It appears the United States Senate will not be considering the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities by July 26. If you haven’t been following that process, there’s a very succinct summary here of the two positions.
I first read the Convention when President Obama proposed its ratification in 2009. It has a great deal of ‘feel good’ language in it. But it also has elements that are disturbing beyond what is in the summary above.
There are also some good things in it, like Article 10 – Right to Life:
States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
If only that could be true that every government would affirm (I’m not sure why they use the term ‘reaffirm’) an inherent right to life for people with disabilities!
But reading the list of countries that have affirmed the Convention demonstrates that this document has no teeth, regardless of whether it is a good idea or not. The list includes countries found in routine violation of human rights, such as Cuba (ratified in 2007) and China (ratified in 2008).
And particularly galling to me, the Netherlands – which has affirmed policies that protect doctors from prosecution for killing infants with disabilities – added the following declaration to their ratification of the Convention:
The Kingdom of the Netherlands acknowledges that unborn human life is worthy of protection. The Kingdom interprets the scope of Article 10 to the effect that such protection – and thereby the term ‘human being’ – is a matter for national legislation.
They don’t even think all BORN life is worthy of protection if certain disabilities are apparent! And do we really want to leave something so basic as the term ‘human being’ up to the tastes and whims of legislative bodies?
So, I’m glad the US Senate is pausing rather than rushing to ratify for several reasons. But most of all I’m remembering that God is sovereign over even this:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1 ESV)
And someday, the perfect King will return, and this sort of playing with peoples’ lives and dignity will no longer be possible:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3 ESV)
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20 ESV)