Friday, May 26, 2006

UN Endangers American Homeschoolers' Rights

Yet another danger to the liberty of parents has appeared on the horizon. After fighting in the courts for over twenty years for the right of citizens of the United States to homeschool, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) warns that even though the U.S. has never ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, its provisions could still be binding on the U.S. "How is this possible?" one may ask---because of activist judges.

Below is the majority of the story as it appeared in LifeSiteNews:

According to a new "interpretation" of what is known as "customary international law," some U.S. judges have ruled that, even though the U.S. Senate and President have never ratified the Convention, it is still binding on American parents. "In the 2002 case of Beharry v. Reno, one federal court said that even though the Convention was never ratified, it still has an 'impact on American law'," Farris explained. "The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence."

Under the Convention, severe limitations are placed on a parent's right to direct and train their children. As explained in a 1993 Home School Court Report by the HSLDA, under Article 13, parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deemed unacceptable. Under Article 14, children are guaranteed "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" - in other words, children have a legal right to object to all religious training. And under Article 15, the child has a right to "freedom of association." "If this measure were to be taken seriously, parents could be prevented from forbidding their child to associate with people deemed to be objectionable companions," the HSLDA report explained.

Farris explains that, in 1995, "the United Kingdom was deemed out of compliance" with the Convention "because it allowed parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes without consulting the child". Farris argues that, "by the same reasoning, parents would be denied the ability to homeschool their children unless the government first talked with their children and the government decided what was best. This committee would even have the right to determine what religious teaching, if any, served the child's best interest."

Farris suggests that there are several solutions to the dangers presented by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for Americans. "First, Congress has the power to define customary international law. It also has the power to modify the jurisdiction of federal courts. Congress needs to address this issue of judicial tyranny by enacting legislation that limits the definition of customary international law to include only provisions of treaties that Congress has ratified."

"Second, Congress could pass an amendment to the Constitution, stating explicitly that no provision of any international agreement can supersede the constitutional rights of an American citizen. Two such amendments have been proposed in Congress, but neither was ratified."

"Third, the specific threat to parental rights can be solved by putting a clear parents' rights amendment into the black and white text of the United States Constitution."

In countries like the UK and Canada, which have already ratified the Convention, it is less clear what measures can be adopted, although similar measures are likely possible.

The first paragrah of that quote chills the soul. How can U.S. courts get away with subverting the sovereignty of this nation? This kind of activism was, in fact, the most nauseating aspect of the Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas decision of 2003. In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited decisions made by the British Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights as justification for striking down a Texas law. Hello?! The U.S. is sovereign; we are not under European law!

Of course, children have the right to be free from physical abuse. However, the right to raise one's children according to the dictates of one's own conscience is foundational to true freedom. Children lack both the intellectual capacity and the wisdom their parents have gained over decades. The beauty of families is their unique ability to shape children into competent adults. While schools may help in this process, even the best public institutions cannot touch the socialization and education that occurs almost by osmosis in an adequate family. Although the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recognizes that women are "wise" enough to decide whether or not their babies in utero are worthy of life, women apparently do not possess the requisite wisdom to make educational decisions for even the youngest of their offspring, according to the UN.

This is ludicrous. Many children and teenagers believe their parents are unfair and dislike their rules. Yet when they become full-fledged adults with families of their own, they come to appreciate those parental diktats that had previously left them railing against the "injustices" they had suffered. Now the UN gives the right to children to decide how they are educated? Even in the U.S.? How is that accomplished? Do bureaucrats with no intimate knowledge of and relationship with the child waltz into a homeschool family's abode and sit a little six year old down to discuss how he feels about being stuck at home while other little boys and girls are playing with lots of children on the playground and doing neat art projects? One can see how easily a government agent with an agenda could manipulate a child into saying he dislikes homeschooling and would prefer public education.

Courts of the United States, do not treasonously betray our sovereignty! Congress, it's long past time to remind the judiciary that it is not the strongest branch of this government and was never meant to be.


At 5/26/2006 8:37 AM, Blogger Politakid said...

It's shocking to think that the UN can have jurisdiction over domestic matters like this. No US court should rely on the decisions of Europe. Didn't we fight a revolution so we wouldn't have to do that?

Why is it that the UN twiddles its thumbs on important human rights matters (Darfur, etc), but finds the time to (indirectly) threaten homeschools? Unless they are harming the child, a parent, not the gov't, should be able to make decisions regarding the child.

At 5/26/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

Didn't we fight a war to get out from under European law? Are these judges intentionally trying to undo the American Revolution?

At 5/26/2006 9:38 AM, Blogger gutshot said...

How better to indoctrinate the leaders of the future by forcing them into ideological training called public schools? A parent might have enough free will to tell their kids that global warming is a bunch of bunk, or to teach their kids that the Ten Commandments are an excellent model to live their lives by.

The UN is all about revoking rights, by the way. That is, unless you are trying to build nuclear weapons to destroy sovereign nations whose religion anoints them as "Chosen People." Then you're welcome to do whatever you want, even so far as to persecute and kill peaceful members of minor religions in your country.

It's long been time for the US to withdraw from the UN. Let them come crawling back to us for all the aid we've ponied up all these years.

At 5/26/2006 12:08 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

You know, U.S. approval ratings for the UN are about as low as President Bush's. I wonder why the MSM isn't publicizing that daily...

At 5/27/2006 4:32 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

What makes me laugh about relying on foreign law for US decisions is how selective judges are. They didn't rely on Saudia Arabian law for the SCOTUS decision about the death penalty for adolescents, they didn't rely on the Pakistani law for Lawrence. They aren't relying foreign law for ideas, they are searching for justification for what they want to be law in the USA. It's like pouring through books til you find some writer who agrees with you and using him as the final word.

At 5/27/2006 9:59 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Isn't that the truth? I had wondered about that too. Why are the judges in our courts becoming Euro-philes? I assume you were laughing derisively as I for one am not amused at all. I think it's a travesty of justice and treachery towards our Constitution.


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