The Emancipation Proclamation did not give human rights to the slaves. The slaves emancipated by law had human rights before the proclamation. Lincoln did not make slavery immoral, religion did not do that. The immorality of slavery and the unalienableness of the human rights of slaves was and is irrespective of what the society said or says. Slavery or Jim Crow did not and cannot mediate our humanity or the necessity to treat other human-beings humanely. I have acknowledged this before in other essays. I have chosen herein to repeat myself. I have used the theme herein with slight modification of an idea from another essay–it might be others, plural. I must reiterate this notion of unalienability of rights and their universality and their precedence before the law. This idea that rights–human rights, civil rights, woman’s rights (which are not apart from or other than human rights)–yes, that these rights we hold to be true and self-evident–or at least we must do so to ensure we perpetuate a respect for them–yes, these human rights precede any law that supports them.
We do though have to believe in a universal humanity as well as the absoluteness and the transcendence of that humanity, human rights, humane being. More on these to follow in upcoming entries.