Posted: Jul 31, 2013 6:00 AM
 
People are up in arms over the human rights violations occurring with the newly passed anti-gay law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. AllParenting.com columnist Janelle Hanchett and I both agree: This law is crazy. But I contend there are much worse things happening throughout the world that the U.S. is turning a blind eye to.

Fellow AllParenting.com author Janelle Hanchett wrote about the anti-gay law passed last month in Russia, a law which is brutal to be sure. Criminalizing homosexual acts, deeds, propaganda and promotion is, to quote Janelle, "insane." I heard one newscaster say, "You can make it illegal for the sun to shine and it's still gonna come out," which is a colorful way of saying this law isn't going to magically stop people from being gay. It's just going to create an environment of fear and hatred, making it even more dangerous for gay people living in and traveling to Russia. Janelle and I are in total agreement here — this law is just plain wrong.

Read Janelle's article:
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Learn about Russia's new law and how Janelle feels we should react.

No booze, no medals

Many in the LGBT community are taking a stand against the law by boycotting Russian-made products, which include vodka. Others in the gay community and beyond are pushing for a more prominent boycott: that of the 2014 Winter Olympics, set for Sochi, Russia. Human Rights Watch, an "international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights," even wrote to the International Olympics Committee on the matter, saying "... there cannot be a successful Olympics where there is discrimination or human rights abuses..."

Decent human beings shouldn't support countries that commit human rights violations, correct?... And yet we, the U.S., have already set a precedence of doing the opposite.

So the current argument for dumping Russian vodka and boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia is, in short, that decent human beings shouldn't support countries that commit human rights violations, correct? Taking from Janelle's article, we shouldn't support the "economy of a country violating basic human rights," and "we have a responsibility to do what we can to support humanity in all its forms." And yet we, the U.S., have already set a precedence of doing the opposite.

This isn't the first Olympics with controversy

This "family planning" policy allows only one child per urban family, and only two children per rural family if, and only if, your first child was a girl.

The 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing, China, China being home to probably the greatest human rights violation our generation will ever see: the one-child policy. This "family planning" policy allows only one child per urban family, and only two children per rural family if, and only if, your first child was a girl. This policy allows for forced abortions if the mother isn't willing, and extends to forced sterilization and the implantation of intrauterine devices.

Forced abortions. Forced sterilization. Forced IUD implantation. Pretty horrific and definitely human rights violations if you ask me. Yet we went to China and participated in the Beijing Olympics. There was no global move to boycott Chinese products, no massive uprising to keep the U.S. out of the Beijing Olympics. In fact, there weren't even any protests in China — because the Chinese authorities refused to approve any of the applications submitted by would-be protestors.

Where is the outcry over these atrocities?
Where is the call to boycott?

Just this March, China's health ministry released their best estimate of how many abortions have been performed in the name of their one-child policy. You may want to sit down before you read this number: at least 336 million. That's 13 million a year, or about 1,500 an hour. Where is the outcry over these atrocities? Where is the call to boycott? These are actually happening every day, every hour — not expected to happen because of a crazy law.

The greatest right of all

Is there no greater human right than the right to life? Wouldn't the most basic of all rights be the right to be born and have a chance? A chance to grow, a chance to grow up, even a chance to be gay? I know the argument: A fetus isn't a person yet. But even my 4-year-old will tell you the words of the immortal Dr. Seuss: "A person's a person no matter how small."

The Chinese one-child policy is very popular with the people of China, just as the anti-gay Russian law has massive public support. Does that matter to us as a country? Does that public support negate our disgust with the policy as a whole?

You can't have it both ways. Either the U.S. needs to take a stand on these issues, or we don't. Either we stay out of the affairs of other governments or we meddle. The Chinese one-child policy is very popular with the people of China, just as the anti-gay Russian law has massive public support. Does that matter to us as a country? Does that public support negate our disgust with the policy as a whole?

Like Janelle, I too want my kids to understand our responsibility to "support humanity in all its forms." I agree we should use global influence for the good of all beings. Gay or straight, born or unborn — human rights are human rights and those rights should be championed and supported.

More tough topics

Parenting a gay teen
I'll still let my boys be Scouts... for now
Gay marriage vs. civil unions: I'm cool with one