Speaking on July 16, 2020, in Philadelphia near where the Declaration of Independence was issued over two centuries earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unequivocally reaffirmed the unalienable rights mentioned therein as he called for a return to America’s founding principles and introduced the Draft Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights. “America’s founders didn’t invent the ‘unalienable rights,’” he explained, “but stated very clearly in the Declaration of Independence that they are held as ‘self-evident’ that human beings were ‘created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights… among [those] are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’”—making that document “the most important statement of human rights ever written.”
“America draws strength and goodness from her founding ideals,” he continued, and “our foreign policy must be grounded by those ideals as well. But we know this: We can’t do good—at home or abroad—if we don’t precisely know what we believe and why we believe it. And that’s why I asked Professor [Mary Ann] Glendon to form a commission composed of some of the most distinguished scholars and activists. I asked them not to discover new principles, but to furnish advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR]. Because without this grounding… our efforts to protect and promote human rights is unmoored and, therefore, destined to fail.”
“Unmoored” is a perfect description of the dangerous travesty masquerading in the name of rights even as it threatens the unalienable rights of individuals and of society’s natural and fundamental group unit, the family. “The effort to shut down legitimate debate by recasting contestable policy preferences as fixed and unquestionable human rights imperatives promotes intolerance, impedes reconciliation, devalues core rights, and denies rights in the name of rights,” says the Draft Report. Or, in the words of sociologist Gabriele Kuby, it is “the destruction of freedom in the name of freedom” by a “global sexual revolution [that] affects everyone.”
This insidious threat to human rights reverberates in the halls of power throughout the world and the United Nations. “The prodigious expansion of human rights,” says the Draft Report, in “many different UN agencies, regional human rights systems,” and “dozens of treaties, hundreds of resolutions and declarations, and thousands of provisions codifying individual human rights… has weakened rather than strengthened the claims of human rights and left the most disadvantaged more vulnerable.” The description calls to mind the lament of Pope Francis that the “revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Little wonder that the Draft Report has drawn heavy fire from organizations such as the Center for Reproductive Rights, which has complained that “the establishment, composition, and process of the Commission itself” are “improper” and its efforts “misguided,” and has objected to “the false narrative created by the Secretary of State, and perpetuated by Commission members.” (Written comments that were submitted to the Commission are online, and additional public comment can be submitted to [email protected] through July 30.)
IOF applauds the leadership of Secretary Pompeo and the work of the Commission he established—a landmark initiative as bold and timely as was the creation of the Declaration of Independence itself by the courageous delegates of the Second Continental Congress who dared confront the might of the far-flung British Empire. At stake now, and imperiled by powerful forces throughout the world, are those same God-given rights which urgently need protecting. “We can shine a light on abuses” by “telling the truth,” declared Secretary Pompeo, and “we must insist on the rightness and the relevance of America’s founding principles.” Please join us as IOF continues doing precisely that by uniting and empowering leaders worldwide to protect freedom, faith, and family.
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