Some nuances of international relations do escape my grasp, that "good handle" I feel I have from time to time. I was skimming over the Vatican News Release thing I get every couple days and came across this:
VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon was made public the declaration of the delegation of the Holy See to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly on the theme: "Human Rights Questions, Including Alternative Approaches for Improving the Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms".
"In particular, the categories 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity', used in the text, find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. If they had to be taken into consideration in the proclaiming and implementing of fundamental rights, these would create serious uncertainty in the law as well as undermine the ability of States to enter into and enforce new and existing human rights conventions and standards".
My first question, having just grasped the gravity of this, is: What the hell is the Vatican doing at the United Nations?
The short answer is that the Vatican has held a non-member Permanent Observer position at the United Nations since 1964. However, as evidenced above, "Observer" apparently also means speaker and commentator on just about anything that concerns them.
Let me put this another way: The United Nations has given Celestino Migliore, Titular Archbishop of Canosa, a representative of a single religion - Catholicism - that just happens to be mildly organized and sick fucking rich, a chair with a placard and room to speak on any items of concern to the Catholic Church. And while the Holy See has stood up for some great humanitarian causes, it also has a history of degrading every other religion in the world, disempowerment of women, and, as above, the slighting of equal rights for GLBT communities.
How exactly does that work? Celestino Migliore writes his name on a list and gets to bitch slap all the gays in the world? This is a man who represents a religion and has an unflappable conviction that homosexuals are sinning against God and will spend all of eternity burning in hell for their transgressions because if they were just steered in the right direction they could make the right "choice" and not be gay. And the UN offers him a few minutes to address representatives to the countries of the world on how this human rights issue should be handled?
And where's the Permanent Observer for all the other sects of Christianity? Hindu religion? Or Islam, Buddhism, Judiasm, Zoroastrianism, and all their respective sects? I'm sure they'd all have some interesting things to say about things that happen at the UN.
...but I guess those folks don't have as fat a wallet as the Pope.
Yes, his is the one that says...