Just when you think Religious Right groups can't get any farther out on the edge of the flat Earth, they do.
The non-binding declaration, sponsored by France and signed by Canada, Australia and all the members of the European Union, reaffirms "the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." It deplores "violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation and prejudice...directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity."
The resolution condemns "human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they occur, in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention and deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health."
Radical stuff, huh?
Yet FRC President Tony Perkins groused that Obama will "reverse Bush's policy and endorse a nonbinding U.N. declaration to 'protect' homosexuals. The document was first presented at the General Assembly last December, when the U.S. joining several African and Arab nations refused to sign. Press reports emphasize that the declaration calls for the 'decriminalization' of homosexuality, a policy already forced on the U.S. by a 2003 Supreme Court decision."
In an email alert headlined "Queer Eye for the State Guy?," Perkins complained, "It condemns not only 'violence' and 'harassment,' but also 'stigmatization and prejudice,' terms which some would apply to any disapproval of homosexual conduct, no matter how peaceful and loving."
What's a bigot to do? Why not give a nod to a competing UN resolution sponsored by, of all countries, Syria?
"Only 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the [French] statement," Perkins observed, "while nearly as many (58) endorsed a counter-statement pointing out that rights based on 'sexual orientation' are not found in established international law. On the contrary, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defends the family as 'the natural and fundamental group unit of society.' That – and not political correctness – is a principle worth defending."
Let's see. Who might be among the 58 countries "defending" the family and pushing for the "right" to execute, jail or otherwise penalize gay people?
Try those venerable members of George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil," Iran and North Korea. And don't forget paragons of democratic virtue such as Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Zimbabwe and the various 'stans – Pakistan, Tajikstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Sudan took time out from waging genocide in Darfur to sign on too! And our erstwhile allies Iraq and Afghanistan were on the list as well.
Many of these countries scoff at individual freedoms, of course. Their definition of "family" includes polygamy in some cases and many keep women in brutal servitude. Religious minorities – including Christians, Tony – are persecuted relentlessly.
But what the heck, at least they're keeping the gays in their place – pariahs, prison or the grave. Right, Tony?
You know, Tony, it's really hard to feel the love when you keep dishing out the hate.
The Family Research Council is among the Religious Right groups scheduled to meet with the Obama administration's "faith-based" office tomorrow to discuss a variety of issues. One wonders: Will the UN resolution be on the agenda?
P.S. Hat tip to Religion Clause for several of the links in this post. Religion Clause is must-reading for me every day.