Ayatollahs of the World Unite
Dont look now, but President Bush and his allies on the Christian-right
are cozying up to two axis of evil countries. The U.S. has joined
forces with Iran and Iraq -- as well as Libya, Sudan, and a number of other
Islamic states -- to form a culture war-voting bloc at the United
Despite being branded by the U.S. as sponsors of terrorism, Iran and
Iraq have nevertheless become reliable partners in a number of battles over
social issues at the UN. There is something very strange about the Bush
Administration actively plotting the overthrow of Iraqs Saddam Hussein
and yet counting on that countrys support for anti-abortion,
abstinence-only sexuality education and
The alliance of conservative Islamic states and Christian
organizations, writes the Washington Posts Colum Lynch,
has placed the Bush administration in the awkward position of siding
with some of its most reviled adversaries...in a cultural skirmish against
its closest European allies, which broadly support expanding sexual and
The newly developed relationship between Christian-right groups in the U.S.
and Islamic governments could be put to the test over the latest in a series
of bigoted remarks made about Islam by Christian leaders since September 11.
The most recent dust-up came in mid-June at the Southern Baptist Conventions
annual meeting in St. Louis. There, Pastor Jerry Vines delivered a speech
saying that Christianity had been founded by the virgin-born Son of God, the
Lord Jesus Christ, and that Islam is not just as good as Christianity.
Islam was founded by Mohammed, who was a demon-possessed pedophile who had
twelve wives -- and his last one was a nine-year-old girl, Vines pointed out.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the nations largest Protestant
denomination. Were Pastor Vines remarks a slip of the tongue, a
momentary lapse in judgment? Not really: Vines meant every word of what he
said. And, while several U.S. Islamic leaders called Vines remarks
ignorant and outrageous, reported the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, SBC leaders rushed to Vines defense. SBCs new
president, Dr. Jack Graham, called Vines remarks completely accurate.
And the outgoing SBC President, Dr. James Merritt, agreed, adding that
while Allah is a god of work and fear, the God of Christians is one of
grace, love, and mercy.
While remarks such as the Pastor Vines might put a slight dent in the U.S.
government/Christian-right/Islamic coalition, it is unlikely to undo the
alliance that has been growing over the past few years. According to the
Washington Post, the coalition is concerned with halt(ing) the expansion of
sexual and political protections and rights for gays and women at United
Austin Ruse, founder and president of the New York-based Catholic Family and
Human Rights Institute, told the Washington Post that We look at them
[Islamic states] as allies, not necessarily as friends. We have realized that
without countries like Sudan, abortion would have been recognized as a
universal human right in a U.N. document.
Sudan is one of 53 nations belonging to the Organization of Islamic
Conferences at the United Nations. It has been on the U.S.s list of
countries supporting terrorism, although since September 11 it has helped the
U.S. in its war on terrorism. But Sudan has also been singled out by a
number of Christian organizations for supporting slavery within its borders.
Mokhtar Lamani, a Moroccan diplomat who represents the Organization of
Islamic Conferences at the UN told the Washington Post that U.S. Christian
non-governmental organizations approached him in June 2001 at a special
session of the U.N. General Assembly on AIDS. At the time, liberal
Western activists were asking for explicit language calling
for the protection of prostitutes, intravenous drug users, and men who
have sex with men from contracting AIDS. It was totally
unacceptable for us, Lamani said. The Vatican and so many NGOs came
up to us saying this is exactly the same
position we are defending.
According to the Washington Post, The Islamic-Christian alliance
claimed an important victory at the UN childrens meeting [in May].
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director and senior fellow at Concerned
Women for Americas Beverly LaHaye Institute, provided this report card
on the role of the U.S. delegation at the United Nations Childrens Summit:
A on the abortion issue: The U.S. delegation was able
to exclude any language about reproductive health services --
which is code for abortion. Dr. Crouse describes this issue as
the Energizer bunny because it pops up wherever the UN has a
conference, whatever the topic.
B on the family
issue: While the final documents acknowledge the importance and
centrality of the natural family the U.S. delegation was forced to
accept the adding of the phrase various forms of the family. Dr.
Crouse said the U.S. objected to the phrase because it opened the door to
A for its abstinence stances: Despite what Dr. Crouse
calls fierce opposition from the press and other countries, the
U.S. delegation held firm in its advocacy of abstinence as an essential
element of sex education and the most effective means of reducing the
A for strong provisions protecting children from child
pornography, armed conflict, preventable diseases, early death and child
prostitution: The U.S. delegation concentrated on a wide range of
issues necessary for protecting the worlds 2 billion children and making
the world fit for children.
A for standing up to the world regarding the Convention on
the Rights of the Child (CRC): The U.S. continues to remain isolated as
one of the only countries not to ratify the 1989 CRC treaty. According to Dr.
Crouse, the U.S. objects to the treaty because: It makes childrens
autonomy rights the universal standard by placing the rights of children over
the rights of parents; it allows children to access health services in
general and abortion in particular without the knowledge or consent of their
parents; it outlaws the death penalty for anyone under 18 years of age.
A Whole New World
Once the UN was hated and feared by Christian-right groups as a weapon of the
New World Order. Now many Christian-right organizations believe that through
their involvement in the Bush administration -- and with support from their
Islamic allies -- they can exercise some modicum of control over social policy
at the UN.
In July 2001, the National Catholic Registers Joshua Mercer
trumpeted the whole new world at the United Nations. It
represented a sea change now that Bush is in the White House. He has
turned the United States delegation into a staunchly pro-life and pro-family
force, Mercer wrote.
The sea change happened darn quickly. In February 2001, AgapePress, a
Christian news service, reported that the Heritage Foundation had issued a
report sharply criticiz[ing] United Nations policies which seeks to
undermine the traditional family.
But later that month in a column in the weekly National Catholic Register,
Austin Ruse pointed out that the changeover at the UN was moving along
nicely. The Clinton years, which was a breeding ground for family-unfriendly
initiatives masquerading as sound social policy, had been replaced by a
family-friendly Bush administration. Ruse noted that the changeover was aided
by the inclusion of Christian-right activists in U.S. delegations.
Fast forward to the recently completed UN childrens meeting in May.
The U.S. team, reports the Washington Post, included a number of longtime
anti-abortion and anti-gay advocates -- John Klink, a former adviser to the
Vatican at previous UN conferences; Dr. Janice Crouse; and Paul Bonicelli of
Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., a Christian institution
that requires its professors teach creationism.
shows the depths of perversity of the [U.S.] position, Adrienne Germaine,
president of the International Womens Health Coalition, told the Washington
Post. On the one hand were presumably blaming these countries for
unspeakable acts of terrorism, and at the same time we are allying ourselves
with them in the oppression of women.