Heaven, Earth, and Family

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Its Article 16

At 70 years and counting from the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is easy to forget that “What is most surprising about the Declaration is that it happened at all.”[1] How it happened is a story that began long ago but took a giant leap forward with the two great declarations of the 19th century. “Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” and “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” the signers of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed in 1776, “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.” Soon thereafter the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789, similarly made “in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being,” spoke of “the natural, inalienable and sacred rights of man” as it declared that “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.”

These two declarations would serve as guides to the creation of the Universal Declaration, but it never would have become a reality without the intervening catastrophe known as World War I. At the centenary marking its end on November 11, 2018, just a month before the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on December 10, an article was posted on the internet at precisely 11:00 am—the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—in which Dr. Allan C. Carlson wrote,  

Today, at the eleventh hour, humanity commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Nineteen million people had perished in the conflict; another 23 million had been wounded. The empires of central and Eastern Europe lay in ruins. Affected peoples around the globe looked primarily to one man—U.S. President Woodrow Wilson—to build a just and durable peace.[2]

Wilson proposed the creation of what is commonly referred to as “The League of Nations,” but the actual title is fraught with significance, says Carlson.

It bore a distinctive biblical title: “The Covenant of the League of Nations.” “Covenant” is a motif central to both Jewish and Christian Scriptures. At its most basic level, a covenant is an oath-bound relationship between two or more parties. The operative biblical idea is relationship—a community of mutual obligation and benevolence, of common well-being. It’s the same word the Bible uses to describe the marriage relationship. Wilson’s vision for the Covenant of the League of Nations was informed by this scriptural idea.[3] 

Carlson points to historian Malcolm Magee’s observation that Wilson

used ‘covenant’ not as an elegant synonym for ‘treaty,’ but rather in its full Old Testament and New Testament meaning of nations and peoples accepting divine order in return for divine blessings. . . . [Wilson] acted from a faith in God and in accordance with an anticipation of the coming of a covenantal international world order.[4]

Wilson’s vision of a world founded on covenant and divine order was not to be realized via the League of Nations, which the United States never joined because the Senate never approved. And “within 15 years,” Carlson adds, “Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party would come to power in Germany, soon plunging Europe into a second and bloodier World War.”[5]

Taking the lives of an estimated 70 million people or more, it would turn out to be what René Cassin would characterize as the costliest human rights campaign in history. When he accepted the 1968 Nobel Peace Prize for his key role in drafting the Universal Declaration, Cassin declared, “For those peoples forced to fight in order to halt that immense machine geared for the destruction of human liberty and dignity, the Second World War constituted a genuine ‘crusade for human rights.’”[6] 

It was a crusade both of weapons and words, including discussions in the summer and fall of 1944 at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, formally called the Washington Conversations on International Peace and Security Organization. There representatives from the United States, Britain, China, and the USSR discussed the creation of a highly expanded version of Wilson’s League of Nations. The most ardent proponent was President Franklin Roosevelt, who after his inauguration in January 1945 would tell Congress of his hopes for a “universal organization in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a chance to join.”[7]

By the beginning of the next organizational meeting, known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization, or the San Francisco Conference, on April 25, 1945, President Roosevelt had died two weeks earlier. Two weeks after the meeting began, Germany surrendered, whereupon Ethiopia’s head of state, Haile Selassie, declared to his countrymen,

May it be taken as divine significance, that, as we mark the passing of the Nazi Reich, in America at San Francisco, delegates from all United Nations, among whose number Ethiopia stands, are now met together for their long-planned conference to lay foundations for an international pact to banish war and to maintain World Peace. Our churches pray for the successful triumph of this conference. Without success in this, the Victory, we celebrate today, the suffering that we have all endured will be of no avail. To win the war, to overcome the enemy upon the fields cannot alone ensure the victory in peace. The cause of war must be removed.[8]

At the conclusion of the San Francisco Conference on June 26, the delegates signed the UN Charter they had just created, determined, as they expressed in the opening lines, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” and “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”[9]Recurring throughout the Charter is the phrase “human rights and fundamental freedoms,”[10] which were to be protected by a commission for human rights.[11]

President Truman’s support was unequivocal, as he stated at the closing session of the conference: “The Charter is dedicated to the achievement and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Unless we can attain those objectives for all men and women everywhere—without regard to race, language or religion—we cannot have permanent peace and security.[12]

Small Hinges, Great Enterprise

By the time the United Nations formally came into existence on October 24, 1945, Japan had surrendered and the war had ended. But the crusade for human rights was far from over. With the opening session of the UN General Assembly scheduled for January 10, 1946 in London, President Truman telephoned Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of the late president, and asked if she would serve as a member of the U.S. delegation.

“Oh, no!” she responded. “It would be impossible! How could I be a delegate to help organize the United Nations when I have no background or experience in international meetings?” The President was unyielding. “I have confidence in you, Mrs. Roosevelt. . . . Just you think about it for a while, as a favor to me. You’re going to be needed in London. I’m holding that appointment open until we’ve talked some more.” When Eleanor finally accepted, she did so with “fear and trembling.”[13]

It is said that the gates of history turn on small hinges, and so it would be with the seemingly minor appointment of Mrs. Roosevelt, whose “boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm”[14] would play a major role in producing the Universal Declaration. Years later Charles Malik, one of the chief drafters, would observe about the process that produced it, “The United States, besides championing the traditional American values, especially in respect of the supreme worth of the individual, contributed, in the person of Mrs. Roosevelt, dignity, authority and prestige.”[15] 

Throwing herself into her new assignment as a member of the U.S. delegation to the first General Assembly, Eleanor so impressed her colleagues that after their return home from London, she was asked by the United Nations to serve on the Nuclear Commission on Human Rights—a preparatory committee to help organize the permanent Human Rights Commission—and at its first meeting on April 29, 1946, was unanimously elected chairman. Opening remarks were made by Henri Laugier, Assistant Secretary-General of Social Affairs, a man of “indefatigable energy”[16] with “the intellectual voracity of a man of the Renaissance,”[17] who grasped the unique opportunity now presented to the committee. 

It is a new thing and it is a great thing in the history of humanity that the international community, after a war which destroyed material wealth and spiritual wealth accumulated by human effort during centuries, has constituted an international mechanism to defend the human rights in the world. . . . Do not measure the importance of your commission on the basis of its present dimensions. We are only at the starting point of a very great enterprise. . . . You will have to study all the declarations of rights which were born in the spirit of man and people on the march toward their liberation. . . . You will have to look for a basis for a fundamental declaration on human rights, acceptable to all the United Nations. . . . I pray that your actions and work may be a permanent guide for men of good will, who are looking toward a better future, and that they will show them the way, like a guiding star.[18]

Laugier later spoke at the opening of the first meeting of the Human Rights Commission on January 27, 1947, again providing perspective when he declared that “no one part of the action undertaken by the United Nations to make peace secure had more power or a wider scope than this.” Their great task, he stated, consisted in “following up in the field of peace the fight which free humanity had waged in the fields of war, defending against offensive attacks the rights and dignity of man and establishing . . . a powerful recognition of human rights.”[19] 

The Commission commenced its herculean task by unanimously electing Eleanor Roosevelt as chairman, Peng-chun Chang as Vice-Chairman, and Charles Malik as Rapporteur.[20] Together with René Cassin, this remarkable constellation of talent would make the decisive difference, according to Professor Mary Ann Glendon.

Among the Declaration’s framers, four in particular played crucial roles: Peng-chun Chang, the Chinese philosopher, diplomat, and playwright who was adept at translating across cultural divides; Nobel Peace Prize laureate René Cassin, the legal genius of the Free French, who transformed what might have been a mere list or “bill” of rights into a geodesic dome of interlocking principles; Charles Malik, existentialist philosopher turned master diplomat, a student of Alfred North Whitehead and Martin Heidegger, who steered the Declaration to adoption by the UN General Assembly in the tense cold war atmosphere of 1948; and Eleanor Roosevelt, whose prestige and personal qualities enabled her to influence key decisions of the country that had emerged from the war as the most powerful nation in the world. Chang, Cassin, Malik, and Roosevelt were the right people at the right time. But for the unique gifts of each of these four, the Declaration might never have seen the light of day.[21]

The “inner core” of drafters is how Professor Johannes Morsink refers to those four individuals and a couple of others, while also naming “a long list of second-tier drafters [who] at various points made significant contributions.”[22] Malik would speak of “the hundreds of individuals and institutions that had something to do, directly or indirectly, with our work in its initial stages,” and the “thousands of minds and hands [that] have helped in its formation.”[23] As scholars would say of the Declaration, “a collective wrote it.”[24]

Seeking to produce a document “sufficiently definite to have real significance both as an inspiration and a guide to practice” but “sufficiently general and flexible to apply to all men, and to be capable of modification to suit people at different stages of social and political development,”[25] the drafters labored for two years. In addition to the multitude of informal gatherings and discussions, there were 81 Commission meetings and 44 meetings of its Drafting Committee before the text went through another 150 meetings and 170 amendments by the entire UN membership (58 nations at the time) in its Third Committee, followed by two days of discussion in the General Assembly[26] before its adoption on December 10, 1948 as a declaration. “It is not a treaty; it is not an international agreement,” Mrs. Roosevelt emphasized the day before. “It is not and does not purport to be a statement of law or of legal obligation. It is a declaration of basic principles of human rights and freedoms, to be stamped with the approval of the General Assembly by formal vote of its members, and to serve as a common standard of achievement for all peoples of all nations.”[27]

Universal and Individual

With so many cooks in the kitchen, one could hardly expect a perfect product, nor did the framers themselves. “They never claimed,” notes Glendon, “that the document they had produced under difficult circumstances represented the last word. . . . One speaker after another on December 9, 1948, had acknowledged that the Declaration was not perfect.”[28] Since then it has drawn and continues to draw criticism from some quarters,[29] but as Professors Jay Winter and Antoine Prost have recently written, the more we know about its creation, the more “we can see the error of those who say that the document was a failure, a backward step away from enforceable human rights, a cover for imperial designs, an insignificant, rhetorical flourish, full of sound and fury, told by an idiot, but in essence, signifying nothing of importance in international history.”[30]

In fact, it would be difficult to overstate the importance of that landmark text, being “the first document of an ethical sort that organized humanity has ever adopted,”[31] said Cassin in his Nobel Lecture. And “for all its shortcomings,” observes Professor Lynn Hunt, the Declaration “has set the standard for international discussion and action on human rights.”[32] On the day before its adoption, Mrs. Roosevelt told her fellow delegates, “We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. . . . This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta of all men everywhere.”[33]

And so it has become. Writing for the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, Irish poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney began by looking back a decade.

In an essay published in 1998 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Thomas Buergenthal, a former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, drew an important distinction. He pointed out that whereas the original Charter of the United Nations internationalized human rights as a legal concept, the subsequent Universal Declaration gave the concept moral force.

When the Declaration was being framed in 1948, several of the UN member states were, for better or worse reasons, against a document that would be legally binding, with the result that the text is more akin to an exhortation than an edict. And yet, as Buergenthal also pointed out, it is the “eloquent, expansive and simple” nature of the language in the document which has proved most potent in the long run—as is evident from the brief First Article: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

In the boldness and buoyancy of these words there are echoes of many of the great foundational texts of western civilization, from Sophocles’ “wonders of man” chorus through Christ’s Sermon on the Mount on up to the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man. So even if this First Article cannot guarantee what it declares, if its writ cannot be made to run in China or Zimbabwe or Guantánamo, it nevertheless gestures so confidently towards what human beings desire that it fortifies a conviction that the desirable can in fact be realized. . . .

Since it was framed, the Declaration has succeeded in creating an international moral consensus. It is always there as a means of highlighting abuse if not always as a remedy: it exists instead in the moral imagination as an equivalent of the gold standard in the monetary system. The articulation of its tenets has made them into world currency of a negotiable sort. Even if its Articles are ignored or flouted—in many cases by governments who have signed up to them—it provides a worldwide amplification system for “the still, small voice.”[34]

Amplified into more than 440 languages,[35] the Declaration is said to be “the most universal document in the world”[36] and has become “the single most important reference point for cross-national discussions of how to order our future together on our increasingly conflict-ridden and interdependent planet.”[37] Standing as “a moral and educational manifesto”[38] and “a powerful inspiration for an array of rights conventions and declarations in the postwar period,”[39] it has been “adopted in or has influenced most national constitutions since 1948” and “served as the foundation for a growing number of national laws, international laws, and treaties, as well as regional, national, and sub-national institutions protecting and promoting human rights.”[40] According to Glendon, 

The most impressive advances in human rights—the fall of apartheid in South Africa and the collapse of the Eastern European totalitarian regimes—owe more to the moral beacon of the Declaration than to the many covenants and treaties that are now in force. Its nonbinding principles, carried far and wide by activists and modern communications, have vaulted over the political and legal barriers that impede efforts to establish international enforcement mechanisms.[41]

It is no exaggeration to say, along with Professor Hans Ingvar Roth, that the Declaration has become “a moral guiding star”[42]—precisely what Laugier in the first meeting of the Nuclear Committee urged its members to create.

The key to this resounding impact, continues Roth, is the Declaration’s sustained focus on the individual. “What made the UDHR such a landmark was that the individual, the single human being, for the first time in history was accorded a status within international law.” Much of the credit for this, Roth maintains, is due to Peng-chun Chang:

Protection of the individual human being’s dignity always lies at the heart of any human rights ethics. Chang also emphasized the fundamental rights and dignity of human beings in the same spirit as various European Enlightenment philosophers, and it was arguably he who most forcefully advocated that respect for human dignity should be included in the preamble to the UDHR.[43]

This was no betrayal of his Chinese heritage but rather an affirmation. “When some Western Enlightenment thinkers encountered the teachings of Confucius through Jesuit missionaries who had traveled to China,” explains Professor Peimin Ni, “they were astonished and excited by the fact that a humanitarian philosophy had already served as the backbone of Chinese civilization for almost two millennia.”[44]

The Declaration’s sustained focus on the individual arises from the fact that, as expressed tautologically by Aaron Rhodes, “the subject of human rights is the individual person; only individual humans can have human rights.”[45] The quandary becomes how to interpret the statement in Article 16 that there is a group that as a group is endowed with human rights: the family. The statement constitutes the final of three subsections and contains the Declaration’s only instance of the word “natural.” 

  • Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 16: Plain Meaning, Usage, and Context

How does one go about interpreting the meaning of this unique article attributing human rights to a group? Besides the application of common sense, is there any interpretive tool that could cast light on the meaning? Through generations of American jurisprudence, courts have developed accepted rules of interpretation to discern the meaning of a statute. And while the Universal Declaration is not a statute but merely a declaration, yet the drafting and negotiating process that created it was essentially a legislative process, prompting us to look to the most compelling interpretive guide available: the rules of statutory construction. One of the clearest summaries was adapted from the rules followed by the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist, including the following.

  • Plain meaning rule: follow the plain meaning of the statutory text, except when text suggests an absurd result or a scrivener’s error.
  • Expressio unius: expression of one thing suggests the exclusion of others.
  • Noscitur a sociis: interpret a general term to be similar to more specific terms in a series.
  • Ejusdem generis: interpret a general term to reflect the class of objects reflected in more specific terms accompanying it.
  • Follow ordinary usage of terms, unless Congress gives them a specified or technical meaning. 
  • Follow dictionary definitions of terms, unless Congress has provided a specific definition. Consider dictionaries of the era in which the statute was enacted. Do not consider “idiosyncratic” dictionary definitions. . . .
  • Each statutory provision should be read by reference to the whole act. Statutory interpretation is a “holistic” endeavor. . . .
  • Avoid interpreting a provision in a way inconsistent with the policy of another provision.
  • Avoid interpreting a provision in a way that is inconsistent with a necessary assumption of another provision. . . .
  • Interpret the same or similar terms in a statute the same way. . . .
  • Consider legislative history if the statute is ambiguous. . . .
  • Presumption in favor of following common law usage where Congress has employed words or concepts with well settled common law traditions. Follow evolving common law unless inconsistent with statutory purposes.[46]

Applying these rules, one major indication of the plain and ordinary meaning of the family as “fundamental” in Article 16(3) was provided by Will Durant. Few historians have had a greater grasp of world civilizations, for which Durant was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom; and his 11-volume The Story of Civilization has been dubbed “the most comprehensive attempt in our times to embrace the vast panorama of man’s history and culture.”[47] Regarding the historical role of the family, Durant wrote,

The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history. It was the economic and productive unit of society, tilling the land together; it was the political unit of society, with parental authority as the supporting microcosm of the State. It was the cultural unit, transmitting letters and arts, rearing and teaching the young; and it was the moral unit, inculcating through cooperative work and discipline those social dispositions which are the psychological basis and cement of civilized society. In many ways it was more essential than the State; governments might break up and order yet survive, if the family remained; whereas it seemed to sociologists that if the family should dissolve, civilization itself would disappear.[48]

Concerning the founding of a family as mentioned in 16(1), the plain and ordinary meaning of “marry” and “marriage” would necessarily be what these terms meant in 1948 and, to borrow Durant’s words, what they have meant “in every civilization known to history”—marriage between a man and a woman, as presupposed also by the opening line of this same subsection: “Men and women of full age . . . have the right to marry and found a family.” The Declaration’s mention of “marriage” and its meaning as between husband and wife also suggests exclusivity of heterosexual marriage, based on the rule that “expression of one thing suggests the exclusion of others.”

And having thus designated “family” in 16(1) as founded on marriage between a man and a woman, statutory construction rules would require the same interpretation for “family” in 16(3), an interpretation that likewise succeeds in reflecting the more specific terms accompanying it in 16(1): men and women. This interpretation of family is further strengthened by additional language in 16(3) calling it not only the “fundamental” but also the “natural” group unit of society. Professor Richard G. Wilkins comments,

Article 16(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights embodies fundamental truths that, for too long, have not been given their deserved attention and respect. . . . As reflected in the precise and elegant terms of the Universal Declaration, the family is not merely a construct of human will or imagination. The family has a profoundly important connection to nature. This connection begins with the realities of reproduction (underscored by recent studies which demonstrate that children thrive best when raised by married biological parents) and extends to the forces that shape civilization itself. It encompasses, among other things, the positive personal, social, cultural, and economic outcomes that current research suggests flow from a man learning to live with a woman (and a woman learning to live with a man) in a committed marital relationship. The family, in short, is the “natural and fundamental group unit of society” precisely because mounting evidence attests that the survival of society depends on the positive outcomes derived from the natural union of a man and a woman.[49]

Another key to ascertaining the meaning of Article 16 is how it is echoed in over 100 national constitutions throughout the world.[50] Looking to these provisions would be roughly tantamount to following the statutory construction rule calling for a “presumption in favor of following common law usage.” Such constitutional provisions include: 

  • “The family is the basic nucleus of social organisation and shall be the object of special protection by the state” (Angola).[51]
  • “The family is the natural, cellular base of society. Marriage is its legitimate foundation. The family and marriage are under the State’s particular protection of the State”[52] (Burundi).
  • “Each individual has the right to marry with the person of their choice, of the opposite sex, and to establish a family. The family, the basic unit of the human community, is organized in a manner to assure its unity, its stability and its protection. It is placed under the protection of the public powers” (Democratic Republic of the Congo).[53]
  • “The family is the foundation of the society and it is the basic space for the integral development of persons. . . . The State guarantees the protection of the family. . . . The State shall promote and protect the family organization based on the institution of marriage between a man and a woman” (Dominican Republic).[54]
  • “The family, being the cornerstone of the preservation and the advancement of the Nation, as well as marriage, motherhood and childhood, shall be under the protection of the State” (Greece).[55]
  • “Recognizing the family as the primary and fundamental genesis of the spiritual and moral values of the society and the State. . . . The State guarantees the social, economic, and juridical protection of the family” (Guatemala).[56]
  • “Marriage and family constitute the natural and moral base of the human community. They are placed under the protection of the State” (Niger).[57]
  • “The family is the foundation of society. Its complete [integral] protection will be promoted and guaranteed. It includes the stable union of a man and a woman, the children, and the community formed with anyone of their progenitors and their descendants” (Paraguay).[58]
  • “Marriage, being a union of a man and a woman, as well as the family, motherhood and parenthood, shall be placed under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland” (Poland).[59] 

Yet another statutory construction rule would require Article 16 to be read “by reference to the whole act,” or in light of the rest of the Declaration. As sociologist Gabriele Kuby does so, she begins by pointing to the Declaration’s first two Articles and their implication for Article 16.

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status . . .

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights expresses universal moral values derived from the Judeo-Christian image of man, based on biblical revelation: “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). . . . The United Nations protects the family as the “natural and fundamental group unit of society” because it creates the connective tissue without which a culture crumbles: the bond between man and woman, and the bond between generations. Marriage and family antedate the state; they do not owe their existence to the state, but rather the state is dependent on them because they provide the fundamentals crucial to human coexistence—creating children and raising them to be people who can make a positive contribution to society as a whole.[60]

Even so, for all its importance, how can the family be said to have human rights if, as Rhodes insists, only individual humans can have human rights?[61] In the biblical Creation story referenced by Kuby, at every step God declares that His Creation is “good” until His surprising utterance after the formation of the first human: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him.”[62] (Or, as one esteemed scholar translates, “It’s not good for the human to be by himself. I’ll make for him a strength corresponding to him.”[63]) Creation was not complete, nor would it be, until God created both man and woman and joined them together, whereupon the biblical narrative comments, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”[64]

According to biblical scholars, the joining of that first husband and wife, intended as “a model for every subsequent human marriage,”[65] was “a union of persons who together make up a new person.”[66] Hence the Revised English Bible’s translation: not “they shall be one flesh” but “the two become one.”[67] Jewish tradition similarly reports that “only through his wife can man truly become ‘man,’” for “only husband and wife together can comprise ‘Adam.’ The task is too great for either to perform alone and must therefore be shared by another.”[68] Only together do they “form one flesh, a perfect whole,”[69] and thereby “one complete human being.”[70]

As God’s crowning creation, the family founded on marriage between husband and wife is the highest expression of what it means to be truly human. This could explain why the family, founded on marriage between husband and wife, is the only group that is, or could be, acknowledged in the Declaration as having human rights.

Drafting Article 16: One Unique Group

If there yet remains any ambiguity as to the significance of family in Article 16, statutory construction rules would require consideration of the Declaration’s legislative (in this case, drafting) history. What eventually became Article 16 was first proposed by Malik, the “Lebanese Thomist”[71] who was praised by fellow delegates for “his lucid intelligence and his extraordinary talent for explanation”[72] and has even been called (if such can be said of any of the drafters) “the pivotal figure in the work of the commission.”[73] Referring to the “whole plenum of intermediate institutions that span the chasm between the individual and the state,” Malik stated,

We speak of fundamental freedoms and of human rights; but, actually, where and when are we really free and human? Is it in the street? Is it in our direct relations to our state? Do we not rather enjoy our deepest and truest freedom and humanity in our family, in the church, in our intimate circle of friends, when we are immersed in the joyful ways of life of our own people, when we seek, find, see, and acknowledge the truth? These intermediate institutions between the state and the individual are, I am convinced, the real sources of our freedom and our rights.[74]

Remarkably similar views on this matter were held by both Malik and Chang, those “two philosopher-diplomats”[75] of towering intellect who “dominated the Commission,”[76] with Chang also being “a Confucian scholar”[77] and “master of the art of compromise.”[78] On the day before adoption of the Declaration, Malik singled out Chang for special recognition as “the distinguished vice-chairman of the Commission and drafting committee. He never failed to broaden our perspective by his frequent references to the wisdom and philosophy of the Orient and, by a special drafting gift, was happily able to rectify many of our terms.”[79] Mrs. Roosevelt remembered that at one point in the discussions, “Dr. Chang suggested that the Secretariat might well spend a few months studying the fundamentals of Confucianism!”[80]

Chang’s inherited Confucian legacy, which over the years had “become increasingly pronounced for him,”[81] played a prominent role “in his various statements . . . within the UN system.”[82] While “Western tradition tends to view the individual in an atomized, disconnected manner, . . . Chinese tradition focuses on the individual as a vitally integrated element within a larger familial, social, political, and cosmic whole”[83] in which “‘goodness’ is to be good in one’s relation to others. The character for goodness . . . is pictographically significant in this respect. It consists of two components, one representing a human being . . . and the other meaning ‘two’ . . . . The suggestion is that goodness is something that can be manifested only in relation to other persons, in a community of fellow human beings.”[84]

Likewise for Cassin—himself a man of extraordinary talent and accomplishment, and described as “the draftsman par excellence, the international jurist trained to write the law, and to give it the precision and the clarity it required,”[85] and well-schooled in “the art of the possible”[86]—“the human being was above all a social being,” and while “freedom of individual conscience was inviolable,” yet “individual rights were embodied in groups, without which they could not exist.”[87]

Mrs. Roosevelt concurred. “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.”[88] Accordingly, Glendon writes, “the principal framers, though they differed on many points, were as one in their belief in the priority of culture.”

Those convictions of the framers undergird one of the most remarkable features of the Declaration: its attention to the “small places” where people first learn about their rights and how to exercise them responsibly—families, schools, workplaces, and religious and other associations. These little seedbeds of character and competence, together with the rule of law, political freedoms, social security, and international cooperation, are all part of the Declaration’s dynamic ecology of freedom.[89]

Or, as stated by Winter and Prost, the Declaration “is a statement not of unbridled individualism, but of the moral force of associative life, without which human development is impossible.”[90] The striking thing is that among that entire “plenum of intermediate institutions . . . between the individual and the state,” only one is named in the Declaration. The delegate responsible for adding it was Malik, “the originator of the only right in the Declaration that specifically devolves to a group rather than an individual.”[91]

As initially proposed by Malik, Article 16 read, “The family deriving from marriage is the natural and fundamental group unit of society. It is endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights antecedent to all positive law and as such shall be protected by the State and Society.”[92] Late in the ensuing debate over this proposal, it was suggested that the entire thing “be dropped because its contents were covered by other provisions in the Declaration, presumably the rights to association and social security. Both Cassin and Malik objected and repeated much of the rationale Malik had given [earlier].” Cassin “did not think it was possible to disregard human groups and to consider each person only as an individual,” while Malik

thought that this omission would be exceedingly regrettable. The family was the cradle of all human rights and liberties. It was in the family that everyone learned to know his rights and duties and it would be inexplicable if everything were mentioned except the family’s right to existence.[93]

As Malik would tell an outside group, “we are here affirming that between the individual and the state there is a ‘natural and fundamental group unit of society.’ . . . Thus the natural dignity and fundamental importance of the family are enshrined in our declaration.”[94]

Malik’s reference to the “natural dignity” of the family connects it to the Declaration’s preamble—recognizing “the inherent dignity and . . . equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”—and to Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience.” For Malik, this endowment to individuals was from the same Creator who had likewise endowed the family with inalienable rights—rights which, due to the family’s pivotal role as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” necessarily rank high in the Declaration’s hierarchy of rights.

Thus did Malik himself provide the answer to his rhetorical query posed during the initial plenary general debate near the end of September 1948 on “the question of the order and structure of my rights. Do they all fall flat on one plane with equal validity and equal importance, or do they articulate themselves in an order of depth and hierarchy?”[95] In the end, according to human rights lawyer and judge Manfred Nowak, the inclusion of Malik’s phrase “natural and fundamental group unit of society” was intended “to emphasize that despite various traditions and social structures, a pillar of all societies is the family as the smallest group unit,” while the phrase “entitled to protection by society and the State” was meant to “shield the family as the cornerstone of the entire social order.”[96]

Drafting Article 16: Malik, Chang, and the Implied Creator

What was changed in Malik’s original sentence was the severance of the language that the family was founded on marriage, and its subsequent relocation to its own subsection in 16(1), and the deletion of the assertion that the family “is endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights.” Malik had explained that “he had used the word ‘Creator’ because he believed that the family did not create itself” and “was endowed with inalienable rights which had not been conferred upon it by the caprice of men, and he cited the phrase ‘endowed by nature’ [at that time still] in Article 1 as precedent for the wording”[97]—in support of which he had earlier cited the Declaration of Independence: “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”[98]

The Soviet representative countered by saying that “many people did not believe in God, and that the Declaration was meant for mankind as a whole, whether believers or unbelievers.”[99] He was accommodated, and Article 16 ended up shorn of the express reference to the Creator. But according to Morsink, the fact that the word “natural” was retained “suggests that Malik was indeed thinking of a natural law approach to human rights. His use of the phrase ‘antecedent to all positive law’ in the earliest formation of the amendment points in the same direction.”[100]

Or, as Professor Don Browning notes, Article 16 ended up with “less than Malik wanted, but more than first meets the eye,” for “the words ‘natural,’ ‘fundamental,’ and ‘group unit’ were retained and are not meaningless. Furthermore, they point to some model of natural law. . . . It is widely acknowledged that Malik was a kind of natural law philosopher and tried to ground the Universal Declaration in natural law theory. He was not completely successful, but he did not entirely fail.”[101]

Thus it was that if the Creator could not be referenced explicitly, the implicit reference is unmistakable, echoing language from the Declaration of Independence that spoke of the Creator and of Nature and Nature’s God. Having hoped for a similarly explicit reference to the Creator in the Universal Declaration, Malik had apparently prepared himself to accept, if need be, an implicit reference, as he stated in the General Assembly’s initial plenary debate.

Where do [my rights] come from? Are they conferred upon me by some external visible power such as the state or the United Nations, so that what is now granted me may some day be conceivably withdrawn from me? Or do they belong to my essence so that if they are violated in any way I cease to be a human being at all? If they did belong to my essence, should they not also be grounded in a Supreme Being who, by being the Lord of history, could guarantee their meaning and stability? Explicitly or implicitly, these final issues will be decided in our treatment of the Declaration of Human Rights.[102]

In a separate debate on whether to approve an amendment that would have mentioned God in Article 1, Chang, “eager to avoid a vote on the question of God,”[103] reminded his colleagues “that the Declaration was designed to be universally applicable,” and his country, with its ideals and traditions different from the West, “comprised a large proportion of humanity.” By not mentioning God,[104] “others with different concepts would be able to accept the text.”[105] Nor would it matter for “those who believed in God,” he said, for they “could still find the idea of God in the strong assertions [of Article 1] that all human beings are born free and equal and endowed with reason and conscience.”[106]

Drafting Article 16: Heaven and Family in Chang’s Confucianism

What Chang apparently did not mention at the time was that the remaining language of Article 1 contained a clear echo of “heaven” from his own Chinese heritage. When the ancient sage Mencius, one of the principal interpreters of Confucianism, spoke of reason and conscience, he said, “It is what Heaven has endowed in us. All men have this mind, and all minds are endowed with this principle.”[107]

Heaven is a core Confucian concept, which, thanks to Chang’s advocacy in the drafting process, was among the “historical-philosophical roots . . . behind the birth of the UN Declaration,” says Roth, for “in Chinese thought, reference is frequently made to ‘the mandate of heaven,’ (tian ming) that has fulfilled a function that approximates to the notions of human or natural rights.”[108]

Confucianism teaches that complying with “the mandate of heaven,” also known as “the order of heaven,”[109] means that one is following “the Way of Heaven,” an obligation falling upon not only rulers but every individual and establishing guidelines for “how he should lead his life and what he must do for an ideal society.”[110] And at the very heart of that ideal society was the family founded on marriage between husband and wife—“the greatest of human roles,”[111] according to Mencius.

“With the Chinese,” wrote Miles Menander Dawson, “the family is the social unit, and Confucius has much to say on this subject.” One of the core Confucian texts “celebrates the prime importance of the marriage relation and of the useful principles for the regulation of human conduct which spring out of it.” Answering those “who saw in marriage a mere ceremony, conformity with which added no element of sacredness to a natural and necessary relation,” one Confucian text says, 

He who thinks the old embankments useless and destroys them, is sure to suffer from the desolation caused by overflowing water; and he who should consider the old rules of propriety useless and abolish them, would be sure to suffer from the calamities of disorder. . . . This ceremony [i.e., marriage] lies at the foundation of government.[112]

Summarizing the Confucian view of the foundational role of the family, Professor Xinzhong Yao writes,

Confucian morality revolves around family relationships, especially around the relationships between parents and children, between elder and younger brothers, and between husband and wife. In these relationships, the primary emphasis is put on fulfilling responsibilities to each other with a sincere and conscientious heart. However, Confucian ethics is not confined to the family. It takes family virtues as the cornerstone of social order and world peace.[113]

This was precisely the insight for which Will Durant selected Confucius as the greatest thinker of all time, ahead of such luminaries as Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, Newton, and Kant. Hailed by scholars as “the guiding star of the Chinese people” for over two and a half millennia[114] and possibly “the greatest teacher in human history,”[115] Confucius was born in the sixth century B.C. when the grandeur of ancient China was in sharp decline. To restore the luster of his homeland would require, said Confucius, a return to the practice of their ancestors. 

The illustrious ancients, when they wished to make clear and to propagate the highest virtues in the world, put their states in proper order. Before putting their states in proper order, they regulated their families. Before regulating their families, they cultivated their own selves. . . . When their selves were cultivated, their families became regulated. When their families became regulated, their states came to be put into proper order. When their states came to be put into proper order, then the whole world became peaceful and happy.[116]

It was this family-focused Confucian heritage that Peng-chun Chang brought to the drafting process of the Universal Declaration. Laboring with his fellow diplomats in the United Nations to bring peace and happiness to a broken world, Chang advocated the tried-and-true core Confucian principle when “in very explicit fashion [he] defended the old Chinese traditions” regarding the “family issues” being debated.[117] And he got what he wanted as expressed in Article 16. For Chang, the family constituted what it did for Malik—nothing less than the divine order for human society founded on the covenant of marriage between husband and wife.

Looking Back, Looking Forward, Acting Now

Woodrow Wilson’s vision of an international order among nations based on covenant and divine order was not fulfilled by the adoption of the Universal Declaration. It is not a covenant, and for good reason. Had it been, “it would never have passed.”[118] But what the Declaration did do was far more significant, proclaiming the timeless truth that society can flourish only when founded on the divine order of the family based on the covenant of marriage between husband and wife. This is the understanding to which all the statutory rules of construction point.

Raising the worldwide banner of truth about the family was surely “a new thing and a great thing in the history of humanity.” Looking ahead to a brighter future, the drafters of Article 16 also looked back to capture the “wisdom distilled from the entire course of human history,”[119] creating a document that “in essence . . . was Janus-faced. It looked to the past and to the future at one and the same time.”[120]

That future is bringing challenges the drafters of the Declaration could hardly have imagined. “Time and forgetfulness are taking their toll” wrote Professor Glendon in 2001, as “the Declaration has come to be treated more like a monument to be venerated from a distance than a living document to be reappropriated by each generation. Rarely, in fact, has a text been so widely praised yet so little read or understood.”[121] Even more troubling, continues Glendon, is the intentional manipulation of the text to serve selfish private interests. 

The Declaration’s ability to weather the turbulence ahead has been compromised by the practice of reading its integrated articles as a string of essentially separate guarantees. Nations and interest groups continue to use selected provisions as weapons or shields, wrenching them out of context and ignoring the rest. . . . Forgetfulness, neglect, and opportunism have thus obscured the Declaration’s message that rights have conditions—that everyone’s rights are importantly dependent on respect for the rights of others, on the rule of law, and on a healthy civil society.[122]

Of paramount concern is that the family, the very foundation of a healthy society, is in the crosshairs of what is being described as a “global sexual revolution” that masquerades under the name of rights but actually undermines the rights of the family. The result, says Gabriel Kuby in her widely acclaimed[123] exposé, is “the destruction of freedom in the name of freedom,” including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of parents to guide their children in matters of morality.[124]

And in a twist of irony, as Kuby explains, forces in and associated with the United Nations are now leading the worldwide charge against the family whose rights it once enshrined in the Declaration.  

Within a few decades, the UN became an institution that would use its power and resources to change the image of humanity as declared by the Declaration of Human Rights and to replace universal moral values with relativistic postmodern “values” as the foundation of culture. God was deposed and the “autonomous human being” placed on His throne. . . . Today the UN and its powerful sub-organizations fight for dissolution of men’s and women’s sexual identity [and] elimination of marriage and family.[125]

Operating by obfuscation of its real aims[126] and implementing totalitarian methods,[127] the assault reverberates worldwide as it “reaches into every home and every heart,” continues Kuby. “There is no neutral territory to which we can escape. This revolution increases its speed and the fierceness of its attack on democratic freedoms from one day to the next,”[128] spurred on by “influential individuals and NGOs that drive its global implementation with help from the UN and EU institutions,” while advocates in every country “are supplied with money, education, jobs, and juridical support” and “gain power and influence in the international network of the global sexual revolution.”[129] It is an all-out war on civilization itself, “demand[ing] that all countries of the world take totalitarian measures to change their constitutions, laws, social institutions, educational systems and their citizens’ basic attitudes in order to enforce and legally compel acceptance and privileged status for homosexuality.”[130]

How far this devastating attack will advance depends not upon the Universal Declaration itself but upon those willing to defend the truth it proclaims about the family. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, no stranger to powerful attacks on freedom, declared, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”[131]

The drafters of the Universal Declaration have long since performed their monumental work of enshrining the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society based on the covenant of marriage between husband and wife. Whether and to what extent this divine order will actually prevail on earth is now up to us.

E. Douglas Clark is the Director of UN and International Policy at the International Organization for the Family.

[1]     Jay Winter and Antoine Prost, René Cassin and Human Rights: From the Great War to the Universal Declaration (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 237.

[2]     Allan C. Carlson, “Woodrow Wilson, the Bible, and the End of the Great War,” November 11, 2018, The Hill, https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/415973-woodrow-wilson-the-bible-and-the-end-of-the-great-war.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Malcolm D. Magee, What the World Should Be: Woodrow Wilson and the Crafting of a Faith-Based Foreign Policy (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2008), 6, 15.

[5]     Carlson, “Woodrow Wilson, the Bible, and the End of the Great War.”

[6]     René Cassin, Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1968, available at https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1968/cassin/lecture.

[7]     Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New York: Random House, 2001), 4. 

[8]     V.E. Day Proclamation, May 8, 1945, available at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Haile_Selassie (normalizing spelling).

[9]     Charter of the United Nations, Preamble, available at http://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations.

[10]   Ibid., Articles 1, 13, 55, 62, 76, available at http://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations.

[11]   Ibid., Article 68, available at http://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations. 

[12]   Public Papers, Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953, Address in San Francisco at the Closing Session of the United Nations Conference, June 26, 1945, available at https://trumanlibrary.org/publicpapers/index.php?pid=73&st=&stl.    

[13]   Elliott Roosevelt and James Brough, Mother R: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Untold Story (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1977), 68-69. The book is dedicated “To F.D.R., a man of conviction, and A.E.R., a woman of faith.”

[14]   Johannes Morsink, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting, and Intent (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 32. Eleanor would later say of herself, “I had really only three assets: I was keenly interested, I accepted every challenge and opportunity to learn more, and I had great energy and self-discipline.” Roosevelt and Brough, 105.

[15]   Habib C. Malik, ed., The Challenge of Human Rights: Charles Malik and the Universal Declaration (Oxford: Charles Malik Foundation: Centre for Lebanese Studies, 2000), 156.

[16]   Winter and Prost, 229. 

[17]   “Henry Laugier, Ex-U.N. Official For Social Affairs, Is Dead at 84,” New York Times, January 21, 1973, available at https://www.nytimes.com/1973/01/21/archives/henry-laugier-exun-official-for-social-affairs-is-dead-at-84.html. Laugier had earned doctorates in medicine and science and won citations as a doctor in World War I. He had been a professor at the Sorbonne and the Paris Medical School and director of the National Center for Scientific Research, and was invited to New York by the Rockefeller Foundation to help organize the departure of scientists from occupied France. He then served as chancellor of the University of Algiers and director of cultural relations in the de Gaulle Government prior to his post in the United Nations.

[18]   Doc. E/HR/6, 1 May 1946, Record of Meeting 29 April 1946 of the Commission on Human Rights of the Economic and Social Council, online at http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/HR/6 (commas added for clarity after “community” and “centuries”).

[19]   Human Rights Commission, First Session, Summary Record of the First Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Monday, January 27, 1947, at 11:00 a.m., E/CN.4/SR, January 28, 1947, 1-­2, UN, available at http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/CN.4/SR.1.

[20]   Ibid.

[21]   Glendon, xx-xxi; and see “Drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” on United Nations website, with vignettes of some of the principal drafters, available at https://research.un.org/en/undhr/draftingcommittee.

[22]   Morsink, 32.

[23]   Malik, 121, 124.

[24]   Winter and Prost, 240.

[25]   Glendon, 78.

[26]   Morsink, 28; Hunt, 203. 

[27]   Statement to the United Nations General Assembly on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 9, 1948, available at https://erpapers.columbian.gwu.edu/statement-united-nations-general-assembly-universal-declaration-human-rights-1948.

[28]   Glendon, 231.

[29]   Morsink, ix-xi

[30]   Winter and Prost 237-238. One human rights activist even maintains that the Declaration contains the seeds for the unraveling of human rights: “The international human rights system is built on a faulty foundation, one inconsistent with the foundations of the idea of human rights itself. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948 mingled human rights based on natural law with positive rights granted by states—rights that emerged from specific political traditions. By doing so, it aggrandized positive economic and social rights as human rights intrinsic to human beings, while degrading authentic human rights into nothing more than arbitrary gifts of the state. But the international community did not grant human rights to the people of the world. If we accepted that notion, we would be no more respectful of human rights than Chinese Communists and other state ideologues who claim the prerogative to define human rights to suit their own politics. . . . The UDHR established a way of thinking about human rights that has shaped our contemporary approach to the issue. Tragically, it set processes in train that have led to the disintegration of human rights as a concept. If we are serious about addressing the problems in human rights discourse today, we need to recognize that these problems stem from the UDHR, and stop treating it as a sacred cow, immune from criticism.” Aaron Rhodes, The Debasement of Human Rights: How Politics Sabotage the Ideal of Freedom (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 32-33.

[31]   René Cassin, Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1968, available at https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1968/cassin/lecture.

[32]   Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights: A History (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007), 205.

[33]   Statement to the United Nations General Assembly on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 9, 1948, available at https://erpapers.columbian.gwu.edu/statement-united-nations-general-assembly-universal-declaration-human-rights-1948. 

[34]   Seamus Heaney, “Human Rights, Poetic Redress,” Irish Times, March 15, 2008, available at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/human-rights-poetic-redress-1.903757 (Americanizing the spelling for “internationalised,” “civilisation,” and “realised,” and adding quotation marks around the language quoted from Article 1).

[35]   Hans Ingvar Roth, P. C. Chang and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), 133.

[36]   “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the Most Universal Document in the World,” article on official Universal Declaration website available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/WorldRecord.aspx.

[37]   Glendon, xvi-xvii.

[38]   Winter and Prost, 239.

[39]   Roth, 134.

[40]   “Allergan Commits to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” available at http://www.allergan.com/miscellaneous-pages/allergan-pdf-files/human_rights_charter. 

[41]   Glendon, 236.

[42]   Roth, 135. 

[43]   Ibid., 135-36.

[44]   Peimin Ni, Confucius: The Man and the Way of Gongfu (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 1.

[45]   Rhodes, 26. 

[46]   “The Rehnquist Court’s Canons of Statutory Construction,” 1986-1993, posted on the National Conference of State Legislatures website, available at http://www.ncsl.org/documents/lsss/2013pds/rehnquist_court_canons_citations.pdf (omitting footnotes and using italics instead of bolding). “This outline was derived from the Appendix to ‘Foreword: Law as Equilibrium,’ William N. Eskridge, Jr., Philip P. Frickey, 108 Harv. L. Rev. 26, November, 1994. Format modified by Judge Russell E. Carparelli, Colorado Court of Appeals, Sep. 2005.” 

[47]   Available at http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Complete-Story-of-Civilization/Will-Durant/9781476779713.

[48]   Will Durant, The Mansions of Philosophy: A Survey of Human Life and Destiny (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1929), 395-96.

[49]   Richard G. Wilkins in A. Scott Loveless and Thomas B. Holman, eds., The Family in the New Millennium: World Voices Supporting the Natural Clan, Volume 1: The Place of Family in Human Society (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2007), xiv.

[50]   Collected in the World Family Declaration, available at www.worldfamilydeclaration.org, note 3.

[51]   Constitution of Angola (2010), Title 2, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 35.1, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Angola_2010.pdf.

[52]   Constitution of Burundi (2005), Title 2, Article 30, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Burundi_2005.pdf. 

[53]   Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2005, rev. 2011), Title 2, Chapter 2, Article 40, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo_2011?lang=en.

[54]   Constitution of the Dominican Republic (2015), Title 2, Chapter 1, Section 2, Article 55(2)-(3), available at  https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Dominican_Republic_2015?lang=en. 

[55]   Constitution of Greece (1975, rev. 2008), Part 2, Article 21.1, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Greece_2008?lang=en.

[56]   Constitution of Guatemala (1985, rev. 1993), Preamble; Title 2, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 47, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Guatemala_1993?lang=en. 

[57]   Constitution of Niger (2010, rev. 2017), Title 2, Article 21, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Niger_2017?lang=en. 

[58]   Constitution of Paraguay (1992, rev. 2011), Part 1, Title 2, Chapter 4, Article 49, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Paraguay_2011?lang=en.

[59]   Constitution of Poland (1997, rev. 2009), Chapter 1, Article 18, available at https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Poland_2009?lang=en.

[60]   Gabriele Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom (Kettering, Ohio: LifeSite, Angelico Press, 2015), 50-51 (correcting “in the image of God he created them” to “in the image of God he created him”).

[61]   Rhodes, 26.

[62]   Genesis 2:18.

[63]   Genesis 2:18, in Richard Elliott Friedman, Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 19. 

[64]   Genesis 2:24. The comment was repeated by Jesus, Who emphasized that the marital bond is something “God hath joined together” (Mark 10: 6-9), and is presupposed by the Apostle Paul’s observation that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). 

[65]   Gary A. Anderson, The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 19. 

[66]   Bruce Vawter, On Genesis: A New Reading (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977), 75.

[67]   Genesis 2:24 in The Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha (Oxford and Cambridge: Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, 1989). 

[68]   Ephraim Oratz, ed., T’rumath Tzvi: The Pentateuch with a Translation by Samson Raphael Hirsch and Excerpts from the Hirsch Commentary (New York: The Judaica Press, 1986), 15.

[69]   Menahem M. Kasher, Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation: A Millennial Anthology,9 vols. (New York: American Biblical Encyclopedia Society, 1953-1979), 1:118. 

[70]   Oratz, 16. 

[71]   Winter and Prost, 251.

[72]   Malik, 7, comment by Chilean delegate Hernan Santa Cruz, whom Morsink considers “a prominent member of [the] inner core of drafters.” Morsink, 30.

[73]   Ali A. Allawi, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2009), 188. 

[74]   Malik, 110.

[75]   Glendon, 145. 

[76]   Morsink, 30, quoting comment by John P. Humphrey, author of what Morsink calls “the crucial—because inclusive—first draft of the Declaration,” at Morsink, 29. 

[77]   Winter and Prost, 251.

[78]   Morsink, 30. 

[79]   Malik, 121.

[80]   United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, History of the Document, available at http://www.un.org/en/sections/universal-declaration/history-document/index.html, citing Eleanor Roosevelt’s memoirs. 

[81]   Roth, 43.

[82]   Ibid., 235. 

[83]   “Individualism in Classical Chinese Thought,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, available at https://www.iep.utm.edu/ind-chin. 

[84]   Daniel K. Gardner, The Four Books: The Basic Teachings of the Later Confucian Tradition (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hacket Publishing Company, 2007), 139. 

[85]   Winter and Prost, 240. 

[86]   Ibid., 238. 

[87]   Ibid., 244.

[88]   Glendon, 239-40.

[89]   Ibid.

[90]   Winter and Prost, 239.

[91]   Glenn Mitoma, “Charles H. Malik and Human Rights: Notes on a Biography,” Biography 33.1 (Winter 2010), 226.

[92]   Morsink, 254.

[93]   Ibid., 255.

[94]   Malik, 100.

[95]   Ibid., 115.

[96]   Manfred Nowak, UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. CCPR Commentary (Kehl am Rhein, Germany: N.P. Engel, 1993), 404. 

[97]   Morsink, 255.

[98]   Glendon, 89.

[99]   Morsink, 255.

[100] Ibid., 256.

[101] Don Browning, “The Meaning of Family in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” in         Loveless and Holman, 39.

[102] Malik, 115-16.

[103] Morsink, 286. 

[104] Glendon, 146, closely paraphrasing Chang’s argument.

[105] Morsink, 287.

[106] Glendon, 146, closely paraphrasing Chang’s argument. See also Morsink 286-287. Eleanor Roosevelt later commented, “Now, I happen to believe that we are born free and equal in dignity and rights because there is a divine Creator, and there is a divine spark in men. But, there were other people around the table who wanted it expressed in such a way that they could think in their particular way about this question, and finally, these words were agreed upon because they . . . left it to each of us to put in our own reason.” Glendon, 147. 

[107] Wing-Tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 579. “The sense of commiseration, the sense of shame, the sense of deference and compliance, and the sense of right and wrong are this mind.” 

[108] Roth, 132. 

[109] Ni, 2. 

[110] Xinzhong Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 25. 

[111] Erin Cline, “What Can We Learn from Ancient Chinese Views of Marriage?”, Georgetown University, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, available at https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/posts/what-can-we-learn-from-ancient-chinese-views-of-marriage.

[112] Miles Menander Dawson, The Ethics of Confucius: The Sayings of the Master and his Disciples upon the Conduct of “The Superior Man” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915), 137, 140, available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/eoc/eoc09.htm, quoting from the Book of Rites, bk. 23.7 (available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/liki2/liki223.htm), brackets and italicization in original. 

[113] Yao, 25, 169. 

[114] Herbert A. Giles, Confucianism and its Rivals: Lectures Delivered in the University Hall of Dr. Williams Library, London. Oct.-Dec. 1914 (The Hibbert Lectures, Second Series) (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1915), 64, quote online at http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/cair/cair04.htm. Giles was a British diplomat in China and later professor of Chinese at Cambridge.

[115] Michael Schuman, Confucius: And the World He Created (New York: Basic Books, 2015), xiii. 

[116] From “The Great Learning,” quoted in Will Durant, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 12. For an alternate translation, see Chan, 86-87.

[117] Roth, 235. 

[118] Hunt, 204-205.

[119] Richard G. Wilkins in Loveless and Holman, xiv.

[120] Winter and Prost, 238.

[121] Glendon, xvii.

[122] Ibid., 239.

[123] Endorsed by, among others, Pope Benedict XVI, Robert P. George, Austin Ruse, Alan E. Sears, Patrick F. Fagan, and Jennifer Roback Morse.

[124] Kuby, 64-81.

[125] Ibid., 51.

[126] Ibid., 71-73.

[127] Ibid., 65-71.

[128] Ibid., 5.

[129] Ibid., 81.

[130] Ibid., 65, italics in original.

[131] Address in Addis Ababa, 1963, available at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Haile_Selassie#Quotes.