The UN’s Changing Position on Religion

According to The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (2019), the United Nations established its position on all human rights, including religious liberty, in 1948, just one year after it’s 1947 founding out of the ashes of the League of Nations (1920-1946) (Cite 1). It did so by publishing its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a rather remarkable, fair and objective document for the time, but understandable and welcome in the wake of the heinous atrocities of World War II. In fact, much of it appears to be grounded in the United States Declaration of Independence, the Constitution for the United States of America, and its first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, in response to World War II and wide atrocities.

For example, Article 12’s “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence” clearly has its roots in the Fourth Amendment’s, ” The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Similarly, Article 8’s, “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law” echoes the First Amendment’s “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Finally, Article 1’s, ” All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and Article 3’s “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person” is a fair copy of ” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as found in our Declaration of Independence.

But then, something strange happened. In 1982, the United Nations passed it’s “Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.” (also) Therein, the United Nations lays the foundation for eroding both the First Amendment’s freedom of speech, particular if such speech is critical of another’s religious beliefs or practices.


1. Carter, J. (2019). Explainer: The United Nations and religious liberty. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Retrieved from

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