New UDIHR controversy developments

gay-rightsSome interesting new developments in the controversy over Bishop Charles Blake’s endorsement of the Universal Declaration of International Human Rights and the so-called Faith in Human Rights Statement.

COGIC has changed the web link for the third time. We’re not sure what that’s about but hopefully they are finished tinkering with their response. In the latest revision to the  original 22 page document, the church cites a recent African case using the UDIHR as a basis for legal action. Such a citation, they assert, is proof  the statement is only about protecting egregious human rights abuses and nothing else.

The original Declaration provides a basis by which the International Criminal Court has ordered the arrest of President Omar al‐Bashir of Sudan for his complicity and leadership in the murder of 300,000 Africans, and the displacement of 2.5 million Africans from their homes in Darfur.”

And COGIC (Use of the denominational acronym is only because its not clear exactly who’s writing these responses) asserts again that the word “homosexual” nor the phrase “homosexual marriage” was mentioned in the document(s) which is further proof that our claims are “malicious lies, …for devious ulterior motives”.

Technically, they are correct. As a matter of fact, Bishop Blake and those writing for him have framed their entire defense only on technicalities.  Its not a trump because (1) GCM Watch never made a claim that the word or the phrase is explicity mentioned in either of the documents. As a matter of fact we said it was an implied endorsement and (2) Technical arguements are problematic. Think of the gay christian arguement that “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality”. Technically true, but false due to motive.  Our original perspective was an interpretive one based on research which shows the document is used (and intended) to be interpreted in its broadest application which is of course inclusive of homosexual marriage rights.

Unfortunately, COGIC refuses to acknowledge the rather obvious existence of this reality.

Having said that, let’s examine this claim as if it were true. If one can argue that the IDUHR is a document which is a basis for human rights abuses, claims and applications, then the question must be asked does it cover all human rights abuses, claims and applications. Even if we do not agree with other parties’ claims on the application of the IDUHR does that nullify its intent? As much as I would like to say the humanist document doesnt apply to gay marriage, it does.

Also in Africa, the UDIHR was cited as the basis of his awarding a legal victory. This one was for homosexuals in Uganda.

Justice Arach called upon the international conventions and emphasised that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enjoins us to respect and protect them in a spirit of brotherhood, which includes sisterhood.” The final judgement on the case was issued yesterday to a court full of Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people. Counsel Rwakafuzi recounted the historic moment that occurred yesterday when Justice Arach declared: ‘Human rights must be respected. It has been found that the actions of the officials that molested Victor Mukasa and Oyoo were unconstitutional, inhuman, and should be condemned.’

While the judge accurately applied the UDIHR to the particular case, the plaintiff described the ruling as “one leg inside victory”.  
“The fact that the Ugandan High Court is relying on international human rights conventions is a good sign that justice will come to everyone in Uganda some day”, said Victor Musaka.

Thus, the UDIHR is understood by the international community which subscribes to it to be fluid and encompassing of a plethora ofa gay rights. What are gay rights? Well just ask the gay community. We’ve already cited their near universal agreement that homosexual marriage is a fundamental human right. Its the same argument being used in this country and was successful in both Massachusetts and Connecticutt.

At the ceremony, attended by David Hall, COGIC’s emissary, one speaker emphasized the all inclusiveness of the Faith Statement and the UDIHR.

Again, there was no verbatim utterance of the h-word.  But given his anti-church support of homosexual rights, there’s no mistaking what Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs meant to convey in his speech to the cosigns of the Faith Statement.

When the Catholic church refused to endorse a UN initiative on gay rights, Verhagen summoned the Papal Nuncio of the Netherlands and publicly chided him  for not falling in line with the Dutch government. The Catholic church refused endorsement because it understood that the document went beyond the goal of ending violence against people.

When Verhagen addressed the signatories of the Faith Statement (of which Dr. Hall was in attendance) he told them in no uncertain terms that all rights meant all rights and all people meant all people.

It transposes important values, such as justice, equality, human dignity and liberty, into rights to which everyone is entitled. These are the birthright of all human beings; regardless of where they were born or to what cultural or religious tradition they belong. They reflect our common humanity, from which no person may be excluded.”

Although COGIC argues in its defense that they only signed  to fight “suffering, abuse, and extremism”, Verhagen clearly articulated to them at the time that “…no restrictions may be placed on human rights in the name of religion”. The foreign minister then tells Dr. Hall that his religion (COGIC) may not interpret human rights to mean something different than everyone else.

There are people who argue that human rights can be interpreted differently within different religious traditions. I believe that such relativism seriously undermines the international human rights legal system. So I am very glad that you, as representatives of different world religions, are endorsing the Universal Declaration today and proclaiming that your religions recognise and support human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone, irrespective of religion. You are telling the world that religion and human rights are not conflict, that in fact religion can be a major source of legitimacy for human rights.”

Plain and simple it is the concept of univeralism or diaprax in this case of a religious umbrella that is being applied to this entire event. Consequently, if COGIC signs onto the statement then comes back home and says we dont interpret it to mean that, someone either is being disengenuous, duplictious or grossly uninformed.

Read Verhagen’s entire speech to the signatories of the Faith in Human Rights Statement. Its rather stunning considering the context of what has been discussed thus far.

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