Opening Prayer Appropriate For Jackson Center Event

To The Readers’ Forum:

I congratulate the organizers at the Robert H. Jackson Center for inviting a pastor or chaplain to lead an opening prayer before Supreme Court Justice John Roberts spoke and the festivities began last week.

As the prayer properly reminded everyone present, it is God who gives human rights ultimately and we should not forget that these rights are never just the majority opinion of leaders, nations or even the entire world’s population. Human rights have their origination in God, in whose image we are all made. If it were not so, then the efforts of Robert H. Jackson at the post World War II war crime tribunals would have been futile. If not for transcendent moral values from God it would merely come down to one population’s values (Allied western nations) judging another population’s values (Germany’s). As winners of the war, we might impose our standards of justice, or our sense of rights and wrongs upon the losers (Germany), but then that would only be one’s opinion versus another. No.

What was ultimately concluded, and what Robert H. Jackson led, was for transcendent justice, absolute right and wrong, and a verdict and punishment based on real and universal human rights that go beyond mere human opinion. What Hitler and Germany did in WWII can’t be dismissed as simply a difference of opinion or a diverse or different expression of value; it was absolutely wrong based on the transcendent moral standards of God Almighty.

But today, we see individual and social morality being built upon the flimsiness of opinion polls and popular opinion. What was once seen as morally wrong, people today assert as a moral right. Based on what? They say their values are “evolving.” This sounds a lot like the reasoning Hitler gave Germany to justify its immoral treatment of Jews – it’s evolving values following philosopher Nietzsche’s “bermensch” concept, departing from Judeo-Christian moral values and the creation of one’s own values. If we learn one thing from the World War II war crime tribunal it’s this – we need God’s transcendent moral values on earth; mere human opinion or even major vote isn’t enough. The pastor or chaplain who gave the opening prayer at the Robert H. Jackson Center last week reminded us of this important truth once again.

Let’s pray we never forget it.

Pastor Jeff Short