Archbishop Jurkovic added that "it is rather unfortunate, yet increasingly less surprising given its frequency, that a UN Report, which should defend the fundamental and universal human right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right to conscientious objection, is now attacking the very reality it is called to defend."
The Holy See mainly reacted to the frame of the Report, which builds on a twisted interpretation of the right to religious freedom to advocate LGBT rights, which are now considered on a par of human rights. The Holy See has always noted that the so-called "new human rights" have never gotten an international consensus, as the human rights of the Human Rights Charter did 70 years ago.
In particular, the Report targeted religions for preventing the States from defending gender ideology and LGBT rights.
"In all regions of the world, the Report read, actors citing religious justifications for their actions have advocated to governments and to the broader public for the preservation or imposition of laws and policies that directly or indirectly discriminate against women, girls and LGBT+ persons."
The Special Rapporteur underscored "that States that maintain laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations have occasionally referred to religious 'justifications' for maintaining them," and that "many governments maintain legal provisions that discriminate against LGBT+ persons, including in healthcare, housing, social security, employment, marriage and parental rights, often on religious grounds."
The Report also attacked the religious sentiment by saying that "laws criminalizing adultery are often rooted in patriarchal interpretations of religious doctrine and have a disparate impact on women", while "discriminatory religious edicts inform laws and policies that restrict sexual and reproductive rights ...., including, but not limited to, partial or total bans on access to abortion and contraception, prohibitions on assisted reproductive technologies and gender reassignment surgery, and limits on the provision of evidence-based sexuality education."
The Report targeted religious institutions for "promoting and perpetuating interpretations of religious tenets to promote gender-based violence and discrimination against women, girls and LGBT+ persons; including physical, sexual and psychological harm."
The Rapporteur underscored a misuse of "freedom of religion or belief across continents in the media, through litigation and political campaigns to counter human rights in the name of religion or belief."
The Report even noted that "in three States, religious interest groups have attempted to change the constitution to define 'the family' according to religiously grounded heterosexual norms. Interest groups are also reportedly misusing freedom of religion or belief to oppose self-determination rights for gender diverse persons".
Hence, the strong reaction of the Holy See. As Archbishop Jurkovic noted, it is not the first time that a UN report advocated for LGBT rights.
For instance, the Report of the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child on the Holy See, issued in February 2014, did not focus on how the convention was applied in Vatican City State, as it should, but rather asked the Holy See to change its teaching.
(Column continues below)
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At that time, the Committee "regretted that the Holy See continues to place emphasis on the promotion of complementarity and equality in dignity," which it claimed, "are often used to justify discriminatory legislation and policies."
The committee asked "the Holy See to review its position on abortion … identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted;" said that the Holy See should "assess … its position" regarding adolescents' access to contraception;" urged the Holy See to "remove gender stereotypes from Catholic school textbooks … which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities."
The Report, in the end, is nothing new under the sun. The Holy See strong stances against, by the way, shed light on how dangerous this position is for religious freedom. It is hoped that the Holy See's words will not fall on deaf ears.