A range of religious backgrounds


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday unveiled a new Commission on Unalienable Rights, a panel he said is aimed at providing him with “an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”

The panel will be headed up by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican under George W. Bush. Glendon is also a social conservative who has been a prominent anti-abortion voice, which could lend credence to the concerns among human rights activists that the commission is a ploy to undercut LGBTQ and women’s rights under the guise of religious liberty.

Ya think?

“Every once in a while we need to step back, and reflect seriously on where we are, where we’ve been and whether we’re headed in the right direction,” Pompeo said. He hailed former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1948 Declaration on Universal Human Rights as one of the foundational documents for the commission’s work, but noted that the panel would serve as advisers as opposed to policymakers.

While Pompeo was vague in laying out what exactly the panel will do, emphasizing its focus on “principles” over “policy,” he praised its members as those he hoped would facilitate “one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 universal declaration.”

Overseen by Mike Pompeo and a former ambassador to the Vatican, under the auspices of the Trump administration. I don’t think so.

The commission will be made up of 10 members who represent a range of religious backgrounds. Many are religious scholars, with at least one other joining Glendon in having been appointed to represent the Vatican on social issues in the past. One, Hamza Yusuf, is one of the founders of the first Muslim liberal arts college in America. Another, Christopher Tollefsen, specializes in moral philosophy, natural law ethics, practical ethics and bioethics.

Why religious backgrounds? What’s religion got to do with it? Much religious “morality” is horrendous.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the top ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, called Pompeo’s claims that human rights had been manipulated “absurd” and asserted the new commission would only weaken human rights.

“President Trump’s personal affection for gross human rights violators has stained America’s moral fabric,” he said, pointing to the president’s praise for leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. “No Trump Administration commission can erase that.”

What I’m saying. This is the Trump administration. Human rights are not in their wheelhouse.

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