The American Idol of Equality

The Bible does not support the modern American concept of equality. In fact in some ways American ideas about equality are completely at odds with the Bible. But the unfortunate truth is that over the past century most American Christians have willing laid down their Biblical faith on the altar of their new god – the god of equality.

It is a sad fact that in 2016 more Americans believe in gender equality than believe in God. According to a 2015 Pew survey, 86 percent of Americans believe in God while another Pew survey reveals that 91 percent of Americans believe in advancing the social equality of women.

“Pew Research Center surveys are not the only ones that have found a long-term decline in the overall share of Americans who say they believe in God. For example, 86% of Americans said in a 2014 Gallup poll they believed in God or a universal spirit, down from 96% in 1994 and the lowest figure since Gallup first asked the question in 1976.”

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/04/americans-faith-in-god-may-be-eroding/

“…the highest levels of support for gender equality are found in Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Roughly nine-in-ten or more in these countries say gender equality is very important.”

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/08/strong-global-support-for-gender-equality-especially-among-women/

And it is not just gender equality.  Whether it be income equality, education equality, racial equality, sexual orientation equality, healthcare equality and host of other “equalities” it is undeniable that the American culture as well as the rest of western countries have bowed their knees to the god of equality.

How should Bible believing Christians react to our culture’s emphasis on these various equality ideologies?

When it comes to this issue of equality we have two choices as Christians.

We can let our beliefs about equality dictate our beliefs about the Bible

Sadly many professing Christians in America and around the western world have chosen this first approach to the subject of equality. While their beliefs in equality are absolute – their beliefs in the Bible as God’s perfect and inspired word are not. Any part of the Bible that contradicts with what their god of equality stands for are dismissed as “cultural” or “temporary” for Biblical times only. Others teach a false Gospel that Christ came not just to die on the cross but to bring about social equality.

We can let our beliefs about the Bible dictate our beliefs about equality

Fewer Christians today than at any point in the history of Christendom believe that the Bible stands as the inerrant Word of God. Yes as Bible believing Christians we understand that we are not under the civil laws, sacrificial laws, cleanliness laws, dietary laws and priestly laws that God gave to Israel as theocracy.  But God’s lasting moral law was enforced and strengthened under the new law of Christ in the form of the New Testament.

We believe what the Apostle Paul wrote when he said this about his writings as well as those of the other Apostles:

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

I Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)

We know that the New Testament stands as the final revelation of God built upon the moral law of the Old Testament.  When accept this fact, then we will accept that the New Testament not only left certain inequalities intact (like slavery) but it also enshrined and reinforced other inequalities such as the social inequality of men and women.  Any honest reading of the New Testament reveals this to be true.

Now that we have established that Bible believing Christians must view the subject of equality through the lenses of the Scriptures we will now look at some hot button areas of equality in American culture today.

What does the Bible say about racial and gender equality?

The Bible teaches that all human beings, men and women and people of all races are equally human.

“24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

Acts 17:24-26 (KJV)

All human beings regardless of their gender or race are equally as human as the first man Adam was and we ought never to regard a person as being less than human because they are a certain gender or race.

The Bible teaches not only the equality of our common humanity but also our spiritual equality as believers in Christ regardless of race, creed or gender:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:28 (KJV)

Does the Bible support the concept of equal justice before the law?

Yes it does. The Bible teaches that all people are to be treated fairly in the eyes of the law:

“You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.”

Deuteronomy 16:19(NASB)

So if a rich man commits a crime and poor man commits a crime they both should face the same justice. If a man commits a crime or a woman commits a crime they should face they justice.  If a black man commits a crime or white man commits a crime they should face the same justice.

What does the Bible say about income equality?

The Bible talks about workers being paid the wages they agreed to be paid but it does not say workers or people in general must be paid equally.  An employer and an employee agree to a wage.  But that employer does not have pay more than the agreed wage because he pays other employees more.

In one of Christ’s parables he talks about a land owner who needs his fields harvested quickly in Matthew 20:1-15. The land owner goes out into the town looking for workers to agree to work in his field that day.  He starts off early in the morning finding some workers and they agree to work for a denarius which was the typical wage for a 10 hour work for field workers.

But he needed more workers for his fields so throughout the day and even towards the end of the day the land owner kept going out and getting workers.

At the end of the day he paid all his workers the same wage for that day even though some had only worked the last few hours of the day while others had worked all day long.  This was the response of the first workers he hired who agree to their wage of a denarius:

“10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’”

Matthew 20:10-15(NASB)

Some have tried to misinterpret this story as teaching that workers must all be paid the same when clearly that is not the case. This story from Christ is actually a powerful example of the natural private property rights that God has given to mankind. Notice what the landowner says to the workers – “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?”

The landowner by paying the men who worked only an hour the same as those who worked 10 hours was paying his workers unequally.  The men who worked at the end of the day got an entire day’s wages while those who worked all day got the same wage.

As Bible believing Christians we should NOT support “equal pay for equal work” laws as these laws violate the natural private property rights that God has given to man.

A business owner has the right to do what they will with their own property including determining the hourly wages of their employees. If a manager chooses to pay blonde people more money per hour than brown haired people or men more than women that is his right as Christ said “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?” We may not agree as workers with how our employers decide our wages but at the end of the day if we agreed to that wage we are not to be envious of another person making more money.

This is the complete opposite of how Americans are taught to view their employers.  We have people suing all the time for unequal pay and this is a violation of the private property rights of the owners of these companies.

On the larger issue of income equality Christ said this:

“7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.”

Mark 14:7 (NASB)

Both in the Old and New Testaments we are encouraged to help the poor.  But the fact is that there will ALWAYS be poor people and there will always be rich people and sometimes there will be those in between. But we will never eliminate poverty in this world.

The giving to the poor in the Old and New Testament was always a temporary thing. And in some cases the poor would have to work for their food.   A man’s giving to the poor was commanded by God and enforced by God – not the government of the nation of Israel.  They did not have tax collectors going around assessing people’s land and taking from them and redistributing to the poor. It was PRIVATE charitable giving, not government taxation and redistribution of wealth as we have in America and other western countries.

Also the giving to the poor was never meant to encourage laziness – in fact the Apostle Paul warns against church giving food to people who are able bodied and could work:

“10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

II Thessalonians 3:19 (KJV)

In the New Testament the specific formulas for charity given to Israel as a theocracy are done away with and giving was to be completely based on one’s free will:

“7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV)

There are many passages throughout the Scriptures that talk about the protection of private property.  In fact in many places in the Old Testament we see laws proscribing remedies for the violation of private property rights. Theft of private property was seen as a much more serious thing than we see it today.

“15 Thou shalt not steal…

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Exodus 20:15-17

Civil government is never granted the right to tax for income redistribution purposes.  To do so is tantamount to legalized theft. The poor are to be supported by private free will charity, not government confiscation of private property for the purposes of trying to bring about income equality.

Socialism and Communism are in direct contradiction with the natural private property rights God has given to man.

So here is the point about income inequality from a Biblical perspective.  The Bible clearly respects private property rights as well as the right of workers to be paid the wage they agreed upon. An owner of a company may pay his workers different wages that they have agreed to and they are not to be envious of what he pays their fellow employees.  The government does have the right to tax but this right should never cancel out a man’s private property rights.

Does the Bible support sexual orientation equality?

The Bible does NOT support the right of gays, lesbians and transgender people to engage in these lifestyles nor does it say that Christians cannot discriminate against these people in offering services to them(like florists, photographers, etc.).

The Bible clearly condemns these types of lifestyles as sinful:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

Does the Bible support healthcare equality?

I would refer you back up to the income inequality section. No the Bible does not require that we offer free healthcare to anyone any more than it requires us to guarantee free food and shelter to all.  Now should people, especially the wealthy donate to hospitals and help take care of the poor? Yes.

“17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good [a]works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”

I Timothy 6:17-19 (NASB)

But again this should be of their own free will.  It should not be based on government confiscation of property and redistribution of wealth.

Does the Bible support education equality?

Again I would refer you back to the section on income inequality.  We do not have a God given right to other’s people’s money to pay for our education. As believers and followers of the Bible we value education.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”

Proverbs 1:5 (KJV)

But let’s be honest that just like equality – education has become an idol in American society.

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

Ecclesiastes 12:12 (KJV)

We have thousands of young people believing they are entitled to a free college education when they are NOT.  In fact it can be shown that education standards have dropped while education costs have skyrocketed because of this philosophy that everyone must go to college.  Universities and colleges are flooded with people who should not be there. I have two words for you – it is called “skilled trades”.

Does the Bible support equal rights for all human beings?

No it does not.  Now you might say “Wait a minute! You just said in an earlier section that we are to regard all people regardless of race or gender as equally human – doesn’t that mean that if all people are equally human they should have equal rights?” The answer my friends is no.

Now we can grant equal rights in certain areas like we did with race and religion here.  The Bible does not forbid us from granting these types of equality.

But there was nothing unbiblical about the racial and ethnic quotas that the US Government had from 1790 to 1965 when racial and ethnic quotas were outlawed as considerations for allowing immigrants into the United States. A nation has the right to preserve its cultural, racial and ethnic makeup through controlling what persons may immigrate to its country.

But if Americans decided to place restrictions or stop immigration from certain countries as we are considering today because of the war with Islamic radicals this is not an immoral action by Biblical standards.

Now unlike the issue of equal rights based on race or ethnic origin or religious liberty rights in the area of gender rights Gods has placed firm restrictions on this regardless of what civil governments decide.

While American law may grant women equal rights with men – Biblical law does not.  And unlike the issue of equal rights based on race or ethnic origin or religious liberty rights God has not left the issue of gender rights open.

Woman are to submit to their fathers and then their husbands when they marry:

“3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; 4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. 5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.

6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; 7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. 8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.

9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.”

Numbers 30:3-9 (KJV)

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

Woman is to submit to Man in the Church

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

I Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

Woman is to submit to Man in society

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

So yes our American society has granted women equal rights with their husbands – but God has not. Another way of putting this is – the American government over the last century as legalized women rebelling against their husbands.

Christian women in America are faced with the same choice that Eve, the first woman, faced in the Garden of Eden:

“1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which theLord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-4 (KJV)

Will you as a woman take the forbidden fruit? Will you try and be equal with your husband as Eve tried to be equal with God?

Will you take advantage of the sin your government condones and rebel against your husband’s authority or will you resist that temptation and follow God’s law?

Conclusion

While the Bible supports such concepts that all people are equally human and equal justice under the law it does not support the modern American philosophy of equality.

The philosophies of socialism, feminism and humanism which are all children of the philosophy of equality are also in direct contradiction with the Word of God.

We all have a choice to make – will we worship the god of equality or the God of the Bible?

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Matthew 4:10 (KJV)

See the articles below that are related to this subject of equality:

Biblical Human Rights vs American Human Rights

Does the Bible teach the concept of “Human Property”?

Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible

Biblical Human Rights vs American Human Rights

What we think of today as “human rights” and how God defined human rights from the beginning of creation are two very different things. Human rights would be defined as those rights every human being has.

There are a lot of different definitions of human rights, some longer and some shorter so I will just offer a brief sample of common human rights that most people in American(and Western) culture believe in.

12 American Human Rights

Below is a list of 12 rights that modern Americans have.  The reason I use the key word “modern” is because some of these rights were not granted in America’s original Constitution and Bill of Rights but were added a century or more after America’s founding.

American Right #1

All persons should have full autonomy (full freedom), regardless of their gender, race, economic standing, national origin, ethnic background or religious beliefs.

American Right # 2

Every person has the right to believe as they will, and worship or not worship as we they will.

American Right #3

Every person has the right to do with their own body as they will (this includes any type of voluntary sexual activity inside or outside of marriage).

American Right #4

Every person has the right to work for and obtain property and do as they wish with their own private property.

American Right #5

No person can sell themselves or their children into slavery and no person may own any slaves (human property is forbidden).

American Right #6

Every person has the right not to be physically abused.

American Right #7

Every person has the right to defend themselves harm.

American Right #8

Every person has the right to choose whom they will marry (or divorce). Men and women have equal rights in marriage, and equal rights to their children and all property between them is to be divided equally about the dissolving of the marriage in divorce (absent a prenuptial agreement).

American Right #9

Every person has the right to a free education (at least up to a secondary level).

American Right #10

No person should be deprived of his property, his freedom or his life without due process of the law,

American Right #11

Every person should be treated equally before the law.

American Right #12

No person may be treated differently by the Government based on their religion, their race, their ethnic background or their gender.

There are many other rights that many Americans believe in (on both the right and the left), but once we get past these rights there begins to be much disagreement. For instance when it comes to rights regarding sexual orientation or rights to health care and other social welfare items, there is still much disagreement in the United States. Also there is a lot of disagreement as to the difference between the rights of children and adults with some advocating for more autonomy among children (taking away parental rights over children).

There has also been a debate over the last century in America as to how we get new rights.  Constitutional “Originalists” believe that new rights may only be granted by following the Amendment process of the Constitution and the Constitution must be interpreted in light of its original intent.  Other Americans, seeing the Constitution as “a living document”, believe that the Amendment process to the Constitution is not necessary for granting new rights.  They believe judges may simply take and find existing Amendments, then reinterpret those amendments to grant new rights.

But now let’s compare and contrast American human rights with the rights given to human beings by the God in the Bible.

7 Biblical Human Rights

While our American founders were certainly flawed men we as Bible believing Christians would agree with what they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”We may disagree as to what those God given rights are, but we agree on the source of those rights.

Below is a list of God given human rights.  Human rights in the Bible are those rights that every class of society had, even slaves.

God Given Human Right #1

Every person has the right to love the one true God, the God of the Bible. Everyone has a right to worship him and obey him even when this conflicts with the wishes of their human authorities.

“You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” – Luke 4:8 (NASB)

We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29 (NASB)

God Given Human Right #2

Every person has the right to be treated fairly and justly

“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 4:1(NASB)

God Given Human Right #3

Every person has the right not to be physically abused.

“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” – Exodus 21:26-28(NASB)

God Given Human Right #4

No person, male or female, may be deprived of their life without due process of the law. Every person should be treated impartially before the law.

“You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” – Deuteronomy 16:19(NASB)

God Given Human Right #5

No person may be kidnapped, which is the illegal acquiring of human property. Only persons who are legally acquired as property may be bought or sold.

“If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.” – Deuteronomy 24:7(NASB)

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.” – Leviticus 25:44 (NASB)

“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.” – Exodus 21:7 (NASB)

God Given Human Right #6

Every person is entitled to a day of rest one day a week

“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” – Exodus 20:10(NASB)

God Given Human Right #7

Every person has the right to defend themselves and their family

“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account.” – Exodus 22:2(NASB)

“fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses” – Nehemiah 4:14(NASB)

Some big differences between Biblical and American Human rights

First off all I want to remind the reader that we are discussing “human rights”, meaning rights that all human beings have in common.

There are many more rights that God gives to various groups such as males vs females, husbands vs wives, free vs slave and adults vs children.  

This discussion of “human rights” is really a discussion of “equal rights between all human beings”.

There are some big differences between what we believe as Americans are human rights and what the Bible presents as rights given by God. Listed below are key differences between Biblical human rights and American human rights.

Except for the 7 Biblical human rights listed above, men and women do not have equal rights under Biblical law.

Except for kidnapping (the illegal acquiring of human property), slavery is allowed under Biblical law. But even slaves as human property are entitled to the 7 Biblical Human rights listed above.

There is no right given to worship any other God, except the God of the Bible.

There is no right to sex outside of marriage between a man and woman.

Only free men have the complete right and power over their own property and decisions. A father could override his daughter’s property decisions, and a husband could override his wife’s property decisions under Biblical law.

No person had a right to education whether paid or free under Biblical Law.

Under Biblical law, discrimination between men and women, Israelite and non-Israelite was not only allowed, it was commanded by God. Even under new law of Christ in the New Testament, there are some differences between how believers and non-believers are treated.

But doesn’t God support more human rights (equal rights) in the New Testament?

Some Christians may concede that there were far fewer human rights given in the Old Testament than in the New. But these same Christians (feminists and egalitarians) would point to this passage from the New Testament which they believe supposedly grants more human rights:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 (NASB)

The truth is that this passage does no eliminate all social classes or gender distinctions between men and women, slave or free, Jew or Greek. It simply affirms an old truth that from the very beginning, all people had a human right to come to the one true God, worship him and obey him regardless of their gender or social status.

If you look into the full context of this passage it is talking about how God would no longer deal with his people through the nation of Israel, but now his people would be represented in a new body, the Church which is the body of Christ. God’s promise of salvation was not restricted to the nation of Israel but rather God saves all people and brings them into his body, regardless of their social status, ethnic origin or gender.

So in the view of some egalitarians, God eliminated all distinction in rights between men and women and he also eliminated slavery or social castes with different rights by this one passage.

But as with any other subject, we cannot take one passage and cancel out all other passages in the Bible. These old allowances and principles were reinstated and in some cases even elaborated on further in the New Testament.

The Principle that that God created woman for man and that he is her head in society, in the Church and in the home is brought forward and reinforced in the New Testament:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God… Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:3 & 9(KJV)

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:23-24(KJV)

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord…” I Peter 3: 1 & 5-6 (KJV)

On the slavery issue – see my post “Why Christians should not be ashamed of Biblical Slavery”.

Conclusion

Our rights do not come from our government, they come from our maker and our God. He gives us some rights that our government does not, and he does not give us all the rights our government does.

Some extra rights that our government gives us are not sinful and therefore as Christians we may enjoy these additional rights that are granted to us in American society. But other rights, such as the right to private sexual acts outside of marriage, the right to engage in homosexual sex or prostitution and the new right to gay marriage are sinful and Christians may not exercise these rights.

Another sinful right that our American society grants is the right to no-fault divorce. God grants no such right. A husband or wife have no right to divorce their spouse expect for if their spouse violates the covenant of marriage by engaging in sexually immoral acts, physical abuse or physical abandonment of the marriage.

We as Christians must never forget that God is the one who created us, and he is the one who defines what it means to be human.  God is the one the grants our grants us our rights, and his commands supersede that our modern cultures and governments.