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The Pronk Pops Show 1340, October 14, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos — Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Freedom — Videos — Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

Posted on October 18, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Bernie Sanders, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Psychology, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Sciences, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos —

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The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

The Kurds are an ancient and noble people who are now the primary “boots on the ground” against ISIS in the Middle East. They are 35 million strong worldwide, the largest people group on earth without their own homeland. In this stirring talk, Stephen Mansfield tells the story of the Kurds and does so, surprisingly, through the lives of three women. Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author who first rose to global attention with his groundbreaking book, The Faith of George W. Bush, a bestseller that Time magazine credited with helping to shape the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He has written celebrated biographies of Barak Obama, Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, Pope Benedict XVI, and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Mansfield’s latest book, The Miracle of the Kurds, is a timely introduction to the Kurdish people that reached bookstores just as Kurdish troops began standing heroically against the evils of ISIS in the Middle East. The book has been named “Book of the Year” by Rudaw, the leading Kurdish news service. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Donald Trump vows to ‘obliterate’ Turkey’s economy if there’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of Kurds in Syria

President Trump answers questions about Syria, Turkey

Erdogan asks Arab League: ‘How many Syrians did you accept?’

Turkish forces clash with Kurdish fighters in Syria – BBC News

Graham rips ex-Obama officials’ criticism of Trump’s Syria pullout

Defense Secretary Esper defends Trump’s removal of troops from Northern Syria

Rand Paul slams GOP ‘war caucus’ criticizing Trump for Syria

Why are Americans surprised Trump withdrew troops from Syria?: Gaetz

After Trump Abandoned Kurds, Turkish Invasion Raises Fear of Kurdish Genocide & ISIS Resurgence

What is the Armenian Genocide?

An Armenian Genocide Survivor’s Story | Lucine Z. Kinoian | TEDxBergenCommunityCollege

Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on

Donald Trump says he is poised to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Erdogan continues military onslaught in Syria – as unrest helps nearly 800 ISIS brides and their children escape from a camp

  • President Trump said Sunday morning that he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey 
  • On Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area 
  • This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria
  • On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia
  • Syrian troops have been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive
  • Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing on Twitter that it’s ‘very smart not to be involved’ in the fighting on the Turkish border
  • More than 130,000 people have been displaced from northeast Syrian border towns as a result of fighting between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish militia 

President Trump says he is in talks with members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Turkish President Erdogan continues his attacks on Kurdish militia just one week after Trump pulled U.S. troops from the area.

‘Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,’ Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning. ‘Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!’

This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria after a shelling by Turkish forces, the region’s Kurdish-led administration said Sunday. Syrian troops have now been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive.

Trump said Saturday that in response to the Turkish invasion, the U.S. will send $50million in emergency financial aid to Syria.

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose 'powerful sanctions' on Turkey

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for 'WORLD PEACE!'

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for ‘WORLD PEACE!’

The Kurdish-led administration said 785 foreigners affiliated with ISIS escaped Ain Issa (pictured), north of Raqqa, where they were being held following Turkish shelling today

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

The money will be sent to assist human rights groups and other organizations to ‘protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights,’ according to a statement released Saturday night by the Office of the Press Secretary.

Trump spoke of the $50million in aid while at the Values Voters Summit’s Faith, family and Freedom gala dinner Saturday night.

‘Other presidents would not be doing that, they’d be spending a lot more money but on things that wouldn’t make you happy,’ he said. ‘The U.S. condemns the persecution of Christians and we pledge our support to Christians all over.’

The statement by the Office of the Press Secretary says the aid money ‘will also go toward increased accountability, removal of explosive remnants of war, community security for stabilization assistance, documenting human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations, and support for survivors of gender-based violence and torture.

‘We hope regional and international partners will continue their contributions as well. ‘Ensuring the freedom and safety of ethnic and religious minorities remains a top priority for this Administration.’

On Sunday, President Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Northern Syria, leaving the America’s Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion, calling it ‘very smart’ for the U.S. to ‘not be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change.’

‘Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?’ he added.

‘Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria. Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no, and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey….’ he wrote.

‘The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!’

On Sunday, Syrian Kurdish officials said they will work with Assad forces to repel Turkish offensive and to liberate areas held by Turkey.

Also on Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that Turkey ‘appears to be ‘ committing war crimes in northern Syria.

‘It’s a very terrible situation over there, a situation caused by the Turks. Despite our opposition, they decided to make this incursion,’ Esper said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Turkey-backed rebels capture city from Kurdish control

On Sunday Trump continued to defend his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing: 'Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change'

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Mortar shells land on Turkish side of border with Syria

The Kurdish-led administration said in a statement Sunday that 785 ISIS-affiliated foreigners had fled a camp at Ain Issa.

In an apparent reference to Turkish-backed rebels, the Kurdish-led administration said ‘mercenaries’ attacked the camp where ‘Daesh elements’ – a reference to Islamic State – in turn attacked camp guards and opened the gates.

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to show people running away from the camp.

Turkey’s cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara’s Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.

Turkey is now facing threats of possible sanctions from the U.S. unless it calls off the incursion.

Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.

France also said today it was ‘worried’ to hear of the report that hundreds of relatives of foreign jihadists had escaped.

‘Of course we are worried about what could happen and that is why we want Turkey… to end as quickly as possible the intervention it has begun,’ government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told France 3 television.

Turkey-backed Syrian forces continue Syrian Kurdish fighters assault

On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia

On Saturday, Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that ISIS will ‘absolutely come back’ with the removal of U.S. troops from Syria.

‘ISIS is not defeated. We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover,’ Mattis told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press when asked if President Trump made the right decision by pulling troops from Northern Syria last week.

‘It’s in a situation of disarray right now,’ Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defense in January, said of the situation between Turkey and Syria. ‘Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks. We’ll have to see if they can maintain the fight against ISIS. It’s going to have an impact. The question is how much.

‘We may want a war over; we may even declare it over. You can pull your troops out as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq, but the ”enemy gets the vote”, we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7568101/Trump-sends-50million-emergency-financial-assistance-Syria.html

David E. Sanger
Syrian army returns to northeast, as Turkey widens invasion
President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four American adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and the Islamic State.

Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests. How this decision happened — springing from an “off-script moment” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in the words of a senior American diplomat — likely will be debated for years by historians, Middle East experts and conspiracy theorists.

But this much already is clear: Mr. Trump ignored months of warnings from his advisers about what calamities likely would ensue if he followed his instincts to pull back from Syria and abandon America’s longtime allies, the Kurds. He had no Plan B, other than to leave. The only surprise is how swiftly it all collapsed around the president and his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team.

Day after day, they have been caught off-guard, offering up differing explanations of what Mr. Trump said to Mr. Erdogan, how the United States and its allies might respond, and even whether Turkey remains an American ally. For a while Mr. Trump said he acted because the Islamic State was already defeated, and because he was committed to terminating “endless wars” by pulling American troops out of the Middle East. By the end of the week he added 2,000 — to Saudi Arabia.

One day he was inviting Mr. Erdogan to visit the White House; the next he was threatening to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it crossed a line that he never defined.

Mr. Erdogan just kept going.

Mr. Trump’s error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared, and then failing to spell out for Mr. Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a dimunition of Turkey’s alliance with the United States and its standing in NATO. He has since threatened both, retroactively. But it is not clear Mr. Erdogan believes either is a real risk.The drama is nowhere near over. Out of necessity, the Kurds switched sides on Sunday, turning their backs on Washington and signing up with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a man the United States has called a war criminal for gassing his own people. At the Pentagon, officials struggled with the right response if Turkish forces — NATO allies — again opened fire on any of the 1,000 or so Americans now preparing to retreat from their positions inside Syria. Those troops are trapped for now, since Turkey has cut off the roads; removing them may require an airlift.

And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

For his part, Mr. Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” he said. (In fact, most do not.)

“This president keeps blindsiding our military and diplomatic leaders and partners with impulsive moves like this that benefit Russia and authoritarian regimes,” said Senator Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat and longtime member of the Armed Services Committee.

“If this president were serious about ending wars and winning peace, he’d actually articulate a strategy that would protect against a re-emergence of ISIS and provide for the safety of our Syrian partners,” Mr. Reed added. “But he has repeatedly failed to do that. Instead, this is another example of Donald Trump creating chaos, undermining U.S. interests, and benefitting Russia and the Assad regime.”

The other major beneficiary is Iran, perhaps Mr. Trump’s most talked-about geo-political foe, which has long supported the Syrian regime and sought freer rein across the country.

But none of that appeared to have been anticipated by Mr. Trump, who has no fondness for briefing books and meetings in the Situation Room intended to game out events two or three moves ahead. Instead, he often talks about the trusting his instincts.

“My gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” he said late last year. He was discussing the Federal Reserve, but could just as easily been talking foreign policy; in 2017 he told a reporter, right after his first meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, that it was his “gut feel” for how to deal with foreign leaders, honed over years in the real estate world, that guided him. “Foreign policy is what I’ll be remembered for,” he said.

But in this case the failure to look around corners has blown up on him at a speed that is rare in foreign policy and national security. The closest analogue may date back to 1950, during Harry Truman’s administration, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson described America’s new “defense perimeter” in a speech, saying it ran from southern Japan through the Philippines. That left out the Korean Peninsula, and two weeks later Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, appeared to have given Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the current North Korean leader, permission to launch his invasion of the South. The bloody stalemate that followed lives with the United States today.

At the time, the United States kept a token force in South Korea, akin to the one parked along the Turkish-Syrian border. And it is impossible to know whether the North Korean attack would have been launched even without Mr. Acheson’s failure to warn about American action if a vulnerable ally was attacked — just as it is impossible to know if Mr. Erdogan would have sent his troops over the border if that phone call, and Mr. Trump’s failure to object, had never happened.

It was Mr. Trump himself who, during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, blamed President Barack Obama for a similar error. “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq,” he said, referring to the 2011 withdrawal. “They shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.”

Even his allies see the parallel. “If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most vociferous defenders in recent years, but among his harshest Republican critics for the Syria decision, said last week.

As James F. Jeffrey, who worked for Mr. Obama as ambassador to Turkey, then to Iraq, and now serves as Mr. Trump’s special envoy for Syria, noted several years ago, it’s debatable whether events would have played out differently if the United States had stayed in Iraq.

Could a residual force have prevented ISIS’s victories?” he asked in a Wall Street Journal essay five years ago. “With troops we would have had better intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq and later ISIS, a more attentive Washington, and no doubt a better-trained Iraqi army. But the common argument that U.S. troops could have produced different Iraqi political outcomes is hogwash. The Iraqi sectarian divides, which ISIS exploited, run deep and were not susceptible to permanent remedy by our troops at their height, let alone by 5,000 trainers under Iraqi restraints.”

Mr. Trump may now be left to make the same argument about Syria: That nothing could have stopped Mr. Erdogan, that the Russians would benefit in any case, that there are other ways to push back at Iran. Perhaps history will side with him.

For now, however, he has given up most of what little leverage he had.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-followed-his-gut-on-syria-calamity-came-fast/ar-AAILbg6#image=AAIqEBq|9

Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., an ardent supporter of President Trump, got the boot on Monday when he tried to sit in on the testimony of a former top National Security Council expert on Russia who was appearing on Capitol Hill as part of the House impeachment inquiry into the president.

Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, attempted to attend the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president, but was told that because he was not a member of the House Intelligence Committee that he had to leave. The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees are conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

A frustrated Gaetz aired his disappointment to reporters after being told he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing, venting his anger over what he says are “selective leaks” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and questioning why he was not allowed to be present during Hill’s testimony. Gaetz added that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was involved in the impeachment inquiry.

“It’s not like I’m on agriculture,” Gaetz said. “What are the Democrats so afraid of?”

Gaetz followed up his comments with a tweet calling the impeachment inquiry a kangaroo court and using one of Trump’s favorite nicknames for the intelligence committee chairman, “Shifty Schiff.”

“Judiciary Chairman [Jerry Nadler] claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago,” Gaetz tweeted. “Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes – my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff.”

Other Republicans closely aligned with Trump continued on Monday to complain about Schiff and his handling of the impeachment inquiry – with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also lambasting the California Democrat for excluding some congressional Republicans from the testimonies and for leaking “cherry-picked” information from the closed-door hearings to the press.

“She was going to come voluntarily but he’s going to subpoena her I believe so he can ask certain questions and again keep those secret except for the certain things that he wants to leak, the cherry-picked information to the American people,” Jordan said of Schiff before Hill’s testimony.

TRUMP SAYS OBAMA ‘HIDING’ FROM QUESTIONS ABOUT BIDENS AND UKRAINE: ‘I THINK HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT’

Lee Wolosky, Hill’s attorney, tweeted on Monday that the former deputy assistant to the president had received a congressional subpoena.

“The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don’t get to see what’s going on in these up in these sessions,” Jordan said.

Hill’s testimony comes ahead of a planned Thursday appearance by Gordon Sondland, Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, and follows the revelation of a cache of text messages from top envoys that provide a vivid account of their work acting as intermediaries around the time Trump urged Ukraine’s new president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, to start investigations into a company linked to the family of a chief Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.

Sondland is set to tell lawmakers that he did understand the administration was offering Zelenskiy a White House visit in exchange for a public statement committing to investigations Trump wanted, according to the person, who demanded anonymity to discuss remarks not yet given.

But Sondland will say he did not know the company being talked about for an investigation, Burisma, was tied to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the person said. Sondland understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicized Trump administration push that was widely shared, the person said.

 

One witness who may not be called before Congress is the still anonymous government whistleblower who touched off the impeachment inquiry. Top Democrats say testimony and evidence coming in from other witnesses, and even the president himself, are backing up the whistleblower’s account of what transpired during Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy.

Lawmakers have also grown deeply concerned about protecting the person from Trump’s threats over the matter and may not wish to risk exposing the whistleblower’s identity.

Schiff said Sunday, “We don’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call, to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.” He added it “may not be necessary” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity as the House gathers evidence.

“Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff said.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republican-rep-matt-gaetz-kicked-out-of-impeachment-inquiry-hearing

Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Liberty — Videos

AG William Barr Nails The Destruction OF America’s Morality by “Militant Secularism”

US Attorney General William Barr – Notre Dame Speech

Why Has the West Been So Successful?

1. I Am the Lord Your God

2. No Other Gods

Religious Tolerance: Made in America

Were the Founders Religious?

Was America Founded to Be Secular?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

America’s Biggest Issues: Religious Freedom

The Left Ruins Everything

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Jordan Peterson on the Belief in God

Who Dares Say He Believes in God?

On Claiming Belief In God: Discussion with Dennis Prager

“Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom” with Donald Trump & Others (Opening)

Donald Trump makes speech to the UN general assembly

The Blaine Amendments: State Constitutions & School Choice

Blaine Amendments and “Sectarian” explained

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down the Blaine Amendment?

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame

South Bend, IN

~

Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Tom, for your kind introduction. Bill and Roger, it’s great to be with you.

Thank you to the Notre Dame Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture for graciously extending an invitation to address you today. I’d also like to express gratitude to Tony de Nicola, whose generous support has shaped – and continues to shape – countless minds through examination of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition.

Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you about religious liberty in America. It’s an important priority in this Administration and for this Department of Justice.

We have set up a task force within the Department with different components that have equities in this area, including the Solicitor General’s Office, the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel, and other offices. We have regular meetings. We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith, or cases where states adopt laws that impinge upon the free exercise of religion.

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety. It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.

In his renowned 1785 pamphlet, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” James Madison described religious liberty as “a right towards men” but “a duty towards the Creator,” and a “duty….precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

It has been over 230 years since that small group of colonial lawyers led a revolution and launched what they viewed as a great experiment, establishing a society fundamentally different than those that had gone before.

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

In the 20th century, our form of free society faced a severe test.

There had always been the question whether a democracy so solicitous of individual freedom could stand up against a regimented totalitarian state.

That question was answered with a resounding “yes” as the United States stood up against and defeated, first fascism, and then communism.

But in the 21st century, we face an entirely different kind of challenge.

The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.

They never thought the main danger to the republic came from external foes. The central question was whether, over the long haul, we could handle freedom. The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.

By and large, the Founding generation’s view of human nature was drawn from the classical Christian tradition.

These practical statesmen understood that individuals, while having the potential for great good, also had the capacity for great evil.

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.

On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Edmund Burke summed up this point in his typically colorful language:

“Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put chains upon their appetites…. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So the Founders decided to take a gamble. They called it a great experiment.

They would leave “the People” broad liberty, limit the coercive power of the government, and place their trust in self-discipline and the virtue of the American people.

In the words of Madison, “We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves…”

This is really what was meant by “self-government.” It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings.

Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves – freely obeying the dictates of inwardly-possessed and commonly-shared moral values. And to control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

As John Adams put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

As Father John Courtney Murray observed, the American tenet was notthat:

“Free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and that its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.”

How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.

From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.

Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.

By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.

Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.

But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

As you all know, over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses. That is more casualities in a year than we experienced during the entire Vietnam War.

I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.

Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of Homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.

We hear much today about our humane values. But, in the final analysis, what undergirds these values? What commands our adherence to them?

What we call “values” today are really nothing more than mere sentimentality, still drawing on the vapor trails of Christianity.

Now, there have been times and places where the traditional moral order has been shaken.

In the past, societies – like the human body – seem to have a self-healing mechanism – a self-correcting mechanism that gets things back on course if things go too far.

The consequences of moral chaos become too pressing. The opinion of decent people rebels. They coalesce and rally against obvious excess. Periods of moral entrenchment follow periods of excess.

This is the idea of the pendulum. We have all thought that after a while the “pendulum will swing back.”

But today we face something different that may mean that we cannot count on the pendulum swinging back.

First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.

One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.

Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

The pervasiveness and power of our high-tech popular culture fuels apostasy in another way. It provides an unprecedented degree of distraction.

Part of the human condition is that there are big questions that should stare us in the face. Are we created or are we purely material accidents? Does our life have any meaning or purpose? But, as Blaise Pascal observed, instead of grappling with these questions, humans can be easily distracted from thinking about the “final things.”

Indeed, we now live in the age of distraction where we can envelop ourselves in a world of digital stimulation and universal connectivity. And we have almost limitless ways of indulging all our physical appetites.

There is another modern phenomenon that suppresses society’s self-corrective mechanisms – that makes it harder for society to restore itself.

In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path that it is on.

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad fconsequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on which we depend.

Interestingly, this idea of the State as the alleviator of bad consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society.  It can be called the system of “macro-morality.”  It is in some ways an inversion of Christian morality.

Christianity teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather on their commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems.

This system allows us to not worry so much about the strictures on our private lives, while we find salvation on the picket-line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by demonstrating for this cause or that.

Something happened recently that crystalized the difference between these moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I did not usually go to in Washington, D.C.  At the end of Mass, the Chairman of the Social Justice Committee got up to give his report to the parish. He pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C. and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide this need. Instead, he recounted all the visits that the Committee had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchen.

A third phenomenon which makes it difficult for the pendulum to swing back is the way law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy.

Law is being used as weapon in a couple of ways.

First, either through legislation but more frequently through judicial interpretation, secularists have been continually seeking to eliminate laws that reflect traditional moral norms.

At first, this involved rolling back laws that prohibited certain kinds of conduct. Thus, the watershed decision legalizing abortion. And since then, the legalization of euthanasia. The list goes on.

More recently, we have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith.

The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.

This reminds me of how some Roman emperors could not leave their loyal Christian subjects in peace but would mandate that they violate their conscience by offering religious sacrifice to the emperor as a god.

Similarly, militant secularists today do not have a live and let live spirit – they are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.

For example, the last Administration sought to force religious employers, including Catholic religious orders, to violate their sincerely held religious views by funding contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in their health plans. Similarly, California has sought to require pro-life pregnancy centers to provide notices of abortion rights.

This refusal to accommodate the free exercise of religion is relatively recent. Just 25 years ago, there was broad consensus in our society that our laws should accommodate religious belief.

In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – RFRA. The purpose of the statute was to promote maximum accommodation to religion when the government adopted broad policies that could impinge on religious practice.

At the time, RFRA was not controversial. It was introduced by Chuck Schumer with 170 cosponsors in the House, and was introduced by Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch with 59 additional cosponsors in the Senate. It passed by voice vote in the House and by a vote of 97-3 in the Senate.

Recently, as the process of secularization has accelerated, RFRA has come under assault, and the idea of religious accommodation has fallen out of favor.

Because this Administration firmly supports accommodation of religion, the battleground has shifted to the states. Some state governments are now attempting to compel religious individuals and entities to subscribe to practices, or to espouse viewpoints, that are incompatible with their religion.

Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools. To me, this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty.

For anyone who has a religious faith, by far the most important part of exercising that faith is the teaching of that religion to our children. The passing on of the faith. There is no greater gift we can give our children and no greater expression of love.

For the government to interfere in that process is a monstrous invasion of religious liberty.

Yet here is where the battle is being joined, and I see the secularists are attacking on three fronts.

The first front relates to the content of public school curriculum. Many states are adopting curriculum that is incompatible with traditional religious principles according to which parents are attempting to raise their children. They often do so without any opt out for religious families.

Thus, for example, New Jersey recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. Similar laws have been passed in California and Illinois. And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

Indeed, in some cases, the schools may not even warn parents about lessons they plan to teach on controversial subjects relating to sexual behavior and relationships.

This puts parents who dissent from the secular orthodoxy to a difficult choice: Try to scrape together the money for private school or home schooling, or allow their children to be inculcated with messages that they fundamentally reject.

A second axis of attack in the realm of education are state policies designed to starve religious schools of generally-available funds and encouraging students to choose secular options.  Montana, for example, created a program that provided tax credits to those who donated to a scholarship program that underprivileged students could use to attend private school.  The point of the program was to provide greater parental and student choice in education and to provide better educations to needy youth.

But Montana expressly excluded religiously-affiliated private schools from the program.  And when that exclusion was challenged in court by parents who wanted to use the scholarships to attend a nondenominational Christian school, the Montana Supreme Court required the state to eliminate the program rather than allow parents to use scholarships for religious schools.

It justified this action by pointing to a provision in Montana’s State Constitution commonly referred to as a “Blaine Amendment.”  Blaine Amendments were passed at a time of rampant anti-Catholic animus in this country, and typically disqualify religious institutions from receiving any direct or indirect payments from a state’s funds.

The case is now in the Supreme Court, and we filed a brief explaining why Montana’s Blaine Amendment violates the First Amendment.

A third kind of assault on religious freedom in education have been recent efforts to use state laws to force religious schools to adhere to secular orthodoxy. For example, right here in Indiana, a teacher sued the Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis for directing the Catholic schools within his diocese that they could not employ teachers in same-sex marriages because the example of those same-sex marriages would undermine the schools’ teaching on the Catholic view of marriage and complementarity between the sexes.

This lawsuit clearly infringes the First Amendment rights of the Archdiocese by interfering both with its expressive association and with its church autonomy. The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the state court making these points, and we hope that the state court will soon dismiss the case.

Taken together, these cases paint a disturbing picture. We see the State requiring local public schools to insert themselves into contentious social debates, without regard for the religious views of their students or parents. In effect, these states are requiring local communities to make their public schools inhospitable to families with traditional religious values; those families are implicitly told that they should conform or leave.

At the same time, pressure is placed on religious schools to abandon their religious convictions. Simply because of their religious character, they are starved of funds – students who would otherwise choose to attend them are told they may only receive scholarships if they turn their sights elsewhere.

Simultaneously, they are threatened in tort and, eventually, will undoubtedly be threatened with denial of accreditation if they adhere to their religious character.  If these measures are successful, those with religious convictions will become still more marginalized.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no hope for moral renewal in our country.

But we cannot sit back and just hope the pendulum is going to swing back toward sanity.

As Catholics, we are committed to the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great.

And we know that the first thing we have to do to promote renewal is to ensure that we are putting our principles into practice in our own personal private lives.

We understand that only by transforming ourselves can we transform the world beyond ourselves.

This is tough work. It is hard to resist the constant seductions of our contemporary society. This is where we need grace, prayer, and the help of our church.

Beyond this, we must place greater emphasis on the moral education of our children.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the faculties to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

The times are hostile to this. Public agencies, including public schools, are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism.

If ever there was a need for a resurgence of Catholic education – and more generally religiously-affiliated schools – it is today.

I think we should do all we can to promote and support authentic Catholic education at all levels.

Finally, as lawyers, we should be particularly active in the struggle that is being waged against religion on the legal plane.

We must be vigilant to resist efforts by the forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon the free exercise of our faith.

I can assure you that, as long as I am Attorney General, the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of our liberties: the freedom to live according to our faith.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today. And God bless you and Notre Dame.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-law-school-and-de-nicola-center-ethics

 

William Barr’s right about left’s designs on religious freedom

– The Washington Times – Thursday, October 17, 2019

As the Caribbean saying goes, “I chucked a rock in the pen and a pig squealed.”

This explains all the frenzied squealing and indignant grunting we heard in response to the speech Attorney General William Barr gave last week to law students at the University of Notre Dame about the increasing hostility toward religious liberty in America.

Mr. Barr raised alarm over “the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today.”

For anyone thinking this is some random force or natural course of history, he jolted a harsh warning.

“This is not decay. It is organized destruction,” he said.

“Secularists and their allies among the ‘progressives’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Anyone who missed the speech should find it and watch it. Anyone with a child in school should print out the speech and send it to him or her — or any of the other 16 genders schools are offering for students these days.

The smorgasbord of gender options inspires snorts of laughter among serious people, vexes anyone who believes in actual science and causes others to scoff and walk away.

But the infidels and infantiles who are running higher education today must be confronted with more than just laughter and dismissal. They are, after all, the ones destroying America by poisoning the minds of children. That is why the attorney general’s speech at Notre Dame is so important.

It is also why so many boars in the media took such offense to the speech and began squealing like a herd of mad swine racing for the lake.

One magazine cried that Mr. Barr is “neck deep in extremist Catholic institutions.”

For defending religious liberty?

Oh my. They make precisely William Barr’s point for him.

A major newspaper opined: “God is now Trump’s co-conspirator.” It was not meant as a compliment, again proving Mr. Barr’s point.

“Is this Barr’s cry for help?” pondered another major newspaper.

All the squealing proved not only Mr. Barr’s point about the rabid intolerance of religious liberty, but also that so many of the “intellectuals” in charge of American magazines and newspapers have already been poisoned by the nonsense and dishonesty dispensed by higher education these days.

These people are not only anti-religion, but they also are anti-science, anti-history and anti-liberty. Alexander Hamilton would weep if he knew the power these people now hold in his beloved republic.

Mr. Hamilton also would have applauded Mr. Barr’s speech. He and all the Founders would have recognized the speech as a flawless continuation of the endless debates they had about the nature of man, liberty and religion.

Picking up on the Founders’ discussion of man’s capacity for both “great good” and “great evil,” Mr. Barr said the “coercive power of government” cannot alone maintain a civil society. There must be other — more free and voluntary — guides of citizens’ behavior.

The notion of self-governance, he said, has dual meaning.

“It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

Particularly alarming to Mr. Barr is the lust with which secular zealots go after personal, private religion.

“Militant secularists today do not have a ‘live and let live’ spirit,” he said. “They are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.”

It is that very lust that leads political monsters to create untamable leviathans like Obamacare, which forces the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their most precious religious convictions.

Is it any surprise, then, to see citizens turn on one another with the same evil lust?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/17/william-barrs-religious-hostility-speech-hits-sque/

 

 

Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion

The attorney general gives a speech on secularism, and the left goes bananas.

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists
Main Street: During a speech at Notre Dame law school on October 11, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr explained how secularists are assaulting religious freedom in an effort to break down traditional moral values and instead impose their own orthodoxy. Image: Robert Franklin/Associated Press

For Notre Dame fans, this football weekend was a twofer. Not only did the Irish beat a longtime rival, the University of Southern California, on Saturday, the campus was treated to a sight it had never before seen: the attorney general of the United States, at a pregame tailgater, serenading faculty, students and fans with his bagpipes.

Turns out that was William Barr’s second performance on campus. The first came at the law school Friday, when he delivered a bracing speech on the role of religion in the American story of freedom.

The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.”

Political ethicist and professional attention seeker Richard Painter tapped out a series of even more furious tweets, here calling the speech the latest episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” there suggesting Mr. Barr isn’t much of a Christian, here again saying Mr. Barr sounded like “vintage Goebbels.” Over at MSNBC, meanwhile, retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told Joy Reid the attorney general is “Torquemada in a business suit,” a reference to the Spanish Inquisition’s grand inquisitor.

This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”

“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage—and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.”

Vincent Phillip Muñoz, a Notre Dame professor, notes there was nothing particularly Catholic about this speech. Like Washington in his Farewell Address, he says, Mr. Barr focused on the irreplaceable role of religion in cultivating the morality citizens need to be capable of self-government.

“The speech wasn’t first and foremost about religious freedom,” says Mr. Muñoz. “It was about the human and social consequences of the new secular morality, and what happens when the state views its citizens not only in purely material terms, but as subjects who can’t really govern themselves.”

Even those who strongly disagree with Mr. Barr ought to have found this an invitation for thoughtful and vigorous debate. But rather than engage, some imply there is something unseemly about an attorney general’s even speaking at a Catholic university. Given the hostility that holding such a conversation engenders on campuses today, perhaps America can count itself fortunate it still has a university where this can happen.

Carter Snead, the law professor who invited Mr. Barr, puts it this way: “At Notre Dame, we are not afraid to explore the hard questions about God, religion and America together in friendship, especially on those matters about which people strongly disagree.”

Freedom of religion

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People praying to Lord Brahma, a Hindu deity, at the Erawan shrineBangkok

Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs.[1]

Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right.[2][3] In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths. Freedom of belief is different. It allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not necessarily allow the right to practice the religion or belief openly and outwardly in a public manner.

History

Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wisdom protects the believers of all religions (Daniel Chodowiecki, 1791)

Historically, freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has also often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, and political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis, literally “protected individuals” professing an officially tolerated non-Muslim religion.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

In Antiquity, a syncretic point of view often allowed communities of traders to operate under their own customs. When street mobs of separate quarters clashed in a Hellenistic or Romancity, the issue was generally perceived to be an infringement of community rights.

Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 BC, and initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout the empire, documenting this on the Cyrus Cylinder.[4][5]

Some of the historical exceptions have been in regions where one of the revealed religions has been in a position of power: Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Others have been where the established order has felt threatened, as shown in the trial of Socrates in 399 BC or where the ruler has been deified, as in Rome, and refusal to offer token sacrifice was similar to refusing to take an oath of allegiance. This was the core for resentment and the persecution of early Christian communities.

Freedom of religious worship was established in the Buddhist Maurya Empire of ancient India by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC, which was encapsulated in the Edicts of Ashoka.

Greek-Jewish clashes at Cyrene in 73 AD and 117 AD and in Alexandria in 115 AD provide examples of cosmopolitan cities as scenes of tumult.

The Romans tolerated most religions, including Judaism and encouraged local subjects to continue worshipping their own gods. They did not however, tolerate Christianity until it was legalised by the Roman emperor Galerius in 311. The Edict of Milan guaranteed freedom of religion in the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which outlawed all religions except Christianity.

Muslim world

Following a period of fighting lasting around a hundred years before 620 AD which mainly involved Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Medina (then known as Yathrib), religious freedom for Muslims, Jews and pagans was declared by Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina. The Islamic Caliphate later guaranteed religious freedom under the conditions that non-Muslim communities accept dhimmi status and their adult males pay the punitive jizya tax instead of the zakat paid by Muslim citizens.[6] Though Dhimmis were not given the same political rights as Muslims, they nevertheless did enjoy equality under the laws of property, contract, and obligation.[7][8][9]

Religious pluralism existed in classical Islamic ethics and Sharia, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early CaliphateAl-AndalusIndian subcontinent, and the Ottoman Millet system.[10][11] In medieval Islamic societies, the qadi (Islamic judges) usually could not interfere in the matters of non-Muslims unless the parties voluntarily choose to be judged according to Islamic law, thus the dhimmi communities living in Islamic states usually had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who would have their own Halakha courts.[12]

Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order.[13] Non-Muslims were allowed to engage in religious practices that were usually forbidden by Islamic law, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork, as well as religious practices which Muslims found repugnant, such as the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous “self-marriage” where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter. According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292–1350), non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices even if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion.[14]

Despite Dhimmis enjoying special statuses under the Caliphates, they were not considered equals, and sporadic persecutions of non-Muslim groups did occur in the history of the Caliphates.[15][16][17]

India

Ancient Jews fleeing from persecution in their homeland 2,500 years ago settled in India and never faced anti-Semitism.[18] Freedom of religion edicts have been found written during Ashoka the Great‘s reign in the 3rd century BC. Freedom to practise, preach and propagate any religion is a constitutional right in Modern India. Most major religious festivals of the main communities are included in the list of national holidays.

Although India is an 80% Hindu country, India is a secular state without any state religions.

Many scholars and intellectuals believe that India’s predominant religion, Hinduism, has long been a most tolerant religion.[19] Rajni Kothari, founder of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies has written, “[India] is a country built on the foundations of a civilisation that is fundamentally non-religious.”[20]

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, said that religious tolerance of ‘Aryabhoomi,’ a reference to India found in the Mahabharata, has been in existence in this country from thousands of years. “Not only Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism which are the native religions but also Christianity and Islam have flourished here. Religious tolerance is inherent in Indian tradition,” the Dalai Lama said.[21]

Freedom of religion in the Indian subcontinent is exemplified by the reign of King Piyadasi (304–232 BC) (Ashoka). One of King Ashoka’s main concerns was to reform governmental institutes and exercise moral principles in his attempt to create a just and humane society. Later he promoted the principles of Buddhism, and the creation of a just, understanding and fair society was held as an important principle for many ancient rulers of this time in the East.

The importance of freedom of worship in India was encapsulated in an inscription of Ashoka:

King Piyadasi (Ashok) dear to the Gods, honours all sects, the ascetics (hermits) or those who dwell at home, he honours them with charity and in other ways. But the King, dear to the Gods, attributes less importance to this charity and these honours than to the vow of seeing the reign of virtues, which constitutes the essential part of them. For all these virtues there is a common source, modesty of speech. That is to say, one must not exalt one’s creed discrediting all others, nor must one degrade these others without legitimate reasons. One must, on the contrary, render to other creeds the honour befitting them.

On the main Asian continent, the Mongols were tolerant of religions. People could worship as they wished freely and openly.

After the arrival of Europeans, Christians in their zeal to convert local as per belief in conversion as service of God, have also been seen to fall into frivolous methods since their arrival, though by and large there are hardly any reports of law and order disturbance from mobs with Christian beliefs, except perhaps in the north eastern region of India.[22]

Freedom of religion in contemporary India is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25 of the nation’s constitution. Accordingly, every citizen of India has a right to profess, practice and propagate their religions peacefully.[23] Vishwa Hindu Parishad counters this argument by saying that evangelical Christians are forcefully (or through money) converting rural, illiterate populations and they are only trying to stop this.

In September 2010, the Indian state of Kerala‘s State Election Commissioner announced that “Religious heads cannot issue calls to vote for members of a particular community or to defeat the nonbelievers”.[24] The Catholic Church comprising Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites used to give clear directions to the faithful on exercising their franchise during elections through pastoral letters issued by bishops or council of bishops. The pastoral letter issued by Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on the eve of the poll urged the faithful to shun atheists.[24]

Even today, most Indians celebrate all religious festivals with equal enthusiasm and respect. Hindu festivals like Deepavali and Holi, Muslim festivals like Eid al-FitrEid-Ul-AdhaMuharram, Christian festivals like Christmas and other festivals like Buddha PurnimaMahavir Jayanti, Gur Purab etc. are celebrated and enjoyed by all Indians.

Europe

Religious intolerance

Nineteenth century allegorical statue on the Congress Column in Belgium depicting religious freedom

Most Roman Catholic kingdoms kept a tight rein on religious expression throughout the Middle Ages. Jews were alternately tolerated and persecuted, the most notable examples of the latter being the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492. Some of those who remained and converted were tried as heretics in the Inquisition for allegedly practicing Judaism in secret. Despite the persecution of Jews, they were the most tolerated non-Catholic faith in Europe.

However, the latter was in part a reaction to the growing movement that became the Reformation. As early as 1380, John Wycliffe in England denied transubstantiation and began his translation of the Bible into English. He was condemned in a Papal Bull in 1410, and all his books were burned.

In 1414, Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher of reformation, was given a safe conduct by the Holy Roman Emperor to attend the Council of Constance. Not entirely trusting in his safety, he made his will before he left. His forebodings proved accurate, and he was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. The Council also decreed that Wycliffe’s remains be disinterred and cast out. This decree was not carried out until 1429.

After the fall of the city of Granada, Spain, in 1492, the Muslim population was promised religious freedom by the Treaty of Granada, but that promise was short-lived. In 1501, Granada’s Muslims were given an ultimatum to either convert to Christianity or to emigrate. The majority converted, but only superficially, continuing to dress and speak as they had before and to secretly practice Islam. The Moriscos (converts to Christianity) were ultimately expelled from Spain between 1609 (Castile) and 1614 (rest of Spain), by Philip III.

Martin Luther published his famous 95 Theses in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. His major aim was theological, summed up in the three basic dogmas of Protestantism:

  • The Bible only is infallible.
  • Every Christian can interpret it.
  • Human sins are so wrongful that no deed or merit, only God’s grace, can lead to salvation.

In consequence, Luther hoped to stop the sale of indulgences and to reform the Church from within. In 1521, he was given the chance to recant at the Diet of Worms before Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. After he refused to recant, he was declared heretic. Partly for his own protection, he was sequestered on the Wartburg in the possessions of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, where he translated the New Testament into German. He was excommunicated by Papal Bull in 1521.

However, the movement continued to gain ground in his absence and spread to Switzerland. Huldrych Zwingli preached reform in Zürich from 1520 to 1523. He opposed the sale of indulgences, celibacy, pilgrimages, pictures, statues, relics, altars, and organs. This culminated in outright war between the Swiss cantons that accepted Protestantism and the Catholics. The Catholics were victorious, and Zwingli was killed in battle in 1531. The Catholic cantons were magnanimous in victory.[citation needed]

The defiance of Papal authority proved contagious, and in 1533, when Henry VIII of England was excommunicated for his divorce and remarriage to Anne Boleyn, he promptly established a state church with bishops appointed by the crown. This was not without internal opposition, and Thomas More, who had been his Lord Chancellor, was executed in 1535 for opposition to Henry.

In 1535, the Swiss canton of Geneva became Protestant. In 1536, the Bernese imposed the reformation on the canton of Vaud by conquest. They sacked the cathedral in Lausanne and destroyed all its art and statuary. John Calvin, who had been active in Geneva was expelled in 1538 in a power struggle, but he was invited back in 1540.

A U.S. postage stamp commemorating religious freedom and the Flushing Remonstrance

The same kind of seesaw back and forth between Protestantism and Catholicism was evident in England when Mary I of England returned that country briefly to the Catholic fold in 1553 and persecuted Protestants. However, her half-sister, Elizabeth I of England was to restore the Church of England in 1558, this time permanently, and began to persecute Catholics again. The King James Bible commissioned by King James I of England and published in 1611 proved a landmark for Protestant worship, with official Catholic forms of worship being banned.

In France, although peace was made between Protestants and Catholics at the Treaty of Saint Germain in 1570, persecution continued, most notably in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day on 24 August 1572, in which thousands of Protestants throughout France were killed. A few years before, at the “Michelade” of Nîmes in 1567, Protestants had massacred the local Catholic clergy.

Early steps and attempts in the way of tolerance

The cross of the war memorial and a menorah coexist in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

The Norman Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II was characterized by its multi-ethnic nature and religious tolerance. Normans, Jews, Muslim Arabs, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards, and native Sicilians lived in harmony.[25][26][failed verification] Rather than exterminate the Muslims of Sicily, Roger II’s grandson Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1215–1250) allowed them to settle on the mainland and build mosques. Not least, he enlisted them in his – Christian – army and even into his personal bodyguards.[27][need quotation to verify][28][need quotation to verify]

Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) enjoyed religious freedom between 1436 and 1520, and became one of the most liberal countries of the Christian world during that period of time. The so-called Basel Compacts of 1436 declared the freedom of religion and peace between Catholics and Utraquists. In 1609 Emperor Rudolf II granted Bohemia greater religious liberty with his Letter of Majesty. The privileged position of the Catholic Church in the Czech kingdom was firmly established after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. Gradually freedom of religion in Bohemian lands came to an end and Protestants fled or were expelled from the country. A devout Catholic, Emperor Ferdinand II forcibly converted Austrian and Bohemian Protestants.[citation needed]

In the meantime, in Germany Philip Melanchthon drafted the Augsburg Confession as a common confession for the Lutherans and the free territories. It was presented to Charles V in 1530.

In the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V agreed to tolerate Lutheranism in 1555 at the Peace of Augsburg. Each state was to take the religion of its prince, but within those states, there was not necessarily religious tolerance. Citizens of other faiths could relocate to a more hospitable environment.

In France, from the 1550s, many attempts to reconcile Catholics and Protestants and to establish tolerance failed because the State was too weak to enforce them. It took the victory of prince Henry IV of France, who had converted into Protestantism, and his accession to the throne, to impose religious tolerance formalized in the Edict of Nantes in 1598. It would remain in force for over 80 years until its revocation in 1685 by Louis XIV of France. Intolerance remained the norm until Louis XVI, who signed the Edict of Versailles (1787), then the constitutional text of 24 December 1789, granting civilian rights to Protestants. The French Revolution then abolished state religion and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

Early laws and legal guarantees for religious freedom

Principality of Transylvania

In 1558, the Transylvanian Diet’s Edict of Torda declared free practice of both Catholicism and Lutheranism. Calvinism, however, was prohibited. Calvinism was included among the accepted religions in 1564. Ten years after the first law, in 1568, the same Diet, under the chairmanship of King of Hungary, and Prince of Transylvania John Sigismund Zápolya (John II.),[29] following the teaching of Ferenc Dávid,[30] the founder of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania,[31] extended the freedom to all religions, declaring that “It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expelling for his religion“. However, it was more than a religious tolerance; it declared the equality of the religions, prohibiting all kinds of acts from authorities or from simple people, which could harm other groups or people because of their religious beliefs. The emergence in social hierarchy wasn’t dependent on the religion of the person thus Transylvania had also Catholic and Protestant monarchs, who all respected the Edict of Torda. The lack of state religion was unique for centuries in Europe. Therefore, the Edict of Torda is considered as the first legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe.[32]

Declaration, by Ferenc Dávid of Religious and Conscience Freedom in the Diet of Torda in 1568, painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch

Act of Religious Tolerance and Freedom of Conscience: His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearings is by the word of God.

— Diet at Torda, 1568 : King John Sigismund[33]

Four religions (CatholicismLutheranismCalvinismUnitarianism) were named as accepted religions (religo recepta), having their representatives in the Transylvanian Diet, while the other religions, like the OrthodoxsSabbatariansand Anabaptists were tolerated churches (religio tolerata), which meant that they had no power in the law making and no veto rights in the Diet, but they were not persecuted in any way. Thanks to the Edict of Torda, from the last decades of the 16th Century Transylvania was the only place in Europe, where so many religions could live together in harmony and without persecution.[34]

This religious freedom ended however for some of the religions of Transylvania in 1638. After this year the Sabbatarians begun to be persecuted, and forced to convert to one of the accepted Christian religions of Transylvania.[35]

Habsburg rule in Transylvania

Also the Unitarians (despite of being one of the “accepted religions”) started to be put under an ever-growing pressure, which culminated after the Habsburg conquest of Transylvania (1691),[36] Also after the Habsburg occupation, the new Austrian masters forced in the middle of the 18th century the Hutterite Anabaptists (who found a safe heaven in 1621 in Transylvania, after the persecution to which they were subjected in the Austrian provinces and Moravia) to convert to Catholicism or to migrate in another country, which finally the Anabaptists did, leaving Transylvania and Hungary for Wallachia, than from there to Russia, and finally in the United States.[37]

Netherlands

In the Union of Utrecht (20 January 1579), personal freedom of religion was declared in the struggle between the Northern Netherlands and Spain. The Union of Utrecht was an important step in the establishment of the Dutch Republic (from 1581 to 1795). Under Calvinist leadership, the Netherlands became the most tolerant country in Europe. It granted asylum to persecuted religious minorities, such as the Huguenots, the Dissenters, and the Jews who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.[38] The establishment of a Jewish community in the Netherlands and New Amsterdam (present-day New York) during the Dutch Republic is an example of religious freedom. When New Amsterdam surrendered to the English in 1664, freedom of religion was guaranteed in the Articles of Capitulation. It benefitted also the Jews who had landed on Manhattan Island in 1654, fleeing Portuguese persecution in Brazil. During the 18th century, other Jewish communities were established at Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and Richmond.[39]

Intolerance of dissident forms of Protestantism also continued, as evidenced by the exodus of the Pilgrims, who sought refuge, first in the Netherlands, and ultimately in America, founding Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620. William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, was involved in a case which had a profound effect upon future American laws and those of England. In a classic case of jury nullification, the jury refused to convict William Penn of preaching a Quaker sermon, which was illegal. Even though the jury was imprisoned for their acquittal, they stood by their decision and helped establish the freedom of religion.[citation needed]

Poland

Original act of the Warsaw Confederation1573. The beginning of religious freedom in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz was issued by the Duke of Greater Poland Boleslaus the Pious on 8 September 1264 in Kalisz. The statute served as the basis for the legal position of Jews in Poland and led to the creation of the Yiddish-speaking autonomous Jewish nation until 1795. The statute granted exclusive jurisdiction of Jewish courts over Jewish matters and established a separate tribunal for matters involving Christians and Jews. Additionally, it guaranteed personal liberties and safety for Jews including freedom of religion, travel, and trade. The statute was ratified by subsequent Polish Kings: Casimir III of Polandin 1334, Casimir IV of Poland in 1453 and Sigismund I of Poland in 1539. Poland freed Jews from direct royal authority, opening up enormous administrative and economic opportunities to them.[40]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The right to worship freely was a basic right given to all inhabitants of the future Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth throughout the 15th and early 16th century, however, complete freedom of religion was officially recognized in 1573 during the Warsaw Confederation. Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth kept religious freedom laws during an era when religious persecution was an everyday occurrence in the rest of Europe.[41]

United States

Most of the early colonies were generally not tolerant of dissident forms of worship, with Maryland being one of the exceptions. For example, Roger Williams found it necessary to found a new colony in Rhode Island to escape persecution in the theocratically dominated colony of Massachusetts. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the most active of the New England persecutors of Quakers, and the persecuting spirit was shared by Plymouth Colony and the colonies along the Connecticut river.[42] In 1660, one of the most notable victims of the religious intolerance was English Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged in Boston, Massachusetts for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony.[42] As one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs, the hanging of Dyer on the Boston gallows marked the beginning of the end of the Puritan theocracy and New England independence from English rule, and in 1661 King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism.[43] Anti-Catholic sentiment appeared in New England with the first Pilgrim and Puritan settlers.[44] In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction.[45] Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried a death penalty.[46] The Pilgrims of New England held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas.[47] Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659.[48] The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by an English appointed governor, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became common in the Boston region.[49]

Freedom of religion was first applied as a principle of government in the founding of the colony of Maryland, founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, in 1634.[50] Fifteen years later (1649), the Maryland Toleration Act, drafted by Lord Baltimore, provided: “No person or persons…shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof.” The Act allowed freedom of worship for all Trinitarian Christians in Maryland, but sentenced to death anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus. The Maryland Toleration Act was repealed during the Cromwellian Era with the assistance of Protestant assemblymen and a new law barring Catholics from openly practicing their religion was passed.[51] In 1657, the Catholic Lord Baltimore regained control after making a deal with the colony’s Protestants, and in 1658 the Act was again passed by the colonial assembly. This time, it would last more than thirty years, until 1692[52] when, after Maryland’s Protestant Revolution of 1689, freedom of religion was again rescinded.[50][53] In addition, in 1704, an Act was passed “to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province”, preventing Catholics from holding political office.[53] Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the American Revolution, when Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (1682) – founded by Protestants Roger Williams, Thomas Hooker, and William Penn, respectively – combined the democratic form of government which had been developed by the Puritans and the Separatist Congregationalists in Massachusetts with religious freedom.[54][55][56][57] These colonies became sanctuaries for persecuted religious minorities. Catholics and later on Jews also had full citizenship and free exercise of their religions.[58][59][60] Williams, Hooker, Penn, and their friends were firmly convinced that freedom of conscience was the will of God. Williams gave the most profound argument: As faith is the free work of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced on a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and state has to be kept.[61] Pennsylvania was the only colony that retained unlimited religious freedom until the foundation of the United States in 1776. It was the inseparable connection between democracy, religious freedom, and the other forms of freedom which became the political and legal basis of the new nation. In particular, Baptists and Presbyterians demanded the disestablishment of state churches – Anglican and Congregationalist – and the protection of religious freedom.[62]

Reiterating Maryland’s and the other colonies’ earlier colonial legislation, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:

[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Those sentiments also found expression in the First Amendment of the national constitution, part of the United States’ Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The United States formally considers religious freedom in its foreign relations. The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which investigates the records of over 200 other nations with respect to religious freedom, and makes recommendations to submit nations with egregious records to ongoing scrutiny and possible economic sanctions. Many human rights organizations have urged the United States to be still more vigorous in imposing sanctions on countries that do not permit or tolerate religious freedom.

Canada

Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Canadian law goes further, requiring that private citizens and companies provide reasonable accommodation to those, for example, with strong religious beliefs. The Canadian Human Rights Act allows an exception to reasonable accommodation with respect to religious dress, such as a Sikh turban, when there is a bona fide occupational requirement, such as a workplace requiring a hard hat.[63] In 2017 the Santo Daime Church Céu do Montréal received religious exemption to use Ayahuasca as a sacrament in their rituals.[64]

International

On 25 November 1981, the United Nations General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. This declaration recognizes freedom of religion as a fundamental human right in accordance with several other instruments of international law.[65]

However, the most substantial binding legal instruments that guarantee the right to freedom of religion that was passed by the international community is the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states in its Article 14: “States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. – States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child. – 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.”[66]

Contemporary debates

Theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs

In 1993, the UN’s human rights committee declared that article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.”[67] The committee further stated that “the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views.” Signatories to the convention are barred from “the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers” to recant their beliefs or convert. Despite this, minority religions still are persecuted in many parts of the world.[68][69]

Secular liberalism

A man posing for a print

Adam Smith argued in favour of freedom of religion.

The French philosopher Voltaire noted in his book on English society, Letters on the English, that freedom of religion in a diverse society was deeply important to maintaining peace in that country. That it was also important in understanding why England at that time was more prosperous in comparison to the country’s less religiously tolerant European neighbours.

If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.[70]

Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations (using an argument first put forward by his friend and contemporary David Hume), states that in the long run it is in the best interests of society as a whole and the civil magistrate(government) in particular to allow people to freely choose their own religion, as it helps prevent civil unrest and reduces intolerance. So long as there are enough different religions and/or religious sects operating freely in a society then they are all compelled to moderate their more controversial and violent teachings, so as to be more appealing to more people and so have an easier time attracting new converts. It is this free competition amongst religious sects for converts that ensures stability and tranquillity in the long run.

Smith also points out that laws that prevent religious freedom and seek to preserve the power and belief in a particular religion will, in the long run, only serve to weaken and corrupt that religion, as its leaders and preachers become complacent, disconnected and unpractised in their ability to seek and win over new converts:[71]

The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect tolerated in the society, or where the whole of a large society is divided into two or three great sects; the teachers of each acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent, where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or, perhaps, into as many thousand small sects, of which no one could be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquillity. The teachers of each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides with more adversaries than friends, would be obliged to learn that candour and moderation which are so seldom to be found among the teachers of those great sects.[72]

Hinduism

Hinduism is one of the more broad-minded religions when it comes to religious freedom.[73] It respects the right of everyone to reach God in their own way. Hindus believe in different ways to preach attainment of God and religion as a philosophy and hence respect all religions as equal. One of the famous Hindu sayings about religion is: “Truth is one; sages call it by different names.”[73]

Judaism

Women detained at Western Wall for wearing prayer shawls; photo from Women of the Wall

Judaism includes multiple streams, such as Orthodox, Reform JudaismConservative JudaismReconstructionist JudaismJewish Renewal and Humanistic Judaism. However, Judaism also exists in many forms as a civilization, possessing characteristics known as peoplehood, rather than strictly as a religion.[74] In the Torah, Jews are forbidden to practice idolatry and are commanded to root out pagan and idolatrous practices within their midst, including killing idolaters who sacrifice children to their gods, or engage in immoral activities. However, these laws are not adhered to anymore as Jews have usually lived among a multi-religious community.

After the conquest of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judea by the Roman Empire, a Jewish state did not exist until 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel. For over 1500 years Jewish people lived under pagan, Christian, Muslim, etc. rule. As such Jewish people in some of these states faced persecution. From the pogroms in Europe during the Middle Ages to the establishment of segregated Jewish ghettos during World War II. In the Middle East, Jews were categorised as dhimmi, non- Muslims permitted to live within a Muslim state. Even though given rights within a Muslim state, a dhimmi is still not equal to a Muslim within Muslim society, the same way non-Jewish Israeli citizens are not equal with Jewish citizens in modern-day Israel.

Possibly because of this history of long term persecution, Jews in modernity have been among the most active proponents of religious freedom in the US and abroad and have founded and supported anti-hate institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. Jews are very active in supporting Muslim and other religious groups in the US against discrimination and hate crimes and most Jewish congregations throughout the US and many individual Jews participate in interfaith community projects and programs.

The State of Israel was established for the Jewish diaspora after World War II. While the Israel Declaration of Independence stresses religious freedom as a fundamental principle, in practice the current[timeframe?] government, dominated by the ultra-Orthodox segment of the population has instituted legal barriers for those who do not practice Orthodox Judaism as Jews. However, as a nation state, Israel is very open towards other religions and religious practices, including public Muslim call to prayer chants and Christian prayer bells ringing in Jerusalem. Israel has been evaluated in research by the Pew organization as having “high” government restrictions on religion. The government recognizes only Orthodox Judaism in certain matters of personal status, and marriages can only be performed by religious authorities. The government provides the greatest funding to Orthodox Judaism, even though adherents represent a minority of citizens.[75] Jewish women, including Anat Hoffman, have been arrested at the Western Wall for praying and singing while wearing religious garments the Orthodox feel should be reserved for men. Women of the Wall have organized to promote religious freedom at the Wall.[76] In November 2014, a group of 60 non-Orthodox rabbinical students were told they would not be allowed to pray in the Knesset synagogue because it is reserved for Orthodox. Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, said that he had submitted the request on behalf of the students and saw their shock when the request was denied. He noted: “paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.” MK Dov Lipman expressed the concern that many Knesset workers are unfamiliar with non-Orthodox and American practices and would view “an egalitarian service in the synagogue as an affront.”[77] The non-Orthodox forms of Jewish practice function independently in Israel, except for these issues of praying at the Western Wall.

Christianity

Part of the Oscar Straus Memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring the right to worship

According to the Catholic Church in the Vatican II document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, “the human person has a right to religious freedom”, which is described as “immunity from coercion in civil society”.[78] This principle of religious freedom “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion.”[78] In addition, this right “is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.”[78]

Prior to this, Pope Pius IX had written a document called the Syllabus of ErrorsThe Syllabus was made up of phrases and paraphrases from earlier papal documents, along with index references to them, and presented as a list of “condemned propositions”. It does not explain why each particular proposition is wrong, but it cites earlier documents to which the reader can refer for the Pope’s reasons for saying each proposition is false. Among the statements included in the Syllabus are: “[It is an error to say that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true” (15); “[It is an error to say that] In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship”; “[It is an error to say that] Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship”.[79]

Some Orthodox Christians, especially those living in democratic countries, support religious freedom for all, as evidenced by the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Many Protestant Christian churches, including some BaptistsChurches of ChristSeventh-day Adventist Church and main line churches have a commitment to religious freedoms. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also affirms religious freedom.[80]

However others, such as African scholar Makau Mutua, have argued that Christian insistence on the propagation of their faith to native cultures as an element of religious freedom has resulted in a corresponding denial of religious freedom to native traditions and led to their destruction. As he states in the book produced by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, “Imperial religions have necessarily violated individual conscience and the communal expressions of Africans and their communities by subverting African religions.”[81][82]

In their book Breaking IndiaRajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan discussed the “US Church” funding activities in India, such as the popularly advertised campaigns to “save” poor children by feeding, clothing, and educating them, with the book arguing that the funds collected were being used not so much for the purposes indicated to sponsors, but for indoctrination and conversion activities. They suggest that India is the prime target of a huge enterprise – a “network” of organizations, individuals, and churches – that, they argue, seem intensely devoted to the task of creating a separatist identity, history, and even religion for the vulnerable sections of India. They suggest that this nexus of players includes not only church groups, government bodies, and related organizations, but also private think tanks and academics.[83]

Joel Spring has written about the Christianization of the Roman Empire:

Christianity added new impetus to the expansion of empire. Increasing the arrogance of the imperial project, Christians insisted that the Gospels and the Church were the only valid sources of religious beliefs. Imperialists could claim that they were both civilizing the world and spreading the true religion. By the 5th century, Christianity was thought of as co-extensive with the Imperium romanum. This meant that to be human, as opposed to being a natural slave, was to be “civilized” and Christian. Historian Anthony Pagden argues, “just as the civitas; had now become coterminous with Christianity, so to be human – to be, that is, one who was ‘civil’, and who was able to interpret correctly the law of nature – one had now also to be Christian.” After the fifteenth century, most Western colonialists rationalized the spread of empire with the belief that they were saving a barbaric and pagan world by spreading Christian civilization.[84]

Islam

Conversion to Islam is simple, but Muslims are forbidden to convert from Islam to another religion. Certain Muslim-majority countries are known for their restrictions on religious freedom, highly favoring Muslim citizens over non-Muslim citizens. Other countries[who?] having the same restrictive laws tend to be more liberal when imposing them. Even other Muslim-majority countries are secular and thus do not regulate religious belief.[85][failed verification]

Islamic theologians[who?] quote the Qur’an (“There is no compulsion in religion”[2:256] and “Say: O you who reject faith, I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship…To you be your religion, and to me be mine”[109:1–6], i.e., Sura Al-Kafirun) to show scriptural support for religious freedom.

Quran 2:190–194, referring to the war against Pagans during the Battle of Badr in Medina, indicates that Muslims are only allowed to fight against those who intend to harm them (right of self-defense) and that if their enemies surrender, they must also stop because God does not like those who transgress limits.

In Bukhari:V9 N316, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah narrated that a Bedouin accepted Islam and then when he got a fever he demanded that Muhammad to cancel his pledge (allow him to renounce Islam). Muhammad refused to do so. The Bedouin man repeated his demand once, but Muhammad once again refused. Then, he (the Bedouin) left Medina. Muhammad said, “Madinah is like a pair of bellows (furnace): it expels its impurities and brightens and clear its good.” In this narration, there was no evidence demonstrating that Muhammad ordered the execution of the Bedouin for wanting to renounce Islam.

In addition, Quran 5:3, which is believed to be God’s final revelation to Muhammad, states that Muslims are to fear God and not those who reject Islam, and Quran 53:38–39 states that one is accountable only for one’s own actions. Therefore, it postulates that in Islam, in the matters of practising a religion, it does not relate to a worldly punishment, but rather these actions are accountable to God in the afterlife. Thus, this supports the argument against the execution of apostates in Islam.[86]

However, on the other hand, some Muslims support the practice of executing apostates who leave Islam, as in Bukhari:V4 B52 N260; “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion and separates from the main body of Muslims, kill him.”[87] However, many Muslims believe that this hadith was written in the context of war and therefore Prophet Muhammad stipulated that whichever Muslim rejects his religion, leaves from the main body of Muslims and betrays the Muslims in war should be executed as a punishment for his treachery towards the community of Muslims. So many Muslims believe that this hadith talks about the punishment of Treason.[citation needed]

In Iran, the constitution recognizes four religions whose status is formally protected: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.[88] The constitution, however, also set the groundwork for the institutionalized persecution of Bahá’ís,[89] who have been subjected to arrests, beatings, executions, confiscation and destruction of property, and the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education.[88] There is no freedom of conscience in Iran, as converting from Islam to any other religion is forbidden.

In Egypt, a 16 December 2006 judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt created a clear demarcation between recognized religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – and all other religious beliefs;[90][91] no other religious affiliation is officially admissible.[92]The ruling leaves members of other religious communities, including Bahá’ís, without the ability to obtain the necessary government documents to have rights in their country, essentially denying them of all rights of citizenship.[92] They cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, and passports; they also cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote, among other things.[92] See Egyptian identification card controversy.

Changing religion

Among the most contentious areas of religious freedom is the right of an individual to change or abandon his or her own religion (apostasy), and the right to evangelize individuals seeking to convince others to make such a change.

Other debates have centered around restricting certain kinds of missionary activity by religions. Many Islamic states, and others such as China, severely restrict missionary activities of other religions. Greece, among European countries, has generally looked unfavorably on missionary activities of denominations others than the majority church and proselytizing is constitutionally prohibited.[93]

A different kind of critique of the freedom to propagate religion has come from non-Abrahamic traditions such as the African and Indian. African scholar Makau Mutua criticizes religious evangelism on the ground of cultural annihilation by what he calls “proselytizing universalist faiths” (Chapter 28: Proselytism and Cultural Integrity, p. 652):

…the (human) rights regime incorrectly assumes a level playing field by requiring that African religions compete in the marketplace of ideas. The rights corpus not only forcibly imposes on African religions the obligation to compete – a task for which as nonproselytizing, noncompetitive creeds they are not historically fashioned – but also protects the evangelizing religions in their march towards universalization … it seems inconceivable that the human rights regime would have intended to protect the right of certain religions to destroy others.[94]

Some Indian scholars[95] have similarly argued that the right to propagate religion is not culturally or religiously neutral.

In Sri Lanka, there have been debates regarding a bill on religious freedom that seeks to protect indigenous religious traditions from certain kinds of missionary activities. Debates have also occurred in various states of India regarding similar laws, particularly those that restrict conversions using force, fraud or allurement.

In 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Christian human rights non-governmental organisation which specializes in religious freedom, launched an in-depth report on the human rights abuses faced by individuals who leave Islam for another religion. The report is the product of a year long research project in six different countries. It calls on Muslim nations, the international community, the UN and the international media to resolutely address the serious violations of human rights suffered by apostates.[96]

Apostasy in Islam

Legal opinion on apostasy by the Fatwacommittee at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the highest Islamic institution in the world, concerning the case of a man who converted to Christianity: “Since he left Islam, he will be invited to express his regret. If he does not regret, he will be killed pertaining to rights and obligations of the Islamic law.”

In Islam, apostasy is called “ridda” (“turning back”) and is considered to be a profound insult to God. A person born of Muslim parents that rejects Islam is called a “murtad fitri” (natural apostate), and a person that converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a “murtad milli” (apostate from the community).[97]

In Islamic law (Sharia), the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi’iMaliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi’ascholars.[98]

Ideally, the one performing the execution of an apostate must be an imam.[98] At the same time, all schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that any Muslim can kill an apostate without punishment.[99]

However, while almost all scholars agree about the punishment, many disagree on the allowable time to retract the apostasy. Many scholars push this as far as allowing the apostate until he/she dies, making the death penalty more of a theoretical statement/exercise.[citation needed] S. A. Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur’an.[100]

Secular law

Religious practice may also conflict with secular law, creating debates on religious freedom. For instance, even though polygamy is permitted in Islam, it is prohibited in secular law in many countries. This raises the question of whether prohibiting the practice infringes on the beliefs of certain Muslims. The US and India, both constitutionally secular nations, have taken two different views of this. In India, polygamy is permitted, but only for Muslims, under Muslim Personal Law. In the US, polygamy is prohibited for all. This was a major source of conflict between the early LDS Church and the United States until the Church amended its position on practicing polygamy.

Similar issues have also arisen in the context of the religious use of psychedelic substances by Native American tribes in the United States as well as other Native practices.

In 1955, Chief Justice of California Roger J. Traynor neatly summarized the American position on how freedom of religion cannot imply freedom from law: “Although freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe are absolute, the freedom to act is not.”[101] But with respect to the religious use of animals within secular law and those acts, the US Supreme Court decision in the case of the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah in 1993 upheld the right of Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice, with Justice Anthony Kennedy stating in the decision: “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection” (quoted by Justice Kennedy from the opinion by Justice Burger in Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division 450 U.S. 707 (1981)).[102]

In 2015, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing Same-sex marriage in the United States. When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she became embroiled in the Miller v. Davis lawsuit. Her actions caused attorney and author Roberta Kaplan to state that “Kim Davis is the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate.”[103]

In 1962, the case of Engele v. Vitale went to court over the violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment resulting from a mandatory nondenominational prayer in New York public schools. The Supreme Court ruled in opposition to the state.[104]

In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Abington School District v. Schempp. Edward Schempp sued the school district in Abington over the Pennsylvania law which required students to hear and sometimes read portions of the bible for their daily education. The court ruled in favor of Schempp and the Pennsylvania law was overturned.[105]

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Epperson v. Arkansas. Susan Epperson, a high school teacher in Arkansas sued over a violation of religious freedom. The state had a law banning the teaching of evolution and the school Epperson worked for had provided curriculum which contained evolutionary theory. Epperson had to choose between violating the law or losing her job. The Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Arkansas law because it was unconstitutional.[106]

Children’s rights

The law in Germany provides the term of “religious majority” (Religiöse Mündigkeit) with a minimum age for minors to follow their own religious beliefs even if their parents don’t share those or don’t approve. Children 14 and older have the unrestricted right to enter or exit any religious community. Children 12 and older cannot be compelled to change to a different belief. Children 10 and older have to be heard before their parents change their religious upbringing to a different belief.[107] There are similar laws in Austria[108] and in Switzerland.[109]

International Religious Freedom Day

27 October is International Religious Freedom Day, in commemoration of the execution of the Boston martyrs, a group of Quakers executed by the Puritans on Boston Common for their religious beliefs under the legislature of the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659–1661.[110] The US proclaimed 16 January Religious Freedom Day.[111]

Modern concerns

In its 2011 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated fourteen nations as “countries of particular concern”. The commission chairman commented that these are nations whose conduct marks them as the world’s worst religious freedom violators and human rights abusers. The fourteen nations designated were Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Other nations on the commission’s watchlist include Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela.[112]

There are concerns about the restrictions on public religious dress in some European countries (including the HijabKippah, and Christian cross).[113][114] Article 18 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights limits restrictions on freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs to those necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.[115] Freedom of religion as a legal concept is related to, but not identical with, religious toleration, separation of church and state, or secular state (laïcité).

Social hostilities and government restrictions

Freedom of religion by country (Pew Research Center study, 2009). Light yellow: low restriction; red: very high restriction on freedom of religion.

The Pew Research Center has performed studies on international religious freedom between 2009 and 2015, compiling global data from 16 governmental and non-governmental organizations–including the United Nations, the United States State Department, and Human Rights Watch–and representing over 99.5 percent of the world’s population.[116][117] In 2009, nearly 70 percent of the world’s population lived in countries classified as having heavy restrictions on freedom of religion.[116][117] This concerns restrictions on religion originating from government prohibitions on free speech and religious expression as well as social hostilities undertaken by private individuals, organisations and social groups. Social hostilities were classified by the level of communal violence and religion-related terrorism.

While most countries provided for the protection of religious freedom in their constitutions or laws, only a quarter of those countries were found to fully respect these legal rights in practice. In 75 countries governments limit the efforts of religious groups to proselytise and in 178 countries religious groups must register with the government. In 2013, Pew classified 30% of countries as having restrictions that tend to target religious minorities, and 61% of countries have social hostilities that tend to target religious minorities.[118]

The countries in North and South America reportedly had some of the lowest levels of government and social restrictions on religion, while The Middle East and North Africa were the regions with the highest. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran were the countries that top the list of countries with the overall highest levels of restriction on religion. Topping the Pew government restrictions index were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Egypt, Burma, Maldives, Eritrea, Malaysia and Brunei.

Of the world’s 25 most populous countries, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan had the most restrictions, while Brazil, Japan, Italy, South Africa, the UK, and the US had some of the lowest levels, as measured by Pew.

Vietnam and China were classified as having high government restrictions on religion but were in the moderate or low range when it came to social hostilities. Nigeria, Bangladesh and India were high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions.

Restrictions on religion across the world increased between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center. Restrictions in each of the five major regions of the world increased—including in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, the two regions where overall restrictions previously had been declining. In 2010, Egypt, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Russia, and Yemen were added to the “very high” category of social hostilities.[119] The five highest social hostility scores were for Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Bangladesh.[120] In 2015, Pew published that social hostilities declined in 2013, but the harassment of Jews increased.[118]

In the Palestinian territories, Palestinians face tight restrictions on practicing the freedom of religion due to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In a report published by the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, eyewitnesses reported systematic practices aiming at preventing young men and women from performing their prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. These practices include military orders issued by the Israeli Defense Army commander against specific Palestinians who have an effective role in Jerusalem, interrogating young men, and creating a secret blacklist of people who are prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[121]

See also

References…

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion

Blaine Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Blaine Amendment was first a failed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-eight of the fifty states adopted provisions of Blaine in their state constitutions. These provisions forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation. They were designed to prohibit aid to parochial schools, especially those operated by the Catholic Church in locations with large immigrant populations.[1] The Blaine Amendment emerged from a growing consensus among 19th-century American Protestants that public education must be free from sectarian or denominational control, while it also reflected nativist tendencies hostile to immigrants.[2]

Contents

Proposed federal amendment

President Ulysses S. Grant (1869–77) in a speech in 1875 to a veteran’s meeting, called for a Constitutional amendment that would mandate free public schools and prohibit the use of public money for sectarian schools. He was echoing nativist sentiments that were strong in his Republican Party.[3][4]

Grant laid out his agenda for “good common school education.” He attacked government support for “sectarian schools” run by religious organizations, and called for the defense of public education “unmixed with sectarian, pagan or atheistical dogmas.” Grant declared that “Church and State” should be “forever separate.” Religion, he said, should be left to families, churches, and private schools devoid of public funds.[5]

After Grant’s speech Republican Congressman James G. Blaine (1830–1893) proposed the amendment to the federal Constitution. Blaine, who actively sought Catholic votes when he ran for president in 1884, believed that possibility of hurtful agitation on the school question should be ended.[6] In 1875, the proposed amendment passed by a vote of 180 to 7 in the House of Representatives, but failed by four votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote in the United States Senate. It never became federal law.

The proposed text was:

No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.

Amendments to state constitutions

Supporters of the proposal then turned their attention to state legislatures, where their efforts met with far greater success. Eventually, all but 10 states (ArkansasConnecticutMaineMarylandNew JerseyNorth CarolinaRhode IslandTennesseeVermont, and West Virginia) passed laws that meet the general criteria for designation as “Blaine amendments,” in that they ban the use of public funds to support sectarian private schools.[7] In some states the provisions in question were included in newly drafted constitutions, rather than adopted as amendments to an existing constitution.

The state Blaine amendments remain in effect in many states.[8][9] In 2012, 46% of voters endorsed a measure repealing Florida’s Blaine amendment. A 60% margin was required for adoption.[10] Voters have also rejected proposals to repeal their state-level Blaine amendments in New York (1967), Michigan (1970), Oregon (1972), Washington state (1975), Alaska (1976), Massachusetts (1986), and Oklahoma (2016).[11][12]

On April 1, 1974, voters in Louisiana approved a new constitution by a margin of 58 to 42 percent,[13] which repealed the Blaine amendment that was part of that state’s 1921 constitution.[14] Louisiana’s current 1974 constitution replaced it with a copy of the federal First Amendment’s no-establishment and free exercise clauses, in Article 1, Sec. 8 of its Declaration of Rights; in Article 8, Sec. 13(a), it also guarantees the provision of free textbooks and “materials of instruction” to all children attending elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana.[15]

Two other states, South Carolina and Utah, have also watered down their “no-aid to religion” constitutional clauses by removing from them the word “indirect,” leaving only a prohibition of direct aid or assistance to religious schools in these states.[16]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  3. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  4. ^ Tyler Anbinder says, “Grant was not an obsessive nativist. He expressed his resentment of immigrants and animus toward Catholicism only rarely. But these sentiments reveal themselves frequently enough in his writings and major actions as general….In the 1850s he joined a Know Nothing lodge and irrationally blamed immigrants for setbacks in his career.” Anbinder, “Ulysses S. Grant, Nativist,” Civil War History 43 (June 1997): 119–41. online
  5. ^ Deforrest (2003)
  6. ^ Steven Green (2010). The Second Disestablishment : Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press. p. 296.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ Olorunnipa, Toluse (November 6, 2012). “Florida voters reject most constitutional amendments, including ‘religious freedom’ proposal”Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  11. ^ “The 27 Statewide Referenda on School Vouchers or Their Variants, 1966-2007”. Americans for Religious Liberty. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ “Oklahoma Public Money for Religious Purposes, State Question 790 (2016)”. Ballotpedia.
  13. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2017-05-28. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  14. ^ Art.4, Sec. 8, Constitution of Louisiana, 1921: “No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such, and no preference shall ever be given, nor any discrimination made against, any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.”
  15. ^ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Louisiana_State__Constitution_(1974).
  16. ^ Article 11, Sec. 4 of the South Carolina Constitution states, “No money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.” And Utah’s constitution says, according to Article 10, Sec. 8, “Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization.” Regina Reaves Hayden, annotated by Steven K. Green, Esq. Stars in the Constitutional Constellation: Federal and State Constitutional Provisions on Church and State. Silver Spring, MD: Americans United Research Foundation, 1993, p. 109, 122.

Further reading

  • Deforrest, Mark Edward. “An Overview and Evaluation of State Blaine Amendments: Origins, Scope, and First Amendment Concerns,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, 2003 in Questia
  • Green, Steven K. “The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered,” 36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 38 (1992)

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaine_Amendment

Mr. Barr’s argument has been echoed throughout American history: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people” (John Adams). “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith” (Tocqueville). “In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For ‘not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God’ shall our democracy be founded” (FDR). And so on.

That so many would become unhinged by Mr. Barr’s relatively modest contribution to the genre is highly revealing of the absolutism of secularist opponents determined to marginalize and destroy anyone who dares dissent from their own uncompromising orthodoxy.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1330, September 30, 2019, Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Indictment and Prosecurtions Coming — Biden Fading Fast —  Videos — Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

Posted on October 4, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Applications, Australia, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Italy, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Mental Illness, Mike Pompeo, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Prime Minister, Progressives, Psychology, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Social Networking, Social Science, Social Sciences, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General’s Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Spygate Indictments and Prosecutions Coming —  Videos —

See the source image

President Trump on whistleblower

Joe Biden Admits to Getting Ukrainian Prosecutor who Investigated Son Fired

Hannity: Dems are guilty of everything they accuse Trump of

Hunter Biden Situation Could Be ‘Albatross Around Joe Biden’s Neck’ | THE CIRCUS | SHOWTIME

CBN NewsWatch PM: September 30, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — September 30, 2019

President Trump And Allies Focus Attacks On Whistleblower

Pompeo was on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President, source says

Trump focuses anger at whistleblower as impeachment inquiry deepens

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

“BIDEN IS A DISGRACE” President Trump RIPS Joe Biden Over Ukraine Controversy

Tucker: Democrats don’t seem happy about impeachment

Stephen Miller calls whistleblower a ‘partisan hit job’ in fiery interview

I wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff’: Giuliani | ABC News

House Intelligence Committee expects to hear from whistleblower ‘very soon’: Schiff | ABC News

Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Coup’

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

LIVE NOW | Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia

Glenn reveals the facts that the media refuse to share and breaks down the entire Ukraine timeline on the chalkboard. Tune in to watch as Glenn makes yet another complex issue simple. BlazeTV Presents a Glenn Beck Special – Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia.

 

 

 

‘COUP’: Trump blasts Democrats’ impeachment efforts in tweet

The Trump tweet came about 12 hours after Trump adviser Peter Navarro called the impeachment inquiry an “attempted coup d’etat’
Image: President Elect Trump Continues His "Thank You Tour" In Grand Rapids, Michigan

President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Dec. 9, 2016.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to Barr

Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

Mike Pompeo was on July 25 phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry in which Trump asked Ukraine president to probe Joe Biden

  • Officials told Associated Press that Secretary of State Pompeo was listening 
  • It would be the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the cal
  • President Trump pressed Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden
  • He asked Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Hunter Biden’s role in gas company 

Two U.S. officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine‘s president that is at the center of a whistleblower complaint.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal matter.

It was the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the call in which Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

It also increases the number of people known to have first-hand knowledge of a call that has sparked an impeachment inquiry by Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo leaves for Italy amid reports he took part in Ukraine call

Pompeo boarded a plane to fly to Italy on Monday.

Joining him aboard the official State Department flight was Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide and Trump supporter.

‘It’s not quite Air Force One, but it’s very close,’ Gorka, who is now a media personality, tweeted.

News of Pompeo’s involvement broke after it was learned that another associate of the president is more deeply ensnared in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family.

With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 ‘text messages, phone records and other communications’ that they referred to as possible evidence.

Sebastian Gorka DrG

@SebGorka

It’s not quite Air Force One.

But it’s very close!

Boarding @SecPompeo’s Air Force Boeing at @Andrews_JBA.

Destination Rome.

Stay Tuned!

http://SebGorka.com 

View image on Twitter

They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates.

McConnell, a steadfast Trump defender, nonetheless swatted down talk that that the GOP-controlled Senate could dodge the matter of impeachment if the House approved charges against Trump.

‘It’s a Senate rule related to impeachment, it would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up,’ McConnell said on CNBC.

FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he'd only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine's president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn't decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE – In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he’d only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine’s president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn’t decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Committees are seeking documents related to his mission to seek information from Ukraine

President Trump again Monday called his phone call with the President of Ukraine where he urged him to get in touch with Giuliani 'perfect'

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

UP TO HERE: 'If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I'll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,' Giuliani said.

UP TO HERE: ‘If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I’ll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,’ Giuliani said.

‘How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.’

Trump took to Twitter to defend anew his phone call with Zelenskiy as ‘perfect’ and to unleash a series of attacks, most strikingly against House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff. 

The Democrat, he suggested, ought to be tried for a capital offense for launching into a paraphrase of Trump during a congressional hearing last week.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,’ the president wrote.

‘It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?’

Trump tweeted repeatedly through the day but was, for the most part, a lonely voice as the White House lacked an organization or process to defend him.

Senior staffers, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were to present Trump this week with options on setting up the West Wing’s response to impeachment, officials said.

A formal war room was unlikely, though some sort of rapid response team was planned to supplement the efforts of Trump and Giuliani.

But Trump was angry over the weekend at both Mulvaney and press secretary Stephanie Grisham for not being able to change the narrative dominating the story, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Democrats have orders from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep momentum going despite a two-week recess that started Friday. 

Staff for three committees are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday to depose Marie ‘Masha’ Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed by the Trump administration earlier this year, and Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as America’s Ukrainian envoy.

Members of intelligence committee on Friday will interview Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who first received the whistleblower’s complaint.

Democrats are driving the proceedings toward what some hope is a vote to impeach, or indict, Trump by year’s end.

They have launched a coordinated messaging and polling strategy aimed at keeping any political backlash in closely divided districts from toppling their House majority.

Meanwhile, an outside group that supports GOP House candidates was starting anti-impeachment digital ads on Monday against three House Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016.

The ads by the Congressional Leadership Fund accuse Reps. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan of ‘tearing us apart,’ and are among the first in which Republicans are trying to use the impeachment issue against Democratic candidates.

However, support across America for impeachment has grown significantly from its level before the House launched its formal inquiry last week.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 47 per cent of registered voters say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47 per cent say he should not.

Just a week before, it was 37 per cent for impeachment and 57 per cent against.

That was before the White House released its rough version of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry.

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham's show on Fox

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox

LET'S TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

In the CNN poll, 47 per cent said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, up from 41 per cent in May.

Both polls showed dramatic partisan polarization remains on impeachment: most Democrats expressing support, the vast majority of Republicans opposed.

The polls disagreed over whose opinions are changing – Quinnipiac showing increased impeachment support coming more from Democrats, CNN from Republicans.

Schiff said on Sunday that his intelligence panel would hear from the still-secret whistleblower ‘very soon’ but that no date had been set and other details remained to be worked out.

A day after Trump demanded to meet the whistleblower, whom he has repeatedly assailed, he said when asked about the person: ‘Well, we’re trying to find out about a whistleblower,’ who made his perfect call ‘sound terrible.’

The whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said Monday that the person ‘is entitled to anonymity. Law and policy support this, and the individual is not to be retaliated against. Doing so is a violation of federal law.’

Separately, the Justice Department disclosed that Trump recently asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other foreign leaders to help Attorney General William Barr with an investigation of the origins of the Russia investigation that has shadowed his administration for more than two years.

Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Trump made the calls at Barr’s request.

Trump was requesting help for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The investigation outraged Trump, who cast it as a politically motivated ‘witch hunt.’

The Russia probe remains Trump’s motivating factor, according to Tom Bossert, the president’s former homeland security adviser.

‘I honestly believe this president has not gotten his pound of flesh yet from past grievances on the 2016 investigation,’ Bossert said Sunday on ABC.

‘If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.’

 

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Religious persecution

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history. Moreover, because a person’s religion often determines to a significant extent his or her morality, worldview, self-image, attitudes towards others, and overall personal identity, religious differences can be significant cultural, personal, and social factors.

Religious persecution may be triggered by religious bigotry (i.e. members of a dominant group denigrating religions other than their own) or by the state when it views a particular religious group as a threat to its interests or security. At a societal level, this dehumanisation of a particular religious group may readily turn into violence or other forms of persecution. Indeed, in many countries, religious persecution has resulted in so much violence that it is considered a human rights problem.

Contents

Definition

Religious persecution is defined as violence or discrimination against religious minorities, actions intending to deprive political rights and force minorities to assimilate, leave, or live as second-class citizen.[1] In the aspect of state policy, it may be defined as violations on freedom of thoughtconscience and belief spread by systematic and active state policy and actions of harassment, intimidation and punishment that infringes or threatens the right to lifeintegrity or liberty.[2] The distinction with religious intolerance is that the latter in most cases is in the sentiment of the population, which may be tolerated or encouraged by the state.[2] Denial of civil rights on the basis of religion is most often described as religious discrimination, rather than religious persecution.

Examples of persecution is confiscation or destruction of property, incitement to hate, arrest, imprisonment, beatings, torture, murder, and execution. Religious persecution can be considered the opposite of freedom of religion.

Bateman has differentiated different degrees of persecution. “It must be personally costly… It must be unjust and undeserved… it must be a direct result of one’s faith.”[3]

Forms

Cleansing

“Religious cleansing” is a term that is sometimes used to refer to the removal of a population from a certain territory based on its religion.[4] Throughout antiquity, population cleansing was largely motivated by economic and political factors, although ethnic factors occasionally played a role.[4] During the Middle Ages, population cleansing took on a largely religious character.[4] The religious motivation lost much of its salience early in the modern era, although until the 18th century ethnic enmity in Europe remained couched in religious terms.[4] Richard Dawkins has argued that references to ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq are euphemisms for what should more accurately be called religious cleansing.[5] According to Adrian Koopman, the widespread use of the term ethnic cleansing in such cases suggests that in many situations there is confusion between ethnicity and religion.[5]

Ethnicity

During Nazi rule, Jews were forced to wear yellow stars identifying them as such. Jews are an ethno-religious group and Nazi persecution was based on their race

Other acts of violence, such as wartorture, and ethnic cleansing not aimed at religion in particular, may nevertheless take on the qualities of religious persecution when one or more of the parties involved are characterized by religious homogeneity; an example being when conflicting populations that belong to different ethnic groups often also belong to different religions or denominations. The difference between religious and ethnic identity might sometimes be obscure (see Ethnoreligious); cases of genocide in the 20th century cannot be explained in full by citing religious differences. Still, cases such as the Greek genocide, the Armenian Genocide, and the Assyrian Genocide are sometimes seen as religious persecution and blur the lines between ethnic and religious violence.

Since the Early modern period, there were increased religious cleansing entwined with ethnic elements.[6] As religion is an important or central marker in ethnic identity, some conflicts can be described as “ethno-religious conflicts”.[7]

Nazi antisemitism provides another example of the contentious divide between ethnic and religious persecution, because Nazi propaganda tended to construct its image of Jews as race, and de-emphasized Jews as being defined by their religion. The Holocaust made no distinction between secular Jews, atheistic Jews, orthodox Jews and Jews that had converted to Christianity. The Nazis also persecuted the Catholic Church in Germany and Poland.

Persecution for heresy and blasphemy

The persecution of beliefs that are deemed schismatic is one thing; the persecution of beliefs that are deemed heretical or blasphemous is another. Although a public disagreement on secondary matters might be serious enough, it has often only led to religious discrimination. A public renunciation of the core elements of a religious doctrine under the same circumstances would, on the other hand, have put one in far greater danger. While dissenters from the official Church only faced fines and imprisonment in Protestant England, six people were executed for heresy or blasphemy during the reign of Elizabeth I, and two more were executed in 1612 under James I.[8]

Similarly, heretical sects like CatharsWaldensians and Lollards were brutally suppressed in Western Europe, while, at the same time, Catholic Christians lived side-by-side with ‘schismatic’ Orthodox Christians after the East-West Schism in the borderlands of Eastern Europe.[9]

Persecution for political reasons

Protestant Bishop John Hooper was burned at the stake by Queen Mary I of England

More than 300 Roman Catholics were put to death by English governments between 1535 and 1681 for treason, thus for secular rather than religious offenses.[8] In 1570, Pope Pius V issued his papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, which absolved Catholics from their obligations to the government.[10] This dramatically worsened the situation of the Catholics in England. English governments continued to fear the fictitious Popish Plot. The 1584 Parliament of England, declared in “An Act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons” that the purpose of Jesuit missionaries who had come to Britain was “to stir up and move sedition, rebellion and open hostility”.[11] Consequently, Jesuit priests like Saint John Ogilvie were hanged. This somehow contrasts with the image of the Elizabethan era as the time of William Shakespeare, but compared to the antecedent Marian Persecutions there is an important difference to consider. Mary I of England had been motivated by a religious zeal to purge heresy from her land, and during her short reign from 1553 to 1558 about 290 Protestants[12] had been burned at the stake for heresy, whereas Elizabeth I of England “acted out of fear for the security of her realm.”[13]

By location

The descriptive use of the term religious persecution is rather difficult. Religious persecution has occurred in different historical, geographical and social contexts since at least antiquity. Until the 18th century, some groups were nearly universally persecuted for their views about religion, such as atheists,[14] Jews[15] and Zoroastrians.[16]

Roman Empire

Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus, was executed by the Romans

Early Christianity also came into conflict with the Roman Empire, and may have been more threatening to the established polytheistic order than had been Judaism, because of the importance of evangelism in Christianity. Under Nero, the Jewish exemption from the requirement to participate in public cults was lifted and Rome began to actively persecute monotheists. This persecution ended in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan, and Christianity was made the official religion of the empire in 380 AD. By the eighth century Christianity had attained a clear ascendancy across Europe and neighboring regions, and a period of consolidation began marked by the pursuit of hereticsheathensJewsMuslims, and various other religious groups.

Early modern England

One period of religious persecution which has been extensively studied is early modern England, since the rejection of religious persecution, now common in the Western world, originated there. The English ‘Call for Toleration’ was a turning point in the Christian debate on persecution and toleration, and early modern England stands out to the historians as a place and time in which literally “hundreds of books and tracts were published either for or against religious toleration.”[17]

The most ambitious chronicle of that time is W.K.Jordan‘s magnum opus The Development of Religious Toleration in England, 1558-1660 (four volumes, published 1932-1940). Jordan wrote as the threat of fascism rose in Europe, and this work is seen as a defense of the fragile values of humanism and tolerance.[18] More recent introductions to this period are Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England, 1558–1689 (2000) by John Coffey and Charitable hatred. Tolerance and intolerance in England, 1500-1700 (2006) by Alexandra Walsham. To understand why religious persecution has occurred, historians like Coffey “pay close attention to what the persecutors said they were doing.”[17]

Ecclesiastical dissent and civil tolerance

No religion is free from internal dissent, although the degree of dissent that is tolerated within a particular religious organization can strongly vary. This degree of diversity tolerated within a particular church is described as ecclesiastical tolerance,[19] and is one form of religious toleration. However, when people nowadays speak of religious tolerance, they most often mean civil tolerance, which refers to the degree of religious diversity that is tolerated within the state.

In the absence of civil toleration, someone who finds himself in disagreement with his congregation doesn’t have the option to leave and chose a different faith – simply because there is only one recognized faith in the country (at least officially). In modern western civil lawany citizen may join and leave a religious organization at will; In western societies, this is taken for granted, but actually, this legal separation of Church and State only started to emerge a few centuries ago.

In the Christian debate on persecution and toleration, the notion of civil tolerance allowed Christian theologians to reconcile Jesus’ commandment to love one’s enemies with other parts of the New Testament that are rather strict regarding dissent within the church. Before that, theologians like Joseph Hall had reasoned from the ecclesiastical intolerance of the early Christian church in the New Testament to the civil intolerance of the Christian state.[20]

Europe

Religious uniformity in early modern Europe

The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants in 1572

By contrast to the notion of civil tolerance, in early modern Europe the subjects were required to attend the state church; This attitude can be described as territoriality or religious uniformity, and its underlying assumption is brought to a point by a statement of the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker: “There is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is also a member of the [English] commonwealth; nor any man a member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England.”[21]

Before a vigorous debate about religious persecution took place in England (starting in the 1640s), for centuries in Europe, religion had been tied to territory. In England there had been several Acts of Uniformity; in continental Europe the Latin phrase “cuius regio, eius religio” had been coined in the 16th century and applied as a fundament for the Peace of Augsburg (1555). It was pushed to the extreme by absolutist regimes, particularly by the French kings Louis XIV and his successors. It was under their rule that Catholicism became the sole compulsory allowed religion in France and that the huguenots had to massively leave the country. Persecution meant that the state was committed to secure religious uniformity by coercive measures, as eminently obvious in a statement of Roger L’Estrange: “That which you call persecution, I translate Uniformity”.[22]

However, in the 17th century writers like Pierre BayleJohn LockeRichard Overton and Roger William broke the link between territory and faith, which eventually resulted in a shift from territoriality to religious voluntarism.[23] It was Locke who, in his Letter Concerning Toleration, defined the state in purely secular terms:[24] “The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests.”[25] Concerning the church, he went on: “A church, then, I take to be a voluntary society of men, joining themselves together of their own accord.”[25] With this treatise, John Locke laid one of the most important intellectual foundations of the separation of church and state, which ultimately led to the secular state.

Russia

The Bishop of Vladimir Feodor turned some people into slaves, others were locked in prison, cut their heads, burnt eyes, cut tongues or crucified on walls. Some heretics were executed by burning them alive. According to an inscription of Khan Mengual-Temir, Metropolitan Kiril was granted the right to heavily punish with death for blasphemy against the Orthodox Church or breach of ecclesiastical privileges. He advised all means of destruction to be used against heretics, but without bloodshed, in the name of ‘saving souls’. Heretics were drowned. Novgorod Bishop Gennady Gonzov turned to Tsar Ivan III requesting the death of heretics. Gennady admired the Spanish inquisitors, especially his contemporary Torquemada, who for 15 years of inquisition activity burned and punished thousands of people.[citation needed] As in Rome, persecuted fled to depopulated areas. The most terrible punishment was considered an underground pit, where rats lived. Some people had been imprisoned and tied to the wall there, and untied after their death.[26] Old Believers were persecuted and executed, the order was that even those renouncing completely their beliefs and baptized in the state Church to be lynched without mercy. The writer Lomonosov opposed the religious teachings and by his initiative a scientific book against them was published. The book was destroyed, the Russian synod insisted Lomonosov’s works to be burned and requested his punishment.[citation needed]

…were cutting heads, hanging, some by the neck, some by the foot, many of them were stabbed with sharp sticks and impaled on hooks. This included the tethering to a ponytail, drowning and freezing people alive in lakes. The winners did not spare even the sick and the elderly, taking them out of the monastery and throwing them mercilessly in icy ‘vises’. The words step back, the pen does not move, in eternal darkness the ancient Solovetsky monastery is going. Of the more than 500 people, only a few managed to avoid the terrible court.[27]

Contemporary

President Donald Trump meets with survivors of religious persecution from 17 countries in July 2019

Although his book was written before the September 11 attacks, John Coffey explicitly compares the English fear of the Popish Plot with the contemporary Islamophobia in the Western world.[28] Among the Muslims imprisoned in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp there also were Mehdi Ghezali and Murat Kurnaz who could not have been found to have any connections with terrorism, but had traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan because of their religious interests.

By religion

Persecutions of atheists

Used before the 18th century as an insult,[29] atheism was punishable by death in ancient Greece, in ancient Israel,[30] in Christian countries during the Middle Ages and in Muslim countries. Today, atheism is punishable by death in 13 countries (AfghanistanIranMalaysiaMaldivesMauritaniaNigeriaPakistanQatarSaudi ArabiaSomaliaSudanUnited Arab Emirates and Yemen), all of them Muslim, while “the overwhelming majority” of the 192 United Nation member countries “at best discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offences dubbed blasphemy”.[31][32]

State atheism

State atheism has been defined by David Kowalewski as the official “promotion of atheism” by a government, typically by active suppression of religious freedom and practice.[33] It is a misnomer referring to a government’s anti-clericalism, which opposes religious institutional power and influence, real or alleged, in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen.[34]

State atheism was first practised during a brief period in Revolutionary France[citation needed] and repeated only in Revolutionary Mexico and Communist states. The Soviet Union had a long history of state atheism,[35] in which social success largely required individuals to profess atheism, stay away from churches and even vandalize them; this attitude was especially militant during the middle Stalinist era from 1929-1939.[36][37][38] The Soviet Union attempted to suppress religion over wide areas of its influence, including places like central Asia,[39] and the post-World War II Eastern bloc. One state within that bloc, the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha, went so far as to officially ban all religious practices.[40]

Persecution of Baha’is

The Bahá’ís are Iran’s largest religious minority, and Iran is the location of one of the largest Bahá’í populations in the world. Bahá’ís in Iran have been subject to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified executions, confiscation and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá’í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, and denial of access to higher education.

More recently, in the later months of 2005, an intensive anti-Bahá’í campaign was conducted by Iranian newspapers and radio stations. The state-run and influential Kayhan newspaper, whose managing editor is appointed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei[3], ran nearly three dozen articles defaming the Bahá’í Faith. Furthermore, a confidential letter sent on October 29, 2005 by the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forced in Iran states that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei has instructed the Command Headquarters to identify people who adhere to the Bahá’í Faith and to monitor their activities and gather any and all information about the members of the Bahá’í Faith. The letter was brought to the attention of the international community by Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on freedom of religion or belief, in a March 20, 2006 press release [4].

In the press release the Special Rapporteur states that she “is highly concerned by information she has received concerning the treatment of members of the Bahá’í community in Iran.” She further states that “The Special Rapporteur is concerned that this latest development indicates that the situation with regard to religious minorities in Iran is, in fact, deteriorating.” [5].

Persecution of Buddhists

Persecution of Buddhists was a widespread phenomenon throughout the history of Buddhism lasting to this day, beginning as early as the 3rd century AD by the Zoroastrian Sassanid Empire. Anti-Buddhist sentiments in Imperial China between the 5th and 10th century led to the Four Buddhist Persecutions in China of which the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution of 845 was probably the most severe. In the 20th century Buddhists were persecuted by Asian communist states and parties, Imperial Japan and by the Kuomintang among others.

Persecution of Christians

According to tradition, early Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum of Rome

The persecution of Christians is for the most part, historical.[41] Even from the beginnings of the religion as a movement within JudaismEarly Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both Jews and the Roman Empire, which controlled much of the areas where Christianity was first distributed. This continued from the first century until the early fourth, when the religion was legalised by the Edict of Milan, eventually becoming the State church of the Roman Empire.

Today, Christians are persecuted in Iran for proselytising.[42][43] Proselytising is illegal in Iran.[44]

Persecution of Falun Gong

The persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice began with campaigns initiated in 1999 by the Chinese Communist Party to eliminate Falun Gong in China. It is characterised by multifaceted propaganda campaign, a program of enforced ideological conversion and re-education, and a variety of extralegal coercive measures such as arbitrary arrests, forced labor, and physical torture, sometimes resulting in death.[45]
There have being reports of Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Several researchers—most notably Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former parliamentarian David Kilgour, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann—estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed to supply a lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers.[46]

Persecution of Hindus

The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt of the Pakistan Army’s onslaught against the Bengali population of what was East Pakistan. An article in Time magazine dated 2 August 1971, stated “The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military hatred.”[47] Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, “Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked “H”. All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad“. In the same report, Senator Kennedy reported that 80% of the refugees in India were Hindus and according to numerous international relief agencies such as UNESCO and World Health Organization the number of East Pakistani refugees at their peak in India was close to 10 million. Given that the Hindu population in East Pakistan was around 11 million in 1971, this suggests that up to 8 million, or more than 70% of the Hindu population had fled the country.The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sydney Schanberg covered the start of the war and wrote extensively on the suffering of the East Bengalis, including the Hindus both during and after the conflict. In a syndicated column “The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored”, he wrote about his return to liberated Bangladesh in 1972. “Other reminders were the yellow “H”s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army” (by “Muslim army”, meaning the Pakistan Army, which had targeted Bengali Muslims as well), (Newsday, 29 April 1994).

Hindus constitute approximately 0.5% of the total population of the United States. Hindus in the US enjoy both de jure and de facto legal equality. However, a series of attacks were made on people Indian origin by a street gang called the “Dotbusters” in New Jersey in 1987, the dot signifying the Bindi dot sticker worn on the forehead by Indian women.[48] The lackadaisical attitude of the local police prompted the South Asian community to arrange small groups all across the state to fight back against the street gang. The perpetrators have been put to trial. On 2 January 2012, a Hindu worship center in New York City was firebombed.[49] The Dotbusters were primarily based in New York and New Jersey and committed most of their crimes in Jersey City. A number of perpetrators have been brought to trial for these assaults. Although tougher anti-hate crime laws were passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1990, the attacks continued, with 58 cases of hate crimes against Indians in New Jersey reported in 1991.[50]

In Bangladesh, on 28 February 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt into ashes and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire.[51][52] While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. US Ambassador to Bangladesh express concern about attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community.[53][54] The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples.[55] According to community leaders, more than 50 Hindu temples and 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts.[56]

Persecutions of Jews

Woodcut of the Seleucid persecution depicting martyrs refusing to sacrifice from Die Bibel in Bildern

A major component of Jewish history, persecutions have been committed by Seleucids,[57] ancient Greeks,[15] ancient Romans, Christians (Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant), Muslims, Nazis, etc. Some of the most important events constituting this history include the 1066 Granada massacre, the Rhineland massacres (by Catholics but against papal orders, see also : Sicut Judaeis), the Alhambra Decree after the Reconquista and the creation of the Spanish Inquisition, the publication of On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther which furthered Protestant anti-Judaism and was later used to strengthen German antisemitism in pogroms and the Holocaust.

Persecution of Samaritans

The Samaritan Temple at Mount Gerizim was destroyed by John Hyrcanus in about 128 BC, partly because it was attracting some northern Jews as a place of worship. In 107 BC, Hyrcanus destroyed Schechem.[58] In the seventeenth century, Muslims from Nablus forced some Samaritans to convert to Islam and forbade access to Mount Gerizim.[58]

Persecution of Muslims

The French military in Algeria

Persecution of Muslims is the religious persecution inflicted upon followers of the Islamic faith. In the early days of Islam at Mecca, the new Muslims were often subjected to abuse and persecution by the pagan Meccans (often called Mushrikin: the unbelievers or polytheists).[59][60]

Muslims have been the target of persecution ever since the emergence of Islam, sometimes to the point of being martyred for their faith.[61]

In the 20th century, Muslims were persecuted by various governments including MyanmarFrenchItaliaChina, and many more.

Persecution of minorities in Islamic lands

Victims of Muslim persecution include JewsChristiansZoroastriansHindusBuddhists,[62][63][64][65][66] Bahá’ís,[67] Serers[68][69] and Atheists. Muslim persecution of fellow Muslims include as victims ShiaAhmadisSufiAlevisand Salafis.

Persecutions of Sikhs

The 1984 anti-Sikhs riots were a series of pogroms[70][71][72][73] directed against Sikhs in India, by anti-Sikh mobs, in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. There were more than 8,000[74] deaths, including 3,000 in Delhi.[72] In June 1984, during Operation Blue StarIndira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to attack the Golden Temple and eliminate any insurgents, as it had been occupied by Sikh separatists who were stockpiling weapons. Later operations by Indian paramilitary forces were initiated to clear the separatists from the countryside of Punjab state.[75]

The violence in Delhi was triggered by the assassination of Indira Gandhi, India’s prime minister, on 31 October 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards in response to her actions authorising the military operation. After the assassination following Operation Blue Star, many Indian National Congress workers including Jagdish TytlerSajjan Kumar and Kamal Nath were accused of inciting and participating in riots targeting the Sikh population of the capital. The Indian government reported 2,700 deaths in the ensuing chaos. In the aftermath of the riots, the Indian government reported 20,000 had fled the city, however the People’s Union for Civil Liberties reported “at least” 1,000 displaced persons.[76] The most affected regions were the Sikh neighbourhoods in Delhi. The Central Bureau of Investigation, the main Indian investigating agency, is of the opinion that the acts of violence were organized with the support from the then Delhi police officials and the central government headed by Indira Gandhi‘s son, Rajiv Gandhi.[77] Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister after his mother’s death and, when asked about the riots, said “when a big tree falls (Mrs. Gandhi’s death), the earth shakes (occurrence of riots)” thus trying to justify communal strife.[78]

There are allegations that the Indian National Congress government at that time destroyed evidence and shielded the guilty. The Asian Age front-page story called the government actions “the Mother of all Cover-ups”[79][80] There are allegations that the violence was led and often perpetrated by Indian National Congress activists and sympathisers during the riots.[81] The government, then led by the Congress, was widely criticised for doing very little at the time, possibly acting as a conspirator. The conspiracy theory is supported by the fact that voting lists were used to identify Sikh families. Despite their communal conflict and riots record, the Indian National Congress claims to be a secular party.

Persecution of Serers

The persecution of the Serer people of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania is multifaceted, and it includes both religious and ethnic elements. Religious and ethnic persecution of the Serer people dates back to the 11th century when King War Jabi usurped the throne of Tekrur (part of present-day Senegal) in 1030, and by 1035, introduced Sharia law and forced his subjects to submit to Islam.[82] With the assistance of his son (Leb), their Almoravid allies and other African ethnic groups who have embraced Islam, the Muslim coalition army launched jihads against the Serer people of Tekrur who refused to abandon Serer religion in favour of Islam.[68][83][84][85] The number of Serer deaths are unknown, but it triggered the exodus of the Serers of Tekrur to the south following their defeat, where they were granted asylum by the lamanes.[85] Persecution of the Serer people continued from the medieval era to the 19th century, resulting in the Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune. From the 20th to the 21st centuries, persecution of the Serers is less obvious, nevertheless, they are the object of scorn and prejudice.[86][87]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_persecution

United Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Map showing the member states of the United Nations[a]

Headquarters New York City(international territory)
Official languages
Type Intergovernmental organization
Membership 193 member states
2 observer states
Leaders
António Guterres
Amina J. Mohammed
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
Mona Juul
Vasily Nebenzya
Establishment
• UN Chartersigned
26 June 1945 (74 years ago)
• Charter entered into force
24 October 1945 (73 years ago)
Website
UN.org
UN.int

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.[3] It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations.[4] Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in ManhattanNew York City, and it has other main offices in GenevaNairobiVienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.[5] The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House, and signed on 26 June 1945 in the Herbst Theatre auditorium in the Veterans War Memorial Building. This charter took effect on 24 October 1945, when the UN began operations. The organisation’s mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted primarily of unarmed military observers and lightly armed troops with primarily monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles.[6] The organization’s membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization which started in the 1960s. Since then, 80 former colonies had gained independence, including 11 trust territories, which were monitored by the Trusteeship Council.[7] By the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.[8]

The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council; the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of Justice; and the UN Secretariat. The UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food ProgrammeUNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN’s most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN’s work.

The organization, its officers, and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes. Other evaluations of the UN’s effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, biased, or corrupt.

Contents

History

Background

In the century prior to the UN’s creation, several international treaty organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.[9]In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, and in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war. In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months later, the Allies met with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson wanted peace, but the United Kingdom and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies. The League of Nations was approved, and in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the US Senate for ratification. On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect.[10] However, at some point the League became ineffective when it failed to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria as in February 1933, 40 nations voted for Japan to withdraw from Manchuria but Japan voted against it and walked out of the League instead of withdrawing from Manchuria.[11] It also failed against the Second Italo-Ethiopian War despite trying to talk to Benito Mussolini as he used the time to send an army to Africa, so the League had a plan for Mussolini to just take a part of Ethiopia, but he ignored the League and invaded Ethiopia, the League tried putting sanctions on Italy, but Italy had already conquered Ethiopia and the League had failed.[12] After Italy conquered Ethiopia, Italy and other nations left the league. But all of them realised that it had failed and they began to re-arm as fast as possible. During 1938, Britain and France tried negotiating directly with Hitler but this failed in 1939 when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. When war broke out in 1939, the League closed down and its headquarters in Geneva remained empty throughout the war.[13] Although the United States never joined the League, the country did support its economic and social missions through the work of private philanthropies and by sending representatives to committees.

1942 “Declaration of United Nations” by the Allies of World War II

1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states

The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the U.S. State Department in 1939.[14] The text of the “Declaration by United Nations” was drafted at the White House on December 29, 1941, by President Franklin D. RooseveltPrime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins. It incorporated Soviet suggestions, but left no role for France. “Four Policemen” was coined to refer to four major Allied countries, United StatesUnited KingdomSoviet Union, and Republic of China, which emerged in the Declaration by United Nations.[15] Roosevelt first coined the term United Nations to describe the Allied countries.[b] “On New Year’s Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, and T. V. Soong, of China, signed a short document which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures.”[16] The term United Nations was first officially used when 26 governments signed this Declaration. One major change from the Atlantic Charter was the addition of a provision for religious freedom, which Stalin approved after Roosevelt insisted.[17][18] By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states had signed.[19]

A JOINT DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, CHINA, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, YUGOSLAVIA

The Governments signatory hereto,

Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter,

Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,

DECLARE:

  1. Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war.
  2. Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.

The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.

During the war, “the United Nations” became the official term for the Allies. To join, countries had to sign the Declaration and declare war on the Axis.[20]

Founding

The UN in 1945: founding members in light blue, protectorates and territories of the founding members in dark blue

The UN was formulated and negotiated among the delegations from the Allied Big Four (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China) at the Dumbarton Oaks Conferencefrom 21 September 1944 to October 7, 1944 and they agreed on the aims, structure and functioning of the UN.[21][22][23] After months of planning, the UN Conference on International Organizationopened in San Francisco, 25 April 1945, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the UN Charter.[24][25][26] “The heads of the delegations of the sponsoring countries took turns as chairman of the plenary meetings: Anthony Eden, of Britain, Edward Stettinius, of the United States, T. V. Soong, of China, and Vyacheslav Molotov, of the Soviet Union. At the later meetings, Lord Halifax deputized for Mister Eden, Wellington Koo for T. V. Soong, and Mister Gromyko for Mister Molotov.”[27] The UN officially came into existence 24 October 1945, upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK and the US—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories.[28]

The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented,[c] and the Security Council took place in Methodist Central HallWestminsterLondon beginning on 10 January 1946.[28]The General Assembly selected New York City as the site for the headquarters of the UN, construction began on 14 September 1948 and the facility was completed on 9 October 1952. Its site—like UN headquarters buildings in GenevaVienna, and Nairobi—is designated as international territory.[31] The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN Secretary-General.[28]

Cold War era

Dag Hammarskjöld was a particularly active Secretary-General from 1953 until his death in 1961.

Though the UN’s primary mandate was peacekeeping, the division between the US and USSR often paralysed the organization, generally allowing it to intervene only in conflicts distant from the Cold War.[32] Two notable exceptions were a Security Council resolution on 7 July 1950 authorizing a US-led coalition to repel the North Korean invasion of South Korea, passed in the absence of the USSR,[28][33] and the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 27 July 1953.[34]

On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine, approving the creation of the state of Israel.[35] Two years later, Ralph Bunche, a UN official, negotiated an armistice to the resulting conflict.[36] On November 7, 1956, the first UN peacekeeping force was established to end the Suez Crisis;[37] however, the UN was unable to intervene against the USSR’s simultaneous invasion of Hungary following that country’s revolution.[38]

On 14 July 1960, the UN established United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC), the largest military force of its early decades, to bring order to the breakaway State of Katanga, restoring it to the control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 11 May 1964.[39] While travelling to meet rebel leader Moise Tshombe during the conflict, Dag Hammarskjöld, often named as one of the UN’s most effective Secretaries-General,[40] died in a plane crash; months later he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[41] In 1964, Hammarskjöld’s successor, U Thant, deployed the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, which would become one of the UN’s longest-running peacekeeping missions.[42]

With the spread of decolonization in the 1960s, the organization’s membership saw an influx of newly independent nations. In 1960 alone, 17 new states joined the UN, 16 of them from Africa.[37] On 25 October 1971, with opposition from the United States, but with the support of many Third World nations, the mainland, communist People’s Republic of China was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of the Republic of China that occupied Taiwan; the vote was widely seen as a sign of waning US influence in the organization.[43] Third World nations organized into the Group of 77 coalition under the leadership of Algeria, which briefly became a dominant power at the UN.[44] On 10 November 1975, a bloc comprising the USSR and Third World nations passed a resolution, over strenuous US and Israeli opposition, declaring Zionism to be racism; the resolution was repealed on 16 December 1991, shortly after the end of the Cold War.[45][46]

With an increasing Third World presence and the failure of UN mediation in conflicts in the Middle EastVietnam, and Kashmir, the UN increasingly shifted its attention to its ostensibly secondary goals of economic development and cultural exchange.[47] By the 1970s, the UN budget for social and economic development was far greater than its peacekeeping budget.

Post-Cold War

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006

Flags of member nations at the United Nations Headquarters, seen in 2007

After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping duties, taking on more missions in ten years than it had in the previous four decades.[48] Between 1988 and 2000, the number of adopted Security Council resolutions more than doubled, and the peacekeeping budget increased more than tenfold.[49][50][51] The UN negotiated an end to the Salvadoran Civil War, launched a successful peacekeeping mission in Namibia, and oversaw democratic elections in post-apartheid South Africa and post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.[52] In 1991, the UN authorized a US-led coalition that repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.[53] Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General from 1971 to 1985, later described the hopes raised by these successes as a “false renaissance” for the organization, given the more troubled missions that followed.[54]

Though the UN Charter had been written primarily to prevent aggression by one nation against another, in the early 1990s the UN faced a number of simultaneous, serious crises within nations such as Somalia, Haiti, Mozambique, and the former Yugoslavia.[55] The UN mission in Somalia was widely viewed as a failure after the US withdrawal following casualties in the Battle of Mogadishu, and the UN mission to Bosnia faced “worldwide ridicule” for its indecisive and confused mission in the face of ethnic cleansing.[56] In 1994, the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda failed to intervene in the Rwandan genocide amid indecision in the Security Council.[57]

Beginning in the last decades of the Cold War, American and European critics of the UN condemned the organization for perceived mismanagement and corruption.[58] In 1984, the US President, Ronald Reagan, withdrew his nation’s funding from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, founded 1946) over allegations of mismanagement, followed by Britain and Singapore.[59][60] Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General from 1992 to 1996, initiated a reform of the Secretariat, reducing the size of the organization somewhat.[61][62] His successor, Kofi Annan (1997–2006), initiated further management reforms in the face of threats from the United States to withhold its UN dues.[62]

In the late 1990s and 2000s, international interventions authorized by the UN took a wider variety of forms. The UN mission in the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991–2002 was supplemented by British Royal Marines, and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was overseen by NATO.[63]In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq despite failing to pass a UN Security Council resolution for authorization, prompting a new round of questioning of the organization’s effectiveness.[64] Under the eighth Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the UN has intervened with peacekeepers in crises including the War in Darfur in Sudan and the Kivu conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sent observers and chemical weapons inspectors to the Syrian Civil War.[65] In 2013, an internal review of UN actions in the final battles of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 concluded that the organization had suffered “systemic failure”.[66] One hundred and one UN personnel died in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the worst loss of life in the organization’s history.[67]

The Millennium Summit was held in 2000 to discuss the UN’s role in the 21st century.[68] The three day meeting was the largest gathering of world leaders in history, and culminated in the adoption by all member states of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a commitment to achieve international development in areas such as poverty reductiongender equality, and public health. Progress towards these goals, which were to be met by 2015, was ultimately uneven. The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed the UN’s focus on promoting development, peacekeeping, human rights, and global security.[69] The Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.[70]

In addition to addressing global challenges, the UN has sought to improve its accountability and democratic legitimacy by engaging more with civil society and fostering a global constituency.[71] In an effort to enhance transparency, in 2016 the organization held its first public debate between candidates for Secretary-General.[72] On 1 January 2017, Portuguese diplomat António Guterres, who previously served as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, became the ninth Secretary-General. Guterres has highlighted several key goals for his administration, including an emphasis on diplomacy for preventing conflicts, more effective peacekeeping efforts, and streamlining the organization to be more responsive and versatile to global needs.[73]

Structure

The UN system is based on five principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice and the UN Secretariat.[74] A sixth principal organ, the Trusteeship Council, suspended operations on 1 November 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory.[75]

Four of the five principal organs are located at the main UN Headquarters in New York City.[76] The International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, while other major agencies are based in the UN offices at Geneva,[77] Vienna,[78] and Nairobi.[79] Other UN institutions are located throughout the world. The six official languages of the UN, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.[80] On the basis of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the UN and its agencies are immune from the laws of the countries where they operate, safeguarding the UN’s impartiality with regard to the host and member countries.[81]

Below the six organs sit, in the words of the author Linda Fasulo, “an amazing collection of entities and organizations, some of which are actually older than the UN itself and operate with almost complete independence from it”.[82] These include specialized agencies, research and training institutions, programmes and funds, and other UN entities.[83]

The UN obey the Noblemaire principle, which is binding on any organization that belongs to the UN system. This principle calls for salaries that will draw and keep citizens of countries where salaries are highest, and also calls for equal pay for work of equal value independent of the employee’s nationality.[84][85] In practice, the ICSC takes reference to the highest-paying national civil service.[86] Staff salaries are subject to an internal tax that is administered by the UN organizations.[84][87]

Principal organs of the United Nations [88]

UN General Assembly
— Deliberative assembly of all UN member states —
UN Secretariat
— Administrative organ of the UN —
International Court of Justice
— Universal court for international law —
UN General Assembly hall
Headquarters of the UN in New York City
International Court of Justice
  • May resolve non-compulsory recommendations to states or suggestions to the Security Council (UNSC);
  • Decides on the admission of new members, following proposal by the UNSC;
  • Adopts the budget;
  • Elects the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC; the UN Secretary General (following his/her proposal by the UNSC); and the fifteen judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Each country has one vote.
  • Supports the other UN bodies administratively (for example, in the organization of conferences, the writing of reports and studies and the preparation of the budget);
  • Its chairperson – the UN Secretary General – is elected by the General Assembly for a five-year mandate and is the UN’s foremost representative.
  • Decides disputes between states that recognize its jurisdiction;
  • Issues legal opinions;
  • Renders judgment by relative majority. Its fifteen judges are elected by the UN General Assembly for nine-year terms.
UN Security Council
— For international security issues —
UN Economic and Social Council
— For global economic and social affairs —
UN Trusteeship Council
— For administering trust territories (currently inactive) —
UN security council
UN Economic and Social Council
UN Trusteeship Council
  • Responsible for co-operation between states as regards economic and social matters;
  • Co-ordinates co-operation between the UN’s numerous specialized agencies;
  • Has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly to serve staggered three-year mandates.
  • Was originally designed to manage colonial possessions that were former League of Nations mandates;
  • Has been inactive since 1994, when Palau, the last trust territory, attained independence.

General Assembly

Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet general secretary, addresses the UN General Assembly in December 1988.

The General Assembly is the main deliberative assembly of the UN. Composed of all UN member states, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions, but emergency sessions can also be called.[89] The assembly is led by a president, elected from among the member states on a rotating regional basis, and 21 vice-presidents.[90] The first session convened 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.[28]

When the General Assembly decides on important questions such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, a two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required.[91][92] All other questions are decided by a majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security that are under consideration by the Security Council.[89]

Draft resolutions can be forwarded to the General Assembly by its six main committees:[93]

As well as by the following two committees:

  • General Committee – a supervisory committee consisting of the assembly’s president, vice-president, and committee heads
  • Credentials Committee – responsible for determining the credentials of each member nation’s UN representatives

Security Council

Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, demonstrates a vial with allegedIraqi chemical weapon probes to the UN Security Council on Iraq warhearings, 5 February 2003.

The Security Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the UN can only make “recommendations” to member states, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member states have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter Article 25.[94] The decisions of the Council are known as United Nations Security Council resolutions.[95]

The Security Council is made up of fifteen member states, consisting of five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date)—Belgium (term ends 2020), Côte d’Ivoire (2019), Dominican Republic (2020), Equatorial Guinea (2019), Germany (2020), Indonesia (2020), Kuwait (2019), Peru (2019), Poland (2019), and South Africa (2020).[96] The five permanent members hold veto power over UN resolutions, allowing a permanent member to block adoption of a resolution, though not debate. The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms, with five member states per year voted in by the General Assembly on a regional basis.[97] The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically each month.[98]

UN Secretariat

The UN Secretariat is headed by the secretary-general, assisted by the deputy secretary-general and a staff of international civil servants worldwide.[99] It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by UN bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies.[100]

The secretary-general acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The position is defined in the UN Charter as the organization’s “chief administrative officer”.[101] Article 99 of the charter states that the secretary-general can bring to the Security Council’s attention “any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”, a phrase that Secretaries-General since Trygve Lie have interpreted as giving the position broad scope for action on the world stage.[102] The office has evolved into a dual role of an administrator of the UN organization and a diplomat and mediator addressing disputes between member states and finding consensus to global issues.[103]

The secretary-general is appointed by the General Assembly, after being recommended by the Security Council, where the permanent members have veto power. There are no specific criteria for the post, but over the years it has become accepted that the post shall be held for one or two terms of five years.[104] The current Secretary-General is António Guterres, who replaced Ban Ki-moon in 2017.

Secretaries-General of the United Nations[105]
No. Name Country of origin Took office Left office Notes
1 Trygve Lie Norway 2 February 1946 10 November 1952 Resigned
2 Dag Hammarskjöld Sweden 10 April 1953 18 September 1961 Died in office
3 U Thant Burma 30 November 1961 31 December 1971
4 Kurt Waldheim Austria 1 January 1972 31 December 1981
5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Peru 1 January 1982 31 December 1991
6 Boutros Boutros-Ghali Egypt 1 January 1992 31 December 1996
7 Kofi Annan Ghana 1 January 1997 31 December 2006
8 Ban Ki-moon South Korea 1 January 2007 31 December 2016
9 António Guterres Portugal 1 January 2017

International Court of Justice

The court ruled that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independencefrom Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The ICJ is composed of 15 judges who serve 9-year terms and are appointed by the General Assembly; every sitting judge must be from a different nation.[106][107]

It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law. The ICJ’s primary purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states. The court has heard cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference, ethnic cleansing, and other issues.[108] The ICJ can also be called upon by other UN organs to provide advisory opinions.[106] It is the only organ that is not located in New York.

Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social co-operation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. The council has one annual meeting in July, held in either New York or Geneva. Viewed as separate from the specialized bodies it co-ordinates, ECOSOC’s functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations.[109][110] Owing to its broad mandate of co-ordinating many agencies, ECOSOC has at times been criticized as unfocused or irrelevant.[109][111]

ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies include the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which advises UN agencies on issues relating to indigenous peoples; the United Nations Forum on Forests, which co-ordinates and promotes sustainable forest management; the United Nations Statistical Commission, which co-ordinates information-gathering efforts between agencies; and the Commission on Sustainable Development, which co-ordinates efforts between UN agencies and NGOs working towards sustainable development. ECOSOC may also grant consultative status to non-governmental organizations;[109] by 2004, more than 2,200 organizations had received this status.[112]

Specialized agencies

The UN Charter stipulates that each primary organ of the United Nations can establish various specialized agencies to fulfil its duties.[113] Some best-known agencies are the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture OrganizationUNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN performs most of its humanitarian work through these agencies. Examples include mass vaccination programmes (through WHO), the avoidance of famine and malnutrition (through the work of the WFP), and the protection of vulnerable and displaced people (for example, by UNHCR).[114]

Organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations
No. Acronym Agency Headquarters Head Established in
1 FAO Food and Agriculture Organization Italy RomeItaly Brazil José Graziano da Silva 1945
2 IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency Austria ViennaAustria Japan Yukiya Amano 1957
3 ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization Canada Montreal, QuebecCanada China Fang Liu 1947
4 IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development Italy RomeItaly Nigeria Kanayo F. Nwanze 1977
5 ILO International Labour Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland United Kingdom Guy Ryder 1946 (1919)
6 IMO International Maritime Organization United Kingdom LondonUnited Kingdom South Korea Kitack Lim 1948
7 IMF International Monetary Fund United States Washington, D.C.United States France Christine Lagarde 1945 (1944)
8 ITU International Telecommunication Union Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland China Houlin Zhao 1947 (1865)
9 UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization France ParisFrance France Audrey Azoulay 1946
10 UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization Austria ViennaAustria China Li Yong 1967
11 UNWTO World Tourism Organization Spain MadridSpain Jordan Taleb Rifai 1974
12 UPU Universal Postal Union Switzerland BernSwitzerland Kenya Bishar Abdirahman Hussein 1947 (1874)
13 WBG World Bank Group United States Washington, D.C.United States United States David Malpass (President)
Bulgaria Kristalina Georgieva (CEO)
1945 (1944)
14 WFP World Food Programme Italy RomeItaly United States David Beasley 1963
15 WHO World Health Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom 1948
16 WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Australia Francis Gurry 1974
17 WMO World Meteorological Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Finland Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General)
France Michel Jarraud (President)
1950 (1873)

Membership

With the addition of South Sudan 14 July 2011,[115] there are 193 UN member states, including all undisputed independent states apart from Vatican City.[116][d] The UN Charter outlines the rules for membership:

  1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states that accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
  2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. Chapter II, Article 4.[117]

In addition, there are two non-member observer states of the United Nations General Assembly: the Holy See (which holds sovereignty over Vatican City) and the State of Palestine.[118] The Cook Islands and Niue, both states in free association with New Zealand, are full members of several UN specialized agencies and have had their “full treaty-making capacity” recognized by the Secretariat.[119]

Group of 77

The Group of 77 (G77) at the UN is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN. Seventy-seven nations founded the organization, but by November 2013 the organization had since expanded to 133 member countries.[120] The group was founded 15 June 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The group held its first major meeting in Algiers in 1967, where it adopted the Charter of Algiers and established the basis for permanent institutional structures.[121] With the adoption of the New International Economic Order by developing countries in the 1970s, the work of the G77 spread throughout the UN system.

Objectives

Peacekeeping and security

Bolivian “Blue Helmet” at an exercise in Chile, 21 October 2002

The UN, after approval by the Security Council, sends peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states. These soldiers are sometimes nicknamed “Blue Helmets” for their distinctive gear.[122][123] The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.[124]

In September 2013, the UN had peacekeeping soldiers deployed on 15 missions. The largest was the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which included 20,688 uniformed personnel. The smallest, United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), included 42 uniformed personnel responsible for monitoring the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. UN peacekeepers with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) have been stationed in the Middle East since 1948, the longest-running active peacekeeping mission.[125]

A study by the RAND Corporation in 2005 found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It compared efforts at nation-building by the UN to those of the United States, and found that seven out of eight UN cases are at peace, as compared with four out of eight US cases at peace.[126] Also in 2005, the Human Security Report documented a decline in the number of wars, genocides, and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War, and presented evidence, albeit circumstantial, that international activism—mostly spearheaded by the UN—has been the main cause of the decline in armed conflict in that period.[127] Situations in which the UN has not only acted to keep the peace but also intervened include the Korean War (1950–53) and the authorization of intervention in Iraq after the Gulf War (1990–91).[128]

UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

The UN has also drawn criticism for perceived failures. In many cases, member states have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions. Disagreements in the Security Council about military action and intervention are seen as having failed to prevent the Bangladesh genocide in 1971,[129] the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s,[130] and the Rwandan genocide in 1994.[131] Similarly, UN inaction is blamed for failing to either prevent the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 or complete the peacekeeping operations in 1992–93 during the Somali Civil War.[132] UN peacekeepers have also been accused of child rape, soliciting prostitutes, and sexual abuse during various peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,[133] Haiti,[134] Liberia,[135] Sudan and what is now South Sudan,[136] Burundi, and Ivory Coast.[137] Scientists cited UN peacekeepers from Nepal as the likely source of the 2010–13 Haiti cholera outbreak, which killed more than 8,000 Haitians following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[138]

In addition to peacekeeping, the UN is also active in encouraging disarmament. Regulation of armaments was included in the writing of the UN Charter in 1945 and was envisioned as a way of limiting the use of human and economic resources for their creation.[94] The advent of nuclear weapons came only weeks after the signing of the charter, resulting in the first resolution of the first General Assembly meeting calling for specific proposals for “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”.[139] The UN has been involved with arms-limitation treaties, such as the Outer Space Treaty (1967), the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968), the Seabed Arms Control Treaty (1971), the Biological Weapons Convention (1972), the Chemical Weapons Convention (1992), and the Ottawa Treaty (1997), which prohibits landmines.[140]Three UN bodies oversee arms proliferation issues: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission.[141]

Human rights

One of the UN’s primary purposes is “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”, and member states pledge to undertake “joint and separate action” to protect these rights.[113][142]

In 1948, the General Assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by a committee headed by American diplomat and activist Eleanor Roosevelt, and including the French lawyer René Cassin. The document proclaims basic civil, political, and economic rights common to all human beings, though its effectiveness towards achieving these ends has been disputed since its drafting.[143] The Declaration serves as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” rather than a legally binding document, but it has become the basis of two binding treaties, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[144] In practice, the UN is unable to take significant action against human rights abuses without a Security Council resolution, though it does substantial work in investigating and reporting abuses.[145]

In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, followed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.[146] With the end of the Cold War, the push for human rights action took on new impetus.[147] The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was formed in 1993 to oversee human rights issues for the UN, following the recommendation of that year’s World Conference on Human Rights. Jacques Fomerand, a scholar of the UN, describes this organization’s mandate as “broad and vague”, with only “meagre” resources to carry it out.[148] In 2006, it was replaced by a Human Rights Council consisting of 47 nations.[149] Also in 2006, the General Assembly passed a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,[150] and in 2011 it passed its first resolution recognizing the rights of LGBT people.[151]

Other UN bodies responsible for women’s rights issues include United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a commission of ECOSOC founded in 1946; the United Nations Development Fund for Women, created in 1976; and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, founded in 1979.[152] The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, one of three bodies with a mandate to oversee issues related to indigenous peoples, held its first session in 2002.[153]

Economic development and humanitarian assistance

Millennium Development Goals[154]
  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

Another primary purpose of the UN is “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character”.[142] Numerous bodies have been created to work towards this goal, primarily under the authority of the General Assembly and ECOSOC.[155] In 2000, the 192 UN member states agreed to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.[156] The Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.[70] The SDGs have an associated financing framework called the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), an organization for grant-based technical assistance founded in 1945, is one of the leading bodies in the field of international development. The organization also publishes the UN Human Development Index, a comparative measure ranking countries by poverty, literacy, education, life expectancy, and other factors.[157][158] The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also founded in 1945, promotes agricultural development and food security.[159] UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) was created in 1946 to aid European children after the Second World War and expanded its mission to provide aid around the world and to uphold the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[160][161]

Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme read the news that smallpox had been globally eradicated, 1980.

The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are independent, specialized agencies and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed separately from the UN through the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.[162] The World Bank provides loans for international development, while the IMF promotes international economic co-operation and gives emergency loans to indebted countries.[163]

In Jordan, UNHCR remains responsible for the Syrian refugeesand the Zaatari refugee camp.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which focuses on international health issues and disease eradication, is another of the UN’s largest agencies. In 1980, the agency announced that the eradication of smallpox had been completed. In subsequent decades, WHO largely eradicated polioriver blindness, and leprosy.[164] The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), begun in 1996, co-ordinates the organization’s response to the AIDS epidemic.[165] The UN Population Fund, which also dedicates part of its resources to combating HIV, is the world’s largest source of funding for reproductive health and family planning services.[166]

Along with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the UN often takes a leading role in co-ordinating emergency relief.[167] The World Food Programme (WFP), created in 1961, provides food aid in response to famine, natural disasters, and armed conflict. The organization reports that it feeds an average of 90 million people in 80 nations each year.[167][168] The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), established in 1950, works to protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people.[169] UNHCR and WFP programmes are funded by voluntary contributions from governments, corporations, and individuals, though the UNHCR’s administrative costs are paid for by the UN’s primary budget.[170]

Other

Since the UN’s creation, over 80 colonies have attained independence. The General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960 with no votes against but abstentions from all major colonial powers. The UN works towards decolonization through groups including the UN Committee on Decolonization, created in 1962.[171] The committee lists seventeen remaining “Non-Self-Governing Territories“, the largest and most populous of which is Western Sahara.[172]

Beginning with the formation of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 1972, the UN has made environmental issues a prominent part of its agenda. A lack of success in the first two decades of UN work in this area led to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which sought to give new impetus to these efforts.[173] In 1988, the UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), another UN organization, established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assesses and reports on research on global warming.[174] The UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, set legally binding emissions reduction targets for ratifying states.[175]

The UN also declares and co-ordinates international observances, periods of time to observe issues of international interest or concern. Examples include World Tuberculosis DayEarth Day, and the International Year of Deserts and Desertification.[176]

Funding

Top 25 contributors to the United Nations budget for the period 2019–2021[177]
Member state Contribution
(% of UN budget)
United States

22.000

China

12.005

Japan

8.564

Germany

6.090

United Kingdom

4.567

France

4.427

Italy

3.307

Brazil

2.948

Canada

2.734

Russia

2.405

South Korea

2.267

Australia

2.210

Spain

2.146

Turkey

1.371

Netherlands

1.356

Mexico

1.292

Saudi Arabia

1.172

Switzerland

1.151

Argentina

0.915

Sweden

0.906

India

0.834

Belgium

0.821

Poland

0.802

Algeria

0.788

Norway

0.754

The UN is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from member states. The General Assembly approves the regular budget and determines the assessment for each member. This is broadly based on the relative capacity of each country to pay, as measured by its gross national income (GNI), with adjustments for external debt and low per capita income.[178] The two-year budget for 2012–13 was $5.512 billion in total.[179]

The Assembly has established the principle that the UN should not be unduly dependent on any one member to finance its operations. Thus, there is a “ceiling” rate, setting the maximum amount that any member can be assessed for the regular budget. In December 2000, the Assembly revised the scale of assessments in response to pressure from the United States. As part of that revision, the regular budget ceiling was reduced from 25% to 22%.[180] For the least developed countries (LDCs), a ceiling rate of 0.01% is applied.[178] In addition to the ceiling rates, the minimum amount assessed to any member nation (or “floor” rate) is set at 0.001% of the UN budget ($55,120 for the two year budget 2013–2014).[181]

A large share of the UN’s expenditure addresses its core mission of peace and security, and this budget is assessed separately from the main organizational budget.[182] The peacekeeping budget for the 2015–16 fiscal year was $8.27 billion, supporting 82,318 troops deployed in 15 missions around the world.[125] UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale that includes a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members, who must approve all peacekeeping operations. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. the largest contributors for the UN peacekeeping financial operations for the period 2019–2021 are : the United States 27.89% China 15.21%, Japan 8.56%, Germany 6.09% , the United Kingdom 5.78%, France 5.61%, Italy3.30% and the Russian Federation 3.04%. [2]

Special UN programmes not included in the regular budget, such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme, are financed by voluntary contributions from member governments, corporations, and private individuals.[183][184]

Evaluations, awards, and criticism

The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN—diploma in the lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City

A number of agencies and individuals associated with the UN have won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their work. Two Secretaries-General, Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan, were each awarded the prize (in 1961 and 2001, respectively), as were Ralph Bunche (1950), a UN negotiator, René Cassin (1968), a contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the US Secretary of State Cordell Hull (1945), the latter for his role in the organization’s founding. Lester B. Pearson, the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, was awarded the prize in 1957 for his role in organizing the UN’s first peacekeeping force to resolve the Suez Crisis. UNICEF won the prize in 1965, the International Labour Organization in 1969, the UN Peace-Keeping Forces in 1988, the International Atomic Energy Agency (which reports to the UN) in 2005, and the UN-supported Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2013. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees was awarded in 1954 and 1981, becoming one of only two recipients to win the prize twice. The UN as a whole was awarded the prize in 2001, sharing it with Annan.[185] In 2007, IPCC received the prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”[186]

To mark the UN’s 70th anniversary – Budapest, 2015

Since its founding, there have been many calls for reform of the UN but little consensus on how to do so. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, while others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. There have also been numerous calls for the UN Security Council’s membership to be increased, for different ways of electing the UN’s Secretary-General, and for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Jacques Fomerand states the most enduring divide in views of the UN is “the North–South split” between richer Northern nations and developing Southern nations. Southern nations tend to favour a more empowered UN with a stronger General Assembly, allowing them a greater voice in world affairs, while Northern nations prefer an economically laissez-faire UN that focuses on transnational threats such as terrorism.[187]

After World War II, the French Committee of National Liberation was late to be recognized by the US as the government of France, and so the country was initially excluded from the conferences that created the new organization. The future French president Charles de Gaulle criticized the UN, famously calling it a machin (“contraption”), and was not convinced that a global security alliance would help maintain world peace, preferring direct defence treaties between countries.[188] Throughout the Cold War, both the US and USSR repeatedly accused the UN of favouring the other. In 1953, the USSR effectively forced the resignation of Trygve Lie, the Secretary-General, through its refusal to deal with him, while in the 1950s and 1960s, a popular US bumper sticker read, “You can’t spell communism without U.N.”[189] In a sometimes-misquoted statement, President George W. Bush stated in February 2003 (referring to UN uncertainty towards Iraqi provocations under the Saddam Hussein regime) that “free nations will not allow the UN to fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society.”[190][191][192] In contrast, the French President, François Hollande, stated in 2012 that “France trusts the United Nations. She knows that no state, no matter how powerful, can solve urgent problems, fight for development and bring an end to all crises … France wants the UN to be the centre of global governance.”[193] Critics such as Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat, Robert S. Wistrich, a British scholar, Alan Dershowitz, an American legal scholar, Mark Dreyfus, an Australian politician, and the Anti-Defamation League consider UN attention to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to be excessive.[194] In September 2015, Saudi Arabia‘s Faisal bin Hassan Trad has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts,[195] a move criticized by human rights groups.[196][197]

Since 1971, the Republic of China on Taiwan has been excluded from the UN and since then has always been rejected in new applications. Taiwanese citizens are also not allowed to enter the buildings of the United Nations with ROC passports. In this way, critics agree that the UN is failing its own development goals and guidelines. This criticism also brought pressure from the People’s Republic of China, which regards the territories administered by the ROC as their own territory.[198][199]

Critics have also accused the UN of bureaucratic inefficiency, waste, and corruption. In 1976, the General Assembly established the Joint Inspection Unit to seek out inefficiencies within the UN system. During the 1990s, the US withheld dues citing inefficiency and only started repayment on the condition that a major reforms initiative was introduced. In 1994, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was established by the General Assembly to serve as an efficiency watchdog.[200] In 1994, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN to Somalia Mohamed Sahnoun published “Somalia: The Missed Opportunities”,[201] a book in which he analyses the reasons for the failure of the 1992 UN intervention in Somalia, showing that, between the start of the Somali civil war in 1988 and the fall of the Siad Barre regime in January 1991, the UN missed at least three opportunities to prevent major human tragedies; when the UN tried to provide humanitarian assistance, they were totally outperformed by NGOs, whose competence and dedication sharply contrasted with the UN’s excessive caution and bureaucratic inefficiencies. If radical reform was not undertaken, warned Mohamed Sahnoun, then the UN would continue to respond to such crisis with inept improvization.[202] In 2004, the UN faced accusations that its recently ended Oil-for-Food Programme—in which Iraq had been allowed to trade oil for basic needs to relieve the pressure of sanctions—had suffered from widespread corruption, including billions of dollars of kickbacks. An independent inquiry created by the UN found that many of its officials had been involved, as well as raising “significant” questions about the role of Kojo Annan, the son of Kofi Annan.[203]

In evaluating the UN as a whole, Jacques Fomerand writes that the “accomplishments of the United Nations in the last 60 years are impressive in their own terms. Progress in human development during the 20th century has been dramatic and the UN and its agencies have certainly helped the world become a more hospitable and livable place for millions.”[204] Evaluating the first 50 years of the UN’s history, the author Stanley Meisler writes that “the United Nations never fulfilled the hopes of its founders, but it accomplished a great deal nevertheless”, citing its role in decolonization and its many successful peacekeeping efforts.[205] The British historian Paul Kennedy states that while the organization has suffered some major setbacks, “when all its aspects are considered, the UN has brought great benefits to our generation and … will bring benefits to our children’s and grandchildren’s generations as well.”[206]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ This map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country,[1]
  2. ^ Roosevelt suggested the name as an alternative to the name “Associated Powers.” The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, accepted it, noting that the phase was used by Lord Byron in the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Stanza 35).
  3. ^ Poland had not been represented among the fifty nations at the San Francisco conference due to the reluctance of the Western superpowers to recognize its post-war communist government. However, the Charter was later amended to list Poland as a founding member, and Poland ratified the Charter on 16 October 1945.[29][30]
  4. ^ For details on Vatican City’s status, see Holy See and the United Nations.

References…

External links

Official websites

Others

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations

 

Story 2: Driving The Repo Rate Higher — Cash For Collateral — Fed Conducts Even More Repo Operations Through Middle of October 2019 — Videos

See the source image

Here’s what drove the repo rate higher

Fed Announces Plans to Provide More Support for Repo Market

Federal Reserve announces it will supplying infusions of cash into repo market in coming weeks.

The Associated Press

FILE – In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in Washington. A peculiar thing is happening in financial markets this week _ a corner of the financial system where banks and others go for billions of dollars in short-term loans is suddenly in need of cash. To that end, the Federal Reserve has stepped in to inject about $200 billion into the market over the past three days, with plans for another $75 billion on Friday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BY MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

 The Federal Reserve will keep pumping cash into a vital but obscure corner of U.S. financial markets in coming weeks.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank, which handles the central bank’s interactions with financial markets, said Friday that it will offer daily repurchase, or “repo,” operations of at least $75 billion through Oct. 10. The aim is to maintain the Fed’s key policy rate within its target range.

For the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed this week conducted a series of major repo operations, injecting $278 billion into the market to deal with a jump in short-term interest rates.

Officials say this week’s spike in rates is not a precursor of the type of underlying troubles that preceded the 2008 market meltdown.

In addition to the daily overnight operations of $75 billion, the New York Fed said it would conduct longer 14-day repo operations of at least $30 billion on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of next week.

The Fed said that it would be ready to conduct further operations as needed after Oct. 10 but the amount and timing of those auctions has not been determined.

In the fourth operation on Friday, banks asked for $75.55 billion in reserves, only slightly higher than the $75 billion limit set by the Fed.

The Fed began conducting these operations to calm money markets. Rates on short-term repo agreements had briefly spiked to nearly 10% earlier this week as financial firms scrambled to find short-term funding.

The Fed seeks to manage its operations to keep the repo rate near the target it has set for its key policy rate, the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other for overnight borrowing.

The Fed announced on Wednesday that it was cutting the benchmark rate by a quarter-point to a new range of 1.75% to 2% as it seeks to cushion the U.S. economy from various threats, ranging from a slowing global economy to shocks from President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

The repo market covers billions of dollars of daily operations in which one party lends out cash in exchange for a roughly equivalent value of securities, usually Treasury notes. The market allows companies that own lots of securities to get the cash they need at cheap rates.

The borrower of the cash agrees to repurchase the securities it has loaned as collateral at a later date, often as soon as the next day.

The turbulence this week has been attributed to various factors, including corporations needing to come up with cash to settle quarterly tax payments.

Analysts do not believe the rate spike this week is similar to the troubles seen as the nation was heading into the 2008 financial crisis. They believe banks are much better capitalized now due to the reforms put in place after the crisis.

 

Fed Mulls Lessons of Money-Market Spike After Curbing Volatility

New York Fed officials examining whether distribution of reserves contributed to cash shortages earlier this week

The New York Fed said it would continue to offer to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through Oct. 10. PHOTO: CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Federal Reserve officials are studying whether market plumbing issues contributed to a spike in short-term lending rates this week, after the central bank said it would extend recent operations to inject cash into money markets.

Investors this week have highlighted declines in bank deposits held at the Fed, known as reserves, as a driver of this week’s funding volatility. But New York Fed officials said Friday they were also examining whether the distribution of those reserves across the banking system—and not just the absolute level—had contributed to cash shortages earlier this week.

“That ability of the system to move money around and redistribute—it didn’t work the way we’ve seen in the past,” said New York Fed President John Williams in an interview on Friday.

The New York Fed said on Friday it would continue to offer to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through Oct. 10, prolonging its efforts to relieve pressure in money markets.

In addition to at least $75 billion in overnight loans, the Fed said it would also offer three separate 14-day cash loans of at least $30 billion each next week. The Fed will conduct further operations as needed after Oct. 10.

“This is, I would say, Central Banking 101,” said Mr. Williams. “This is what the Fed’s open-market operations are designed to address—directly provide liquidity into the system, which supports market functioning.”

On Monday, corporate tax payments were due to the Treasury, and Treasury debt auctions settled, leading to large transfers of cash from the banking system.

The level of reserves in the system at the beginning of the week appeared “above what we thought banks’ minimum level of reserves was,” said Lorie Logan, the New York Fed executive who is interim manager of the portfolio.

But those reserves can be concentrated in a few institutions, and officials weren’t sure “what the distribution process would look like as different shocks like this take place and how those reserves would then redistribute to other entities that needed liquidity,” she said.

One of the lessons this week was that this distribution process “was definitely stickier than we expected,” and repo markets experienced greater dysfunction than anticipated as a result, she said.

The Fed is adding money to the financial system through the market for repurchase agreements, or repo. In those transactions, banks offer collateral such as government bonds in exchange for short-term loans, for periods as brief as overnight. The market is a major way that banks and financial firms raise capital to fund their businesses.

But the Fed restored confidence, particularly through its decision Friday to offer two-week cash loans. “Everybody saw that as their bazooka,” Mr. Carpenter said.

The newly scheduled operations give financial markets an assurance that the Fed will continue adding liquidity through the end of the coming quarter. Banks tend to hold on to cash at the ends of quarters because that is when regulators typically examine their balance sheets to ensure they are following rules that safeguard the banking system.

“It doesn’t take a lot of cash to right the system,” said Glenn Havlicek, the chief executive at GLMX, which provides technology to repo trading desks, and who formerly oversaw the repo desk at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The timing is also important because there have been periods in the past year when demand for cash has exceeded the ability or willingness of investors to provide it, leading to spikes in the rates investors charge banks in repo.

That happened at the end of last year when the repo rate traded as high as 6%, pushing the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s GCF Repo Index to a then-record 5.14%. Repo rates also notably rose in April when people withdrew cash from the banking system to pay federal income taxes.

Separately, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee lowered its benchmark federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday to a range between 1.75% and 2%.

As a result of volatility in the repo market, the fed-funds rate spiked to trade outside of its range on Tuesday, but by Thursday was again trading firmly within the target band.

Mr. Williams said the central bank had effectively diagnosed and deployed its tools to take “forceful, decisive action that addressed the problem,” he said. “We are consistently and constructively supporting stability in these markets, and supporting the FOMC’s desired interest rate.”

On Friday, banks asked for $75.55 billion in reserves, $550 million more than the amount offered by the Fed, offering collateral in the form of Treasury and mortgage securities.

The New York Fed hasn’t had to intervene in money markets since 2008 because during and after the financial crisis, the Fed flooded the financial system with reserves. It did this by buying hundreds of billions of dollars of long-term securities to spur growth after cutting interest rates to nearly zero.

Reserves over the last five years have been declining, especially over the last two years, when the Fed began shrinking securities holdings. Reserves fell to less than $1.4 trillion this week from a peak of $2.8 trillion in 2014.

The Fed stopped shrinking its asset holdings last month. But because other Fed liabilities such as currency in circulation and the Treasury’s general financing account are rising, reserves are likely to grind lower in the weeks and months ahead.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-adds-75-billion-to-financial-system-in-fourth-repo-transaction-this-week-11568984725

Repo and Reverse Repo Agreements

The New York Fed is authorized by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to conduct repo and reverse repo operations for the System Open Market Account (SOMA) to the extent necessary to carry out the most recent FOMC directive. The New York Fed’s Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) executes these repo and reverse repo operations in the tri-party repo market.

Repurchase agreements (also known as repos) are conducted only with primary dealers; reverse repurchase agreements (also known as reverse repos) are conducted with both primary dealers and with an expanded set of reverse repo counterparties that includes banks, government-sponsored enterprises, and money market funds.

Repo and reverse repo operations were used prior to the financial crisis to adjust the supply of reserve balances and keep the federal funds ratearound the target level established by the FOMC. At that time, repo operations were typically conducted daily to fine-tune the supply of reserves in the system.

In a repo transaction, the Desk purchases Treasury, agency debt, or agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from a counterparty subject to an agreement to resell the securities at a later date. It is economically similar to a loan collateralized by securities having a value higher than the loan to protect the Desk against market and credit risk. Repo transactions temporarily increase the quantity of reserve balances in the banking system.

In a reverse repo transaction, the opposite occurs: the Desk sells securities to a counterparty subject to an agreement to repurchase the securities at a later date at a higher repurchase price. Reverse repo transactions temporarily reduce the quantity of reserve balances in the banking system.

Overnight Reverse Repo Operations
Currently, the Desk conducts overnight reverse repo operations daily as a means to help keep the federal funds rate in the target range set by the FOMC. The overnight reverse repo program (ON RRP) is used to supplement the Federal Reserve’s primary monetary policy tool, interest on excess reserves (IOER) for depository institutions, to help control short-term interest rates. ON RRP operations support interest rate control by setting a floor on wholesale short-term interest rates, beneath which financial institutions with access to these facilities should be unwilling to lend funds. ON RRP operations are conducted at a pre-announced offering rate, against Treasury securities collateral, and are open to a wide range of financial firms, including some that are not eligible to earn interest on balances at the Federal Reserve.

Story 3: Alarmist Adult Abuses of Climate Change Children — Hysterical Greta Thunberg — A Very Ignorant and Abused Child — Brainwashed Indoctrination of Children By Parents and Schools –Seek Professional Help — Weather and Climate Have Always Been Changing — Adapt and and Live With It — Get Your Priorities and Solutions in Order — Videos —

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School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules | Greta Thunberg | TEDxStockholm

Greta Thunberg Rips World Leaders at the U.N. Over Climate Change

Bjorn Lomborg: Global priorities bigger than climate change

Greta Thunberg

Adolescent climate change protester Greta Thunberg has stage parents, literally. Her mother sang opera internationally until the teenager convinced her to quit due to greenhouse gas emissions from flying, and her father and grandfather both gained fame through acting and directing.

Now, they’ve pivoted into the parental act of every stage parent looking to secure the next generation of fame. Apparently, the Swedish version of a Teri Shields is pimping her kid out, not to Penthouse, but to the cause of climate apocalypse.

For all that, conservatives have rightly griped at the performative pointlessness of Thunberg’s schtick, and for all that, liberals have rightly griped that a waning but still significant segment of conservatives deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change; the biggest travesty lost in the hype about the Swedish activist who recently sailed to American shores is that her parents, the media, and the climate alarmist Left are basically engaging in child abuse.

Cases of kids entering public discourse out of sheer discourse, such as Parkland survivors Cameron Kasky and Kyle Kashuv, are sometimes inevitable and sometimes valuable. Some political causes require spokesmen with lived experiences. But even as we saw in the aftermath of Parkland, putting children in the public spotlight is more likely to backfire on them than not.

The case of Thunberg is even more egregious. She began suffering from depression as a child, by her own admission, in part because she learned about climate change at age 8. She was later diagnosed with autism and obsessive compulsive disorder and gradually became despondent as she obsessed over her fear of climate change. She developed mutism and an eating disorder so severe that she once went two months without food, and she stopped going to school. Her only sibling, a sister named Beata, also suffers from Asperger’s and OCD, as well as ADHD.

Now tell me, does it seem healthy to place a child with this many mental illnesses under the spotlight of public scrutiny, with a sole focus on the very phenomenon and associated alarmism that triggered her in the first place?

If you’re a fading opera starlet married into a family of fame, and your only two children are having exceptional trouble even attending school, then I suppose you can secure a bit more fame by milking your child’s clinically diagnosed obsession. But given that Greta’s mental struggles and triggers actually led her to the brink of death, the whole thing smacks of child abuse.

Conservatives shouldn’t mock her. They should worry for her. Social media has made it too easy to prop up children as moral authorities — even children especially predisposed to crack under the pressure.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/this-greta-thunberg-thing-is-child-abuse

 

 

Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg au parlement européen (33744056508), recadré.png

Thunberg in April 2019
Born 3 January 2003 (age 16)

Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Environmental activist
Years active 2018–present
Movement School strike for climate
Relatives
Malena Ernman (mother)
Svante Thunberg (father)
Olof Thunberg (grandfather)

Greta Thunberg[a] FRSGS; (born 3 January 2003[1]) is a Swedish environmental activist focused on the risks posed by global warming.

In August 2018, when she was 15, Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils each.[2][3]

Thunberg is known for her blunt,[4] matter-of-fact speaking manner,[5] both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat.

In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model.[6] Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make the World Greta Again. Some media have described her impact on the world stage as the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[7]

Contents

Life

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm,[8][9] the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg.[10] Her paternal grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg.[11]

Thunberg says she first heard about climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and could not understand why so little was being done about it.[12] Three years later she became depressed and lethargic, stopped talking and eating, and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome,[13] obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD),[13] and selective mutism.[13][14] While acknowledging that her diagnosis “has limited me before”, she does not view her Asperger’s as an illness and has instead called it her “superpower”.[14]

For about two years, Thunberg challenged her parents to lower the family’s carbon footprint by becoming vegan and giving up flying, which in part meant her mother had to give up her international career as an opera singer.[10][15] Thunberg credits her parents’ eventual response and lifestyle changes with giving her hope and belief that she could make a difference.[10] The family story is recounted in the 2018 book Scenes from the Heart.[16]

In late 2018, Thunberg began the school climate strikes and public speeches by which she has become an internationally recognized climate activist. Her father does not like her missing school, but said: “[We] respect that she wants to make a stand. She can either sit at home and be really unhappy, or protest, and be happy”.[15] Thunberg says her teachers are divided in their views about her missing class to make her point. She says: “As people they think what I am doing is good, but as teachers they say I should stop.”[15]

Thunberg published a collection of her climate action speeches, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, in May 2019[17] with the earnings being donated to charity.[18] In one of her first speeches demanding climate action, Thunberg described the selective mutism aspect of her condition as meaning she “only speaks when necessary”.[12] In 2019, Thunberg also contributed a voiceover for a release of “The 1975”, the theme song of an English band by the same name. Thunberg finishes by urging: “So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.” Proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion at Thunberg’s request.[19]

Transatlantic voyage

In August 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, UK, to New York, US, in a 60 ft racing yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was announced as a carbon-neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of Thunberg’s declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions.

The voyage lasted 15 days, from 14 to 28 August 2019. While in the Americas, Thunberg attended the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, and will attend the COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile, in December.[20][21]

School strike for climate

Inspiration

Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament, holding a “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (transl. School strike for the climate) sign, Stockholm, August 2018

Bicycle in Stockholm with references to Thunberg: “The climate crisis must be treated as a crisis! The climate is the most important election issue!” (11 September 2018)

Sign in Berlin, 14 December 2018

In an interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, Thunberg said she first got the idea of a climate strike after school shootings in the United States in February 2018 led to several youths refusing to go back to school.[10]These teen activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, went on to organize the March for Our Lives in support of greater gun control.[22][23]

In May 2018, Thunberg won a climate change essay competition held by Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In part, she wrote that “I want to feel safe. How can I feel safe when I know we are in the greatest crisis in human history?”[24] The paper published her article after which she was contacted by Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland, a group interested in doing something about climate change. Thunberg attended a few of their meetings, and at one of them, Thoren also suggested that school children could strike for climate change.[25] Thunberg tried to persuade other young people to get involved but “no one was really interested” so eventually, she decided to go ahead with the strike by herself.[10]

Beginning

On 20 August 2018, Thunberg, who had just started ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Swedish general election on 9 September after the heat waves and wildfires during Sweden’s hottest summer in at least 262 years.[15] Her demands were that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and she protested by sitting outside the Riksdag every day for three weeks during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the climate).[26] She also handed out leaflets that stated: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”[15]

Role of social media

Thunberg posted her original strike photo on Instagram and Twitter and other social media accounts quickly took up her cause.[27] According to Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of a Swedish climate-focused social media company, We Don’t Have Time (WDHT), her strike began attracting public attention after he turned up with a freelance photographer and then posted Thunberg’s photograph on his Facebook page and Instagram account. He also made a video in English that he posted on the company’s YouTube channel that had almost 88,000 views.[28] A representative of the Finnish bank, Nordea, quoted one of Thunberg’s tweets to more than 200,000 followers. Thunberg’s social media profile attracted local reporters whose stories earned international coverage in little more than a week.[27]

After the general elections, Thunberg continued to strike only on Fridays. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes.[29] As of December 2018, more than 20,000 students had held strikes in at least 270 cities.[29]

After October 2018, Thunberg’s activism evolved from solitary protesting to taking part in demonstrations throughout Europe; making several high-profile public speeches, and mobilising her growing number of followers on social media platforms. By March 2019, she was still staging her regular protests outside the Swedish parliament every Friday, where other students now occasionally join her. Her activism has not interfered with her schoolwork, but she has had less spare time.[13]

Support

In February 2019, 224 academics signed an open letter of support stating they were inspired by the actions of Thunberg and the striking school children in making their voices heard.[30] United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also endorsed the school strikes initiated by Thunberg, admitting that “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”[31]

In June 2019, Thunberg spoke by video link with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had submitted the Green New Deal to the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2019, which calls for the United States to achieve “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade. They discussed how it feels when their views are not taken seriously because they are young, and what tactics really work.[32]

Speaking at an event in New Zealand in May 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said his generation was “not winning the battle against climate change” and that it’s up to youth to “rescue the planet”.[33]

Thunberg’s message

File:Greta Thunberg- World Economic Forum (Davos).webm

Thunberg promoting her campaign at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos

When Thunberg began her protest outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018 at age 15, she had two simple messages: a sign which said “school strike for the climate” and leaflets she handed out which said: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”[34] As her protest gained momentum, she was invited to give speeches at a variety of forums which enabled her to expand on her concerns. So far, she has espoused four interwoven themes. Thunberg argues that the crisis caused by global warming is so serious that humanity is facing an existential crisis,[35] “that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it,” and that she holds the current generation of adults responsible, with statements such as “You are stealing our future”.[36][37] She is especially concerned about the impact the climate crisis will have on young people like her. Speaking at Parliament in London she said: “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.” Thunberg also states that we need to wake up and change[38] because very little is being done to solve the problem.[39] She says the situation is so dire, we should all panic.[40] She feels that that politicians and decision-makers need to listen to the scientists,[41] pointing out in 2019 that “according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes.”[42]

Thunberg uses graphic analogies to highlight her concerns and speaks bluntly to business and political leaders, often scolding them for their lack of action. For instance, she told a panel of prominent business and political leaders at Davos: “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers, in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”[43] She went on to say: “I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is”.[40] In London in October 2018, she said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children.”[44]

Thunberg points out that the strategies adopted by various governments to limit global warming to 1.5 °C as part of the Paris Agreement are insufficient and that the greenhouse gas emissions curve needs to start declining steeply no later than 2020.[45] In January 2019, she told the UK parliament that Britain needs to stop talking in terms of “lowering” emissions and start thinking in terms of eliminating them.[46] In February 2019, at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee, she said that the EU must reduce their CO
2
 emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris.[47][48]

Thunberg’s main theme is everyone needs to unite behind the science. She says if everyone listened to the scientists and acknowledged the facts, “then we (students) could all go back to school”.[49] On Thunberg’s trip across the Atlantic Ocean (en route to New York City) she travelled via a carbon-neutral yacht. Emblazoned on the yacht’s sail in capital letters were the words “UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE”.[50] In one of her first statements after arriving in New York, she had a similar message for Donald Trump, admonishing him to “listen to the science”.[51]

Impact

“Greta Thunberg effect”

Thunberg has inspired a number of her school-aged peers in what has been described as the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[52] In response to her outspoken stance, various politicians have also acknowledged the need to focus on climate change. Britain’s secretary for the environment, Michael Gove, said: “When I listened to you, I felt great admiration, but also responsibility and guilt. I am of your parents’ generation, and I recognise that we haven’t done nearly enough to address climate change and the broader environmental crisis that we helped to create.” Labour politician Ed Miliband, who was responsible for introducing the Climate Change Act 2008, said: “You have woken us up. We thank you. All the young people who have gone on strike have held up a mirror to our society … you have taught us all a really important lesson. You have stood out from the crowd.”[7] In June 2019, a YouGov poll in Britain found that public concern about the environment had soared to record levels in the UK since Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion had “pierced the bubble of denial”.[53]

In August 2019, a doubling in the number of children’s books being published which address the climate crisis was reported, with a similar increase in the sales of such books—all aimed at empowering young people to save the planet. Publishers attribute this to the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[54]

Inspired by Thunberg, wealthy philanthropists and investors from the United States have donated almost half a million pounds to support Extinction Rebellion and school strike groups to establish the Climate Emergency Fund.[55] Trevor Neilson, one of the philanthropists, said the three founders would be contacting friends among the global mega-rich to donate “a hundred times” more in the weeks and months ahead.[56]

In February 2019, Thunberg shared a stage with the then President of the European CommissionJean-Claude Juncker, where he outlined “In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change”.[57] Climate issues also played a significant role in European elections in May 2019[58] as Green parties nearly doubled their vote to finish second on 21%,[59] boosting their MEP numbers to a projected 71.[60] Many of the gains came from northern European countries where young people have taken to the streets inspired by Thunberg.[59] The result gives the Greens a chance of becoming ‘kingmakers’ in the new European parliament.[60]

In June 2019, Swedish Railways (SJ) reported that the number of Swedes taking the train for domestic journeys had risen by 8% from the previous year, reflecting growing public concern about the impact of flying on CO
2
 emissions that is highlighted by Thunberg’s refusal to fly to international conferences. Being embarrassed or ashamed to take a plane because of its environmental impact has been described on social media as ‘Flygskam’ or “Shame of flying”, along with the hashtag #jagstannarpåmarken, which translates as #istayontheground.[61][62]

Criticism and response

Criticism of Thunberg and her campaign

In an opinion column, Christopher Caldwell has claimed that Thunberg’s simplistic, straightforward approach to climate change will bring climate protesters into conflict with the complexities of decision-making in Western democracies.[63][64] The French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven claims that many people “buy virtue” with their support for Thunberg but do not actually do anything to help.[65]

In July 2019, Agence France-Presse reported that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo “complained of what he called ‘unscientific’ attacks on the oil industry by climate change campaigners, calling them ‘perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward'”, and said he was apparently referring “to the recent wave of school strikes inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s ‘Fridays for Future’ movement”.[66] Thunberg and other climate activists responded by calling his remarks a badge of honour.[67][68]

In the United States, opinion writer Tiana Lowe, of the Washington Examiner, stated that Thunberg’s “fame-seeking”, “stage-parents”, particularly her “fading opera starlet mother” who performed internationally, were “pimp(ing) her out” without regard for Thunberg’s alleged mental problems, which included Lowe’s long list of disabilities, by which Greta and her sister were claimed to be handicapped. By so doing, Lowe wrote, they were subjecting her to “child abuse.”[69]

Swedish opinion writer Paulina Neuding invoked mental health issues to question the idea that Thunberg should be leading climate change activism.[70] Thunberg has also been criticised by the Australian climate-change denier Andrew Bolt[71] after Thunberg announced she would travel to the United States in a carbon-zero yacht. Bolt said she had a cult following, calling her “freakishly influential”[72] for a “girl so young and with so many mental disorders”.[73]

Following Thunberg’s filing of a lawsuit against France, Germany and other countries for not being on track to meet the emission reduction targets they committed to in their Paris Agreement pledges, French president Emmanuel Macron criticized her, saying that “such radical positions (as held by Thunberg) antagonize our societies”. He added that “she should focus on those that are blocking, those that are the furthest”, and that “he doesn’t feel like either the French or the German governments are trying to block”. French secretary of state for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Brune Poirson also criticized her, saying that “she doesn’t know what solutions she is putting forward”, adding that “you can’t mobilize with despair, even hate”.[74]

Criticism of attacks on Thunberg

By August 2019, Scientific American was reporting that Thunberg’s detractors have “launched personal attacks”, “bash (her) autism”, and “increasingly rely on ad hominem attacks to blunt her influence.”[75]

Writing in The Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty said that columnists including Brendan O’NeillToby Young, the blog Guido Fawkes, as well as Helen Dale and Rod Liddle at The Spectator and The Sunday Times had been making “ugly personal attacks” on Thunberg.[76] As part of its climate change denial, Germany’s right wing Alternative for Germany party has attacked Thunberg “in fairly vicious ways”, according to Jakob Guhl, a researcher for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.[77] British businessman Arron Banks released a post on Twitter appearing to wish harm upon Thunberg as she began her transatlantic voyage warning that “Freak yachting accidents do happen in August”.[78]

Banks’ comments outraged a number of MPs (Member of Parliament), celebrities and academics. Tanja Bueltmann, founder of EU Citizens’ Champion, said Banks had “invoked the drowning of a child” for his own amusement, and noted that most of those attacking Thunberg “are white middle-aged men from the right of the political spectrum”.[79] Writing in The GuardianGaby Hinsliff, said Thunberg has become “the new front in the Brexit culture war” arguing that the outrage generated by personal attacks on Thunberg by Brexiteers “gives them the welcome oxygen of publicity”.[80] British philosopher Julian Baggini said ‘thuggish’ personal criticisms of Thunberg are indicative of “a moral and intellectual bankruptcy”.[65]

Essayist Steve Silberman, writing in Vox, points out that being on the autism spectrum enables Thunberg to be fearless in her rhetoric.[81] In an interview with Suyin Haynes in Time magazine, she addressed the criticism she has received online saying: “It’s quite hilarious when the only thing people can do is mock you, or talk about your appearance or personality, as it means they have no argument or nothing else to say.”[82]

Misuse of her name

In late 2018, Ingmar Rentzhog, who claims to be one of the first to publicize Thunberg’s climate strike, asked her to become an unpaid youth advisor to his climate startup company. He then used her name and image without her knowledge or permission to raise millions for a WDHT for-profit subsidiary, We Don’t Have Time AB, of which Rentzhog is the chief executive officer.[83] Thunberg received no money from the company.[28] She terminated her volunteer advisor role with WDHT once she realised they were making money from her name, stating “[I am] not part of any organization… am absolutely independent… [and] do what I do completely for free.”[84]

List of speeches

Extinction Rebellion

In London in October 2018, she addressed the ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ organized by Extinction Rebellion opposite the Houses of Parliament. She said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything”.[44][85]

TEDxStockholm

On 24 November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm.[12][86] She spoke about realizing, when she was eight years old, that climate change existed and wondering why it was not headline news on every channel, as if there was a world war going on. She said she did not go to school to become a climate scientist, as some suggested, because the science was done and only denial, ignorance, and inaction remained. Speculating that her children and grandchildren would ask her why they had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, she concluded with “we can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.”[87]

COP24 summit

Thunberg addressed the COP24 United Nations climate change summit on 4 December 2018,[29] and also spoke before the plenary assembly on 12 December 2018.[88][89] During the summit, she also participated in a panel talk together with representatives of the We Don’t Have Time foundation, in which she talked about how the school strike began.[90]

Davos

On 23 January 2019, Thunberg arrived in Davos after a 32-hour train journey,[91] in contrast to the many delegates who arrived by up to 1,500 individual private jet flights,[92] to continue her climate campaign at the World Economic Forum.[93][94] She told a Davos panel “Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”[43]

Later in the week, she warned the global leaders that “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is”.[40] She wrote in an article for The Guardian in January 2019: “According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO
2
 emissions by at least 50%”.[42]

European Economic and Social Committee

On 21 February 2019, she spoke at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee and to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, where she said that to limit global warming to less than the two degrees C goal established at the Paris Agreement, the EU must reduce their CO
2
 emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris. “If we fail to do so” she said, “all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history.” Later, she joined 7,500 Belgian students in a climate protest in Brussels.[47][95]

Berlin

File:FFF Berlin 2019-03-29 262 Greta Thunberg.webm

Thunberg speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March 2019

In the weekend 29–31 March 2019, Thunberg visited Berlin. She spoke in front of some 25,000 people near the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March, where she argued that “We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most.”[96] After the speech, Thunberg and fellow climate activist Luisa Neubauer visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and met with scientists there. On 30 March, Thunberg received the ‘Golden Camera‘ Special Award on Germany’s annual film and television award show. In her acceptance speech at the gala, Thunberg urged celebrities everywhere to use their influence and do their fair share of climate activism to help her.[97][98][99]

EU leaders

At an April 2019 meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with MEPs and EU officials, Thunberg chided those present “for three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment”. Climate change discussions have not been dominant at EU summits because other issues have taken precedence.[100] She said the world is facing its “sixth mass extinction” and said: “We have not treated this crisis as a crisis; we see it as another problem that needs to be fixed. But it is so much more than that. It’s an existential crisis, more important than anything else.”[100][35]

Austrian World Summit R20

In May 2019, Thunberg met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the launch of a conference organised by Schwarzenegger to speed up progress toward the Paris Agreement.[101] Quoting the most recent IPCC report she said: “If we haven’t made the changes required by approximately the year 2030, we will probably set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. Then we will pass a point of no return which will be catastrophic.” 17,000 people attended the event from 30 different countries.[102]

Prix Liberté Normandy: 2019 Freedom Prize

On 21 July 2019, Thunberg received the Normandy’s Freedom Prize. In her speech she said: “Yesterday I spent the day with the D-day veteran Charles Norman Shay at Omaha beach. It was a day I will never forget. Not only because of the unimaginable bravery and sacrifices made by those who gave their lives to defend the freedom and democracy of the world. But also because they managed to do the seemingly impossible possible. I think the least we can do to honour them is to stop destroying that same world that Charles, Léon and their friends and colleagues fought so hard to save for us.”[103]

U.S. Congress on climate change

On 18 September 2019, Thunberg appeared before the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis” and delivered an eight sentence statement instead of offering testimony. She said: “My name is Greta Thunberg. I have not come to offer prepared remarks at this hearing. I am instead attaching my testimony. It is the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C [SR1.5] which was released on October 8, 2018. I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.”[104]

New York City: 2019 Global Climate Strike

On 20 September 2019, Thunberg spoke to New York City’s contingent of the Global Climate Strike. The demonstration in New York City was one of hundreds around the world with millions of people taking part. Young people were joined by adults for the first time since the strikes began. Thunberg drew laughter when she described how the politicians that she met asked her for selfies and “tell us they really, really admire what we do yet have done nothing to address the climate crisis.” [105][106]

United Nations: Climate Action Summit 2019

On 23 September 2019, Thunberg addressed the assembled world leaders at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held in New York City. Accusing world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood by their inaction on climate change, she opened her speech to the General Assembly with an impassioned introduction, which was widely covered by the media.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”[107]

US President Donald Trump, who had attended the meeting for 10 minutes and then left, tweeted a video of her opening remarks and commented: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”[108] Thunberg did not directly comment on Trump’s tweet but she did make a change to her Twitter bio wherein she described herself as “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

Legal actions

Thunberg, et al, v. Argentina, et al

On 23 September 2019, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hosted a press conference where Thunberg joined 15 other children (Ayakha MelithafaAlexandria VillaseñorCatarina LorenzoCarl Smith, et al) and together the group announced they had filed a lawsuit against five nations that are not on track to meet the emission reduction targets they committed to in their Paris Agreement pledges: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey.[109][110] The lawsuit is challenging the nations under the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (specifically the right to life, health, and peace). If the complaint is successful, the countries will be asked to respond, but any suggestions are not legally binding.[111][112]

Honours and awards

Svenska Dagbladet: writing competition: Before starting her climate strike, Thunberg was one of the winners of Svenska Dagbladets debate article writing competition on the climate for young people in May 2018.[24]

Children’s Climate Prize: In November 2018, about three months into her school climate strike, Thunberg was nominated for the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by the Swedish electricity company Telge Energi. However, Thunberg declined to accept the award because many of the finalists would have to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony and a required meeting with one another.[113][114]

Fryshuset Scholarship: 2018 Young Role Model of the Year: Thunberg was awarded the Fryshuset scholarship of the Young Role Model of the Year.[115]

Time Magazine: 2018 World’s 25 Most Influential Teenagers: Time magazine named Thunberg one of the world’s 25 most influential teenagers of 2018.[116]

International Women’s Day: Swedish Woman of the Year: On the occasion of International Women’s Day Thunberg was proclaimed the most important woman of the year in Sweden in 2019. The award was based on a survey by the institute Inizio on behalf of the newspaper Aftonbladet.[117]

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: On 13 March 2019, two deputies of the Swedish parliament and three deputies of the Norwegian parliament nominated Thunberg as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nominating politicians explained their decision by arguing that global warming will be the cause of “wars, conflict and refugees” if nothing is done to halt it. Thunberg responded that she was “honoured and very grateful” for the nomination.[118] If Thunberg receives the Prize later this year, she will become the youngest person ever to receive it.[119]

Golden Kamera 2019: On 31 March 2019, Thunberg received the German Goldene Kamera Special Climate Protection award.[120]

Prix Liberté Normandy: 2019 Freedom Prize: On 1 April 2019, the Prix Liberté from France’s region Normandy was awarded to Thunberg, which she received in Caen on 21 July that year.[121] Thunberg is the first recipient of this new award, which was designed to honour a young person engaged in a fight for peace and freedom.[122] Thunberg said she would donate the $25,000 Euro prize money to four organisations working for climate justice and helping areas already affected by climate change.[103]

Fritt Ords Prize: On 12 April 2019, Thunberg shared the Norwegian Fritt Ords Prize, which celebrates freedom of speech, with the Nature and Youth organization. The conferring organization, Fritt Ord noted their determined committed activism even in the face of pervasive online and media harassment. Thunberg donated her share of the prize money to a lawsuit which seeks to halt Norwegian oil exploration in the Arctic.[123]

Time Magazine: 100 Most Influential People of 2019: In April 2019, Time magazine named Thunberg as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019.[124] In the same month, the Chilean-based organization, Fundación Milarepa para el Diálogo con Asia, headed by Mario Aguilar of the University of St Andrews, announced that Thunberg had been selected as the recipient of the organization’s Laudato Si’ Prize.[125]

Doctor Honoris Causa: On 16 May 2019, the University of Mons announced it had awarded a doctor honoris causa (honorary degree) to Thunberg. The doctoral diploma and insignia will be bestowed at the official opening of the university’s 2019-2020 academic year on 10 October 2019.[126]

Thunberg mural: In May 2019, artist Jody Thomas painted a 50-foot-high (15 m) mural of Thunberg on a wall in Bristol. It portrays the bottom half of her face as if under rising sea water.[127]

Time Magazine: In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine where she was described as a role model,[82] and one of the “next generation leaders”.[6]

Vice Documentary: In May 2019, Vice released a 30-minute documentary, Make the World Greta Again. It features interviews with a number of youth protest leaders in Europe.[128][129]

Amnesty International: Ambassador of Conscience Award: On 7 June 2019, Amnesty International announced that it will give Thunberg their most prestigious award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, to Thunberg for her leadership in the climate movement. Thunberg then said the prize equally belongs to everyone who has taken part in the Fridays for Future Movement in school strike for climate.[130]On 17 September 2019, Thunberg received the award during a ceremony that took place in Washington D.C. The activist said the award is “for all those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Friday’s for Future.”[131][132]

Royal Scottish Geographical Society: Geddes Environment Medal: On 12 July 2019, Thunberg was awarded the Geddes Environment Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society,[133] which automatically granted her its Honorary Fellowship.[134]

British Vogue: The September 2019 issue of British Vogue magazine’s cover featured Thunberg (along with fifteen women); the cover was created by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.[135]

Right Livelihood Award: On 25 September 2019, Thunberg was named as one of four winners of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize. Thunberg won the award “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts,” the Right Livelihood Foundation said in a statement.[136]

See also

Notes

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg

Bjørn Lomborg

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Bjørn Lomborg
Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg
Born 6 January 1965 (age 54)
FrederiksbergDenmark
Occupation Author, visiting professor, think tank director
Subject Environmental economics
Website
lomborg.com

Bjørn Lomborg (Danish: [pjɶɐ̯n ˈlɒmpɒːˀʊ̯]; born 6 January 1965) is a Danish author and President of his think tankCopenhagen Consensus Center. He is former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) in Copenhagen. He became internationally known for his best-selling and controversial book, The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001), in which he argues that many of the costly measures and actions adopted by scientists and policy makers to meet the challenges of global warming will ultimately have minimal impact on the world’s rising temperature.[1]

In 2002, Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, a project-based conference where prominent economists sought to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methods based on the theory of welfare economics.

In 2009, Business Insider cited Lomborg as one of “The 10 Most-Respected Global Warming Skeptics”.[2] While Lomborg campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and other measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, he argued for adaptation to short-term temperature rises, and for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions. His issue is not with the reality of climate change, but rather with the economic and political approaches being taken (or not taken) to meet the challenges of that climate change. He is a strong advocate for focusing attention and resources on what he perceives as far more pressing world problems, such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition.[3][4] In his critique of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Lomborg stated: “Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat.”[5]

Contents

Education

Lomborg was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, earned an M.A. degree in political science at the University of Aarhus in 1991, and a Ph.D. degree in political science at the University of Copenhagen in 1994.

Career

Lomborg lectured in statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus as an assistant professor (1994–1996) and associate professor (1997–2005). He left the university in February 2005 and in May of that year became an adjunct professor in Policy-making, Scientific Knowledge and the Role of Experts at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School.[6]

Early in his career, his professional areas of interest lay in the simulation of strategies in collective action dilemmas, simulation of party behavior in proportional voting systems, and the use of surveys in public administration. In 1996, Lomborg’s paper, “Nucleus and Shield: Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma”, was published in the academic journalAmerican Sociological Review.[7]

Later, Lomborg’s interests shifted to the use of statistics in the environmental arena. In 1998, Lomborg published four essays about the state of the environment in the leading Danish newspaper Politiken, which according to him “resulted in a firestorm debate spanning over 400 articles in major metropolitan newspapers.”[8] This led to the Skeptical Environmentalist, whose English translation was published as a work in environmental economics by Cambridge University Press in 2001. He later edited Global Crises, Global Solutions, which presented the first conclusions of the Copenhagen Consensus, published in 2004 by the Cambridge University Press. In 2007, he authored a book entitled Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.

In March 2002, the newly elected center-right prime ministerAnders Fogh Rasmussen, appointed Lomborg to run Denmark’s new Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI). On 22 June 2004, Lomborg announced his decision to resign from this post to go back to the University of Aarhus,[9] saying his work at the Institute was done and that he could better serve the public debate from the academic sector.

Lomborg has created several short videos for the educational website Prager University, a US-based conservative think tank founded by talk show host Dennis Prager. His videos focus on environmental science.[10]

Copenhagen Consensus

Lomborg (right) with DeAnne Julius (center) and Stephen Sackur (left), at WTTC Global Summit 2014

Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus in 2002, which seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. A panel of prominent economists was assembled to evaluate and rank a series of problems every four years. The project was funded largely by the Danish government and was co-sponsored by The Economist. A book summarizing the conclusions of the economists’ first assessment, Global Crises, Global Solutions, edited by Lomborg, was published in October 2004 by Cambridge University Press.

In 2006, Lomborg became director of the newly established Copenhagen Consensus Center, a Danish government-funded institute intended to build on the mandate of the EAI, and expand on the original Copenhagen Consensus conference.[11] Denmark withdrew its funding in 2012 and the Center faced imminent closure.[12][13] Lomborg left the country and reconstituted the Center as a non-profit organization in the United States.[14][15] The Center was based out of a “Neighborhood Parcel Shipping Center” in Lowell, Massachusetts, though Lomborg himself was based in Prague in the Czech Republic.[16] In 2015, Lomborg described the Center’s funding as “a little more than $1m a year…from private donations”,[13] of which Lomborg himself was paid $775,000 in 2012.[16]

In April 2015, it was announced that an alliance between the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the University of Western Australia would see the establishment of the Australian Consensus Centre, a new policy research center at the UWA Business School. The University described the Center’s goals as a “focus on applying an economic lens to proposals to achieve good for Australia, the region and the world, prioritizing those initiatives which produce the most social value per dollar spent.”.[17] This appointment came under intense scrutiny, particularly when leaked documents revealed that the Australian government had approached UWA and offered to fund the Consensus Centre, information subsequently confirmed by a senior UWA lecturer.[18] Reports indicated that Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s office was directly responsible for Lomborg’s elevation.[19] $4 million of the total funding for the Center was to be provided by the Australian federal government,[13] with UWA not contributing any funding for the centre.[20]

On 8 May 2015, UWA cancelled the contract for hosting the Australian Consensus Centre as “the proposed centre was untenable and lacked academic support”.[21][22] The Australian federal education minister, Christopher Pyne, said that he would find another university to host the ACC.

In July 2015, Flinders University senior management began quietly canvassing its staff about a plan to host the renamed Lomborg Consensus Centre at the University, likely in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. A week later the story was broken on Twitter by the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union)[23] and Scott Ludlam.[24] The story appeared the next day in The Australian,[25] but described as “academic conversations” with no mention of Bjorn Lomborg’s involvement and portrayed as a grassroots desire for the Centre by the University.[26] The following week, a story appeared in The Guardian quoting two Flinders University academics and an internal document demonstrating staff’s withering rejection of the idea.[27] Flinders staff and students vowed to fight against the establishment of any Centre or any partnership with Lomborg,[28] citing his lack of scientific credibility, his lack of academic legitimacy and the political nature of the process of establishing the Centre with the Abbott federal government. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition and 350.orglaunched a national campaign to support staff and students in their rejection of Lomborg.[29]

On 21 October 2015, education minister Simon Birmingham told a senate committee the offered funding had been withdrawn.[30] It was subsequently unclear whether the Australian Government would honour its original commitment and transfer the funds directly to the Centre to cover the costs incurred, in particular given Lomborg’s unique expertise and contribution.

Several of Bjørn Lomborg’s articles in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph have been checked by Climate Feedback, a worldwide network of scientists who collectively assess the credibility of influential climate change media coverage. The Climate Feedback reviewers assessed that the scientific credibility ranged between “low” and “very low”. The Climate Feedback reviewers come to the conclusion that in one case Lomborg “practices cherry-picking”,[31] in a second case he “had reached his conclusions through cherry-picking from a small subset of the evidence, misrepresenting the results of existing studies, and relying on flawed reasoning”,[32] in a third case “[his] article [is in] blatant disagreement with available scientific evidence, while the author does not offer adequate evidence to support his statements”,[33] and, in a fourth case, “The author, Bjorn Lomborg, cherry-picks this specific piece of research and uses it in support of a broad argument against the value of climate policy. He also misrepresents the Paris Agreement to downplay its potential to curb future climate change.”[34]

The Skeptical Environmentalist

In 2001, he attained significant attention by publishing The Skeptical Environmentalist, a controversial book whose main thesis is that many of the most-publicized claims and predictions on environmental issues are wrong.

In the chapter on climate change in The Skeptical Environmentalist, he states: “This chapter accepts the reality of man-made global warming but questions the way in which future scenarios have been arrived at and finds that forecasts of climate change of 6 degrees by the end of the century are not plausible”.[35] Cost–benefit analyses, calculated by the Copenhagen Consensus, ranked climate mitigation initiatives lowest on a list of international development initiatives when first done in 2004.[36] In a 2010 interview with the New Statesman, Lomborg summarized his position on climate change: “Global warming is real – it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world.”[37]

Formal accusations of scientific dishonesty

After the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg was formally accused of scientific dishonesty by a group of environmental scientists, who brought a total of three complaints against him to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), a body under Denmark’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MSTI). Lomborg was asked whether he regarded the book as a “debate” publication, and thereby not under the purview of the DCSD, or as a scientific work; he chose the latter, clearing the way for the inquiry that followed.[38] The charges claimed that The Skeptical Environmentalist contained deliberately misleading data and flawed conclusions. Due to the similarity of the complaints, the DCSD decided to proceed on the three cases under one investigation.

In January 2003, the DCSD released a ruling that sent a mixed message, finding the book to be scientifically dishonest through misrepresentation of scientific facts, but Lomborg himself not guilty due to his lack of expertise in the fields in question.[39] That February, Lomborg filed a complaint against the decision with the MSTI, which had oversight over the DCSD. In December, 2003, the Ministry annulled the DCSD decision, citing procedural errors, including lack of documentation of errors in the book, and asked the DCSD to re-examine the case. In March 2004, the DCSD formally decided not to act further on the complaints, reasoning that renewed scrutiny would, in all likelihood, result in the same conclusion.[38][40]

Response of the academic community

The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition[41] signed by 287 Danish academics, primarily social scientists, who criticised the DCSD for evaluating the book as a work of science, whereas the petitioners considered it clearly an opinion piece by a non-scientist.[42][43] The Danish Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation then asked the Danish Research Agency (DRA) to form an independent working group to review DCSD practices.[44] In response to this, another group of Danish scientists collected over 600 signatures, primarily from the medical and natural sciences community, to support the continued existence of the DCSD and presented their petition to the DRA.[42]

Recognition

The alumni network of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) voted The Skeptical Environmentalist among its list of the top 50 sustainability books.[45]

Continued debate and criticism

The rulings of the Danish authorities in 2003–2004 left Lomborg’s critics frustrated. Lomborg claimed vindication as a result of MSTI’s decision to set aside the original finding of DCSD.

The Lomborg Deception, a book by Howard Friel, claims to offer a “careful analysis” of the ways in which Lomborg has “selectively used (and sometimes distorted) the available evidence”,[46] and that the sources Lomborg provides in the footnotes do not support—and in some cases are in direct contradiction to—Lomborg’s assertions in the text of the book;[47] Lomborg has denied these claims in a 27-page argument-by-argument response.[48] Friel has written a reply to this response, in which he admits two errors, but otherwise in general rejects Lomborg’s arguments.[49]

Arthur Rörsch, Thomas Frello, Ray Soper and Adriaan De Lange published an article in 2005 in the Journal of Information Ethics,[50] in which they concluded that most criticism against Lomborg was unjustified, and that the scientific community misused its authority to suppress Lomborg.

The claim that the accusations against Lomborg were unjustified was challenged in the next issue of Journal of Information Ethics[51] by Kåre Fog, one of the original plaintiffs. Fog reasserted his contention that, despite the ministry’s decision, most of the accusations against Lomborg were valid. He also rejected what he called “the Galileo hypothesis”, which he describes as the conception that Lomborg is just a brave young man confronting old-fashioned opposition. Fog and other scientists have continued to criticize Lomborg for what one called “a history of misrepresenting” climate science.[52][53]

In 2014, the government of Australia offered the University of Western Australia $4 million to establish a “consensus centre” with Lomborg as director. The university accepted the offer, setting off a firestorm of opposition from its faculty and students and from climate scientists around the world. In April 2015 the university reversed the decision and rejected the offer. The government continued to seek a sponsor for the proposed institution.[54] On 21 October 2015 the offered funding was withdrawn.[30] (For further details see the “Copenhagen Consensus” sub-section of the “Career” section, above.)

Lomborg’s approach evolved in directions more compatible with action to restrain climate change. In April 2015 he gained further attention when he issued a call for all subsidies to be removed from fossil fuels on the basis that “a disproportionate share of the subsidies goes to the middle class and the rich”…making fossil fuel so “inexpensive that consumption increases, thus exacerbating global warming”.[55] In publications such as the Wall Street Journal he argued that the most productive use of resources would be a massive increase in funding for research to make renewable energy economically competitive with fossil fuels.[56]

Personal life

Lomborg is gay and a vegetarian.[57] As a public figure he has been a participant in information campaigns in Denmark about homosexuality, and states that “Being a public gay is to my view a civic responsibility. It’s important to show that the width of the gay world cannot be described by a tired stereotype, but goes from leather gays on parade-wagons to suit-and-tie yuppies on the direction floor, as well as everything in between”.[58]

Recognitions and awards

  • The Global Leaders of Tomorrow (Class 2002) – World Economic Forum (2002)[59]
  • The Stars of Europe (category: Agenda Setters) – BusinessWeek (17 June 2002): “No matter what they think of his views, nobody denies that Bjorn Lomborg has shaken the environmental movement to its core.”[60]
  • The 2004 TIME 100 (in Scientists & Thinkers) – TIME (26 April 2004): “Our list of the most influential people in the world today: He just might be the Martin Luther of the environmental movement.”[61]
  • Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll (#14)