There’s a great scene in Casablanca where Rick (Humphrey Bogart) learns that a man (Peter Lorre) recently arrested by the Nazis is dead. The Vichy officer (Claude Rains) writing up the report says, “We haven’t decided if he committed suicide or was shot trying to escape.” There’s a similar totalitarian farce being played out today in Iran, where a Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, was convicted of apostasy, because even though he was never a Muslim, the court determined that his ancestors had been.
The conviction carries a death sentence, which in this day and age doesn’t play so well on the world stage. Still, Islamofascists can’t possibly backtrack on killing off deserters from the Religion of Peace, since arguably it’s their only means of retention. It would be interesting to see how Islam would fare in an open market where the faithful were truly free to choose. Could they fill the mosques on Fridays or would Islam go the way of the Frito Burrito and the Hula Burger? The Iranian government is loathe to find out, so they’re determined to kill Pastor Nadarkhani. But all of the sudden, it’s not for apostasy. Apparently he’s also a rapist and an extortionist. Not that he was tried for those crimes, nor are they mentioned in the Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010. But trust the Iranian government, he did it, and many times, too.
And why not trust Iran? They recently demonstrated their humanitarian streak when they released two US
hikers spies as a good will gesture for the trifling price of one million dollars, which they’ll no doubt invest in a program of map and compass education for international travelers. The fact that one of the liberated Americans decided to use his fleeting fame to trash his home country only confirmed the wisdom of having jailed the ungrateful turd in the first place. Directionally challenged hiker, Shane Bauer stated, “we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.” That’s nice moral delineation from an adolescent snot who already proved he can’t find, let alone walk, physical boundaries. Obviously, with their trek, the trio of UC Berkeley geniuses had been out to make a political point, but confronted with actual consequences for their brattish activism, retreated into feigned innocence. Anyway, I’m glad they’re free. I just think they ought to repay the ransom, which the US government no doubt funneled through Oman and has been forced to add to the national debt.
But back to Nadarkhani, who really is innocent. There’s sudden outcry among nations with some claim toward being civilized. The United States, which under the Obama administration is still focused on extending an open hand to a nation that shoots protestors in the streets, is late to the party. The Obama administration’s tepid statement “condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.”
“Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people. That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations. A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran’s continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.” [emphasis mine]
House Speaker John Boehner also condemned the conviction as a violation of universal human rights.
For those wondering where those universal human rights might be memorialized, just how Iran became a putative defender of them or how executing Pastor Nadarkhani would breach Iran’s international obligations, we should note it has nothing to do with Islam. Iran is not obligated by any principle of its state religion to defend freedom of belief or conscience. These concepts are foreign to the religion whose very title means “submission.” Iran’s obligation to defend universal rights comes from it being a member of the United Nations. (Stop laughing) And from being a signatory of a high-minded, loophole-riddled and entirely unenforceable document entitled, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
Article 18 states, in pertinent part:
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
Notice the loopholes get loaded into section 3, eviscerating everything promised in sections 1 and 2. The “necessary to protect public safety, order, [etc.]” verbiage allows totalitarian governments to act as totalitarian governments do, justifying it later as necessary to preserve order. (This operates much the same as the “health exception” does in erasing all limitations on abortion in the United States. The health exception is so elastic that it now covers even normal, uncomplicated pregnancies, allowing for any pregnancy at any stage to be lawfully terminated.)
So even though Iran is a signatory of a UN treaty outlawing what they are doing, the international community has no leverage over them, because the UN has also legislated the facile and fraudulent defense that makes Iran’s signature non-binding. It’s worth noting that this document was signed in 1966, but was not to go into effect until 1976. Why? Because at that time the UN was already loaded with oppressive regimes that needed time to make the transition to permitting universal human rights for their citizens. See how that works? The UN opens its doors to barbarians in the hopes of civilizing them. What could go wrong? How about a situation where the barbarian nations come to outnumber the civilized ones, and use democratic processes to evade responsibility and dictate terms, effectively holding free nations hostage? Oops, didn’t see that coming.
Well, we should have seen it coming. It was there at the creation of the UN. When the United Nations was first chartered, “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,” one of the founding members, also named a permanent member of the Security Council, was the Soviet Union, which under Josef Stalin had systematically starved an estimated 7 million people in the Ukraine with a forced famine from 1932 to 1933. And if that weren’t enough, during his Great Purge, Stalin executed about 1.5 million of his own people. Franklin Roosevelt knew of Stalin’s atrocities. He had also met the man at negotiations during the war. Why would FDR lead the drive for a United Nations “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,” then not only admit the Soviet Union, but give them a permanent veto to any international police action? Why would the author of The Four Freedoms permit membership to nations with a history of trampling four out of four? Why would FDR effectively give the henhouse keys to the fox?
Maybe because the Secretary-General of the United Nations Charter Conference in San Francisco, was FDR’s advisor, Alger Hiss, later outed by Communist defector Whitaker Chambers as a Communist, and convicted of perjury for denying that allegation before Congress. “As Secretary-General, managing the agenda,” reported Time, Hiss “will have a lot to say behind the scenes about who gets the breaks.” Hiss, who had counseled FDR at Yalta when the Allied leader ceded half of Europe to the Iron Curtain, not only got a brutal Communist dictatorship in on the ground floor, he made them a managing partner. That’s why from its inception, the UN has been an instrument, not for the advancement of peace, but for the advancement of socialism.
There has never been an entry-level requirement for nations to prove their citizens enjoy any kind of liberty; the UN admits them first (giving them a vote) and decides to deal with their brutal repression later, by committees. Such as The Commission on the Status of Women, whose members include China, Cuba, Iran and Thailand.
To say the UN is a farce is to give it too much credit for entertaining. It is dominated by useful idiot states that want to engage and uplift the totalitarians and the totalitarians themselves, who have no interest in changing and simply want the veneer of legitimacy the UN gives them to continue their domestic and international criminal behavior. The United States, which foots most of the bills, is nevertheless helpless to affect change because our involvement is driven by Leftists who are either utopian enough to believe that engaging with snakes will allow you to charm them, not get you bit, or worse, actually envy the totalitarians the free expression of their brutal impulses.
As our government has grown, so has our desire to imitate totalitarian regimes in the unrestrained exercise of governmental power. It did not begin with Barack Obama, but we see it today in Obama’s envy of China’s president and their economy; in Joe Biden’s stated understanding of China’s “one child” policy; in the drive to socialize American industry through regulation rather than outright ownership; in the crony-capitalist “investment” in government-selected, government-connected industries; in the Attack Watch monitoring of dissent; in the war against religious objections to government mandates; in the treatment of private capital and earnings as property of the federal government; in the treatment of the US treasury not as funds held in trust, but as slush-funds for capricious pay-outs; and in the stated desire of government officials to suspend elections until we solve our political problems.
This is why we have no moral authority to oppose Iran. Too many of us wish we were them.