Thursday, April 09, 2009

Liberals: Culture War Pits Parental Rights vs. United Nations

Political analysts demonstrate their "ivory tower" perch, again -- out of touch with everyday Americans

-- From "Parental rights: The new wedge issue" by Andie Coller, Politico 4/8/09

If there were a recipe for creating a new conservative culture-wars issue, it might look something like this: Start with the United Nations, fold in the prospect of an expanded role for government in children’s lives, add some unfortunate court decisions, then toss in Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton.

[Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.)] last week introduced a bill in the House to amend the U.S. Constitution to permanently “enshrine” in American society an inviolable set of parents’ rights. The bill had 70 co-sponsors, all Republicans, including Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Minority Leader John A. Boehner.

The bill, said Hoekstra, is intended to stem the “slow erosion” of parents’ rights and to circumvent the effects of a United Nations treaty he believes “clearly undermines parental rights in the United States.”

While a treaty that seeks to protect children may sound innocuous, its opponents, such as Michael Farris, the Christian conservative founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, see in it a dystopian future in which “Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children”; “A child’s ‘right to be heard’ would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed”; and “Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion,” as he puts it on his website

By its nature, the treaty combines two “third-rail” issues for conservatives — the implications of international treaties for U.S. sovereignty, and the role of the United Nations in U.S. affairs. “Opposing the U.N has been a rallying cry of the right for decades,” notes Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

Conservatives, he notes, are “looking for issues. And if this looks like this is an issue they can hook onto . . .”

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.