UN Child Rights Treaty Will Expand Government, Hurt Children
by CHRIS CARTER
June 29, 2009
The Obama administration is renewing efforts to sign a United Nations treaty supposedly aimed at protecting children's rights. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN announced last Monday that the administration is investigating “when and how it might be possible to join” the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
While a treaty codifying children's rights may sound harmless, the true nature of this treaty is devastating to our family structure, Constitution, national sovereignty and security. New rights granted the child would include the right to “thought, conscience and religion.”
Do our children not already enjoy these rights? Our nation is already party to the treaty's two optional protocols: one preventing Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, the other preventing Children in Armed Conflict.
Why either of the two is “optional” is disturbing.
Our country and our children stand to gain nothing from the passage of this treaty. In fact, the CRC would provide a far more damaging environment for children. So why are politicians like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) – who pushed for a 60-day timeline for ratification – so anxious to sign?
In many ways, the CRC is a match made in Heaven for today's Democrat agenda. Upon ratification, Congress would have the power to enact any legislation in order to comply with the treaty. The result would be what the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) calls “the most massive shift of power from the states to the federal government in American history.” National children's health insurance and other social programs would be created in order to comply with the CRC. The U.S. would have to curtail defense spending in order to keep in proportion with these social expenses. To a western European country whose defense our military has subsidized for decades, this would have no major impact. But the effect would be devastating to both our economy and our security.
In addition, enacting policy through treaty serves to insulate your agenda from elections. “If they can put all of their left-wing socialist policies into treaty form, we're stuck with it even if they lose the next election.” said Michael Farris, constitutional lawyer and founder of the HSLDA, in an interview with World Net Daily.
The treaty establishes a global curriculum for schools, which could drive home-schooling and private schools into extinction. This would sit well with the National Education Administration, to whom Barack Obama promised that he would do everything within his power to pass the CRC. Advocates of the treaty have maintained that its passage would have no negative effect on home-schooling. However, the HSLDA reports that just this month the CRC was used to propose heavy regulation for home-schooling in a report that was accepted by the British government.
The CRC grants many new “rights” to children, such as the freedom of expression, thought, association, privacy, conscience, religion, a right to rest and leisure, and more. Unfortunately, the UN does not count the rights of unborn children, as full abortion 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. Parents who punish their children would become criminals.
Children would be guaranteed access to material of any kind, even material that parents would find unacceptable.
Protecting your children from pornography would violate 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. The CRC even establishes a framework for the child to seek government review for every parental decision as part of their “right to be heard,” opening a Pandora's Box of litigation.
Christian education curriculum would be in violation of the CRC. The American Bar Association, which supports the treaty, argues that by refusing to teach “alternative worldviews,” Christian schools are violating the treaty. Christianity, however, apparently does not count as an “alternative worldview” to the CRC, as teaching about Christianity in school is a violation. Parents could no longer opt out of sex education, as that is also a violation.
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.” Translation: the CRC is interpreted however the Committee wants it to be.
The CRC also overrules the UN's own Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” However, withdrawing your child from public school in favor of home schooling without the child's consent would violate the CRC.
Our Supreme Court has repeatedly referenced 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. Two Supreme Court cases in particular 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.”
According to Meg Gardinier, acting chairwoman of a national coalition backing the CRC, “No UN treaty will ever usurp the national sovereignty of this country.” But according to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, if the CRC is ratified it becomes “the supreme Law of the land.”
No other nation has such a clause enabling treaties to trump domestic laws. Existing laws are overruled in favor of the treaty, and in the case of the CRC, almost all laws concerning children and parental rights are overturned. A UN committee's interpretation of an open-ended document becomes the final arbiter over what is in the best interests of our children.
The fact that we have not become a signatory to the CRC may be “an embarrassment” to Obama. But giving UN bureaucrats control of our children is an abomination.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Chris Carter hosts the talk radio program Unto the Breach, which covers international terrorism and issues of national security. He is a research analyst at the Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation. He also serves on the information committee of the 2010 Medal of Honor Convention project. Visit him online at http://www.crushingchris.com/.