Who Stole the Cookie…? — How the UN Is Robbing Us of Our National Sovereignty and Individual Liberties
Part Four: Criticism of Religion – Free Speech … or Crime?
by Cynthia Toney
The United States, which began as colonies of Europeans seeking religious refuge and has become the foremost destination for those seeking religious as well as other freedoms, now faces the scrutiny of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Under the Obama administration, the U.S. joined a small minority of western nations serving on the Council – formerly shunned under President George W. Bush in protest of its roster of members, many who are human rights violators.
Rather than remain outside the Council, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would now “engage in the work of improving the UN human rights system,” with the goal of “advancing the vision of the UN declaration on Human Rights.”
In March of 2009, a resolution proposed by Pakistan on behalf of 56 states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and adopted by the Human Rights Council named “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation. This resolution stated that Muslims have faced intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. and claimed “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE52P60220090326)
The resolution advised nations to create laws to protect everything considered religious – from sites to symbols – and to shield religious groups from intolerance and protect them from “the incitement to religious hatred” (yet another vague guideline from the UN that would be open to interpretation).
It is no wonder that there was widespread concern from a number of representatives to the UN who believed that stopping criticism of a religion is the same as curbing free speech, especially the free speech of individuals of another religion. The representative of the Observer Mission of the Holy See (an observer only, representing the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church) stated in 2008 that he feared the resolution would lend itself locally to laws that would penalize religious minorities and stifle dialogue. (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/gashc3941.doc.htm)
Some members of the Human Rights Council expressed the opinion that defamation of religion should not be addressed at all within a human rights forum. Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative from France stated that human rights laws do not and should not protect belief systems. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/54982)
In October of 2009, after becoming an active member of the Council, the U.S. sought to orchestrate a negotiation between the western and Islamic nations concerning the resolution, replacing the words “defamation of religion” with “negative racial and religious stereotyping” and condemning advocacy of “religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”
Obscure language does not change the intent. In either case, anyone presenting Islam, its symbols, or its followers in less than favorable light could be subject to criminal charges.
This reconstructed resolution, co-sponsored by the U.S. and Egypt, is viewed as an attempt by the Obama administration to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world—but at what cost?
In making the criticism of religion a crime, the UN and the U.S. would damage the free world, while making it easier for countries with little or no religious freedom to persecute minority religious groups. Note that, in its apparent concern about religion, the UN ignores the existence of God in all its text.
If a binding resolution were to pass, such an international law would be a clear violation of our right to free speech, an “unalienable right” falling under the category of God-given liberty. Even our own Congress is denied taking away that right by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Conclusion: The Power of Suggestion and Ignorance of the Law
Unfortunately, even non-binding resolutions and non-ratified treaties from the UN are being enacted globally. Often, citizens are not aware that their own governments are forcing such rules and regulations upon them without the laws to authenticate them. They simply assume that if they are either forced or denied something, surely a supporting law must exist.
Flying in the face of the United States Constitution, President Obama in 2009 seated himself as chair of the powerful United Nations Security Council, rather than allowing the U.S. Ambassador to the UN to take the gavel (the U.S. Ambassador was next in line). Thus, Obama cemented the bond of cooperation between the United States and the UN. This demonstrates to many conservatives the willingness of this President to override the best interests of our country with the interest of global collaboration.
I think most Americans will agree that citizens of the United States have done a far better job than those of any other country or continent on earth in growing their own food, raising and educating their own children, protecting themselves against crime, and securing religious freedom. Do we really need an organization of international bureaucrats, who (at best) can’t successfully run their own countries or (at worst) deprive their citizens of basic human liberties, to tell us how to run ours?
Cynthia Toney is a Contributing Writer and Editor, The Bold Pursuit
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