24 Mar Whether we like it or not, the UN Matters
The United Nations complex isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The walls are stained with water damage, the rooms are plain and uninspiring, and the diplomats who hurry through the halls could be any person you bump into at the Starbucks down the road. Similarly, the United Nations as an institution is not all the world hails it to be. It is often impeded by politics, crippled by ambiguous language, and dominated by a worldview out-of-sync with reality. As a college student from a conservative background, I know the right likes to dismiss the relevancy of the United Nations. However, truth be told, what happens at the United Nations has profound impacts on the world, and Christians and conservatives alike should be especially interested in the consequences of UN policy.
Here are some facts about the UN that should scare the living daylights out of you.
1. The UN and many of the N0n Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who flock there are steeped in a radical leftist ideology.
Across the road from the UN headquarters is a shrine of sorts to the United Nations. Etched in the wall above the stairway to 43rd Street is a verse from the prophet Isaiah: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” The beginning of this verse (Is.2:4), which says “He (the God of Jacob) will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples” is a phrase conveniently left out. This epitomizes UN ideology: the belief that absolute peace and the end of suffering are achievable on earth, with or without divine assistance.
2. Developing countries often base their laws off UN agreements.
I recall from last year’s UN Conference on the Status of Women that a representative from an African nation was thrilled that the “right to abortion” was included in her nation’s constitution. She noted that British and American law along with UN policies all protected this right and, thus, reproductive services (i.e. access to abortion) should be provided in her home country. All of the other arguments surrounding abortion – the moral, medical, or factual reasons why access to abortion might not be best for a woman or a nation – were cast aside in favor of international precedent. This happens more often than we know, and we should be seriously disturbed that younger countries look to the UN for black-and-white answers to questions that require sober and deep consideration.
3. NGOs in many countries go to UN conferences for ideas and assistance in solving social, economic, and development issues back home.
If you are disturbed by some of the documents that emerge from the UN, whether it is CEDAW or the CRC, you would be stunned by the things said by the NGO’s at UN conferences. This year my team of students from Patrick Henry College sat in on a variety of meetings at the UN Conference on the Status of Women. We heard the United Methodist Church call for the criminalization of war. We heard representatives from the YWCA state that Jerusalem is “under Israeli occupation,” and nations should invest more money in controlling climate change and protecting women’s reproductive health than they invest in their national defense. We sat in on a Girl Scout’s meeting about how 7-10 year old girls need to be educated on dating violence and how Disney teaches girls horrible falsehoods like how “a girl needs to change in order to be loved by a man.” Now, imagine how these sorts of ideas are being absorbed by women around the world who come to the UN CSW looking for guidance on how to improve the lives of their girls back home. We should be concerned.
In short, conservatives need to wake up and smell the coffee. The United Nations may seem innocuous with its seemingly naive aspirations for world peace and civilizational harmony, but what it actually accomplishes is much more harmful than we suspect. Let’s stop twiddling our thumbs while destructive ideologies spread their roots across the globe and let’s start getting involved in an institution that intimately affects us, whether we like it or not.
Katie Donnelly is a senior International Politics and Policy major at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. She is interested in international development, international relations, and any policies affecting the family and religious freedom.