The “Global Respect Act” does not respect religious freedom and the rights to freedom of expression

The House of Representatives to vote on the so-called Global Respect Act (HR 3485), which would impose sanctions on foreigners, including private citizens, who are determined to be responsible for human rights violations against lesbians , gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

While the concept sounds positive (after all, who wants to see human rights violated?), In fact, this bill is part of an ongoing campaign from the left to engage the U.S. government in pushing forward l gender ideology, by deprioritizing religious freedom and the freedom of speech rights for those who think outside an increasingly radical awakened framework.

Last year, President Joe Biden urged the United States government to do just that in any work the United States undertakes overseas, and the decision of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to submit this draft to law to vote is the next step.

Congress should reject HR 3485. It undermines religious freedom and free speech by advancing a controversial far-left gender ideology that amounts to ideological colonialism against countries and cultures that uphold traditional beliefs. And it risks undermining the foundations of the human rights system long supported by America and freedom lovers around the world by replacing a vision of inalienable rights accessible to all with a vision rooted in identity politics.

It is also unnecessary.

The Magnitsky Global Human Rights Accountability Act and other human rights laws already provide for the imposition of visa restrictions and other sanctions on international human rights violators, which whatever the reason abusers commit abuse.

In addition, the United States has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, since 1948, specifically guarantees in its article 18 “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, which includes freedom “To demonstrate [one’s] religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

HR 3485 would therefore be redundant and create an unnecessary conflict with considerations of religious freedom and freedom of expression.

The United States has long supported international religious freedom, including in the bipartisan passage of 1998 and continued support for the International Religious Freedom Act. This commitment would be compromised if the House passed HR 3485 next week.

This is because not far from the surface of the left’s approach to human rights lies a deep intolerance of biblical or other traditional religions, especially in how these religious traditions perceive human sexuality.

For many progressives, the belief that marriage is only the union of a man and a woman is seen as discriminatory or “homophobic,” and the belief that there are only two biological sexes is narrow. ‘spirit or “transphobic”.

But Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims have professed these beliefs for millennia. And now, when they publicly express such views, they are accused of intolerance, discrimination and even hate speech.

Increasingly, the left is attempting to use the legal system as a weapon to force individuals to adopt awakened orthodoxy against their conscience.

Internationally, voices are calling for the criminalization of speech that does not match the left’s ideological purity tests of how to talk about families, human biology or sexual morality.

For example, last year, an independent United Nations expert, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, published a report calling on countries to apply the legal framework for hate speech and hate crimes to promote “gender rights. and sexuality, comprehensive gender and sexuality education, bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive rights and legal recognition of gender identity.

HR 3485 creates an opportunity for left-wing activists to use the US government to target political and ideological opponents. The broad language of the bill and the lack of protections to safeguard religious freedom and freedom of expression invite many opportunities for abuse.

In a world where even “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling can be attacked for observing the potential of gender ideology to hurt women, it is no exaggeration to imagine that the undefined terms of the legislation, such as “complicity”, “incitement” and “cruel” or “degrading” treatment could be applied to pastors, rabbis or imams preaching against what their faith considers to be sexual sins. Or against a worried mother seeking to protect her dysphoric child from attempts by a school or medical authorities to remove her from her biological sex.

Even Pope Francis’ explanation of the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality could be viewed by some as “cruel treatment” under this legislation. Would the sponsors of the bill deny him a visa to enter the United States?

Creating or recognizing rights based on membership in special identity groups erodes America’s long-held understanding that fundamental principles of equality and universality underpin human rights.

While HR 3485 refers to “internationally recognized human rights”, international law is largely silent on special rights granted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, such as marriage or gender identity. homosexual adoption.

However, the left continues its efforts to redefine and reinterpret existing human rights treaties, including at the UN.

The United States should not ignore the plight of those who experience violence or cruelty at the hands of governments under any circumstances, but laws already exist to deal with these situations. US policy should maintain this existing approach, which protects individual human rights, including the rights to religious freedom and freedom of expression.

Congress should reject the idea that America needs HR 3485 to respect human rights around the world.

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