In the wake of a three-person United Nations team visiting Alabama to investigate the state’s “commitment to substantive equality for women in all spheres of life,” alarms are sounding from an uncommon corner of government.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler earlier this week issued a statement saying that the U.N. was launching “a major assault on Alabama laws protecting children” and warning that its investigation in Alabama and two other states is “the next step of an agenda to impose U.N. standards in every sate that does not resist this intrusion.”
“The U.N. is preparing to try to dictate to Alabama what we must do on abortion, contraceptives given to youth, sex education in schools, tolerance of alternative sexual orientation and other ‘progressive’ issues,” Zeigler warned in a the statement released on Monday.
Zeigler was responding to a U.N. report released Friday that attacks the state’s voter ID law and its “history of severe violence against abortion providers.” Investigators, who also visited Texas and Oregon, met with Dr. Willie Parker, a gynecologist and obstetrician in Montgomery, and Lucia Hermo of the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter.
“Notice they did not meet with any church leaders, adoption advocates and abortion alternative counselors,” Zeigler said in his statement.
Zeigler’s warnings are not that uncommon on the radical right. Increasingly, the antigovernment movement has found in U.N. programs, including a plan for sustainable growth called Agenda 21, a blueprint for a “New World Order” and fantastic fears that American sovereignty is under attack. But few state officials have been taken with such rhetoric.
Zeigler, however, has. And it doesn’t stop with fears of the U.N.
In September, Zeigler addressed the neo-Confederate League of the South at the group’s Wetumpka headquarters to discuss efforts to return portraits of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace to the Statehouse rotunda. The portraits were removed in March in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. He has continued to push for the portraits return since they were removed.
“Some Montgomery bureaucrats decided to revise history and ignore the intent of the legislature to suit their own politically correct agenda,” Zeigler told Alabama Today. “The restoration of the Wallace portraits to the rotunda will right this wrong.”
A strong proponent of the Second Amendment, Zeigler also has said church attendees should carry firearms after the Charleston, S.C., shooting this summer left nine people dead, and he has lamented the criticism of Confederate iconography that followed. In June, when the Goat Hill Museum in Montgomery, Ala., took Confederate memorabilia off its shelves, then returned some items, Zeigler suggested it was a “purge of Confederate history” – a claim that has been echoed by the LOS and the neo-Confederates.
Just as he has with the state’s efforts to address its own Confederate history, Zeigler is vowing to look into the situation.
“I will also coordinate a strategy for how we can resist this U.N. intrusion,” Zeigler said. “We should not just sit back and say they have no jurisdiction and cannot do this. They don’t care and will proceed anyway if not smartly opposed. I have no confidence in our President and Governor to block this."