OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–A little-known United Nations treaty is in a position for action by the full Senate, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in a 12-7 vote July 30.
President Jimmy Carter signed the treaty, known as CEDAW, in 1980. So far, 165 nations have passed the treaty, which binds their nations to implement its provisions.
Why make a fuss over it?
Aren’t Bible-believers supportive of treating all people with dignity and respect? Yes! The Lord Jesus himself is the ultimate model of expressing the value of every person. While Jesus respects the biblical roles of people, he does not treat anyone as a second-class person. As followers of the Lord Jesus, we are to imitate his methods of interacting with people — all kinds of people — so that they may have the privilege of reaching their highest potential.
CEDAW, however, does what government does so well. The treaty over-reaches its purpose via its ambiguous language. While the high-sounding goals of the treaty seem to be a positive step for nations where women are subjugated to virtual slavery, the ambiguous language serves as an empowerment vehicle for international and domestic feminist organizations to propagate their insipid agendas.
Many thought CEDAW was as dead as the old ERA amendment that failed to be ratified by the sufficient number of states. However, lobbyists representing some of the world’s most formidable left-wing organizations feverishly resurrected this political corpse and convinced some U.S. senators to participate in their collusive agenda.
Are there examples of the CEDAW treaty attacking what most Baptists consider as traditional values? This editor read Estonia’s 2002 evaluation by CEDAW’s committee of “experts.” Some concepts leap off the page.
One is a statement regarding “equal pay for equal work.” The idea of having the same pay scale for the same job is an equitable concept. However, CEDAW supporters change the meaning of the words to embrace an old liberal idea called “comparable worth.” Here is the logic (or illogic) behind comparable worth: Since women make 76 percent of what men make, then legislation is needed to formulate an equalization of pay. For example, a truck driver and a secretary work about the same number of hours. Therefore, according to a comparable worth formula conceived by a government agency, they should receive the same wages, so a company would be mandated to pay the difference. This concept is so anti-free enterprise it is almost laughable. Our current employment laws and appeal processes are more than adequate to determine illegal discriminatory practices based on gender, race or religion.
The other area has to do with the committee’s attack on the traditional family. Granted, not everyone lives in a traditional family with positive relationships, but shouldn’t that be our goal? You may call this editor a biblical idealist, but if we don’t illustrate to a culture a positive model based on the principles of the Word of God, what kind of family becomes the norm for the culture? There are those in the feminist camp who propagate the perspective that traditional family roles are nothing less than a form of slavery for women. The whole counsel of God’s Word rejects such a notion and liberates women to fulfill their godly purposes.
Another example of the extremism expressed by the CEDAW experts was in their Belarus report. The committee had problems with “the traditional perception of women primarily as mothers and housewives.” The report also expressed their concern that Belarus had a national Mother’s Day and Mother’s Award. The committee considered these as “stereotypes.” Rather than make positive affirmation of women who are mothers, housewives, doctors, chemists, politicians or whatever role they have in the culture, the committee singled out those in the more familial roles as negative.
The Senators voting for CEDAW should experience the full wrath of their constituencies. The United States has no business allowing a committee of feminist-oriented experts to evaluate our culture before the community of nations.
For more information on CEDAW go to www.faithandfamily.com/RadioProgram.asp?ID=245 or www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf.
Yeats is editor of the Baptist Messenger.