Health officials from nations around the world are meeting in Geneva this week for the World Health Assembly, organized by the World Health Organization. Their goal is to forge an agreement to prepare governments and protect people from the next international pandemic.

But the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative political group founded 41 years ago by James Dobson of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, portrays the assembly’s goals as a “blatant” and “unprecedented power grab.”

The meeting threatens to usher in “a governance regime that can ultimately be used to strip us of our freedoms” and “is setting the stage for one global government.”

“The WHO has tipped its hand — it is no friend of liberty, life or families,” FRC said in a fundraising appeal. “Everything our great nation stands for is at stake.”

Another fundraising appeal claimed: “If our representatives in government fail to take action, we could fall under control of this global system of governance.”

FRC doesn’t cite sources for its sweeping claims, many of which are unfounded. FRC says, “If passed, this agreement would grant the WHO unprecedented and sweeping powers, including the ability to dictate a nation’s response to whatever the WHO deems a ‘crisis.’”

Not true, says WHO, which lacks enforcement power to dictate policies to its member nations.

FRC claims many aspects of life will come under WHO control: “Climate change, the right to life, transgender surgeries for minors, freedom of speech … anything can be placed in the public health category under the WHO’s current proposals. The WHO will make the rules.”

Also not true, says WHO, which hopes to provide health benefits to people dealing with climate change, aging, migration and other issues. The World Health Assembly has addressed transgender treatments, but only for adults, not minors, as FRC claims.

The WHO’s director general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, has spoken out against a “litany of lies and conspiracy theories” raised about the organization’s work.

FRC’s attack has been embraced by House Speaker Mike Johnson, who appeared on a recent episode of FRC’s “This Week on the Hill” program, hosted by FRC President Tony Perkins, a longtime mentor to Johnson.

“The globalists are making a run over American sovereignty,” Johnson told Perkins. ““We can’t allow these global organizations to dictate to us what our policy is going to be.”

Many conservative Republicans in the House and Senate oppose the World Health Assembly, which seeks to have nations share information sooner about pandemic outbreaks within their borders and seeks to provide more vaccines to poorer nations.

FRC’s Travis Weber has said the federal government should not be involved in protecting citizens from future pandemics, but the effort “should be left to the states.” He asked, “Why should the federal government be tackling (this) issue in the first place?”

“The globalists are making a run over American sovereignty.”

Last week, Donald Trump promised people attending the Libertarian Party convention that if reelected, he would “rip up” and “throw away” any WHO agreement. “I will protect American sovereignty from the creeping hands of global government.”

FRC has couched some of its criticisms of the WHO in stark religious language, claiming, “Spiritual forces not visible to the naked eye are clearly at work to harm, divide and weaken people and their nations, to set the stage for world powers to swoop in and ‘save the day.’”

“Scripture tells us that we should ‘take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11),’” FRC said in a May fundraising email to supporters. “That’s what FRC is striving to do. We’re calling on all faithful Christians, just like you, to help us expose the WHO’s works of darkness.”

“When the time comes, we want to be found faithful for defending the faith against spiritual opponents that want to oppress and harm God’s creation,” the FRC letter said, but did not explain how WHO activities amount to the “fruitless deeds of darkness,” a term the Apostle Paul used to criticize sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking.

FRC’s claims that the WHO aims to create “one global government” echo attacks on the United Nations by conservative isolationists and libertarians made more than half a century ago. The John Birch Society led a “Get Us Out!” campaign in 1959, claiming the “real nature of (the) U.N. is to build a One World Government.” In 1971, John Birch Society founder Robert Welch claimed the U.N. is “a vehicle for communist global conquest.”

FRC also claims the WHO “is planning a vast surveillance network to keep us under their thumb, and you won’t hear about it from the mainstream media.” A guest on one of Perkins’ shows seconded this unverified claim, saying, “They want to track and trace everybody.”

“Time is critical,” said FRC in one fundraising email. “We must awaken more Americans to this threat to our faith, to our families and to our freedoms.”

FRC says it is working to “educate lawmakers on Capitol Hill on the dangers the WHO’s plans pose to your freedoms” and “inform our nationwide association of churches and ministries on how this ‘pandemic accord’ could affect their congregations.”


This article originally appeared in Baptist News Global.