Ted Cruz's 'Pants on Fire' claim about U.N. shredding First Amendment

Sen. Ted Cruz's U.N. claim came out incorrect, ridiculous -- Pants on Fire!
Sen. Ted Cruz's U.N. claim came out incorrect, ridiculous -- Pants on Fire!

Texan Ted Cruz criticized President Barack Obama’s leadership in a commentary published in March, writing: "In the wake of 9/11, there was a broad consensus in favor of a common-sense domestic counterterrorism strategy. But over the last seven years, the focus on protecting the homeland has been lost."

Cruz, who’d shortly quit his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, went on: "The Obama administration has even joined Islamist governments in sponsoring a U.N. resolution that would shred our First Amendment by threatening to make discussion of radical Islamism potentially illegal."

We wondered if indeed the U.S. backed a resolution threatening the constitutional amendment protecting freedom of speech and religion.

At issue, it appears: A resolution adopted by the United Nations in 2011 with the purpose of "combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief." The resolution promotes religious tolerance and calls on member states to ensure proper representation of religious minorities.

Our reporter, Emma Hinchliffe of the Houston Chronicle, didn’t spot a threat to the First Amendment there -- and ultimately found none.

In fact, best we could tell, the U.S. delegation battled for a decade to reach the adopted version of the resolution, which leaves out language sought by some nations to bar blasphemous speech.

An academic expert told us that Cruz, in claiming the resolution would "make discussion of radical Islamic terrorism illegal," was actually interpreting the resolution in the same way as Islamic states, rather than through the understanding emphasized by the U.S. and European Union.

Our verdict: Cruz’s claim was incorrect, ridiculous, Pants on Fire!

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