UN DECLARES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AN ENEMY
A WhatsApp message is currently doing the rounds, which claims that the United Nations (UN) has declared the Christian Church an enemy. The message, sent without a name, has a link attached to it titled: Use of religious beliefs to justify rights violations must be outlawed says UN expert. The WhatsApp message makes the following claims:
- UN declares his enemy as the Christian Church.
- UN says that the Christian Church is the enemy of human rights.
- UN says it will become a world religion to impose humanitarian laws, not spiritual, so that the world is not subjected to the Christian doctrine.
- UN declares that its principles and declarations serve as a world religion to take control of humanity.
- UN ID2020 project is mandatory to corner Christians to divide their beliefs and faith…(we) must take power away from the church.
- Christians commit a crime against gender equality by prohibiting their human rights.
- Christians want to indoctrinate LGBT groups to take away their rights and convert them.
- The UN says that it will be the true religion that allows the citizens of the world to be happy in the way they want to live under a new world order.
- The UN said that they will block Christians and disperse their sheep, so that they will have no power.
- The UN says it is time to take away the rights of Christians.
- The UN says that the growth of Christianity in the world is a threat.
- The UN says that if churches do not join them in defending human rights, abortion and LGTB rights they are committing a hate crime.
- The UN says that they have to erase the religious conscience of Christianity, with a new ideology to work in full freedom with human and not spiritual rights for a new humanist religion as proposed by the leader Francisco. [probably a reference to Pope Francis]
- The UN will draw up a law so that Christians cannot invoke religious freedom.
- The UN, through its ID2020 programme, will be able to implement abortion and neutralise the global growth of humanity through homosexualism and lesbianism, and they will vaccinate children and adolescents so that only 10% of children are born, for an equitable reduction.
- The UN will take away the religious rights of Christians and they will become subordinate to the new laws or they will cease to exist.
- The UN says that their goal is to prepare 1000 million lesbians and 1500 million homosexuals, to prevent the birth of 5000 million children and lead to the death of 500 million people through viruses, epidemics, pandemics, and other manipulations.
- The UN will apply the full weight of humanistic law against religious principles that will be annihilated and discarded, because the time has come to control humanity and our (UN) humanistic religion will bring the religious solution.
The message ends with; “Beloved Brethren, this is an alert to the whole church. Where are the soldiers of Christ? For the hour has come.”
Evaluating the claims
Firstly, it must be noted that the article link that accompanies the message is completely irrelevant as it contains none of the claims made by the author of the message. Nowhere is the Christian Church mentioned and nowhere does the United Nations declare the Christian Church its enemy. Or any other religion, for that matter.
The article summarises a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed. The report, Freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, was published on 27 February 2020. The complete report can be accessed at https://undocs.org/A/HRC/43/48 .
For some Christians, the overall claim against the United Nations is that the organisation wants to promote human rights above religious rights, to disqualify religion and promote itself as an accepted alternative. One way, according to the author of the message, is to catch the Christian Church in an act of “hate speech” whereby it can be accused of violating human rights – specifically with regards to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people. The report, by Ahmed Shaheed suggests that in some countries gender-based violence and discrimination results from state laws and policies that are based on religious justifications.
Throughout the report, Shaheed makes it clear that the UN is not against any religious group, saying that their work makes clear that religions are not necessarily the source of gender-based discrimination and violence, but that interpretations of those beliefs – which are not protected per se, and which are not necessarily held by all members of a religious community – are often the source of gender-based violence and discrimination.
Shaheed also acknowledges in his report that the role of religious groups in perpetuating norms that promote gender inequitable attitudes is complex because religious communities themselves are not monolithic. A multitude of voices exist within religious groups and institutions, including faith-based actors who campaign for the rights of women, girls, and LGBT+ persons and work to promote gender equality within their faith. Advocates within religions, across multiple traditions, have long sought to challenge norms and expectations that undermine the human rights of women, girls, and LGBT+ persons; many have expanded religious leadership and influencer roles for women and challenged interpretations of religious texts that are used to “justify” discrimination and other harmful practices against women, girls, and LGBT+ persons.
The UN therefore has not declared the Christian Church its enemy but validates religious institutions as valued members within the fight to uphold human rights.
Claims that could be misconstrued
The report by the Special Rapporteur does, however, make certain claims that could be misconstrued as an attack on the Christian Church by the United Nations (UN)
- Denial of health services and treatment to LGBT+ persons by religious institutions.
- Certain countries have discriminatory legal provisions in personal status and family laws that are informed by interpretations of religious traditions. These laws discriminate against women and LGBT+
- Certain countries maintain laws criminalising consensual same-sex relations and refer to religious justifications for maintaining them.
- Certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa, South and South-East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, have justified the maintenance of their country’s legal prohibition of homosexuality on the grounds that it upholds the tenets of Islam or Christianity.
- Certain countries maintain restrictive garments or “modest” dress codes through laws inspired by religious beliefs which have an impact on the ability of women and girls to enjoy their human rights.
- Certain countries maintain partial or total bans on access to abortion.
- Some religious institutions promote and perpetuate interpretations of religious tenets to promote gender-based violence and discrimination against women, girls, and LGBT+ persons, including physical, sexual, and psychological harm.
- Some religious groups have successfully campaigned against the introduction of schoolbooks on sex education by arguing that the books promoted homosexuality.
- Certain countries have adopted laws that criminalised same-sex sexual conduct, and religious leaders were actively engaged in hate speech against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. The rising number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide correlates with a steep rise in faith-based groups using interpretations of religious teachings that promote gender-based violence and discrimination to violate the human rights of LGBT+ persons, including, inter alia, their right to life and freedom from torture.
Furthermore, the report noted ongoing gender-based discrimination that is defended or perpetrated in the name of religion or belief, e.g. forced genital mutilation, forced virginity tests, marital rape, child and forced marriage, polygamy, forced sterilisation and abortion, domestic violence, “honour killings,” the criminalisation of adultery, particularly ending in death by stoning, compulsory restrictive garments or veils, and banning access to religious temples or one’s own home for women during their menstrual cycle.
Apart from the fourth point (in the list above), that names Christianity and Islam, the report never mentions any religion by name. The report does, however, make mention of 24 countries where the above claims were observed. Of the twenty-four countries named, 12 have a majority Christian population; eight have a majority Muslim population, two are predominantly Hindu; one has a majority Buddhist population; while the last has a majority Jewish population. Overall, the most claims against countries that use religion as a justification for discrimination against woman and people that are LGBT, are countries where Islam is the majority religion. If the United Nations (UN), based on their report, wanted to declare an enemy it would therefore be Islam and not Christianity.
The report ends with several initiatives and suggestions that could be implemented, to protect the rights of women, girls, and LGBT people.
Which included the following:
- States have an affirmative duty to create the conditions in which all members of society can exercise their rights, including the right to hold a religion or belief. States have an obligation to ensure that, where they act to protect individuals’ rights to manifest their religion or belief, this does not have the effect of impairing the enjoyment of the rights to equality and non-discrimination of any member of society.
- The principle of “reasonable accommodation” for religious persons or institutions can be a pragmatic tool for States to promote pluralism and to overcome intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.
- Faith leaders should publicly oppose expressions of hostility against, and negative stereotypes of, women, girls, LGBT+ persons and human rights defenders promoting gender equality, including by faith leaders, and express solidarity with and support for women, girls, and LGBT+ persons.
CONCLUSION AND A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
The authorless WhatsApp message claims that the United Nations (UN) has a clear plan whereby it will destroy the Christian Church. It goes on to claim all kinds of evil acts which the UN intends to implement to achieve this.
After reading such a message, with such a dire warning, the only resultant emotion is fear. Does the United Nation (UN) seek the downfall of the Christian religion? Will the UN use human rights to crush the religious rights of the Christian church? There is no evidence to support such claims. However, what can be said is that persecution has always been a fruitful catalyst for church growth.
The WhatsApp message fails in its efforts to stir Christians up to oppose the United Nations because it fails to provide even a single source to back its claims. The only truth that comes from such a disturbing message is that the hour has indeed come – for Christians to stand up to false prophets who spread only lies and fear, instead of truth, love, and peace.