No, Mike Pence Shouldn’t Go To Prison For Not Flying Rainbow Flags

No, Mike Pence Shouldn’t Go To Prison For Not Flying Rainbow Flags

This week, news broke that U.S. embassies would not fly rainbow-colored flags during “LGBT Pride Month.” Estimates indicate that up to 20 Americans waited with bated breath to hear what Hollywood celebrities had to say in response. Sarah Silverman, a comedian freshly relieved of her canceled-after-one-season Hulu comedy series, gathered her thoughts together and typed out a measured, even-keeled tweet to Vice President Mike Pence.

Yes. According to supposed funny person Sarah Silverman, because the vice president approves the White House’s decision not to fly rainbow flags over American embassies, he should go to jail. The charge? Well, obviously “crimes against humanity.”

First off, a refresher on the actual term involved here. It’s doubtful that Silverman is very concerned with a traditional concept like “the law,” but what the heck, let’s dive in anyway.

“Crimes against humanity” is an international law concept that a) has no relevant force in U.S. law, b) has never been officially codified by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, or at any other similar convention, and c) typically implies utterly atrocious actions—such as genocide.

For example, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal, established to oversee the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officials after World War II, has defined “crimes against humanity” as:

murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population . . . or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Complicating things further, the nearly dozen international agreements that have delineated “crimes against humanity” all disagree on the definition. All of this discussion is, of course, absurd in the first place. In no rational world does restricting U.S. embassy flagpoles to American flags equate to the wanton extermination or enslavement of entire peoples.

Nothing in the administration’s decision to deny the flying of the rainbow flag even approaches the level of “discrimination” or “repression.” Why? Every other flag or every other nation has to follow the same rules.

If an employee at a U.S. embassy in Bermuda has a deep and abiding love for the Olympics, he doesn’t get to hoist up the Olympic flag to show his love. A U.S. embassy official in Qatar doesn’t have the right to raise the Canadian maple leaf during the NBA finals to signal her undying Toronto Raptors fandom. American embassies are for American flags. Period.

There’s also bizarre hypocrisy at the end Silverman’s tweet where she angrily denounces Pence for ripping babies “from the arms of parents” (apparently referring to the crisis at the border). This call-out is coming from someone who has described unborn babies as “goo,” praised women who “shout their abortions,” has said that pro-life laws make her want to “eat an aborted fetus,” and joked about getting—and this is her spelling—a “quikie aborsh” in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned. It’s beyond tone deaf to castigate Pence for “ripping babies away from families” while you’re in favor of abortion-on-demand.

If we’re going to discuss crimes against humanity, at the top of the list should undoubtedly be the more than 60,000,000 unborn children murdered in the United States since 1973. Yes, perhaps Silverman should tone down her “babies u rip” outrage.

The same leftist celebrities who applaud the burning of American flags, disparage Republican presidents overseas, and mock patriotic citizens, are so unhinged with anger towards the Trump administration that they scream “crimes against humanity!” at the drop of a hat. Only Hollywood elites are so woefully out-of-touch.

Joshua Lawson is a graduate student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. He is pursuing a masters degree in American politics and political philosophy.
Photo White House / Public Domain
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