Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that human rights, says Kirill, should not run contrary to moral norms accepted by most people. Churches should be consulted by the UN, says the metropolitan.
Friday, March 21, 2008 By Peter Kenny
An individual must have a right to be safeguarded against the propagation of violence, use of drugs and alcohol, gambling and sexual laxity, a senior Russian Orthodox Christian leader has said at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad told a forum at the Human Rights Council on 18 March he hopes that the concerns of religious organizations will occupy a worthy place among issues dealt with by the Geneva-based body.
At the same time, he warned that human rights advocacy is being used to undermine Christian and religious values and ethical standpoints.
"In many countries, freedom is used as a pretext for developing a commercial industry filling society with propaganda of amoral way of life," said Kirill, referring to support for violence, drugs and alcohol, gambling and sexual permissiveness.
"In our view, human rights should not run contrary to the moral norms accepted by most people as a desirable form of behaviour," he said. "If human rights are used to support moral relativism in society they will become alien to believers.
"Kirill, the head of the external relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, said human rights are indeed "an important institution in modern social order" and their appeal lies in their concern for the welfare of each individual.
Still, "It is clear to Orthodox Christians that human dignity is inconceivable without a religious-spiritual and ethical dimension," asserted Kirill. "At the same time, in order to make the human rights concept acceptable to people of different worldviews, persistent attempts have often been made to separate it from religion.
"Due to this, religious views had been deemed "a private affair" and "denied validity as a source of modern law, including human rights law" despite the fact that almost 80 percent of the world's population have been found to be "religious people", the Russian prelate added.
"As a result, the agnostic and even materialistic attitude to life tends to become dominant to draw religious rites, symbols and ideas away from the public sphere," said Kirill. As an example, he said that "the favourite Christian feast of Christmas has lost its name in many Western countries", and now people felt compelled to offer "season's greetings".
"The human rights approach has been also used to justify the outrage against and distortion of religious symbols and teachings. The same approach is used today to impose a certain course of introduction to various religions in schools instead of teaching the basics of their own religion," the Russian Orthodox leader said.
"In addition, there is a strong influence of extreme feministic views and homosexual attitudes to the formulation of rules, recommendations and programmes in human rights advocacy, which are destructive for the institution of family and reproduction of population," Kirill told the Geneva gathering. He argued that the defence of abortion as a right of women now meant there is a deafness to the right to life for a conceived child.
"Today those who carry out experiments on human embryos do not want even to hear about violations of the ethics," said Kirill. "Even more amazing are proposals to include the right to euthanasia in the code of human rights. Human rights, which begin with the fundamental right to life, may soon turn out to be on the side of death."
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