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A Rare U.N. Victory Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Thursday, 07 January 2010

In what has become an ongoing skirmish over homosexual rights, the United Nations General Assembly two weeks ago narrowly rejected a reference to a controversial re-writing of a foundational human rights treaty. In the voting, Catholic countries did not conduct themselves very well.

The treaty is called the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and is one of the two implementing hard-law treaties of the iconic, but nevertheless non-binding, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Last summer the U.N. committee charged with monitoring compliance with the treaty re-wrote the forty-four-year-old treaty to include “gender identity and sexual orientation” as new categories of non-discrimination, similar to established categories such as race, sex, religion, and national origin.

What happens at the United Nations and the international level generally is that one action builds upon another and another until eventually proponents claim there is a new international norm that is binding upon states. Following this strategy, homosexual advocates in the General Assembly included a reference to this re-writing of the treaty in a largely non-controversial resolution on human rights. If the reference had been accepted, advocates would have claimed General Assembly approval of the new interpretation, hence adding authority to what for now is the action of a small and unknown committee.

Here are just a few problems with this latest front established by the homosexual internationale.

First, this is a sneaky and even dishonest way to establish human rights. Why not try to walk through the front door rather than using the pronouncements of unknown committees? Among other things, the recent effort has the effect of undermining a genuine understanding of human rights and international law.

Second, “sexual orientation and gender identity” are elastic terms that will come to mean practically anything in the hands of ideologically motivated lawyers and judges.

Though the vote was close, 76-72, there is nonetheless a solid bloc of states at the United Nations who are willing to stand up to elite opprobrium and reject the homosexual agenda. The bad news is that the effort to stop this nonsense is being led almost exclusively by Arab and Muslim states, while largely Catholic countries are voting on the other side.

The effort to retain the language was led by Finland and supported by such traditionally Catholic European countries as Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal, and Malta. Catholic countries in Latin America followed suit including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and the Philippines.

The Holy See is a non-voting member of the General Assembly, so it did not vote and did not make a statement. However, the Holy See’s position is fairly clear.

In a statement to a U.N. panel exploring discrimination against homosexuals, a Holy See representative reiterated the Church’s position that homosexuals should not be executed or subject to “torture, or other cruel and inhuman and degrading punishment.”

However, the 1986 Letter on the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (then headed by Cardinal Ratzinger) is still operative. It says, “the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

And last year, when given a chance to sign a French petition calling for “sexual orientation and gender identity” as new protected categories, the Holy See declined. Why? Because the Church holds there is a distinction between just and unjust discrimination. Establishing “gender identity and sexual orientation” as new protected categories would eliminate that distinction and impinge upon religious freedom and protections for children, the family, and society at large.

The current international flirtation with homosexual rights is a creature almost exclusively of northern elites and a few in the south who want northern approval and northern money. Wherever you go in the world – Africa, Asia, Latin America – traditional people uniformly reject approval of the homosexual lifestyle. If these efforts ever succeed at the United Nations or elsewhere, it will be against the overwhelming wishes of the people. In the meantime, let us pray for the continuing resolve of the Muslims.


Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.


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Comments (17)Add Comment
0
Timely and Thorough
written by William H. Phelan, January 08, 2010
Thank you, Mr. Ruse, for this clear and informative piece. Here in N.J. our Senate just voted down yesterday a bill which would have allowed "same-sex" marriage. The Vatican has been supported by the Muslim States in the U.N. on the subject of abortion as well. Your explanation that the "elites" are pushing this agenda answers a question I have had for some time. Please keep your timely and thorough articles coming!
0
U want me 2 pray 4 what?
written by Jacob, January 08, 2010
That'll be an interesting prayer Mr. Ruse: "God please grant the Muslims strength and willpower to achieve their goals..well except that goal about killing me and everyone who shares my societal orientation, but the other one about not letting the gay agenda take over (and minus the part about stoning or beheading them)."
0
I hate to remind you...
written by Chuck, January 08, 2010
I hate to remind you that inside the Church we still struggle with a powerful homosexual faction. I say this not to demean the Church at large, but to remind all Catholics that the time is at hand to put the acting in sync with the talking. I am Catholic and I love the Church but I don't approve--nor anyone should--tolerating what is so obviously going on in many dioceses
0
...
written by Jacob, January 08, 2010
By the way..maybe more than a link about Archbishop Weakland? Sounds like another bumbling yet breathtaking mistake made by the Church hierarchy. I too love the Church but give me a break 450k for a statue of this incompetent??? That wouldn't have helped feed children? I have no problem donating to Catholic charities, but maybe they should send some of those letters to the guys who are spending 450k on a statue of a guy who from what I can tell has done far more harm to the Church than good.
0
Hope for Christendom
written by Willie, January 08, 2010
It is disgusting to see the power of the elite in the post-Christian world. The Catholic world flounders in homosexual agendas and decreases its population while the Muslim world insures its vitality. So much for the clash of civilizations. We are loosing. Our fervent prayer these days should be that the Christian world and the Church is able to cleanse itself of this love affair with sodomy. If this doesn't happen we, despite our sophisticated weaponry, will decay.
0
Decline of the West
written by Joseph, January 08, 2010
Another sign of the Apocalypse when so-called Catholic countries play the PC game and let the Muslims take the high moral ground.
0
The War on Islam
written by William H. Phelan, January 08, 2010
Mr. Ruse, as I am sure you are well aware, the main thrust of the neocons is to militarily destroy Islam as was previously done (by other means) to Christianity. They argue they want to "democratize" them, but the real reason is to dissolve their strong religious beliefs so the West can further its agenda. They refer to us as The Great Satan and there is plenty of evidence we are. Atheistic Communism has been supplanted by Atheistic Capitalism. Remember "Russia will spread its errors..."?
0
To Mr. Phelan
written by Brad Miner, January 08, 2010
Mr. Ruse may wish to respond; I feel the need to address your use of the portmanteau word “neocon.” The current Admin. is facing the destructive intent of a certain version of Islam, but neither Obama nor Bush has ever pursued a policy intended to destroy Islam. Destroy Al Qaeda, yes; marginalize Hamas and Hezbollah, yes. Mr. Bush’s paeans to democracy derive more from his Evangelicalism than from neoconservatism. To call America satanic and conflate capitalism and communism is to gravely err.
0
...
written by Maria José Figueiredo, January 08, 2010
Maybe we should stop calling Catholic those countries we used to so call. Today, in my so-called Catholic Portugal, gay marriage has been approved by a majority of MPs, and will become a law; the 90000 plus signatures calling for a referendum on the matter before the approval have been cavalierly ignored by the same majority. Bear in mind that, from now on, leader-wise, we count as a pagan nation.
0
The Evangelicals
written by William H. Phelan, January 08, 2010
Thank you for pointing out my error Mr. Miner. How foolish I was for not realizing that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Adelman, Woolsey, Bolton, Wurmser, Kagan, Krauthammer, Kristol, Safire, Feith, Libby, Abrams, et al. all of whom tout the need to democratize Iraq and the Middle East, when they cannot find WMD, were Evangelicals and not something else. How many abortions occur in Muslim lands? Uncle Sam has 50 million fetal scalps on his belt.
0
...
written by Austin, January 08, 2010
Willie: Catholics in the world still outnumber Muslims and are likely to into the distant future. The Muslim countries have joined everyone else in reaching toward below replacement fertility and we are gaining more converts than they in the global south. The betrayal at the UN is one exclusively of elites and not of the people who are very conservative on this issue no matter where you travel in the world.
0
...
written by Austin, January 08, 2010
I would also point out that the Church comports itself quite well on this issue at the UN. It is the so-called Catholic countries that don't do so well....
0
Prophetic detail
written by Chuck, January 09, 2010
Just before entering the Promised Land the Moabites tempted the Israelites with fornication. The result was a priest Pinchas (Phineas) ended up turning some young guy and his Moabite lover into a human shishkebab and the partygoers were all eliminated that night. They never got to walk the Promised Land. Same with Gideon who had to lay off from his army the men who drank water like dogs do. God has some strange ways of cleaning the ranks. He may be separating the sheep from the goats now.
0
To Ausin Ruse
written by Willie, January 10, 2010
This is comforting, Austin, and I have to agree with you and others who see the springtime of evangelism in the global South. It is sad that the cradle of Christianity is becoming missionary territory.
0
A question for Mr. Ruse
written by Ryan Haber, January 11, 2010
Mr. Ruse: I am not sure I understand one point. You wrote: "the effort to retain the language was led by Finland and supported by... Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal,... Malta... and the Philippines."

By retain, do you mean, the language protecting homosexuals, or the older language that did not give them special status? Finland, I can see being all about gay rights - even Ireland... Poland and the Philippines, though? I am not sure I follow what is being retained.
0
Not Just Portugal
written by Ryan Haber, January 11, 2010
Maria José Figueiredo,
The same pattern is common here in the US. Several of our fifty states have legalized gay "marriage". I believe that every referendum and poll on the issue has seen gay "marriage" voted down. In some places, like California or Maine, the issue failed when expected to succeed. In others, it failed spectacularly. The enemies of Christian morals show themselves to be the enemies of democracy again by pursing these things in courts and legislatures only, now.
0
...
written by Austin Ruse, January 11, 2010
Ryan,

Finland and the Catholic countries voted to retain the language raising "sexual orientation and gender identity" to protected classes in international human rights law.

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