Comments on Vallianatos and Other ECHR Cases on 'Family Life': Reinforcing the State's Hold Over Society in Exchange for the Promise of Greater Freedom for Individuals.
Comments on Vallianatos and Other ECHR Cases on 'Family Life': Reinforcing the State's Hold Over Society in Exchange for the Promise of Greater Freedom for Individuals.
By Vic van den Burgh
Heard today how some clergy were becoming members of Unison (the union) so that they have support for them in what they obviously perceive will be a battle over their rights.
A few days back I chatted to a member of the clergy who was telling me about all their rights and how the church needs to understand and respect them . . . or else!
Often meet with members of church and and other organisations who are all too ready to tell me about their rights and what 'they deserve' or are 'entitled to' and to be honest it is just beginning to grind and grate and tug just a little too much for it to be comfortable.
Many years ago I was a member of a fraternity who found themselves very much acted against and to be honest, distrusted and quite despised. As a result of (misplaced) popular opinion this group found themselves legislated against in the sort of popularist, kneejerk way, that humankind excels at. Interestingly though, the kneejerk response aside, the clever people said that if legislation was passed then certain things would occur and some of society's ill would be remedied. Sadly though some seventeen years later that which they hoped to see change has actually gotten worse.
Now the incident that started it all was William Hamilton's murder of innocent children in Dunblane in 1996 and the subsequent law which removed handguns from the hands of those who legally held and used them did nothing to diminish gun crime, in fact the very opposite has occurred (I'll give you my theories some time . . but best continue).
The thing about having rights is that with them come responsibilities and yet I find it interesting that these days rights are what many people assume to have and responsibility appears to be what others have when it comes to the fulfilling of the expectations of those with rights.
Address given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,to a conference on human rights. The conference was in Bratislava, organized by the Slovakian bishops' conference.
Many people speak of human rights. Very rightly, they refer to their violations. Very rightly, they proclaim that human rights must be protected. Very rightly, they advocate that human rights must be promoted. Yet what are the human rights we are talking about?
The first sentence of the Preamble of the Universal Declaration states: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” That is, the ground, the foundation, the substrate of human rights and freedoms is “the inherent dignity of the human person”.
This dignity is perceived and understood first of all by reason. It is not found in the human will or in the reality of the State or in public powers. It is found in the human person himself and in God his Creator. The philosopher Jacques Maritain, who helped to draft the Universal Declaration, put this point succinctly when he wrote:
the worth of the person, his liberty, his rights arise from the order of naturally sacred things which bear upon them the imprint of the Father of Being and which have in him the goal of their movement. A person possesses absolute dignity because he is in direct relationship with the Absolute, in which alone he can find his complete fulfilment.
This is utterly radical. Your human rights and mine do not depend upon the will of other people. Human rights arise from our dignity as created in the image and likeness of God.
The Church has a serious concern when the ideology of a particular group of individuals can somehow create a new human right. One example is the attempt on the part of some to legitimize the killing of an unborn child through the promotion of so-called “reproductive rights”, “reproductive services” and other loaded terms which mask the tragedy of abortion.
Euthanasia, according to some, should also be a human right, and not only for adults! For the first time in history, in February 2014, the Belgian parliament accepted the principle that even a child, with no limit of minimum age, could ask to be killed to end his/her suffering. "This law – the Bishops of Belgium wrote — opens the doors to the extension of euthanasia to the handicapped, the demented, the mentally ill and eventually to those who are tired of life.” Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, said it is urgent to rediscover how to support the vulnerable people around us so that our society can once again call itself “human society”.
Another example is the use of the term “gender” to suggest that sex is not biologically grounded as male and female but is simply a social construct or produced by what individuals think or feel they are. Moreover, attempts to recognize those engaging in homosexual behaviour as a specific group to be accorded human rights go beyond the protection to be guaranteed to all people under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Related to this is the suggestion that marriage could somehow be redefined, despite the fact that marriage is, by nature, between one man and one woman for their mutual love and increase of the human family, as affirmed in international law. Such positions distort reality because they attempt to rewrite human nature, which de natura cannot be rewritten.
As Cardinal Francis George of Chicago stated with great clarity, “The nature of marriage is not a religious question. Marriage comes to us from nature. Christ sanctifies marriage as a sacrament for the baptized, giving it significance beyond its natural reality; the State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society. But neither Church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.”
In this context, the Church vigorously upholds the rights to life and bodily security of everyone, everyone, regardless of their perceived “sexual differences.” The Church sees this as a matter of the most basic rights. Homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Thus, while the Church regrets the discordance between homosexual behaviour as such and what we understand as the norm for God-given human nature, she upholds the integrity of everyone’s rights. See our Lord’s reaction when the townspeople wished to stone a woman to death for adultery: He managed to preserve her life and bodily security (John 8:1-11).
By Stefano Gennarini, J.D., C-Fam
Angry over not getting a same-sex-friendly definition of the family into a new UN document, the Obama Administration tried to delete language agreed upon by the founders of the UN and repeated in documents since then.
Regularly contentious in recent decades, the family has been a diplomatic football with one side eager to recognize “diverse forms of the family” while the other holds on to the understanding that the family is the “natural and fundamental group unit of society” taken directly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Behind closed doors, US negotiators asked to replace the definition of family from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a lengthy new description of families that have “diverse forms and functions” and express “diversity of individual preferences.”
The proposed definition excluded the notion of the natural family, based on the union of a man and woman, as the norm for the procreation and upbringing of children. The US effort was ultimately rejected by UN member states.
The move puts the United States in an odd position.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has almost sacred status at the United Nations. It is regarded, together with the UN Charter, as a founding document of the new world order set in place after World War II.
What’s more, the UN definition of the family is reflected in the constitutions of nearly 120 countries.
Read UK Christians Oppose Ban on Ex-Gay Therapy; Attack 'Coercive' Homosexual 'Ideology' by Tyler O'Neil, Christian Post
Geraint Davies' speech at the opening of the conference may be seen here
Read 'Beyond Critique – When Ideology Replaces Science' here
Trying to make sense of Core Issues Trust ideas by Colin Coward, Changing Attitude
By Lynda Rose, Voice for Justice UK
This was the title of a debate on the BBC in which I was recently asked to take part. The panel included, amongst others, secularists, representatives of the LGBT community, and five Moslems. I was there to speak for Christian rights, of course, but what really astonished me was the easy assumption that human and ‘religious’ rights are different.
They are not. In the UK, the first attempt to formulate and set down ‘human’ rights was in Magna Carta, in 1215. It was an attempt by the barons to restrict King John’s tyrannical and despotic use of power, and the first clause guaranteed the freedom of the Church. Honoured ever since as the foundation of liberty in the Western world, three clauses of this groundbreaking Charter remain on the statute books of England and Wales – the first being this ancient protection of religious liberty.
Since 1215 there have been further intermittent attempts to safeguard the rights of the individual against the wrongful exercise of power by the state, but by far the greatest impetus to the development of such rights was the Second World War. In the aftermath of conflict, and still reeling at revelation of the atrocities that had been committed by the Nazis, the nations committed themselves to international co-operation aimed at preventing further conflict and ensuring world peace. Three years later, in 1948, the newly established UN Assembly issued its Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrined, amongst its 30 articles, the rights to freedom of religion, belief and conscience in both practice and manifestation; and freedom of speech.
These rights were subsequently repeated in the European Convention on Human Rights (entering into force on September 3rd, 1953), and in our own Human Rights Act 1998.
But now, apparently, the newly claimed sexual rights of a minority are being prioritised over all other traditional rights, to the extent that ‘religious’ rights are now being assigned a separate, and seemingly subsidiary, category. Which is surprising – but it would appear that 1.5% of the population (which is the figure recorded by the Office for National Statistics for homosexuals) now have protectable rights over and above those of all others. More worryingly, to my mind, is the fact that what was once regarded as a protection against coercion by the State, has now become a weapon to be used by individuals against those who disagree with them. And it is irrelevant that such disagreement is actually not a species of hate crime, as wrongly claimed, but simply the assertion of historic tenets of faith. So we see the Bible being rewritten to become more culturally acceptable, while those who stand on the ancient and revealed Biblical truths are branded discriminating bigots and homophobes.
December 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off
From European Dignity Watch
Although reason prevailed at the recent vote on sexual and reproductive health (Estrela Report) at the European Parliament, the next attempt of lobby-driven politics is already on the agenda. With the “Lunacek Report”, special rights and privileges are being claimed for some — against equality and the same human rights for all.
The attempt to advance special privileges for some at the cost of equality for all comes — again — in the form of an “Own Initiative Report”, a non-binding text voted in Parliament on areas that often fall outside the EU‘s competence.
The “Report on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” was presented on November 5 in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and was adopted in committee this week (on December 17) with 40 MEPs in favour, 2 against, and 6 abstentions. MEP Ulrike Lunacek from the Green party in Austria — and who also serves as the Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights — is the Rapporteur for this report. (Mrs. Lunacek was also one of the most outspoken promoters of the Estrela Report.)
The interests of a small but powerful lobby vs. equality for all
The Report asserts that LGBTI persons should have the same human rights as everyone else. This is an assertion that can be fully supported. The very purpose of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention and other international human rights documents is to grant a minimum level of protection of the integrity of every person because everyone has equal worth and dignity.
However, while the universal application and validity of human rights for all — regardless of personal preferences, age, or any other property — needs to be defended in the EU, the Lunacek Report turns this fundamental equality upside down by claiming that specific LGBTI rights should now be considered human rights. This turns the universal validity of human rights into its exact opposite.
November 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off
by Steve Doughty, Mailonline
One of the country’s leading judges yesterday compared the behaviour of the European Court of Human Rights to the methods of Communist East Germany.
The human rights judges in Strasbourg say they are democratic but in reality they dictate the law, just like the communist bosses did, said Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption.
In a sweeping attack on the way the court has been run, he said it was contributing to a ‘mundane and insidious’ decline of parliamentary powers and accused it of an Orwellian attempt to corrupt democracy.
Lord Sumption said the Strasbourg court had gone far beyond the rules written for it in the European Convention on Human Rights and had instead become ‘the international flag-bearer for judge-made fundamental law’.
In a speech delivered in Malaysia and published in London yesterday he said the court had ‘a significant democratic deficit’.
He condemned the Strasbourg judges for demanding that Britain must give the vote to convicted prisoners, saying they had ‘disregarded’ Parliament and instead ruled that prisoner voting ‘was not a matter for democratic determination at all’.
From Pink News
by J.C. von Krempach, JD, Turtle Bay & Beyond
Georgian Intelligentsia writes open letter to EU special adviser on human rights
The leading newspaper of Georgia (not the US State, but the Republic situated between the Black Sea and the Caucasus) has published an open letter signed by 36 of the country’s leading intellectuals, criticising the EU’s Special Adviser on Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in reaction to a controversial report he wrote on the country’s human rights record.
It is not that there were no serious human rights abuses in Georgia, like in many countries emerging from Soviet rule. But those abuses do not seem to interest Mr. Hammarberg, who passes over them in silence. Instead, the single issue of what he and his political masters in Brussels believe to be a “human rights policy” is the promotion of sexual immorality under the guise of concepts such as “diversity”, tolerance”, or “fighting against homophobia”.
Some passages from that letter:
“It would never have occurred to any of us that homosexuals and the promoters of other sexual depravities should be treated in the same way as if they were some kind of a religious or linguistic minority. This newest trick is completely unacceptable … We believe that equating those who practice sexual perversions with representatives of religious and ethnic minorities … is an artificial, deliberately imposed ideology that has nothing to do with the age-old rules that are common to human society.”
“You write that ‘the celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia is the realization of rights, not propaganda.’ We cannot agree. Any public event is promoting what it says, and there is no point in denying it.”
“The norms of diplomacy require you to respect the traditions of the country where you are located. In one of the most tragic moments of our history, 100.000 inhabitants of Tbilisi laid down their heads to have them chopped off by butchers, sacrificing their lives in defence of Christian morality. In Tbilisi these people are venerated as saints. You seem to think that you have the right to teach the inhabitants of this city and this country, pointing out them what is right and what isn’t, and, as it turns out, to lecture us about our duty to give you the right to freely express yourself. Let us draw your attention to the fact that, having given you the right to freely express your opinions in our country, we nevertheless reserve the right to respond to it.”
By Michael Nazir-Ali
In a free society the debate about the niqab or the full-face veil (which covers the entire face including the eyes) cannot be about being "affronted" or "offended", nor can it be about only preferences, whether personal or social.
The presumption must be for people to dress as they choose, provided this does not cause disruption or disorder as we go about the normal business of life. There are two dangers to guard against. One is of young women (or even girls) being forced to wear the veil by their families or the religious community to which they belong. The other is the ultra-feminist war cry, already heard, that people must be forced to be equal even against their will!
Any decision made by society must be based on objective criteria which have to do with maximising freedom and maintaining fairness, justice and good order for all. It seems to me that there are a number of such criteria which would restrict or prevent the full-face veil or the niqab being worn in public places.
Paramount is, of course, the need for security. There have been a number of cases, worldwide, where criminals or terrorists have escaped wearing a burqa. More often, there is a need to identify people for security reasons and not only at immigration booths. Those dealing with our security, need to be able to tell, by people’s behaviour in public places, including facial expressions etc, whether they are any danger to others. Schools and colleges in particular, will want to be very sure of the identity of those in their buildings so that they can protect children and young people from those who may to wish to harm them. Against, this must go beyond the checking of identity at the entrance but will extend to the rest of the premises during the course of the day.
Read also: Some letters to the Guardian here, Brother Ivo from Cranmer, Wearing veil should be the woman's choice, says Theresa May, Guardian
By Piero A Tozzi, JD, Turtle Bay & Beyond
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Christians are to launch a landmark legal case arguing their religion is being treated as a “thought crime” by government and courts.
Campaigners will submit papers to the European Court of Human Rights in a final attempt to overturn rulings they say have restricted religious freedom for Christians and effectively persecuted those wanting to publicly practise their religion.
The move comes in the case of three Christians whose cases have become testing grounds over the restrictions which can be put on public displays of faith.
Their appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court will open the way for a final ruling on what limits can be put on such displays, including wearing a cross and talking about belief in the workplace.
Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele all had their cases rejected at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg earlier this year.
In the case of Mrs Chaplin, an Exeter nurse who was forbidden to wear a cross at work, the Strasbourg judges ruled that her right to express her faith could be overridden on “health and safety” grounds.
Mr McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and marriage registrar Miss Ladele – who both resisted tasks they saw as condoning homosexuality, which they believe is against the Bible’s teaching – lost their cases.
John Allman explores the 'thought crime' theme in his blog post Sex therapy and the mild misgiving that dare not speak, pointing out that Gary McFarlane never actually discriminated against anybody.
By Robert Oscar Lopez, American Thinker
It started, as so many human rights disasters do, in the name of love. It was commonplace in the antebellum Americas to hear of plantation owners expressing love for their slaves. Even Frederick Douglass admits that many times slaves, while alone, vied to see who could praise his master the highest. Did not Robespierre begin with love for his countrymen? For that matter, didn't Castro?
History repeats. The movement to liberate same-sex love began because people loved each other. Somehow, through convoluted digressions, it has become a tyrannical octopus seeking to control life and death itself.
The Rubicon was crossed when the gay movement sided with human trafficking; graft-ridden dirty deals with warlords for orphanages; bio-engineering, baby-farming, and emotional deprivation of innocent children by forcing them to replace a biological parent with a fictional same-sex partner. Naturally, any child forced into such a psychically traumatic origin fantasy who feels resentful about it will be cursed by its caretakers as not only ungrateful, but also a homophobe.
A year ago, I was afraid to fight what is happening in the LGBT community. Unaware of what the response would be, I published some articles about being the product of gay parenting and received hundreds of e-mails from around the world pleading with me to fight against a growing human-rights crisis caused by the LGBT movement. They wrote from so many places, so many countries; they had such eloquence and force; they were children of sperm donors, troubled adoptees, people agonized by the baby-farming in India and elsewhere, gays horrified at what is being done in the name of "gay families," religious people, atheists, people who know for whatever reason that buying babies and erasing fatherhood or motherhood is not the fruit of love.
From The Christian Institute
Gay rights are more important than the belief that children need both a mum and a dad, the equality regulator has suggested.
But it says vegetarians do have the right to refuse to clean a fridge that may have contained meat.
One MP has called the watchdog a “laughing stock” and another accused it of publishing “frivolous nonsense”.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) enforces equality law, and has the power to haul individuals and organisations off to court.
It has produced new guidelines for how to deal with employees’ beliefs in the workplace.
The guidelines say a magistrate who believes it is best for a child to be brought up by a male-female couple should not be accommodated.
That belief hurts the dignity of gay couples, says the Equality Commission, and breaches equality policies.
by Joe Carter, Acton Institute
Those who have visited Auschwitz are likely to find their thoughts straying back there on this day of Holocaust remembrance.
A visit both underwhelms with the very ordinariness of the buildings, yet at the same time the significance overwhelms, as Auschwitz reaffirms its special place in the pit of human history.
A visit needs to be approached like a pilgrimage, with preparation, otherwise there will be a numbing of the experience, a confusion of conflicting emotions which may encompass anger, indignation, bewilderment and the deepest sadness. The reactions of others around you may mirror your own, yet they may not, and that too can be a challenge. Some seem visibly shocked, some deeply affected, some struggle, whilst others present as merely curious and that response can be a challenge as it may offends one’s own interpretation.
The Holocaust was possible because the humanity of the rejected was stripped away from them as it was, is, and always will be from the unwanted, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, wherever we are in the world.
Holocaust Memorial Day needs its universal dimension.
There, all humanity was killed in a systematic, planned way; not in anger, but simply because that is what the state said needed to be done, and someone had to do it.
by Stefano Gennarini, J.D., Turtle Bay & Beyond
In recent years same-sex marriage proponents and groups claiming a host of new international LGBT rights have been able to make even international law somewhat interesting. It is no secret that International law is not terribly exciting – reading the minutes of a meeting of the UN International Law Commission or an international human rights body is likely to put even the most stolid reader to sleep.
In the last five years LGBT groups have garnered significant support for their claims with international bodies in the European Union, the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Last fall the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a publication declaring that un member states had “core obligations” towards LGBT persons that included same-sex marriage or a substitute, as well as special protections for LGBT speech above and beyond those provided for other types of speech. UN member states never agreed to anything even remotely related to these propositions in a treaty or even non-binding resolutions, but LGBT groups celebrated the controversial publication nonetheless.
[...] No one really understood what the HRC meant by “more than one” or even by “tradition” at the time the GC was released, how the committee came to hold that opinion, and how it should be understood remains a mystery. Perhaps recent events in France provide some answer to this?
We are witnessing strong opposition to same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and IVF for homosexual couples in France (even by homosexual groups!). Much of this opposition is because, and perhaps surprisingly for an otherwise liberal nation, many French people believe children should have a mom and a dad, and the organizers of the huge rally that took place in Paris last week distanced themselves from any moral claims that homosexual conduct is morally reprehensible. But many of those who answered the call and showed up in Paris last week were motivated precisely by that.
There is significant moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, and not only special new rights for homosexuals, mostly from the religiously minded in the opposition movement in France. Catholics, Jews, Muslims all disapprove of homosexual conduct, let alone marriage, adoption and IVF for homosexuals. Could this provide an answer to what the HRC was getting at when it invented the multiple traditions standard? Probably not for the Human Rights committee.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles welcomes the ruling in the Nadia Eweida case but hints that human rights laws may need to change in the UK.
The march to gay equality in Britain is causing Christians to be squeezed from public life, believers have claimed in the wake of a European Court ruling…..
Marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, 51, and registrar Lillian Ladele said their careers suffered after they made clear how their faith had an impact on their job. McFarlane admitted he felt uncomfortable with the prospect of providing advice to gay couples, while Ladele refused to oversee civil partnerships between same-sex pairs.
Both lost their case for discrimination under the Human Rights Act. But the group Anglican Mainstream said gay rights were stifling the rights of people to live lives of faith openly.
Spokesman Chris Sugden told IBTimes UK: "Human rights were introduced to protect minorities but not to give them supervening rights over the rest of society.
"Gay rights have now become a separate privilege and a specially protected group of rights which trump all others, including freedom of conscientious objection and to hold religious conviction without fear of discrimination."