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Jennie's Journey

Parents should be fearful

For a number of years, since President Clinton was in office, I have been concerned with a treaty the U.N. has wanted the U.S. to sign.

I first heard of the treaty when reading a novel written by Michael Farris, a constitutional lawyer. That novel depicted a scenario where parents lost the right to raise their children.

Because it has been so long since I read the novel, I don't recall all the details, but at the back of the book was the actual treaty that has once again come to the forefront of American politics.

The treaty is known as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and its 54 articles provide children with a number of rights that guarantee them "peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity." It is meant to safeguard children and the care of children.

All parents should be concerned if President Obama decides to sign the document as California Senator Barbara Boxer has insisted.

I believe U.S. citizens should not be governed by foreign entities. We have a constitution that guarantees rights. We are a sovereign nation and the laws I feel we should obey are those enacted by our government. I don't want a foreign body of legislators telling American citizens what to do.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child says a child has the right to "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" in article 14. I am concerned this means I do not have a right to prevent my child from worshiping Satan.

The convention outlaws the "arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy" in article 16. Therefore, would I no longer be able to monitor on-line activities?

This treaty intrudes on the family and strips parents of the power to raise their children without government interference. The purpose of the treaty is to protect children, but it goes too far in my view.

Because of the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, all treaties are rendered "the supreme law of the land," superseding pre-existing state and federal statutes. Any rights or laws established by the U.N. convention could then be argued to hold sway in the United States.

Currently, states and federal agencies have in place levels of protection for children who are abused. Children are protected at several different levels, but this goes beyond protecting the child from abuse to telling parents how to raise their own children, giving the children a certain level of control that essentially erodes levels of discipline parents may feel are necessary.

In article 12 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, "Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child."

This takes away the right to parent, if the "child" is deemed old enough to express his or her own views. It provides children with more freedom to do and say things that they feel like doing...meaning my 12-year-old can express any view he likes and do so legally in spite of whether or not it is offensive to me or another adult.

Therefore, I ask anyone in favor of the treaty, "What is the definition of parenting?"

I believe our role is to raise children to be responsible and respectful. We discipline children to keep them from destructive behavior. There are a number of techniques considered socially acceptable and the law defines what is legally prudent.

If we lose control of our children, what will our society look like? How many more youngsters will become associated with criminal behavior if parental control is taken away from us?

We are already struggling with youth behaviors that are harmful in our communities. Do we let the U.N. make it worse?

I only hope U.S. citizens will take a stand and urge lawmakers to keep this treaty from being signed.

To decide how you feel about this treaty, visit http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

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