I would like to qoute some people from the another tread to start it of.
I would argue that from an Orthodox view that rights is an ambiguous concepts & always problematic. First of all why do we so often allow this concept to occupy the entire arena of charity or dignity in regards to other human beings? Is racial prejudice unaddressed unless it is rights that is used to do so? What of general Christian attitudes over the ages by which we have been taught to see the image & likeness in everyone we meet? This is hardly without effect on a society where it has been a guiding value.
I have to agree with Fr Raphael here. I would be much more open to the idea that "rights" are important if one could find anything in the Gospels or in the Fathers advocating "rights" as something needful (or even beneficial) to the Christian life. Nowhere do I find anything about "rights" in the words or life of Christ. I find alot about love and compassion and mercy and humility and so on - but nothing about "rights". Rights are not a Christian concept - they are a legal concept. Rights only exist within the law as a means to force one person to act with respect towards another person. If we are Christians then our goal should not be to fight for the rights of anyone else, but rather to respect all men and encourage our society as a whole to respect others. We do not live according to the law, but we live according to the love of God (a much more stringent standard, btw).
As for rights, let me quote for St Nicolai of Ochrid:
"Our real value we never reveal through the using of our rights but through our capacity for service and sacrifice. It is easier for a man to get his own rights than to lose his pride."
So you see "rights" are not really an important part of the Christian faith anyway and may, in fact, impede the Christian life by preventing the acquisition and practice of humility.
There is another post by Father Raphael which is too long to include here but he adds to it in a post below.
To try to clarify what I am speaking about above and the crucial distinction between rights in pre modern societies and rights nowadays.
Rights in pre modern societies were like a given set of tools in your tool shed. These given tools matched the specific life you were given and served to enable it. To use these given tools was first your responsibility and then (given resistance from some outside force) your right.
Notice though how in modern times rights have been transformed from external tools into interior barometers of what I as an individual feel to be right. In other words the whole process of discernment has been made individual according to what I believe, feel, am attracted by.
Now this has been going on now for so long and is seen as so normal that no other standard seems realistically available. But once people come to the Church then something else, that is radically different is available. I suppose that what happens is that for the first time in our lives we begin to face outwards, towards God and neighbour in a genuine way, rather than inward using this as the gauge for all things as we so often do. And once this begins then many things which seemed normal to us, the very expressions of who we really are, fall by the way as unneeded or even harmful.
There are many posts on that thread including the one which Father Raphael posted before the above quoted one that are of interest but I do not want to make this post too long by posting them all.
Father David quoted Saint Nicolai of Ochrid in one of his post and I think it would be good to try to find more of the Holy Fathers views on this also.