Friday, April 11, 2008

Un Declaration of Human Rights: So What?

Well, it's likely to become a topic with the visit of Benedict XVI to the UN, that's what.

...Nearing its 60th anniversary, the human rights declaration is Benedict's Exhibit A in making his case for universal moral standards as the necessary basis of world peace and justice. When circumstances permit, he links that idea to his project for the revival of natural law.

The pope seems likely again to make his argument for what he calls "common moral law" in the major address he will deliver April 18 to the UN General Assembly in New York. But it will also come as no surprise if he brings up the subject at other stops during his April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York.

...There was a tipoff to Benedict's thinking about these matters and their likely relationship to his trip to the United States in remarks he delivered at the Vatican on February 29 to Mary Ann Glendon, who was presenting her credentials as the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 60th anniversary we celebrate this year, was the product of a worldwide recognition that a just global order can only be based on the acknowledgment and defense of the inviolable dignity and rights of every man and woman," the pope told Glendon, a Harvard Law professor who is author of a history of the writing of the human rights declaration.

Benedict made it a point to link the idea of common moral law to the United States, declaring it to be "enshrined in its founding documents." He urged that it remain a central principle guiding U.S. policy in today's world.

By the way, the vote to adopt the document in the UN was 48-0-8, with the 8 abstainers including the Soviet bloc, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia--which STILL does not allow non-Muslim worship.

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