A U.N. treaty conferring rights to children could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S. even though the Senate has not ratified it, a homeschooling association warns.
Michael Farris, chairman and general counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, believes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child could be binding on U.S. citizens because of activist judges, reports LifeSite News.
Farris said that according to a new interpretation of “customary international law,” some U.S. judges have ruled the convention applies to American parents.
“In the 2002 case of Beharry v. Reno, one federal court said that even though the convention was never ratified, it still has an impact on American law,” Farris explained, according to LifeSiteNews. “The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence.”
The convention places severe limitations on a parent’s right to direct and train their children, Farris contends.
The HSLDA produced a report in 1993 showing that under Article 13, parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deem unacceptable.
Under Article 14, children are guaranteed “freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” which suggests they have a legal right to object to all religious training. Further, under Article 15, the child has a right to “freedom of association.”
“If this measure were to be taken seriously, parents could be prevented from forbidding their child to associate with people deemed to be objectionable companions,” the HSLDA report explained.
Farris pointed out that in 1995 the United Kingdom was deemed out of compliance with the convention “because it allowed parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes without consulting the child.”
Farris argues, according to LifeSiteNews, that “by the same reasoning, parents would be denied the ability to homeschool their children unless the government first talked with their children and the government decided what was best. This committee would even have the right to determine what religious teaching, if any, served the child’s best interest.”
Offering solutions, Farris suggests Congress use its power to define customary law and modify the jurisdiction of federal courts.
“Congress needs to address this issue of judicial tyranny by enacting legislation that limits the definition of customary international law to include only provisions of treaties that Congress has ratified,” he said.
Farris also suggested Congress could pass a constitutional amendment stating explicitly that no provision of any international agreement can supersede the constitutional rights of an American citizen.
He pointed out two such amendments have been proposed in Congress.
Finally, he says specific threats to parental rights can be solved by “putting a clear parents’ rights amendment into the black and white text of the United States Constitution.”
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