Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Human Rights For Thee, My Brother, But Not For Me?

The Trump administration is doing the bidding of Vlad "The Impaler" Putin and of the fanatic religious fundamentalists.  We know that, of course, but that bidding is now going to affect the way the US foreign policy will interpret human rights.  My guess is that the new definition of human rights will try to return that concept to the era of the American Founding Fathers when women, as a class, had very few rights and when blacks counted as fractional human beings.


The Trump administration said Monday that it will review the role of human rights in American foreign policy, appointing a commission expected to elevate concerns about religious freedom and abortion.


A group of Democratic senators said in a letter last month that they were dismayed that the commission was being assembled without congressional oversight. Several of the names of people reported to be on it, they charged, support discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians, “hold views hostile to women’s rights, and/or to support positions at odds with U.S. treaty obligations.”

The hilarious aspect in this is that these changes are also very much desired by the groups the United States is currently fighting in Syria and in Afghanistan.

Fundamentalists are brothers under the skin, and it's pretty clear that the new "rights" would not affect the human rights of straight religious men.  Everyone else, fasten your seat belts.

I am always uncomfortable when people use the term "religious freedom," unless carefully specified, because one person's religious freedom too often seems to mean that other people must lose their rights of being viewed as equally human beings.  Besides, religious communities use that term to police the members of their own flock which can, ironically, strip those members of their human rights.  There's an odd collective aspect to that term, which may be why organized religion likes it. 

Whether this new commission ends up having any power or not, the very fact that it has been created makes me sad.  It's an ominous sign of the end of that era when powerful Western powers paid at least lip service to general human rights, the fair treatment of women and of sexual minorities and so on.  Unless we fight to preserve those basic rights, of course.