10 Mar Commission on the Status of Women Organizers Have Declared “Open Season” on Religion
Commission on the Status of Women Organizers Have Declared “Open Season” on Religion
The battle ground is being redefined. United Families International has been involved in pro-family, pro-life work for over 30 years””about 18 of those years have been at the UN and international level. But during these past 12 days, we have seen a decided shift in the focus and rhetoric. Our opposition here at the UN have declared open season on religion. Religion has always been a target. But the intensity of the disdain for religion has surprised even long-time UN observers.
“The anti-religious sentiment has always existed, but our opponents in the UN system seemed to know better than to be overt about it. But now they feel comfortable in openly attacking religion as the purveyor of hatred, the obstacle to full implementation of women’s rights, and the oppressor of the supposed sexual minorities. They do not hesitate to name names and attempt to implicate traditional religious individuals and organizations as the culprit in any perceived atrocity or even the most basic policy challenge.” (Pro-family, Pro-life delegate representing Latin American countries)
The organizers of the Commission on the Status of Women have been very serious about educating attendees from around the world as to the dangers of allowing traditional religion to have a voice in public dialogue. The roster of forums discussing religion includes such things as:
- Religious Freedom and Sexual Orientation
- Women, Faith and Development
- The Advancement of Women and the Right to Freedom of Religion
- Reconciling Freedom of Religion with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
As we have attended these events our hope was that we would be able to participate in an open and constructive dialogue of religious freedom in the context of human rights and creating a space for all voices. But the constructive dialogue has been very limited. The intent of most of the forums is to take the opportunity to alert and inform the audience that religion is a source of oppression, not only to women, but to the advancement of society as a whole.
By way of example, in one event, the moderator began the panel presentation like this: “The thrust of today’s event is to target evangelicals, the Catholic Church, and other churches who are part of the ‘religious right;‘ to discuss the their influence outside of the U.S. and on international policy; to attack the notion that gayness is a ‘west’ issue that is being imposed upon other parts of the world; and to shore up human rights against the onslaught of religion.”
One of the panelists centered her presentation on how the Religious Right has “infiltrated” our schools, government, and popular culture. Her “evidence” included:
- A flyer sent home with high school students advertising an event by the organization Parents and Friends of Ex-gays. She explained that allowing that type of information circulating in our schools would allow the idea that “gayness is an illness” to take root and that nothing but “gay affirming” messages should be allowed in our schools.
- The presenter was disturbed that In Washington DC, a prominent member of the Religious Right is the president of a school board. “The religious right has infiltrated school boards all over the country.” She quoted Senator Jim Inhofe [Oklahoma] saying: “I’d rather have a 1000 school board presidents than one president in the White House.” She added an admonishment that the audience needed to get involved and to “stop them.”
- The Utah legislature “recently outlawed miscarriages.”
- “Following on the heels of the Stupak Amendment [House amendment removing the financing of abortion from the healthcare bill], we now see states that are passing laws prohibiting financing of abortion in state health care programs.”
- “The Religious Right is now using media to export their ideology””not only is it Fox news and Rush Limbaugh, but mainstream media is picking it up now.” Her examples included: the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad; the NCAA [collegiate sports] website ran ads for Focus on Family; and in Atlanta, CBS owns billboards that the Religious Right use to attack Planned Parenthood.
There was little to no opportunity given at these gatherings to give rebuttal or to point out that people committed to their religion have every right to be engaged in public dialogue, to purchase ads, to influence public policy, to run for school board and public office. In fact they always have been involved in their schools, in their communities and in their government. Around the world, religious people have always been the heart of public life.
Nor was there opportunity to remind the organizers of these events that it was devoutly religious individuals that led the movement to abolish slavery and led the civil rights movement, they were the strength of women’s suffrage effort, it is religion that formed the backbone of humanitarian aid organizations and educational and social improvement efforts spanning centuries. The secular opponents of religion and traditional religious values have a convenient memory lapse in regard to the long-time and on-going contributions of religion. It appears that it is OK for religion to be active in the public square when religion supports popular secular positions and ideology; it is only when traditional religious beliefs and values clash with new found “rights” and a secular agenda that these groups want religion thrown out of the public square. As secularism continues to pick up steam around the world, the pressure to gag the religious voice will only intensify. And intensify it has here within the United Nations system.
One particularly chilling example of anti-religious fervor came from a woman who matter-of-factly stated: “I understand that religions may have rights, but when sexual rights and religious rights collide,sexual rights must always trump religious rights.”
United Families International is at the Commission on Status of Women to ensure that there is no legal precedent created in UN documents and treaties that can give merit to organizations and people who insist that religion should be silenced. We’re here to ask the question: “When did “gayness” or homosexual behavior become a human right?” and to ensure that the UN system doesn’t artificially create one. UFI is committed to educating against anti-religious bigotry and supporting laws that protect fundamental religious freedoms. This debate and conflict is not going away. Please be vigilant and involved.
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HAVE YOU KEPT UP ON THE ACTION AT THE UN?
Check out the blogs that are working to keep you informed!
Day 10: Sex Education and Inventing Human Rights
Day 10: Traditional Families
Day 9: Utah at the UN
Day 5: Are You Homophobic?
Day 4: The Shifty U.S. Delegation
UN Day 3: Mocking the Real Question
Day 3: A Rabbi, a Rapper, and a Radio Host
Day 2: Who Is Imposing Their Culture On Africa?
Day 1: The Unexpected Human Rights Violation
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