personal convictions too and based upon a Biblical perspective. I believe that God knows what’s best for all of us. The challenge is understanding or interpreting the correct Biblical principle that deals with certain specific issues. Some issues are fairly clear-cut. Other issues are a little more challenging. Thanks for your perspective!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s