Americans have been found guilty of performing reprehensible acts throughout the nation’s history. The Salem Witch Trials are a case in point. Members of the Puritan community in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts were convicted and executed solely on the basis of the testimony of suspicious neighbors and the accusations of teenage girls. And yes, many of them were killed in horrific fashion.

The United States and the greater international community have, for the most part, come to a greater understanding of the value of human rights and the importance of protecting them. Much of this is based upon the individual’s conscience developing to a point where it is strong enough to stand up against the mores of society if it goes against one’s core values and beliefs which are rooted in doing what is best for society overall.

Now, for the cultural relativist, honor killings are a part of the idea of protecting the greater society overall. After all, and I will only continue to use radical Islam in order to be consistent with past arguments, members of radical Islam are performing these killings in order to protect the order of things. They feel that sin, in any way, shape or form, is a form of contamination to their religion. And in their case, at least for the individual, their greater duty is to protect their community of believers — regardless if it means killing their own daughter or mother. In such respects, not only does the perpetrator receive honor from the greater community, and a sense of gratitude for protecting them from sin, but also the individual will be honored by his God for doing a work that is considered righteous.

I have no problem drawing the line in such a case. Something must clearly be done in order to protect basic human rights, all of which I believe to be developed at an early age within the family unit. Again, it is an understanding of these basic rights which help formulate the conscience of the individual.

Now, there are some who believe that honor killings and other notorious acts are grounds for going to war. If they happen on a large scale, then I would have to agree. There are others who would like to convert these people to a whole other way of thinking. Both solutions are a little too much in most cases. However, we must establish a set code of human rights that would be enforced internationally. I don’t recommend that these human rights be contained in a sophisticated and detailed document. Rather, it should consist of well-written and enforced statements that everyone can understand and adhere to. It also should allow room for cultural differences. But it must be clear about its fundamental purpose — Its most important purpose is protecting individuals so that they can go through life without the fear of being tortured or killed in a senseless and inhumane manner. It is barbaric to kill family members in this day and age because of religious or ideological differences.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 169, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at, and follow him on Twitter at