The Governmental Potter
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” John F. Kennedy penned these words of truth, and they serve as a vivid reminder of the importance of our children. Paul, through inspiration, admonished the fathers in Ephesus bring their children “up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). The Bible is replete with both commands and examples of the parental responsibility of rearing children to fear God and keep His commandments. Indeed, children are unmolded clay that will forge future governments, businesses, and the church. However, if many politicians have their way, the molding process for those children is about to be transformed and placed squarely into the hands of the government.
A piece of legislation is quietly resurfacing in the United States that Christians need to familiarize themselves with. All countries except two (the United States and Somalia) have adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). As such, America is under heavy pressure to adopt this treaty and join the other nations that have signed on. While this basics of this treaty sound appealing—protecting children from various types of abuse and neglect—the truth reveals that veiled under legal jargon is the undoing of the American family home. This treaty places strips away parents’ rights and elevates children’s rights, allowing the United Nations to dictate how American children are brought up.
A quick history lesson
From the beginning of our country’s inception there has never been a question as to parents possessing the right to raise their children. Parental rights were so fundamental and basic that not much thought was ever given to laws declaring the parents’ rights. Even though parental rights are not specifically mentioned in the United States Constitution or the amendments, there have been several court opinions that make it clear that the state does not control the upbringing of children. For instance, eighty years ago the Supreme Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925). More recently the Court upheld this line of reasoning with the declaration that the “primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established It was unspoken that parental rights were a part of the fundamental foundation of our nation’s heritage.
Change is in the wind
Those rights are in real danger of being completely stripped away. Because of the UNCRC status as a “treaty,” the U.S. Constitution mandates that it is supreme to any state laws regarding children and parents. Thus this treaty would supersede any state law. And sadly, this treaty has the support of many Washington politicians. For instance, President Obama supports the UNCRC, as does Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In fact, Clinton has been promoting this treaty for over twenty years. One of the most liberal senators in office, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has “promised” that this treaty will be ratified during this term of Congress. So exactly what changes do these politicians want to bring to the American family? Carefully consider what the UNCRC proposes:
- Good parents would no longer be entitled to the legal presumption that they act in the best interests of their children. Instead, the government would have the authority to overrule all parents on any decision concerning the child if the government believed it could make a better decision.
- Parents could no longer spank their children—even in the home.
- Children would have the legal right to choose their own religion. Parents would be permitted only to give advice.
- Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
- Christian schools that refuse to teach “alternative worldviews” and teach that Christianity is the only true religion “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty.
- Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the UNCRC.
- Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
- A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
- America would be under a binding legal obligation to massively increase its federal spending on children’s programs because it states the nation cannot spend more on defense than on children’s welfare.
- A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
An Experiment Gone Bad
Several years ago, Washington State tried to adopt an UNCRC-type policy for their state. The result was a legal nightmare for both parents and children. As evidence, consider the following two cases that occurred as a result of the law as reported by Michael Farris on www.parentalrights.org:
Case #1 A thirteen-year-old boy in Washington State was removed from his parents after he complained to school counselors that his parents took him to church too often. His school counselors had encouraged him to call Child Protective Services with his complaint, which led to his subsequent removal and placement in foster care. It was only after the parents agreed to a judge’s requirement of less-frequent church attendance that they were able to recover their son.
Case #2 In the early 1980s, a landmark parental rights case reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The case involved 13-year-old Sheila Marie Sumey, whose parents were alarmed when they found evidence of their daughter’s participation in illegal drug activity and escalating sexual involvement. Their response was to act immediately to cut off the negative influences in their daughter’s life by grounding her.
But when Sheila went to her school counselors complaining about her parent’s actions, she was advised that she could be liberated from her parents because there was “conflict between parent and child.” Listening to the advice she had received, Sheila notified Child Protective Services (CPS) about her situation. She was subsequently removed from her home and placed in foster care.
Her parents, desperate to get their daughter back, challenged the actions of the social workers in court. They lost. Even though the judge found that Sheila’s parents had enforced reasonable rules in a proper manner, the state law nevertheless gave CPS the authority to split apart the Sumey family and take Sheila away.
In an interview years later, Shelia stated that what the court should have done was rebuke her and send her back to her parents. By breaching the door open into our homes, the courts have allowed more and more judges to deny the role of parents, opting instead for governmental intervention for the family. If the UNCRC passed it would give Congress the power to directly legislate on all subjects necessary to comply with the treaty. The family home would become a ward of the federal government. It would also set precedent and become the largest shift of power from the states to the federal government in American history.
“What Can We Do About it?”
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently by Christians is this: “What can we do about it?” That’s a valid question, and one that needs to be addressed whenever problems are presented. The three things I would strongly urge Christians to consider are: (1) contact your state representatives and let them know you don’t want them supporting this treaty; (2) visit www.parentalrights.org and read the information they have on creating an amendment to protect children by empowering parents through the passage of the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (While I’m not one who favors adding lots of amendments to our Constitution, I think this one is now necessary); and (3) help get the word out. Isn’t it time Christians stand up and protect our most valuable resource?