The information contained on these pages is intended to awaken you to the reality we face as parents today. Our nation is steadily marching towards the loss of freedom for parents to direct the education and upbringing of their own children. Please read carefully and share broadly so that as more and more parents realize the present danger, our voices can combine to put a stop to this insanity.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Two Philosophies Behind the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child seems benevolent or at least benign to many parents. Parents ask, “Who could oppose such a noble endeavor?” However, before supporting or simply ignoring this treaty, they must understand the philosophies that underlie it and the potential impact. Two philosophies summarize the heart of this UN treaty. The first is that the government knows what is best for children better than parents. The second is that, as international human rights theory promotes, governments are obligated to protect not just rights, but also to provide services at the child’s request, even over the parent’s objections. Taken together, this means that government has the final say in the upbringing of children.

The two philosophies work together but can be understood best by first examining them separately. The first philosophy has been promoted by Hillary Clinton in a number of her books and also by other prominent figures. They all advocate that government or its experts are better equipped to decide how a child should be raised. Article three of the treaty says that government will always seek the best interest of the child in all it does. While all parents would agree with seeking the best interest of their own children, the crux of the problem lies in “who decides what is best?” According to this philosophy, the government decides rather than the parent. This alone is a dangerous philosophy to apply in American law.

The second philosophy is an application of general international human rights theory to the area of child rights. America has long held rights to be God-given, or inalienable, and thus protected both by the government and from the government. The international view goes further and also holds rights as services or goods that the individual can claim from the government. Article 18 of the treaty creates a vague open door by saying that parent’s primary responsibility is to seek the best interest of the child AND the government will provide appropriate assistance. The central question to ask are “who decides when that assistance is needed?”. Under this philosophy, the government and its experts will make that decision. From there, article 12 adds fuel to the fire by saying that the child should have their voice heard in all administrative and judicial matters affecting them. Therefore, the child can petition the government directly to complain that their parents are not seeking their best interest and expect that the government will step in to provide appropriate assistance. Ultimately, articles 18 and 12 do not give the child freedom, but it instead enslaves them to the government and removes their most ardent protectors, the parents. Under the current system, parents serve as barriers to outside forces that would harm children or infringe on their rights. This new system would be replace parents with government representatives who would become the final line of defense protecting “their” children.

Taken together, the federal government and its experts decide what is best, the child can petition the government to overrule their parents, and the government is obligated or empowered to intervene on behalf of the child even against the parent’s wishes. The government becomes the parent and the parent becomes the babysitter. Is this what American parents want for their children?

(Return soon for part 4 discussing specific rights outlined in the treaty.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Silent, but Urgent Threat to Parental Rights

Very few recognize the slow, yet continual erosion of parent’s rights by many forces in our government at local, state, and federal levels. The erosion has occurred without fanfare and, what little media attention it garners, usually casts the parents in a negative light or takes only the most egregious examples of bad parents to make the point against all parents. Even when parental rights were restored in some cases, the media often still accused the parents of wrongdoing. Often the media would lament that the child protective workers just couldn’t get enough evidence to prove the parent’s guilt. The media never assumes that maybe the “protective” workers were not so innocent and the accused parents were not so “guilty”. Besides such individual cases and the overgeneralizations, dangerous court precedents are being set one case at a time, usually disregarded by the media as unimportant. If that is not enough, bills are working their way into laws which erode parental control over education, healthcare, religion, and other important areas. Slowly the heat is being turned up on parents wading in the waters of our nation’s culture. Those simmering parents must realize the urgency of the next few degrees of heat that will bring the legal waters to a boiling point and will mean the end of parenting in America as we know it.

Why do the supporters of government-controlled parenting enjoy the silence and stealth? In the quiet, they can slowly turn up the heat one degree at a time without anyone taking much notice. American parents just learn to accept the warmer water as being natural since they trust the government to do what is best. The supporters set up law after law, one court precedent after another, until, with a simple tweak of one more degree, everything boils and American parents are stunned to find themselves in boiling water, unable to escape. If parents saw the final goal held by these forces or read the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) with open eyes of understanding, they would protest with outrage. The UN CRC aids our understanding because it is the most tangible manifestation of the philosophy that government knows what is best for children and should overrule parents in their decisions for their own children. As it is now, if no parent reads the recipe in that treaty, we will all suffer a common demise of our parental rights in this legal environment.

Why is it urgent? The US State Department is processing this treaty as fast as Senator Barbara Boxer can push them. She wanted to present it to the US Senate for a 2/3’s ratification vote in April of this year. The State Department thankfully wanted time to process it properly. Senator Boxer and others such as our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, believe that their long awaited dream of ratifying this treaty by 67 Senate “yes” votes is ripe for the picking. Furthermore, our president and many in his chosen administration believe that it is a disgrace that America has not yet signed this treaty. Even though this treaty hands over state and national sovereignty unconstitutionally, they will do so and act “as if” it is constitutionally allowed. Meanwhile, outside Washington D.C., many groups are building momentum to help push this through the Senate. They have held conferences, raised funding, and started grassroots campaigns. No punches are being pulled in this battle for who controls the future of our children.

In summary, supporters enjoy the relative silence compared to the roar surrounding other government issues facing Americans and their fading liberties right now. They benefit from American parent’s deafness and ignorance towards this crucial issue. Yet the situation is growing more and more urgent as each day passes without American parents awakening to this threat, a threat that is ready to boil over at any minute.

(Return soon for part 3 of the series which discusses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child itself.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why the Convention on the Rights of the Child is a Core Issue

(Part 1 of 5 in a series)

There are certain issues in our epic battle for freedom so fundamental that winning all other skirmishes, but losing these critical battles still results in defeat. With multiple attacks on freedom coming at us daily, discernment, focus, and coordination are required by America’s citizens if these issues are to be targeted for special efforts. The right of parents to decide how their children are raised and what their children are taught is one of these core issues. In America we have long held this tradition as a fundamental right granted by God. However, this tradition is being challenged by forces from within and from outside our own nation. If, through slow erosion in the courts and legislatures or through the floodgate of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government gains full control of “parenting”, one thing is guaranteed. The passing of the current generation will leave the next generation shaped, molded, and indoctrinated according to the values of our government’s leaders and experts. That generation will be enslaved to the government as the one to whom it owes allegiance, and freedom will be forsaken.
Three simple truths prove the fundamental nature of this issue. First, God ordained that the family has the primary responsibility for directing the intellectual and moral education of children. Within this family structure, parents were made the primary source of influence as to what values and beliefs are passed to the next generation. If parents abdicate that role to the government, then the values of the government, not the family, will shape the next generation. Second, a simple historical investigation reveals how multiple dictators targeted children for indoctrination from early ages. The dictators knew that their future power lay in the hands of the next generation’s submission to government authority. Even Plato was concerned that the very stories told to infants were important in shaping society’s future. Finally, as the introduction tried to highlight, only one generation’s passing stands between freedom and its disappearance if parents allow the government to control the next generation’s upbringing. You see, if the government controls their upbringing, they will be taught that submission to the government and its values is of the highest importance. Whatever sense of freedom that our generation holds dear will not even be a memory in the next generation’s mind after such indoctrination.
Health care, the banking industry, the car industry, and other areas are unquestionably important skirmishes, but the intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of our next generation is not a battle that we can afford lose if we hope to win the ongoing war for freedom. As Wendell Phillips said in 1852, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. May God help American parents to recognize the magnitude of this issue and to be eternally vigilant in protecting children by protecting our rights to parent them.

Stay tuned for part 2 of 5 in this series.....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good Morning America !

While not packed with juicy morsels to raise your blood pressure or drive you to insane irritation at our government's intrusion into private life, I did not want to pass up an opportunity to ask how you are handling our brave new world. In a day when the issues come flying by you at warp speed, reminiscent of the blurring stars in a Star Treak or Star Wars movie, how do you stay sane?
My answer: I spend each day living another analogy, that of standing in a burning building with one bucket of water. So many fires, so little water. I just have to stop and pray for wisdom. I pray that God will lead me to use my bucket of water (time, resources, energy, talents) in the direction where it is most effective and fits in with His plan. Then I pray that others will go through the same process in using their buckets of water. With God's directing and our listening, some coordinated effect should result.
So grab your bucket, ask for direction, and go put out a fire today. Tomorrow, start all over and do it again......

Eric Potter MD