There's been a lot of news about airport security recently. You see, the airlines here in America upgraded their security in response to a terrorist threat, and...no, wait, they upgraded their security in response to absolutely nothing.
Now everyone has to go through Super Security, which involves going through the machine that sees through clothing and having TSA agents touch you everywhere, including the certain private parts that are, ahem, in the "no-fly zone".
Needless to say, everyone is very upset that airports are taking nude pictures and feeling people up.
The local airport at San Jose recently underwent a ten-year reconstruction project, and to celebrate the "new" airport, they set up a mural of people's hands on the side of a five-story building. It's really creepy to drive by and see humongous hands all over the building. It reminds me of a horror movie, where all these hands started popping out of the ground and...*shudder*.
The hands are supposed to represent the different people of the community, who work together in mutual love and trust. But now that the airport officials have begun touching people in inappropriate places, the hands have taken on a very different meaning.
My favorite part in this whole airline security drama has been watching the US Congress do nothing about the situation, while pretending they are, in fact, doing something. For example, I read a news report on Defense Secretary Hilary Clinton, who made an official statement, pledging that she will do everything in her power to protect people's privacy and uphold their basic human dignity. Ha ha, I am joking, of course. What really happened is that Hilary made some compassionate remarks about how she "understands" why people are upset. However, she will not change anything because traumatizing innocent citizens helps protect our country, by jingo.
The report ended with an interesting fun fact: she doesn't have to go through the new airport security. It's very comforting to know our leaders approve of the new security measures...but they don't approve of them enough to actually undergo them.
Now, personally, I didn't like airports to begin with. They make you show up two hours early for your five AM flight, just so they can tell you it's been cancelled, and you're forced to pay for a hotel room. These new security measures are just icing on the cake of reasons to never use airplanes.
As a priest in training, I can't help but be reminded of some statements that Pope Benedict has made about human rights. Human rights are based off the principle that humans are made in the image and likeness of God. As the US Constitution says, humans have certain inalienable rights, bestowed on them by their Creator.
But in a world where society at large doesn't believe in a creator god, human rights tend to evaporate. In a world where humans are the by-products of random chance, there is no reason for giving them special treatment. In other words, when God is the basis of human rights in society, and you eliminate God, you also eliminate human rights.
Historically, people justified an abuse of human rights by saying the victims are not humans, so they do not deserve rights. Today, people justify abusing human rights by saying that nobody deserves human rights. It's a slight twist in thinking, and a dangerous one at that.