Friday, March 02, 2007

The blinkered "right"

From an undated interview of Martin Barillas, conducted by Michael Westfall, from the conservative web page [my emphasis]:
Michael Westfall: On these vital matters, do governments and world authorities really care about Biblical values and faith issues relative to their behavior? Does world morality continue to slide downward in important areas and if so, what are your views on the moral decline?

Martin Barillas: Certainly, there is a perception that the observance of moral values is in decline. In the 20th Century, we saw the onset of industrialized warfare in the trenches of the Somme during the First World War, Nazi death camps and Soviet pogroms before and during the Second World War, the bombing of civilians and the use of the atomic bomb by the Allies, abortion and contraception, and then the advent of gay rights. All of these are manifestations of the culture of death. ...

... An area of hope is that Christians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America may have a great deal to tell us about the importance of clinging to the anchor of faith. It is truly significant that Anglican bishops of Africa, for example, are leading the Anglican Communion in rejecting proposals to dignify homosexual relationships with the moniker of “marriage”.
Of course, if Barillas had read the legislation, he would know that it does far more than simply ban gay marriage, and abridges the full set of what we in the US would call First Amendment rights (the right to free speech, assembly, press, and exercise of religion). But never mind -- just before this, Barillas impeached himself entirely by donning the mantel of "protector of human rights" [my emphasis]:
Michael Westfall: What do you see as the role of the Church in protecting human rights around the world, who are the major players and do you see the role of the Church increasing or decreasing? Could you explain for our readers some of the other major human rights violations, and what kind of obstacles the Church faces in addressing these issues?

Martin Barillas: Christians, of whatever stripe, are called to not only praise the Lord but to share his word. This can be in not only evangelising but also taking risks as some missionaries and others do when they challenge economic and legal systems. My thoughts run to the many Catholic nuns and priests who have given their lives in witness to the Gospel when they put the spotlight on the violence and inhuman practices of the powerful. Christians may at times be at odds with government, even if it is the government of the United States.

In Latin America, the Church has long been persecuted by governments that have cozied up to US corporations such as United Fruit, mining and railroad interests [i.e., the United States]. There have been times in places like Guatemala in the 1980s when there was a price on the head of missionaries there. In El Salvador, three US missionaries were murdered there during the Reagan administration.

The Church, broadly speaking, must address human rights violations honestly and courageously. It has to be a beacon of hope and truth to all people.

This is the same line we hear from the Institute on Religion and Democracy (a non-democratic Christianist organization) over and over again. Culture is in decline. We must abridge the rights of those who threaten our culture. At the same time, we must invoke the human rights of our co-believers to protect them from attack by those who would attack our culture.

This is a very, very cynical understanding of of human rights, and it represents the rankest hypocrisy.

I should probably have ignored this interview, but there has to be some defense against this kind of nonsense.

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