No, we are not talking about the “homo- or transphobia” myths, on which various departments of the European Commission or the European Parliament are wasting huge amounts of public money – with the sole effect of making many European citizens wonder about the usefulness of institutions that seem obsessed with such non-issues.
The human rights discourse has not yet completely been turned into a roadshow of perverse sexual exhibitionisms. Indeed, the appointment of the Slovak Politician Jan Figel’ as the EU’s first “Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU” seems to indicate that there is a growing sense that there are also some real human rights issues that might be dealt with – or to which one might at least pay some lip-service.
Figel’, a former EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, assumes this new role for an initial mandate of one year. It remains to be seen, however, whether he will receive only a fraction of the staff and money with which the EU promotes the controversial homo-agenda, e.g. by setting up and financing the fake non-governmental organization ILGA-Europe.
The persecution of people for their religious beliefs is – besides the structural and systematic violation of the right to life through laws that “legalise” abortion or guarantee it impunity – without doubt the biggest and most pressing real human rights issue in the world. This persecution does not manifest itself only in the form of small-scale discriminations and micro aggressions, but it costs the lives of many people every year.
Christians of various denominations are not only the biggest single faith community, but they also are the group that is by far suffering the most persecution. This persecution takes place not only in many Muslim countries, where civil wars and a surge of Islamic fundamentalism has resulted in the silent liquidation of some of the oldest Christian communities, but also in countries whose governments embrace so-called “secular” ideologies, such as China, Cuba, Vietnam, or – by far the worst – North Korea. The number of Christians who are persecuted, driven out of their homes, enslaved, raped, or cruelly murdered for no other reason than their faith is estimated at several hundreds of thousands every year – with millions more living under a permanent and direct threat of persecution.
The protection of Christians outside the EU should without doubt be one of the European human rights and foreign policy priorities. But the EU has so far very consistently looked the other way – often under the influence of politicians who seem to believe that defending Christians against persecutions is incompatible with the EU’s (assumed, but never openly declared) status as a “secular” or “religiously neutral” institution. The creation of a special envoy is – at last! – a clear statement that human rights must not be allowed to be monopolized by pressure groups who want to promote bizarre and unhealthy sexual behaviours or radical and controversial social agendas, but that they are there to protect those who face real prosecution.
The appointment of one person as a “special envoy” for a limited duration is, however, not more than a very small first step into the right direction. Further steps must follow. The post must be endowed with an appropriate budget and appropriate staff. How is it possible that the homo-lobby receives an annual endowment that is sufficient to run an office with around 15 permanent employees on a permanent basis, whereas the biggest human rights issue, which is the persecution of people on the basis of their religious beliefs, is not worth at least the same endowment? And why is it that the Special Envoy’s mandate is limited to persecutions taking place outside the EU? Does the EU believe that the persecution of religious people is ok if it takes place inside the EU? Or does it believe that inside the EU’s borders no such persecution is taking place??
In this regard, we would note that there are many reports revealing how Syrian and Iraqi Christians who have fled their countries to escape persecution by Muslim fundamentalists, are now facing the exactly same persecution in the refugee camps in European countries, where in many cases Muslim Groups have taken control as security personnel, translators, or blockwarts. This is taking place under the very noses of naïve EU governments who think that Christian refugees should not be given any special status, nor be separated from Muslim refugees, because that would result in a privileged position.
Secondly, it cannot be ignored that the systematic and structural discrimination, and even persecution, of people with religious beliefs (mostly, but not only, Christian) is increasingly establishing itself as a part of the legal systems of many EU countries – ironically mostly as a result of laws that purport to combat “discrimination”, but which in actual fact promote and legitimise it. One of many examples is the case, reported in an earlier post on this blog, of a Bakery in Northern Ireland that was punished for not willing to support a controversial socio-political agenda (“support gay marriage”) which just did not happen to be theirs, and which did not even correspond to the existing law of the land.
Very clearly, it is highest time for the EU to examine its conscience with regard to its overall human rights policy. Let us all hope that the new Special Envoy can make a substantial contribution to this.