Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations’ independent “expert” on sexual orientation and gender identity, capped off “Pride Month” in June with his annual report to the Human Rights Council.
The report addressed the conflicts between religious freedom and the rights of LGBTQ+ people to be “free from violence and discrimination.”
Spoiler alert: Religious freedom loses.
Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican lawyer, has a long record of sacrificing religion on the altar of gender ideology, and this report is no exception. He claims, for instance, that laws influenced by “interpretations of religious dogma” often deny “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans and other gender-diverse persons the right to equality.”
But nothing in human rights law requires that people, or governments, embrace the latest fetishes of gender activists.
Human rights derive from our shared human dignity. Such rights include the fundamental rights to life, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights speaks to these freedoms. But no global human rights treaty recognizes rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and for good reason: They’re parochial, not universal.
It claims religious believers are unjust when they act on the tenets of their faith.
Do you support natural marriage, the reality of biological sex, and traditional sexual morality? Do your views reflect your religious beliefs? If so, then the U.N.’s sexual orientation and gender identity czar likely thinks you’re guilty of discrimination or even violence.
His new report, though, mainly targets countries with laws inspired by religious beliefs. He directs his ire particularly at laws involving same-sex relations, abortion, and conscience rights.
In every case, his report puts religion in its crosshairs. Take the 67 countries that prohibit sexual acts between same-sex adults, for instance. The two sources of those laws, according to the SOGI czar, are “dogmatic interpretations of scripture,” and colonial-era legislation that has “morphed into norms invoking religion.”
Again, religion is supposedly to blame for upholding the “wrong” norms about sex.
Hungary’s law that bars same-sex couples from adopting children gets special attention. That law is “oppression,” according to the report. It’s a result of “applying a strict Christian conservative viewpoint to the legal definition of a family.”
Even the U.S., where President Joe Biden is working to promote the agenda across the government, wasn’t spared. The report complains of “state legislatures seeking to enshrine anti-trans exclusion” in the U.S. as an example of how “religion can be invoked for autocratic practices and denial of basic rights.”
In this case, however, the U.N.’s SOGI czar is shooting at shadows. Not one of the state laws in question relies on sectarian religious views. His animus toward religion is so extreme that he blames it—even in its absence.
“Denial of Reproductive Rights”
His report’s defense of abortion is even more shrill. It describes the “denial of reproductive rights”—read: abortion—as a “less explicit” form of “state-sponsored violence.”
At least Madrigal-Borloz is consistent. When he visited the U.S. last year, he described the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, as “a devastating action for the human rights of lesbian and bisexual women, as well as trans men and other gender-diverse persons with gestational faculties.”
He also objects to laws that protect doctors and pharmacists who won’t provide “services that go against their convictions” as a form of “indirect discrimination.”
He asserts that “one in eight LGBT people” live in states in the U.S. where doctors “can legally refuse to care for them.” That is false. No U.S. state allows health providers to turn away patients based on their sexual orientation or “gender identity.” Rather, some states protect providers who oppose, on moral and/or professional grounds, abortions and “gender-affirming care.”
The U.N. SOGI czar simply defines these procedures as “care.” Does he think doctors and nurses should be forced to perform them?
The report even weighs in on “access to spirituality for LGBT persons.” It frets about “alienation from organized religion.” The problem, once again, are religious teachings that contradict the sex and gender dogmas of the moment. His solution, then, is simple: Religions should get with the program and update their teachings on sex.
Biden Administration’s Kudos
To no one’s surprise, the Biden camp praised the SOGI czar’s report. Jessica Stern, U.S. special envoy for advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons, delivered the government’s official statement welcoming the report. She described a “global trend of instrumentalizing and misusing religion, customs, traditions, and culture to justify discriminatory legislation.”
Biden shares the U.N. czar’s radical priorities and contempt for religious freedom. His team has weaponized foreign aid and leveraged U.S. diplomacy to impose a radical social agenda at home and abroad.
Despite claims to the contrary, their actions strike at the human rights system, of which religious freedom is the heart. Indeed, many argue that the concept of human rights depends on a Judeo-Christian framework and is in peril without it.
If gender ideology contradicts the mores of every major religion, then surely the problem is not religion. The problem is the ideology itself.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal