Exclusive: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Would Threaten the American Family
by CHRIS CARTER
January 9, 2009
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a treaty that is extremely damaging to parental rights and the family structure, as well as our national sovereignty. The CRC was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, but opposition by members of the Senate kept the treaty from being ratified. Legislators found that it was incompatible with the rights of the parents to raise their children. But new Democrat majorities in Congress and a new administration in the White House make ratification of the CRC far more likely. President-elect Barack Obama has already expressed his support of the CRC and has said, “It is embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia,” the only other UN nation not to ratify the CRC. If our government were to ratify the CRC, the UN would undermine parental authority through government control of our children.
Our Constitution and Supreme Court protect the fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. After all, parents act in the best interest of their children, and know better how to raise their child than bureaucrats half a world away. Two Supreme Court cases are in direct conflict with the CRC. In Reno v. Flores, the Court held that “The 'best interests of the child' is not the legal standard that governs parents' or guardians' exercise of their custody.” Then, following Troxel v. Granville, Justice David Souter stated that parents cannot be overruled “merely because the judge might think himself more enlightened than the child's parent.” But the Constitution states that once treaties are ratified they become “the supreme Law of the land.” Existing laws are overruled in favor of the treaty, and in the case of the CRC, almost all American laws concerning children and parental rights and the Constitution itself are overturned. The UN would have the final say over what is in the best interests of the child.
The UN's own Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” However, pulling the child out of public school in favor of home schooling without the child's approval violates the CRC. Christian education curriculum is in violation as well. The treaty also establishes a global curriculum for schools, which could drive home schooling and private schools into extinction.
New “rights” granted to children under the CRC include: freedom of expression, thought, association, privacy, conscience, religion, a right to rest and leisure, and more. Full abortion and contraceptive rights are granted, even against the wishes of the parents. Any child under the age of 18 is protected from “degrading punishment” and “physical violence,” ranging from spanking to the death penalty for minors – even for murder and rape.
National children's health insurance and other welfare programs would be created for the U.S. in order to comply with CRC. The CRC even establishes a framework for the child to seek government review for every parental decision – a Pandora's Box of litigation.
Children are guaranteed to have access to material of any kind, even material that parents find unacceptable. Protecting your children from pornography would be in violation of their “freedom of expression” and “right to privacy.” Bringing your children to church against their will would violate their “freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” as would forbidding your child from joining a cult or gang.
Perhaps worse than what is in the treaty is what is not in the treaty. When Australia argued that spanking was not specifically banned, the Committee replied: “the Convention should be interpreted holistically taking into consideration not only its specific provisions, but also the general principals which inspired it.” Meaning: the CRC is interpreted however the Committee wants it to be.
Phyllis Schafly, the Founder of the Eagle Forum, tells FamilySecurityMatters.org: “Unlike our U.S. Constitution, which only mentions rights that can be enforced against the government, this UN treaty declares rights of the child against parents, the family, private institutions, and society as whole. Do we really want to give every child the legal right to say anything he wants to his parents at the dinner table? To watch television ("access to the media") instead of doing homework? To escape household chores because they interfere with his UN right to "rest and leisure"? To join a cult instead of attending his parents' church? To refuse to speak English in our public schools? I think not. The UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child should be rejected as contrary to American constitutional law and common sense.”
Ratification of the CRC would destabilize marriage and weaken families, which would in fact provide a more damaging environment for children. Studies show that without the structure of traditional family, society is more likely to become dependent on government. Passage of this treaty would all but eliminate parental rights, destroy the family structure, and place control of U.S. domestic policy in the hands of a United Nations committee.