Why I Don't Support the Parental Rights Amendment

I’m sure many of you by now have heard about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Many of you have also heard about the Constitutional amendment to guarantee parental rights that was proposed by none other than my representative, Pete Hoekstra (R, MI-2). This amendment also has 70 co-sponsors in the house; every one of them is a Republican. The amendment currently sits in the House Judiciary committee. There is also a senate version that currently sits in the Senate Judiciary committee.

The House resolution to which I’m referring is House Joint Resolution 42 (or HJR 42). The Senate resolution is Senate Joint Resolution 13 (or SJR 13). All this means is that someone from the house and someone from the senate both agreed to present this resolution to their respective chambers at or around the same time. They are the exact same resolution.

The purpose of a joint resolution is typically to speed things up. This ideally works because the resolution can be passed by the Senate and the House at the same time thereby saving a step (of having to go from one to the other with the respective necessary waiting periods in between). Once both chambers have approved the resolution, it then goes straight to the president; provided of course that they were both passed as is without any amendments. You get the idea.

The reason they proposed a joint resolution with this particular amendment is because this amendment is intended to protect us from the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child which is expected to be signed by our president sometime this spring or summer.

You can find detailed info regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including a full text of the resolution at the Parental Rights homepage. The resolution to amend the constitution, on the other hand, is quite simple. I’ll give you the full text here:

"Section 1. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of
their children is a fundamental right.

Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this
right wIithout demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the
person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

Section 3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international
law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights
guaranteed by this article."
Many look at this and think it would be a great solution to protect us from the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC). Then there those of us who say we shouldn’t pass the UNCRC in the first place; with or without protection from an amendment. Yet others will counter saying that having the amendment is better than not because we cannot stop the treaty from being passed. While I understand what they are saying, I completely disagree.

Why all this worry about a UN treaty? An amendment to our Constitution says that any international treaty ratified by a 2/3rds majority of our Congress will take precedence OVER all of our existing state and federal laws. The only document it cannot override is the Constitution. Hence, the amendment to ensure that our rights are protected against this treaty.

Why the worry over THIS treaty specifically? If you haven’t read it yet, I would encourage you to do so…HIGHLY! Like now. If you do not understand the danger with the UNCRC treaty, then you cannot possibly understand why anyone would even want an amendment to our Constitution guaranteeing protection of our rights in the first place. You must understand one to understand the other. In a nutshell, the treaty says that the CHILD is the head of the family. If your child doesn’t want to go to church (at 5), he/she doesn’t have to. If you discipline your child by saying he can’t go to out with his friends, but your child still wants to go out with his friends…you must let him. If you don’t, you are violating his rights. See where I’m going? This is DANGEROUS territory into which we do NOT want to go!

The problem with passing this amendment to fix the problems the treaty would bring is that it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks good on the surface, but trouble lurks beneath. It gives power to the federal government that the federal government would not otherwise have. It says that your rights are protected unless the government decides they shouldn’t be. When would that be? What will be the governments unit of measure? How will they decide when they can and cannot take away our rights?

So what do we do? How do we protect ourselves against a treaty which the leaders in our government have said they will pass? How do we ensure our Constitutional rights on paper?

I do NOT have a problem with a Constitutional amendment. Frankly, though, I think it should be more open. What I’d like to see is either a repeal of the portion saying that an international treaty takes precedence over our state and federal laws. If that cannot be done, then I’d like another amendment saying that we will abide by international treaties so long as they are not in conflict with our federal or state laws at which point our they are our governing authority.

I firmly believe we must look more deeply at anything the government proposes. Remember, we must look at what any proposed resolution will have the ABILITY to do, not at its current intent. By doing so, we ensure we are happy with its results now AND in the future when a different set of people is in charge.


1 comment:

Luke Holzmann said...

I'd heard about the Right of the Child, but not this.

Thanks for sharing the details.