“Pro-family.” People toss that around a lot, especially when they want support from values voters. But what does that even mean, anyway? To some it means to be pro-nuclear family and pro-parent, to others it represents an anti-LGBT anti-atheist perspective. I’m a parent, and I support the efforts of those who seek to empower parents with better access to resources for their families, so I consider myself pro-family. Which is why I support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The text of the treaty itself covers a lot of freedoms such as freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion, and expression, as well as more concrete things like the rights to health care and an education. Unfortunately, objections like those at ParentalRights.org have prevented this treaty from ratification in United States (the only other nation to similarly refuse is Somalia). What could a “pro-family” parental rights group possibly have against this? Fancy that, they made a list of their objections [in their wording]:
- Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
- According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
- 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 CRC.
- Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
- Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
Can you feel yourself fill with outrage against the UN’s attempt to impose its values upon the rest of us? I say that with sarcasm – in fact, I’m cheering them on. I want to see a world in which my child and all his friends have their basic freedoms and rights protected by international treaty.
This “pro-family” group is out there trying to block it from being ratified. They’re trying to pass a constitutional amendment to make sure that none of the items on this list ever happen. They want a world in which freedom of religion is limited to adults only. They feel threatened by the limits placed on child labor and global warfare. Make no mistake, the Parental Rights Amendment is anti-child and anti-family.
There are a few things we can do to help. Donate to organizations (below) that support the US ratification of the CRC. Write congress and urge them to ratify it. Try to find teachable moments with acquaintances on how being pro-family includes supporting the rights of children. Most of all, don’t give up.
Organizations Supporting the US Ratification of the UN CRC:
Child Right’s Campaign http://childrightscampaign.org/
Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/11/18/us-ratify-children-s-treaty
Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth http://www.cafety.org/youth-rights-and-violations/712-us-ratification-of-convention-on-the-rights-of-the-child-crc