Teach the Controversy: UN Convention on Rights of the Child

6 03 2009

Without getting into evolution today, I write of another controversy with many lessons to teach us — whether to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

My local homeschool list has been debating a statewide legislative alert, urging all homeschooling parents to contact US senators to be sure they know we believe ratifying it would destroy the family as we know it.

Will the United States undermine our Constitution and all that is holy about child-rearing families headed by autonomous parents, if we formally ratify the Convention? Our new president (you know, the constitutional scholar, redeemed Christian and the devoted father of two young daughters being raised in a strong, close nuclear family) thinks it’s high time we officially ratify the rights of the child. The conservative religious right says no, it’s high time we officially protect parent rights instead. The Vatican signed it right away, almost 20 years ago.

I say congruent parent and child human rights are the highest and best value, so any manufactured controversy setting them up to clash rather than converge, within the family or the society, ought to be a red flag, but here we are with two conflicting sides to the controversy, so let’s see which is the higher value.

We could start with which is the right QUESTION? How best to protect worldwide every child’s basic human right to learn, think and live free — or how to protect American parental rights to do as they see fit with and to their own spawn? What would Jesus ask first, I wonder?

Here is a southern conservative evangelical law professor writing in this paper many thoughts about how we could at least ask better questions, if we want to understand each other and move forward rather than just teach more controversies and never resolve or reconcile conflict. It’s a pdf file and if you don’t want to read it now, please, save it because you may need it sometime you least expect it.

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15 responses

11 03 2009
Mrs. C

I think we agree that there are some fundamental rights every human being should have!

*Are they violated in such a way in this country that the UN treaty would solve, or come close to solving, these problems?

*Would our ratifying this treaty ensure children (esp. girls!) are treated well in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Zambia?

*Would Jesus look to an international treaty to help these problems? I don’t think He would.

BUT… that being said, sometimes I think we homeschoolers get so independently minded that we don’t see that there really are people out there who need help raising their children or maybe there are even a few children the state needs to protect from their parents! It’s too bad we can’t all live in the land of Dick and Jane where every child is cared for and Daddy (age 17, look at the pictures LOL!) comes home from work in his little pressed suit and fedora hat.

11 03 2009
JJ

So which do you think is the more high-minded and humane (or Jesus-emulating) question then, Mrs. C?

“We could start with which is the right QUESTION? How best to protect worldwide every child’s basic human right to learn, think and live free — or how to protect American parental rights to do as they see fit with and to their own spawn? What would Jesus ask first, I wonder?”

11 03 2009
JJ

It’s not unlike the economic crisis, school system and health care reform, climate change, you name it. Wearing only the black hat and just trashing every strategy or solution because we can’t all agree on anything that matters — so that we’re left with nothing that can work to make anything that matters better — is the Logic of Failure.

The Logic of Failure is now being proven a bankrupt idea, in every crisis we face. So imo THAT is the single most important thing to stop tolerating and move beyond.

And it seems to me that Real Education (not schooling but real education) is the only hope. The people who disagree with me on that, who imagine education is the enemy because it undermines perfect liberty or some divine plan or promised Utopia — or just because they are “conservative” and don’t want change — may be right in the specifics they argue on such issues, but if the end result continues to be the Logic of Failure, it’s no better for anyone than if they were dead wrong about everything. The end result is the same. We all lose.

11 03 2009
Mrs. C

See, JJ, I see the *reasonable* right of every parent to do with his child as he sees fit *as* protecting the rights of the child. Mind you, I’m NOT way into the idea that a child should never ever be taken from abusive parents or that parents have the right to treat their children as chattel. I just see that when children know they are safe and secure in their homes that they benefit.

Maybe I also fall into this camp because of what I’ve seen schools do to special-needs kids. I guess because I don’t trust the state or the employees of the state to be any less abusive than mediocre to bad parents.

HORRIBLE awful parents maybe. Or… Perhaps I am just biased against anything that has “UN” written on it (granted!!).

In answer to your second question, I think the laws we have now are perfectly serviceable. (Perhaps too much in favour of the state, but another day.) I don’t see where we need a new law or where that would benefit American children. I agree that sometimes we bash things because they’re not perfect, but I don’t know that that applies in this case. I see it as potentially making everything overall worse, though of course the only way to know for sure is to see it in practice. Which I hope we don’t. :]

11 03 2009
Mrs. C

OK, I can’t remember if I shared my WHY I homeschool post with you. Bad as our state laws are, I can’t imagine if we had international law governing our families. There would be nowhere to hide. Good, if you’re abusing your kid… Bad, if the system is. :]

I thought I’d pop on and share this link with you

http://nomoseclusion.blogspot.com/

It’s run by a MO mom with a child on the spectrum. I’m NOT alone in having problems with public schools and state entities. And the law is not on the side of the children!! :[

(OK, I know that sounds contradictory, but I think this CAN be changed at the state level! I think someday it will be!)

11 03 2009
JJ

Again — I am not talking about “School” as an answer. It’s as broken and problem-generating as our other institutions, and just another source of endless conflict without much actual progress toward making things better imo.

I am talking not about School but about universal education for critical thinking, so we might finally serve our own best interest as humans, in moving past controversy and clash and devolution. About being able to help ourselves both individually AND as communities with symbiotic and converging interests rather than enemies (the same as you and I agree parent-child interests converge and reinforce each other, rather than competing in some zero-sum game.)

Does that make sense, that until we actually learn for ourselves how to do better, we can’t possibly do better?

11 03 2009
Mrs. C

Yes, it sure does make sense. I think past certain very basic basics, though, we may disagree on specifics. Each child has the right to food and drink and a reasonably safe home. The right to live without fear of what the parents will do to him.

But even THESE basics may be lacking in loving homes, which I found an interesting argument.

http://acceptancewithjoy.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/answers-to-my-commenters/

Scroll down a bit and read the story, which I think you will find thought-provoking. :[

14 03 2009
Latest Homeschool Freakout from World Net Daily « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Add in outright child abuse under religious cover as in the CA case of the Long family (that case dragged over 20-plus years btw, using fringe dominionist dogma and homeschooling to claim freedom for serious ignorance and mental illness to inflict chronic child abuse.) I think the so-called “Octomom” looks like another example of child abuse via parental mental illness. It would not be moral or ethical for any of us to let our own parent rights concerns put us on the wrong side of helping such children, locally and all around the world. […]

26 05 2009
Tough Case: Church v State for the Life of Daniel Hauser « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Teach the Controversy: UN and the Rights of the Child […]

12 06 2009
Homeschool Freedom Fighting: It’s So Not About the UN « Cocking A Snook!

[…] and Hitler and dark suspicions that our fellow citizens and elected leaders are conspiring to strangle homeschool parents with the UN Convention on the Rights of the […]

21 06 2009
Power of Story Behind Homeschool Regulation Psychology? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] See also Teach the Controversy: UN Convention on Rights of the Child […]

26 06 2009
JJ

Here Mr HSLDA Michael Farris himself, gives reasons that he thinks argue against passage, but that *I* think are wonderful endorsements of why we should pass it asap! 😉

Farris recently wrote a detailed critique of the Rights of the Child treaty, contending that it potentially could bar U.S. parents from spanking their children, and empower young people to have abortions and choose a religion without parental consent.

So what’s not to like??

27 06 2009
Nance Confer

Ugh. His tripe has been on all the hsing lists. And the predictable “call now, the sky is falling” reaction has followed.

Nance

27 06 2009
JJ

Then obviously we need some new hsing lists. There’s no real relationship between control-freak child-beating authoritarian lawyer-preachers, and home education . . .

16 10 2009
Never Mind That Using Kids Is Immoral in Any Belief System « Cocking A Snook!

[…] forget all the UN Rights of the Child versus HSLDA “Parent Rights” claims and petitions and controversy. More here and […]

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