Friday, March 06, 2009

Convention on the Rights of the Child- BEWARE

Maybe a better name for this is the Convention on the Removal of the Rights of the Childs Parents. I highly suggest you listen to the Generations Radio Broadcast with Kevin Swanson where he talks to Michael Farris on The Greatest Threat to Family Freedoms

With Senators such as Barbara Boxer are seeking to have the US agree to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) it is imperative that you know the consequences of this. From what I understand, and I am by far not a Constitutional lawyer, our constitution recognizes treaties that we agree to as being over our laws, unless expressly prohibited from doing so, because the founding fathers never foresaw such international law as this. It is due to this that ParentalRights.org is seeking to have a constitutional amendment so that an international law, such as is CRC, will not be able to override our own laws.

I encourage you to read the CRC and pay particular attention to how open things are as to who decides what is right and how often that decision is left to the child and not the parents. In reality the parents simply become guidance counselors to the child and the child is the one that is in charge of their own upbringing, of course with the help of the state (government).

While the US and Somalia are the only countries to not ratify this treaty you must understanding that countries such as England that do not have a constitution such as ours are free to follow the CRC, or not, as their laws do not bind them to it as our does, should we accept it.

Please go to ParentalRights.org and sign the petition and donate as God provides so that we can get the Parental Rights Amendment passed. Also call your Senators and let them know your opposition to the CRC.

Here is the parental Rights Amendment:

DRAFT PARENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

FOR THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

SECTION 1
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

SECTION 2
Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

SECTION 3
No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

10 comments:

Jan said...

The whole business is sheer hysteria whipped up by people who haven't a clue what they're talking about - or if they do, they know they are lying.

Allegation 1: children will be able to choose their own religion - the CRC does indeed say they have a right to choose - but within direction given by their parents. Let's face it, if they really develop a different view, they will change when they reach majority. There is nothing preventing parents from telling children what they believe, that is what the CRC means by parents direction. In the end, you can't force a child to believe, even if you make him attend church, get baptised, confirmed etc etc.

Allegation 2 : the CRC will overrule the US Constitution - the US can enter a reservation (like many nations do) which will stop that.

Allegation 3: parents will not be able to smack their children - the UK signed up to it from the start - UK law still allows parents to smack.

Allegation 4: parents will lose control of their children to the state - untrue, there is no such provision, parents are recognised as having the primary responsibility of upbringing where they exist. Only if there are no parents, or family, or if parents break the law of the land and abuse their children, will the state have to step in.

Allegation 5 - it will stop home-schooling - it hasn't elsewhere. You already have laws re education, the CRC does not extend that.

Allegation 6: children will have the right to be consulted when their interests become the subject of administrative or judicial process - true, and weight to be given to this according to their level of understanding.

Allegation 7: children will have the right to receive and impart information - it says that indeed, but it's clear this is limited by other circumstances such as parents' rights.

Tony said...

Here are my comments on each of your points

Allegation 1: children will be able to choose their own religion – This is not about giving direction but letting children know there is only one God and one way to God and that is Jesus Christ. You are correct I cannot make a child believe but I can make it clear that any other belief is false. That is what the CRC would, from my perspective of the wording, not allow if the UN decided to interpret it that way.

Allegation 2 : the CRC will overrule the US Constitution – Article VI of the constitution says: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Thus the reason for the Amendment so that this treaty will not be binding.

Allegation 3: parents will not be able to smack their children – As I mentioned the UK has a different constitution, actually I do not think they have one, so they can follow the treaty as they like and thus have a different set of rules to play by than we do.

Allegation 4: parents will lose control of their children to the state – As you mention about breaking the laws of the land, which I would understand would include the treaty, so the CRC would be the one defining what is abuse and already even in the US there have been attempts to seek to apply this to parents control of children with such things as going to church and even control of the child’s rights to go to a prom (listen to the talk with Mr, Farris). So the issue is the state, including the CRC, could define what abuse is.

Allegation 5 - it will stop home-schooling - In Germany the laws do not expressly prohibit Homeschooling but they have been interpreted to prohibit it and make it unlawful. The reason Germany has outlawed homeschooling is that they have deemed it is against the best interest of the state to have children brought up in a social atmosphere they say is not conducive to the betterment of the state. This is an example of a law not expressing prohibiting something but being elusive enough in language to actually be read any way the government pleases.

Allegation 6: children will have the right to be consulted when their interests become the subject of administrative or judicial process – true. But this eliminates the parent’s duty and right over the child and gives the state or CRC the right to define the age limitations.

Allegation 7: children will have the right to receive and impart information – Again simply using the words parental rights does not define them as there are other areas of the CRC that define them in another manner if it is conducive to the goals of the state or CRC

It is not hysteria or lying to bring up these issues. If one thinks the state knows better and can better raise children then this is probably not an issue to that person. But for those that see the right to raise children as a duty and right given by God to the parent and not the state this is a big issue.

On first blush the CRC seems to give parents rights over their children but the wordings is such that it can be read in many different ways. Thus parents are simply to be guides to the decisions of the children. To be truthful I am not even comfortable with the direction the US has gone with the education of children. Biblically I cannot find where it is the states right to have any say over the education of my children. The president even said in his recent speech that one of his goals is the education of children from birth. You can say that my understanding of that is hysteria if you like but when a government official begins talking about the state educating children from birth I have concerns.

I would suggest you listen to what Mr. Farris has to say about recent court decisions about parental rights in states such as Washington. The CRC will not make this any better. I do not know if you homeschool or not but the duty to raise and educate children is given by God to the parents and not any government entity. If the bible is to be our standard, as it is mine, then any laws such the CRC or any laws internally that seek to remove that right or hinder that right should be shown for what they are.

Jan said...

Some interesting differences of view. Keeping to the allegation numbering:

1. There is no Convention machinery to allow what you suggest. The UN Committee monitoring national progress every 5 years after ratification has no power or machinery to do what you fear. You may well believe that what you say about your duty is true and the CRC has NOTHING to say about your beliefs. It also says you are there to provide direction - words can be used with many meanings. I do not think the CRC stops you from interpreting that word as you do. I suppose the question is around coercion - this is unlikely to happen at say 7 or even 10. Maybe at 13 or 14 and older - then you have a problem anyway, never mind the CRC or the Constitution. If a child at that stage says 'No' that is a problem faced by a family.

Hypothesis - supposing there was a father who said to his son at 13, you will go through some religious ritual to confirm you into a stage of the religion we recognise at your level of maturity. The son says heck no I don't want to. What authority (right) do you think the father has in this? What right has the son? At the extreme has the father to right maybe physically to compel compliance, or to disown, or to starve, beat, abuse? Where would you draw that line? Do you agree that the child, as nearing maturity and adulthood, has probably gone far enough with his father's beliefs and can now say I don't want this?

Another issue - has the state if it is educating that child, a duty to inform the child of all types of faith? These are the serious issues we raise here.

2. Article 6 is fine but that does not stop the US congress from entering binding and enforceable derogations. Simply, this particular convention article does not apply, or if it does it does so within our domestic legislative framework, or it means for us the following. Derogations / qualifications, reservations have been used by other states with strict constitutions, and the US has used such devices with other UN Conventions. That is the job for congress. For details of national reservations:

http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&id=133&chapter=4&lang=en

3. 2 applies. Where smacking has been banned it has always been a domestic legislative process often concluded before the CRC. Article 19 is the key but who can enforce it when the US enters a derogation about US law as other countries with strong written constitutions have already.

4. The answer to this is also at 2 and 3. It would seem to me sense for people with your fears to seek such reservations about non-conflict with national law. This would be more likely of success with the current US administration, and also avoid the pitfall of a huge debate about what ARE parental rights (see below for discourse) which may well alienate many people. You have more chance of a consensus if you approach the CRC issue as one of 'how can we use this to improve the lives and futures of all our children and stay within US legislative jurisdiction and yet also strengthen the role of the US in promoting decent values across the world.

The state already does have a role in defining abuse - including by parents - and within your own laws, federal and state. We perhaps go bcck to the issues raised in 1.

5.But you have the US Constitution. I was told once that in Germany to check the backgrounds of people who want to work with children as employers are able in the UK, to check against police and other records re previous convictions would be unconstitutional. Wow. That isn't the case in the US, so far as I can see states have their own laws and there are also federal laws. If the derogation says that where there is conflict national laws apply, this is not a problem. Same with home-schooling.

6.But parents are not the only instigators of administrative and judicial procedures re children which you already have the the care, education and protection of children. The CRC A12 simply says that whenever this happens, there is such consultation. It does not say the child will get its way, often its immaturity will prevent that. What this says is that were there is an action under national law this consultation should happen. How might that happen. Most commonly, there is a marital breakdown and custody proceedings. At that stage it's important that often feuding parents are caused to stop to hear what their kids are saying. If there are, as so often, claims and counterclaims of unsuitability by the other parent, such consultation of the child may help resolve custody and access. It already happens in most court jurisdictions.

For an academic view of the CRC issue:

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/hrj/iss19/rutkow.shtml#fnB158

7. An issue for much more debate. But the UN has no power or authority or likelihood of either because the CRC has no enforcing machinery. No ICC or Hague Tribunal, no right of complaint by individual children etc, it's all down to your courts and the law of the US. No one will interpret that aspect as meaning paedophiles can send stuff to kids. The CRC is expressly clear on exploitation. The role recognised for parents would mean that their duty, which is stated, to direct ensured children received what was deemed by them to be approrpriate. There is the role of the state in this, and that is not given preference or priority by the CRC.

Discourse: I gather there is the petition re Parental Rights. I think this is a most fascinating area for teasing out what people fear and seek. The CRC exists because enough nations have agreed that children represent a special case because of their immaturity and vulnerability, and who are important in the future development and cohesion of human society.

But can a special case be made for parents in a similar manner. We have a convention outlining rights of children. I do not recall a full 'Charter' of Parental Rights. We should not confuse 'rights' with 'powers' or 'duties'.

If parental rights do exist - and to agree there are children's rights does not imply one says parents have no rights - what are they?

This comes down to the nature of the relationship of parent to child. This is a key issue - parents wouldn't have rights if there were no children, the issue would not exist at all, there are only parents by the fact they have produced or assumed care of children.

Put into a basic either/or, for the sake of discussion, are children:

A. the property of parents to dispose of entirely at their whim and belief, without rights, and only having privileges as granted or revoked by parents, and susceptible to parental dictat and punishment at the parents sole discretion? Their only recourse if they do not wish to comply is to wait for maturity and then leave? That could be one extreme indeed. I suspect many people coming from a religious perspective may see elements of that as true and religiously sanctioned, even if they would not go the whole hog. That is not to say they are monsters, but that may be an aspect of their own upbringing or religious belief. I also am sure it is not held by all who bring up children within their faith etc.

Or

B.Are children in fact held by parents (and the state indeed where it has to have a role) in trust, as being people whose youth requires they be protected, sustained and guided, but whose parents acknowledge this is a stewardship which has a point at which any direction or authority must yield to the young adult's need to be autonomous? Within that framework what rights to children have? Now opponents of the CRC talk of rights of the child against the parent but I would point out there are complementary rights parents and children have which are supreme over any state etc - the right to give and receive love, the right to protect and be protected .... I don't need to thump on about the obvious.

Maybe parents do have rights - I am a grandparent and here we already have legal precedence where, for example, we have a right to access to our grandchildren, one determined by the courts and the UK state after parents forbade access for reasons of adult conflict and where, after children were consulted, they saw their grandparents. So sad, but it happens alas. I am supremely lucky, I don't have such a problem.

So maybe you could start to outline parental rights, as opposed to power. I look forward to your response, it's so important an issue, never mind congress, CRC, US, UK, UN - do children have rights, what ARE they, and do parents have rights, and what ARE they?

Tony said...

Jan:

I will have to get back to you on this as you have written much.

I will add here though that simply because "enough nations have agreed" that does not make their agreement acceptable or correct. So that is an argument that I would not spend much time on as it is not my desire to know what other countries think but to seek what God’s word seeks.

As you may have recognized I do not seek to look at the worlds desires by their reasoning but seek to find the answers to these issues from scripture. My presupposition, we all have them, is that God’s word is infallible and sufficient so I seek the answers to questions such as these not from philosophy but from the world of God. I also realize that many others do not have this same presupposition but again we all have them so I just want to make sure it is clear what mine is.

So a quick answer to the issue of children and parents. From a scriptural standpoint children are a gift of the God to parents (Ps 127:3-5) and they are to be raised in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:1-4), by their parents and not the state or any other governmental institution.

Also, let me add that those that dislike the CRC are no more fond of the direction laws have gone in the US. The fear, and I would say justified fear, is that with the direction the US has gone towards socialism and the removing of the rights of parents over their children the CRC is just another problem that we do not need to face.

So, again I will look over your comments and get back to you in the next week.

The Blandings said...

Tony, May I copy this and post it on my blog? I will include a link. Adonna

Tony said...

Adonna, be my guest as the goal is to get the word out. I pray things are going well with you and your family.

Tony said...

Jan:

It is clear we have a different view of the CRC but it would seem we also have a different view of the government’s role in the life of people in general. I do feel there is a place for government as Rom 13:1-7 shows but that role is to protect the people and to be a servant of the people by God’s standards. In saying this children are to be cared for and protected as God has called out for them to be protected, by their parents. Now I realize in a world where mankind often denies and does everything but what God calls for there may be a need for protections. The issue with writing out those protections, I am not sure I would call them rights, is that they need to be very specific so that they are not used to remove the parents duty and right to care for their children.

I do not know how thing are in England but in the US many have tried to take laws with regards to such areas as abuse of children to include such things as restricting the use of video games to having children go to church and not going to school dances. These are not abuses but areas that parents need to have the right to do as God leads. So I think we need less government not more and having more laws especially international laws such as the CRC are to me not needed and are in reality undesirable.

Here are some short comments on your previous post.

1. I agree this is the situation today but that may not be the situation in the future and as a nation the US should not allow itself to be subject to the courts of other countries. You mention having problems at 13-14 and that may be true but that is the problem of the parent and not the CRC or the state and it needs to be kept that way. There may extenuating and difficult situations that scenarios can be thought up for but in general they are the exception and laws should not be made for the exception, in my opinion.

With regards to the state educating the child I do not think it is the right of the state to do so. If the right of the parent to choose between the state and their educating of their children is truly protected then I guess if a parent goes to the state for education they will get what they get. I can say that from my reading of the founding fathers of the US they would have not foreseen that anything other than the Christian view of God would have been taught. They may have desired there to be liberty in the various views within orthodox Christianity but they would have still seen the teaching of there being one God to be the norm.

2. Again based on our constitution we are not as free as other countries to simply pick and choose what they want to follow and thus the need for an amendment. But as I have said we should not as a nation be seeking to have laws of other nations or groups of nations dictate or have legal authority over our own laws.

3. In the US we have issues in the area of spanking and as it is as there are those that are trying to outlaw it and we do not need the CRC to help move the US in that direction. The problem is the conversation always turns to giving examples of parents that may over do it but again this is usually only a hypothetical scenario or a loan occasion and as I said laws should not be such that the norm is outlawed due to an exception.

4. Again why does the US need an outside Convention/Treaty to be the law of our land?

5.As I have said in the US the way our constitution reads the CRC would be the law and we do not at present have provisions to make this not so as you may have in England. We already have enough trouble in the US with the government intruding in the rights of the people and without sounding like a broken record, but I am sure I am, we do not need the CRC to muddy the waters.

6. The concern is that in all these cases it it’s the courts that decide the interpretation of such things as maturity and ability to make decisions. We in the US need to deal with this and do not need a group of other nations deciding such an issue. None of this says the children are not listened to but often it is the whim of the courts to decide if a child is to have the final say as this sort of thing is not defined in such a way as to make the decision cut and dried.

7. Again that the UN has no authority now does not mean they will not in the future. Our current president seems intent on condescending to some sort of world law or organization. This I would oppose as it would be giving up our sovereignty and place us under the laws of the UN. In the US this is no small issue.

It has been good to discuss these issues and hear the opinion of one from another country. I am not a constitutional law, and do not play one on TV, but simply look at what I can see in the CRC and our constitution and from that I have to conclude that the acceptance of the CRC is unacceptable. As I said before children should have protections under the law but that law needs to be very exacting so as not to in the process leave room to remove or limit the rights and duties of parents to raise their children and God leads them.

Thanks again for your time in this very important subject.

Grace and Peace,
Tony

Jan said...

Tony

We do disagree - I believe children, being human, have the same rights as every other human being. You are right, however, that their immaturity calls on us to protect them - but not to own, control or oppress them. I believe you, being a decent person, would subscribe to that. The US Constitution applies to every citizen, and that includes the children of America. No one could oppose that interpretation. The Declaration of Independence proclaims inalienable, God-given rights for all citizens.

The UN is not an "it", it is an association of States and the US, being one of 5 that has a veto to any changes, will not cede to the UN such power as could enable the UN to over-rule or compel it - FULL STOP. And if the US gave way, you can bet the Russians and Chinese would not.

I have to repeat, the CRC is aspirational, there is no way for it now or in the future to impose its will - it is, after all, a piece of paper, not an army ...

If the US wants to protect its options it can, and no doubt will, write in the safeguards - and the CRC is double-edged. It can, has and will be used by parents and others to stop government encroachment on their children's rights. I am seriously looking at just that here, and the UN CRC will aid us not give the govt here power.

Thanks for the cordial tone of the debate across the 3,000 miles between us - I suspect that if we talked on wider issues, we'd agree on much but probably come at it from different viewpoints. That's democracy, and it works across national barriers.

Tony said...

Jan

It has been good to discuss this subject and I also appreciate the cordial tone of the conversation. The internet sure makes quick work of 3000 miles as I wish travel that far was this easy.

Tony said...

I came across the following this morning as an example of why we have enough issues in the US that we do not need any other laws to confuse and even make the problem worse:

From World Net Daily:
-A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged."

-The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.

-The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.

-The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

- Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, "What's in the best interest of the minor children," and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother's.