Milions of people are saddened over the internal exile and attempted silencing of Andrei D. Sakharov by the Soviet government. Despite such setbacks , however, the recognition of the legitimacy of human rights continues to emerge. According to the U.S. State Department's annual report to Congress on human rights around the world: "There now exists an international consensus that recognizes basic human rights and oblibations owed by all governments to their citizens. . . . There is no doubt that these rights are often violated; but vittually al governments acknowledge their validity."
The message is hopeful. But we obviously need more than acknowledgement to ensure human rights for all.
The key question is this: How can every individual on earth be guaranteed the right to live a moral, useful life, free from coercion? Christ Jesus' example gives the best answer. His enemies subjected him to the cross and death, attempting to destroy his mission. But Jesus restored his sense of human life through the resurrection, establishing his claim to be the Son of God. He had told the threatening Pilate, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me,, except it were give thee from above. n1
n1 John 19:11;
Hatred, envy, fear, ignorance, can have no power over man unless God gives it. But God does not give it. His power is good, not evil. Our recognition of this fact, as well as of the concomitant truth that all individuals in reality are ideas of God, governed by Him alone, will help establish the qualities in consciousness that ensure basic human rights for all. Human rights represent, or approximate, the divine right sof man as a child of God emerging. God empowers this daybreak of spiritual freedom.
What are some divine rights? That man be indestructible and pure; that he be free of violence, of any kind of mental, moral, or political slavery; that he be free also of sickness. Man expresses god's attributes of joy, health, justice, goodness, mercy -- forever. These qualities constitute divine rights, and they make up our real selfhood.
Individuals who have understood something of their inherent dignity and worth yearn to express it in moral qualities -- honesty, compassion, humaneness, self-sacrifice, which counteract anger, willfulness, and other negative qualities that violate human rights. The moral qualities are strengthened every time a member of the human race breaks through in thought to realize man's true nature. Morality is essential to justice, which is inseparable from God. And God alone, in the last analysis, has the power to breathe freedom into society. God is the power behind legitimate human rights.
Mortals misconceive man when they view him as a "social animal," materialistic in nature and interests, sensual, obstinate, subject to the merciless laws of matter. Stubborn human will, clinging to political power, force, and coercion, always ends up tripping on its own ignorance and destroying itself.
No ideology based on the belief that man is essentially material has the power to prevent foreever the emergence of man's God- given rights. Mary Baker Eddy, n2 referring to the United States, says: "Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self- government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, dinvine Truth and Love." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 106.
Each of us can claim for all mankind the supremacy of man's divine rights. If we pray deeply and unselfishly, the results will be improved political practices that protect the individual, social mores that honor the family and morality, laws and legal practice that embody the best of the Judeo-Christian heritage. God's government, though invisible to the material senses, is the highest and only real hope of mankind. This government alone can protect and sustain human rights.