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A Look at the Future of the International Criminal Court

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As I have noted in previous columns on the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Vatican has endorsed the creation of this monster. Back in June of 1998, shortly after the ICC statutes were approved during a meeting in Rome, the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, called the ICC "a historic step," which would offer "ever-greater protection and wider expansion of human rights."

That assessment ignores reality. The ICC, once it is operational, will be nothing more than an international version of the same godless judicial systems which have "legalized" abortion, prosecuted pro-lifers and made it a "hate crime" to preach the Gospel. As Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute has warned, "Within the proposed ICC criminal statutes there exists language that could make pro-life advocates war criminals simply for working on behalf of the unborn child." ( 15 June 1998)

Here is just one example of what is surely coming once the ICC gets rolling. One of the strongest supporters of the ICC is Canada, which has some very advanced "hate crime" legislation on the books. According to a report in the National Catholic Register (Zenit, July 16, 2001) the Canadian province of Saskatchewan’s "Human Rights" Commission has just fined the StarPhoenix newspaper $1,500 for publishing an advertisement which cites Romans 1, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in support of its message that homosexual conduct is gravely immoral. The "human rights" commission was acting on the complaint of three homosexual activists who filed a complaint alleging that provincial and federal human rights codes make "sexual orientation" a human "right."

The ad in question listed "four Bible references followed by an equal sign and the universal prohibition sign–a circle with a slash–containing two stick-men holding hands. In its decision the "human rights commission" judged that, "while the stick-figures are more neutral," it is the "combination of the prohibition symbol with the Bible passages that exposes homosexuals to hatred." So, the "human rights" commission now acts as a censor of newspaper ad copy, arrogating to itself the right to determine which combination of words and symbols constitutes "hate speech."

But it does not end there. Incredibly, the same ruling also prohibits the author of the ad from "further publishing or displaying the bumper stickers" which were the basis for the text of the ad. Big Brother has arrived, and he is looking very closely at your bumper stickers.

Now, how long will it be before the ICC includes this sort of "hate crime" in its own statutes, seeing that similar laws are already on the books in Canada, France and Germany? How long will it be before Catholics can be hauled into an ICC courtroom in the Hague for simply preaching the Gospel? Only the terminally naïve will insist that it can never happen. If it happened in Canada it will happen in the ICC.

The Vatican’s support for the ICC is sheer folly–and yet another consequence of Churchmen entering into realms where they obviously have no special competence.