Conservatives Bristle at 'United Nations Day'

By Jason Pierce | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - According to a proclamation released by the White House Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2001, was recognized as United Nations Day, a day to celebrate the U.S. relationship with the U.N.

But, not everyone was celebrating, especially some conservatives who believe that in light of U.N. treatment of the U.S., America should sever all ties with the organization.

"In light of our nation's situation right now and because the United Nations, as an organization, is one of the most anti-American organizations that exist in the international community, we oppose celebrating [United Nations Day]," said Peyton Knight, legislative director at the American Policy Center.

"The U.S. contributes up to a quarter of the U.N.'s operating budget, and frankly, without the U.S., the U.N. would not exist," Knight said. "And for thanks, we get booted from the Human Rights Commission," he said, referring to the 53 nations on the commission who voted to exclude the U.S. last spring.

The U.N was formed just after World War II on Oct. 24, 1945. The U.S. has played a major role throughout its existence, as the primary financier and host to its headquarters in New York. Since its founding, Oct. 24 has been annually proclaimed U.N. Day.

In the annual proclamation, President Bush praised the U.N. for its peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to carry out those missions.

"As our country observes United Nations Day, 2001, we pause to reflect on the noble history of the U.N. and to praise its many contributions toward providing a better quality of life for people around the globe," Bush said. "We also celebrate the U.N.'s commitment to promoting human rights, protecting the environment, fighting disease, fostering development, and reducing poverty.

"By reaffirming our desire to advance these goals, America looks forward to continued progress in addressing the challenges that face humanity and to achieving a brighter future for the world," he said.

Ted Carpenter, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, stopped short of calling for severed ties with the U.N., but did question the value of observing U.N. Day.

"The U.N. has had a very checkered record. It has done some things very well, and there are a lot of other things they haven't done very well," Carpenter said. "There is a tremendous amount of corruption and mismanagement in the organization, and I'm not sure this is a proper approach, to be celebrating the organization, and I think one needs to be more critical."

Brett Schaefer, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said that since the U.S. has observed U.N. Day over the past 56 years, there is no harm in observing it now, since the U.S. still shares in the same basic principles the U.N. does.

"[U.N. Day] is just an acknowledgement that the United Nations was founded and celebrates the principles upon which the organization was founded on, and the principles on which it was founded are consistent with those of the United States," Schaefer said.

"There is no problem with it, and there is nothing to object to, as there has been no objection over the last five decades."

However, one leading conservative believes America's relationship with the United Nations is unconstitutional.

According to Howard Phillips, chairman of the Virginia-based Conservative Caucus, Inc.,
Americans should celebrate the day when the U.S. withdraws from the U.N.

"One cannot be faithful to both the U.S. Constitution and the UN charter simultaneously," Phillips said. "To the degree that we surrender resources to the UN, we are acting in conflict with the very first principles of the U.S. constitution."