Photo credit: catholicexchange.com
by Rick Plasterer
The struggle to resist communist domination in the world, “the Cold War,” has given way in our day to a global struggle to defend the basic social institutions that mankind has known from time immemorial, marriage and the family, as this writer noted in a posting several days ago. Ultimately, the “culture war” about social and sexual relations is about religion, just as the Cold War was. Are we creatures with a definite nature, living in a world to which we have a proper relation, responsible to God or gods, or are we the products of a nonpurposeful reality, free to form whatever world we choose? Both the communists and the contemporary cultural left, with its ideologies of feminism, homosexual liberation, eugenics, population control, and utilitarianism in general, believe the latter. Both projects involve attacking the great historic religions and the traditional understanding of human nature with a program to remake the world and human beings to finally eliminate both authority and conflict. And both attempt to do so from the superior wisdom of the revolutionaries, whether the public agrees or not.
At the point in this civilizational conflict, the partisans of radical social change clearly have gained an upper hand in the Western world, especially in western Europe, often using judicial supremacy to overcome existing law and majority rule with claims of oppression, then advancing with “establishment” support from the academy, the entertainment industry, corporate policies, and eventually a measure of public support, as was evident from marriage referenda in the recent election. The non-western world also presents the social radicals with the same challenge of overcoming traditional society, although local situations in the non-western countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia may be less affected by the modern world and social conservatives there less able to resist claims that progress demands radical social change. The United Nations and its associated agencies advance the cause of social radicals to the extent that they can, as do western non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with humanitarian action. But with the Obama Administration in power and David Cameron’s “Conservative” government in Great Britain advancing strongly pro-homosexual law and policy, pressure on traditional society in the non-western world is much greater. Additionally the Nordic countries have been advancing the causes of the cultural left there for some time.
As was noted in an earlier discussion of international U.N. conventions such as the CEDAW pertaining to sexual equality and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), these instruments have compliance committees attached to them, which review reports from signatory countries of progress made to realizing the conventions’ goals, and which issue statements regarding the meaning of these international instruments which are then cited as “international law” binding on signatory countries and overruling domestic law, although in fact the real status of these opinions is just that, opinions, not binding international law. Even if these opinions were binding, it represents a radical change in international law and the international system for international law to overrule domestic law. This misuse of international law endeavors to accomplish two things, 1) it puts in place the rudiments of a global legal system, superior to national law, and 2) it prescribes an international system which resembles the non-elected judiciary of the United States, working from principles of social radicalism.
Courts in Latin America particularly seem to be responding to the appeal of social radicals as has been the case in Europe and America for more than a decade. The Colombian Supreme Court, which overruled its own constitution with respect to abortion in deference to the opinion of the CEDAW committee, also has denied the liberty of conscience for medical professionals with respect to the right to life. The court’s earlier decision in favor of abortion was preceded by a legal effort appealing to “international law.” Currently El Salvador is being pushed by UN “human rights experts” to liberalize its strong laws against abortion, while the Supreme Court of the small Central American nation of Belize is being asked to invalidate the national sodomy law based on the views of a committee associated with International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. While in Mexico, the Mexican Supreme imposed homosexual marriage on the entire country in 2010, appealing simply to the fact that it was legal in Mexico City, in contravention of the explicit wording of the Mexican constitution, as LifeSiteNews.com noted at the time. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, recognized by much of Latin America, represents a grave threat to Latin American countries right to order their societies according to Judeo-Christian standards by appealing to reason and natural law, as might be expected in predominately Catholic countries. It has declared that the American Convention on Human Rights prohibits “discrimination based on sexual orientation” and could impose homosexual marriage on most Latin American countries. This is because as global politics has developed in very recent years, Europe and Latin America are far more submissive to international tribunals than the United States.
Recently, this court inventively cited the convention, which protects the right to life from conception, in requiring Costa Rica to permit the destruction of human life at the embryonic stage. Meanwhile, in Africa, the so-called Maputo Protocol ostensibly about female genital mutilation, in fact is mainly about the legalization of abortion in Africa. To help non-Western governments and their officials resist UN and western pressure, pro-life legal and medical experts developed the San Jose Articles, which they published in 2011. These articles refute the claim that non-Western countries are legally obligated to legalize abortion, and assert that as a scientific fact, human life begins at conception.
While the developed world of America and Europe generally has political structures in place for generations, and understandings of freedom of religion and freedom of speech which have existed as part of that constitutional heritage, in Latin America, Africa, and Asia constitutional structures are still being put in place, as many have only democratized in the past generation. This provides an opportunity to explicitly enshrine provisions of social radicalism into law at a constitutional level, whereas American courts must read into the U.S. Constitution the requirements they want. Kenya’s new constitution, enacted in 2010 by a strongly pro-life country, includes a provision declaring a right to abortion for the “health” of the mother as well as to “reproductive health care.” The legality of the Obama Administration’s support in enacting this provision was questioned at the time by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. More radically, Ecuador’s new constitution, enacted in 2008, says the law should “establish penalties for groups that associate or meet for the purpose of…promoting practices of…homophobia, segregation, discrimination, or any other idea that goes against the rights recognized in this Constitution” and specifically restricts religious exercise if it is contrary to “the rights established in this constitution.” This could easily be used to prohibit social conservative organizations, even churches. This is, however, likely derived from Article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, as noted in last week’s article, says there is no freedom to act against “human rights.” But what “human rights” are is apparently defined by the western legal culture. A similar constitution enacted in Bolivia in 2009 included similar provisions, specifically making it “treason” to oppose national “unity.” Unsurprisingly but ominously, LifeSiteNews.com noted that Bolivia’s leftist President, Evo Morales, “admits that his constitution has many fans in European and American universities,” who told him that the constitution “is the most advanced in the world in social terms.”
Western pressure on the non-western world now takes the form of making the implementation of social radicalism a condition of aid. One can only weep and pray for these countries. Social conservatives in the western world are already disadvantaged in the struggle over traditional morality, known from antiquity, with the elites of law, politics, and general culture increasingly hostile. But at least we in America have the experience of a generation of struggle, legal service and other activist organizations fighting for truth and justice, and some degree of legal protection, in recognized rights to freedom of speech and association, and to a lesser extent, religion. But the traditional societies of the non-western world are emerging into modernity with their system of civil rights distorted to suppress the truth. The western left may have lost the Cold War, but in the culture war they are bidding fair to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on the central issue of the Cold War, freedom of religion.