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Riga Declaration on Religious Freedom, Family Values and Human Rights
The following, presented in the order in which they are cited, are excerpts from the human rights documents listed in the Riga Declaration. These excerpts are only representative selections of what, in several cases, are lengthy documents. The reader is reminded that in law, the terms in which human rights principles may be stated may be either positive (e.g. the express promise of religious freedom in King Cyrus' Charter) or negative (e.g. the threat of punishments for sexual crimes which violate family relationships in the Code of Hammurabi). This summary of supporting documentation is a work in process. Further documentation will be added at a future date.
The Charter of Human Rights of King Cyrus the Great
I am Kourosh (Cyrus), King of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon... I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them... I [will] never let anyone oppress any others, and if it occurs , I will take his or her right back and penalize the oppressor... To day, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion.
The Magna Carta
KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom... FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired...[and] This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man
The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man... Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:
10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
The Code of Hammurabi
[These are the] LAWS of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established. A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land. Hammurabi, the protecting king am I...
129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves.
130. If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless...
136. If any one leave his house, run away, and then his wife go to another house, if then he return, and wishes to take his wife back: because he fled from his home and ran away, the wife of this runaway shall not return to her husband...
154. If a man be guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall be driven from the place (exiled).
155. If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be bound and cast into the water (drowned)...
157. If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father, both shall be burned.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them... 2:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they will become one flesh...
Leviticus 18:6 "'No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord... 20 "'Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her... 22 "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (NIV)
The Christian Bible
Matthew 19:4 "Haven't you read," [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness... 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 16. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
The Declaration of Independence
"[T]he Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle [the people of an independent nation]"... "to assume among the powers of the earth [a] separate and equal station...
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... We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, [appeal] to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
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