By Fr. Mario Alexis Portella, Crisis, April 27, 2021
I recently logged onto the Voice of America (VOA) website—an American international broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress—and saw an article entitled “LGBTQ Members Face Threats in Iraqi Kurdistan,” which discussed the plight of Iraq’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or queer (LGBTQ) community in the country’s autonomous region of Kurdistan.
The segment included a video of an Iraqi who, as an LGBTQ activist, feared for his safety. Not that such individuals should have to undergo any type of persecution, yet the VOA article’s aim was not necessarily to magnify this in as much as it was to advocate the LGBTQ agenda—the sanctimonious recognition of same-sex unions, the right to biologically change one’s gender, and the like, as human rights.
I wondered how the VOA, being under the direction of an upright Catholic, Robert R. Reilly, who had published works such as Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything—a book that objectively presents the Left’s agenda of imposing upon society homosexual behavior as morally acceptable—could allow such a pro-LGBTQ piece to be published? I then discovered that Reilly, who had been appointed as Director of VOA last December, was removed by President Joe Biden just after his inauguration.
While it is the President’s prerogative to hire whomever he wishes to such a post, in a trivial way this reflects the insidious agenda of the new administration to suppress the founding principle of our rights—the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” (i.e., the natural law as mirrored in God’s revealed law).
Since taking office, Biden has sought to promote basic freedoms in places where they do not exist, like Communist China and Saudi Arabia—and this is a good thing. Paradoxically, under the pretension of advocating human rights, he has taken steps to suppress the human person’s dignity by not just denying the right to life of children in the womb, but by advocating same-sex unions as a human right and by granting leeway to people, even pre-adolescents, to surgically change their biological sex if they all of a sudden desire to do so.
With both the House and the Senate under the control of Democrats, Biden is ever poised to exacerbate these trends by infusing schools with such destructive ideology that undermines not just parental rights, but those who seek to live according to the natural law. He has, in fact, already taken some measure to accomplish this, such as:
- signing (on Day One of his administration) a divisive transgender executive order that forces all Kindergarten to 12th grade schools in the nation that accept federal funds to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity policies—this permits students of all ages to participate in single-sex sports and use single-sex facilities that do not match their biological sex, such as bathrooms and locker rooms;
- issuing (also on Day One) an Executive Order that annuls the Mexico City Policy, known as the global gag rule, which prohibits U.S. dollars from flowing to international non-governmental organizations that provide abortions, advocate to legalize and expand abortion access, or provide abortion counseling—this dates back to 1984, under President Ronald Reagan, but has been revoked and reinstated by Democratic and Republican administrations, respectively;
- becoming the first U.S. President to legally recognize transgenderism as a human right: “Transgender rights are human rights—and I’m calling on every American to join me in uplifting the worth and dignity of transgender Americans.”
Let us also not forget how Biden has threatened to sanction countries, such as Nigeria, that have refused to make laws to accommodate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and Intersex people—interesting how he will not penalized Nigeria after its (Muslim) President Muhammadu Buhari, as recently attested by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Diocese of Sokoto in northwestern Nigeria, has fomented an increase of “terrorism” against Christians since he came to power in 2015.
These acts not only contradict the natural law, but in doing so they affront and restrict our exercise of freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. Doctors and nurses, for example, would face legal consequences if they refuse to perform or assist in abortions or transgender surgeries, consequently leaving people of faith without legal recourse when their freedoms are trampled.
The twist to all this is that such human rights are incongruous with natural rights as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.
The American Founding Fathers held that our rights endowed by our Creator are founded in the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” While they justly established the separation between Church and State—the guarantee of religious freedom—as the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen explained, they understood that our society could never be divorced from religion and morality. In other words, they could not make any political or governmental decisions in contradiction to God’s natural law.
Under this notion, human rights became one and the same with natural rights: that which is proper or morally correct under divine law must be safeguarded so that the human person may have the liberty to (responsibly) exercise his or her freedom. Yet there is a distinction between the two.
A natural right is distinct from a human right in that the former is permanent and continuous since it is grounded in nature. A human right, however, can be arbitrary and revocable, for it does not always need to be rooted in the natural law. Hence, if a right is not derived from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” it risks becoming a conjectured adjudication suppressing the dignity of the person.
If I, for example, as a male wish to marry a woman, so long as there is mutual understanding and acceptance of the matrimonial obligations from the two of us—provided I am not bound by a vow to a religious institution or to another woman—it is my natural right to do so. This right must not only be protected but promoted by the state; it cannot be infringed upon or altered. However, if I claim the right to have more than one wife at a time, while polygamous marriage may be recognized by the state as a human right, it is not a natural right per se—this was highlighted by the U.S. government when it allowed Utah to become the forty-fifth state of the Union in 1896, with the condition that the mostly-Mormon population renounce and abolish its religious practice of polygamy.
The reasoning behind this is that while it may be natural for animals to have numerous mates, it cannot be so for human beings. The same can be said of same-sex marriage or any type of sexual disorientation advocated by LGBTQ activists. If an exception is made to the natural order of things, where, then, do we draw the line?
The universality of the Creator’s design for human beings was to put human rights in the context of stability and continuity, which the state must safeguard and foster. But because, as Pope Benedict XVI stated during his address to the Roman Curia in 2010, “morality [has been] replaced by a calculus of consequences, and [has essentially] cease[d] to exist” in our present-day society, we should not be surprised that rights are forged on shallow sentimentalism and utilitarian aims.
Freedom is confused with the capacity of doing and imposing whatever one desires without any moral reference, such as the commercialization of the human body or forcing children as young as two years of age to accept transgenderism. Consequently, natural rights are villainized and substituted by the will of a government that primarily seeks to satisfy the hedonistic appetite of the mob. Those who uphold the principles of equality under the tenets of the natural law are discriminated against, just as it was under the Obama administration when Catholic institutions refused to provide health coverage for abortions to its dependents under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
Once you get rid of Nature, as in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” Reilly stated, “there really are no standards against which to judge moral behavior or anything else.”
We know that every human being must be treated with dignity and respect, regardless if he or she identifies as gay or transgender. Yet policies such as the Equality Act, undoing the Mexico City Policy, or any like-minded course of action will eventually disregard any reasonable argument and silence those who favor the right to life of a child in the mother’s womb or sustain the biological difference between man and woman created in the image and likeness of God.
This article first appeared HERE.