While analyzing H.R. 3200 I mentioned the clear violation of States rights as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. How ironic is it that I completed my analysis of the President’s speech on health care to the Joint Session of Congress just in time for Constitution Day?
At first, I thought of writing a “traditional” Constitution Day type post where I might point out the fact that on September 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the final time and signed the Constitution of the United States of America. I thought of pointing out the fact that I scored 100% in the sample naturalization test, and the Founding Father I am most like is James Madison, from Virginia, but as you know, I’m not like anybody else. The U.S. Constitution is the cornerstone of our nation’s laws and it’s important to read it, learn it, and respect it, everyday, not just on September 17th each year.
One of the biggest dangers to our Constitution is the constant stripping away of our rights by those who do so “for the common good”. Whether it’s in the name of protecting our country from terrorism, providing health care for all, or defining the rights of a child, no act, no comprehensive bill, and no U.N. Convention should be allowed to erode our rights as citizens of this great nation.
Some of our liberties slipped away with the signing of the Patriot Act and its subsequent amendments and addendums. The government wants to infringe on States rights, and more of our liberties with H.R. 3200, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if adopted by the United States, will supersede American law and severely restrict the rights of parents in the United States.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, has some far reaching implications. Let’s review some of the more interesting (and frightening) sections of the CRC.
Article 2 states that all states parties shall “take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.”
This article will protect the child from punishment. Please take a moment and read it again, carefully. This article would terminate a parents right to discipline their children for any reason, regardless of the parent’s opinions or beliefs.
Article 5 says, “States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.”
Article 5 seems to contradict Article 2 by “respecting the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents”, but then we learn that this idea only applies with the “evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance”. As long as you, as a parent, are working to help your child evolve in the appropriate direction your rights will be respected.
Article 7 states that “the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents“.
Children will have the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. What about those children who are adopted? Yes, it’s a clear violation of the child’s rights if they are denied the right (from birth) to know and be cared for by their parents.
Things really start to get interesting with Article 13, which says,
1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals.
This article gives a child the right to completely disregard the authority of his or her parents when interacting with any form of information, art, or media. This right is guaranteed even if the parents deem the material unacceptable.
Article 14 protects the child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and places strict limitations on the rights and duties of parents forcing them to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with their evolving capabilities. For example, an Episcopalian parent may be required to provide direction to their Satan worshipping child in a manner consistent with the evolving capabilities of the child’s thoughts and conscience. It’s one thing to retain a freedom of religion, it’s quite another to force a parent to help their child pursue that freedom.
Article 15 recognizes the rights of the child to “freedom of association” and “freedom of peaceful assembly“.
In other words, that demure daughter of yours will have the right to associate with anyone she wants whether you like it or not. Yes, that includes the bagboy at the supermarket with 32 piercings and the skull tattoo.
Article 16 states,
No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation
Your child will have the right to privacy and shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference from anyone, including family. This means you will no longer have the right to inspect your sons room for drugs, take the pornography from under his mattress, or have the right to parental notification before that demure daughter of yours obtains an abortion because she was spending so much time with the bagboy mentioned above.
Article 19 establishes the monitoring of families to guarantee that a child’s rights have not been violated.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
These are just a few of the 54 articles defined in the CRC. The CRC was adopted and opened for signature and ratification on November 20, 1989. It became enforceable on September 2, 1990. The United States has not signed nor adopted the convention, yet a federal judge in New York has already ruled that the treaty is in fact binding on the United States under the doctrine of customary international law.
Many of the articles of the CRC consist of common sense ideas and definitions, but many of them only serve to erode the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. Parental rights is one of the fundamental rights that was left out of our U.S. Constitution and something needs to be done to prevent international treaties, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, from superseding the rights of parents in choosing what’s best for their children.
So what can we do about it? Parentalrights.org has information on the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution called the Parental Rights Amendment.
The Parental Rights Amendment (H.J.RES.42) states,
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.
The purpose of the amendment is to guarantee parental rights and specifically prohibit international law from superseding those rights. The laws of all 50 states which pertain to children and parents would be superseded by the CRC because of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution which states,
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, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Unless an amendment is made to the U.S. Constitution which prevents states from being bound by international treaties, every state law regarding the rights of the child or the parent will be null and void. Virtually all law pertaining to children and their parents falls under state law. I’m still not sure I fully support the Parental Rights Amendment as it is written, but I would support any amendment to the Constitution which stated,
“No treaty made under the Authority of the United States will supersede the rights of citizens or the laws of any State.”
That’s about as simple as it can get and would be sure to pass by an overwhelming margin. Time is of the essence because America is finally at the point of adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. President Barack Obama supports the treaty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a leading advocate of this treaty for over twenty years, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has made it clear that it’s the intention of Congress to ratify the treaty during this term of Congress.
Are you going to step up and say something, or will you sit idly by as our rights are slowly eroded? Remember, our country was founded by “we the people” and it will grow stronger by our action or fail miserably because of our inaction.
Many people feel that nothing can be done to change the direction of our country. Those people are wrong. On September 17th, 1787, fifty-six men gathered to chart a new course for our young country. All it took was stepping up and putting forth the effort to get things done.