- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forget nationalizing the banks, certain influential Democrats in the U.S. Senate are thinking seriously of nationalizing parenting, transforming it into “governmenting.”

In February 1995, at the urging of his wife, who just happens to be one of the world’s most ardent children’s rights advocates, President Clinton signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The major media paid almost no attention to this momentous event, giving Mr. Clinton a free pass. Thankfully, early opposition in the Senate persuaded Mr. Clinton not to risk submitting it for ratification. The UNCRC has been in legislative limbo ever since — until now.

The convention is an international treaty that obligates signatory nations to conform their laws to its articles, certain of which extend needed protections to children, including protection from sexual exploitation. No sensible, moral person would argue with that.

Other articles, however, extend to children such rights as “freedom of association” (Article 15) and “freedom of expression” (Article 13). The latter is written to include the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or in any other media of the child’s choice.” It is pertinent to note that “child” is defined as anyone younger than 18. One can assume, therefore, that these rights activate at birth.

Yes, the freedoms in question are subject to limitation, but not at the discretion of parents. Nuances of that sort can only be exercised by the state. Parents are permitted to provide “direction” to the child in keeping with the child’s “evolving capacities,” but nowhere in the document is their authority recognized.

Government intrusion into child-rearing matters is already a reality and has been for some time. This is not mere intrusion, however, this is the replacement of parental prerogative by the state. The convention allows for children to protest, through legal channels, parental limit-setting of almost every sort (Article 16: No child shall be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy.), even to protest parental discipline.

The language, often recklessly vague, clearly establishes the state as the final authority where raising children is concerned. As such, the document could more accurately be called the United Nations Convention on the Abolition of Parents’ Rights.

This time around, Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, is one of the champions of ratification. She gave the Obama administration a March 23 deadline, already expired, for moving toward ratification. I think it’s safe to say she (and many of her same-side-of-the-aisle colleagues) wants this over and done with before the American public is fully informed. During her confirmation hearings, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice expressed support for the treaty, but did not agree to Mrs. Boxer’s desire for hasty ratification.

For more information on the UNCRC and to sign an online petition calling for a much-needed Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution, go to www.parental rights.org.

In the meantime, call or write to your senators and let them know how you would like them to vote should ratification come to the Senate floor. Given that ours is still a government of, for and by the people, let us pray that the people make themselves heard!

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his Web site at www.rosemond.com.

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