U.N. Overreaches, Tramples Religious Freedom

The United Nations issued a report today on its investigation into the unforgivable sex-abuse scandal that victimized children and undermined the many positive things the Catholic Church has stood for. It’s a reminder that we all have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially our children. This obligation exists not because we are Americans, Catholics, or of any other nationality or faith. It exists because we are humans.

Unfortunately, the U.N. also chose to use the opportunity to make political statements about Catholic doctrine on abortion, contraception, and marriage, issues at the core of the Church’s teachings about human rights and the dignity of life. In doing so, the U.N. — with the seemingly limitless worldwide injustices it could be condemning or investigating — trampled on the religious-freedom principles outlined in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This is a U.N. that counts serial abusers and murderers of men, women, and children as members of its Commission on Human Rights. It has been unable to slow North Korea and Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons. It has proven feckless in its ability to prevent atrocities in places like Syria. It has routinely given a platform for state sponsors of terrorism to successfully condemn Israel. Its own “peacekeepers” have committed crimes against women around the world.

The U.N. is in very real danger of becoming obsolete in the 21st century. I believe it can still play an important role in global affairs, but without reforms to ensure greater accountability and transparency, its ineffective leadership, ethical abuses, and misspending will remain rampant. It is critical that we are able to ensure that American taxpayer dollars sent to the U.N. are actually advancing our national interests.

The United States is still very much a country that stands at the vanguard of protecting religious freedom at home and abroad. The American people have been unequivocal in condemning the abuse of children by priests who violated the law and their vows by preying on kids. But the U.N. has overreached in its efforts to discredit the Catholic Church’s core teachings, and I hope our ambassador to the U.N. will convey this message to her counterparts there.

— Marco Rubio is the junior U.S. senator from Florida.


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