Thursday, February 05, 2009

Don't Be Fooled

Maybe you've gotten an email warning you that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton are preparing to push through ratification of a 90's era UN treaty on children's rights which will:

  • prohibit children from being spanked or homeschooled
  • allow children to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion
  • give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision
  • allow a child to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed
  • make it illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare
Much of this "information" comes from a website called

Funny thing is, if you actually read the treaty, it says none of these things. You will also find out that this 90's era treaty was actually written and passed by the UN during the administration of George H. W. Bush, not Bill Clinton. In fact, the treaty protects the rights of individuals to home school, rather than abolishing it (Article 29, pt. 2). In fact, most of the rights guaranteed by this treaty are already current US law, and in many respects it is a reflection of the rights enshrined in our own Bill of Rights.

ParentalRights.Org is registered to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which is a conservative organization that takes stands on issues often not related to home schooling, such as advocating for the nomination of John Ashcroft and in opposition to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Religious Liberty Protection Act. Not all homeschooling organizations are entirely happy with the dominant role HSLDA has assigned itself.

So why would a homeschooling organization attack a UN treaty that is clearly no threat to homeschooling? I honestly don't know. But before you buy into their frightening story of UN troopers kicking down your door, consider what they don't mention in their 20 Things You Need to Know, items that aren't current US law but would become US law if this treaty were ratified.

Things like:
  • Article 18, pt.3 would guarantee child-care services as a right to all children
  • Article 24 would mandate health care as a right for all children and pregnant mothers
  • Article 27 would establish a minimal standard of living as a basic right of all children, and mandate government-paid child support for poor families, especially in regard to nutrition, clothing and shelter

Whose political agenda is opposed to these things? And why sound the alarm now, when this treaty has sat unratified by the US Senate since 1989? Maybe because President Obama and Secretary Clinton support it?

The UN document speaks for itself. The United States and Somalia are the only two countries not to sign on. Signing it would largely be a symbollic gesture. The treaty is about protecting children from abuse and neglect, not what HSLDA would have you believe. But ratification of the treaty could be used to open the door to healthcare, daycare and minimal standards of living for all children. And we can't have that.

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