“Threat to Parents’ Rights” more important than child well-being: the Christian right

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Threat to Parents’ Rights a Bigger Issue than Rights of a Child
by Marybeth Hicks

. . but if you’ve ever insisted that your teenager drag himself out of bed on a Sunday morning to attend church with the family, or required him to find a part-time job to pay for the increase in your car insurance, or – heaven forbid – if you’ve ever spanked a young child for an act of willful disobedience, there are folks who’d like to override your parental judgment.

Folks like President Obama, in fact.

The issue of parental rights is at the heart of the ongoing debate over the US’s failure to ratify the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Mr. Obama thinks it’s a travesty that the US and Somalia – a country not known as a beacon of human rights – are the only two nations that haven’t ratified this treaty.

What a great indicator, Somalia and us. They have the exact same problem with it — the rights of the parent should supersede the well-being of the child. Like if you demand your kid pick up a gun and fight for a warlord, or jump on a fastboat with some pirates to go attack merchant ships, that should be okay.

For example, the treaty creates “the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” So if your child doesn’t want to go to a religious school, the law would favor his preference, not your desire to instill your faith.

And to that, I say “fine.” This is probably the biggest issue: the far right’s ability to continue to indoctrinate and cult-ivate the next generation. If your faith is so oppressive that you can’t get your children to gravitate to it by the positive manifestations of it in your own life and by the example you set, then I’d say you deserve to get whacked by the treaty (even though you won’t). But I’d say the fact that you’re even worried about that possibility constitutes an indictment of your crappy parenting.

It makes sense that the US stands nearly alone in refusing to ratify this treaty, since we live in the safest, most prosperous, most desirable country in which to be a child.

And to that, I say “Fuck You.” Anybody with half a brain knows that the U.S. is nothing like that. Poverty:

–About 15 million children — one out of every four — live below the official poverty line.

–22% of Americans under the age of 18 — and 25% under age 12 — are hungry or at the risk of being hungry.


–Study: 1 In 4 Kids Go Without Health Care

–Report: Two-thirds of Arkansas Kids Without Health Insurance

It goes on and on: 3% of America’s children grow up to be supervised by a department of corrections, 1% currently end up in jail. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for older teens, and it’s the leading cause of death for African-Americans. Otherwise, suicide is the leading cause of death. Do you even want to talk about education?

America is nowhere near being the best place to grow up. Given the wealth of the country, it’s a scandal how poorly children are treated here.

UNICEF did a study on the well-being of children in 21 countries of the first world:

An overview of child well-being in rich countries
A comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations

“The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.”

They measured and ranked these countries across six categories, including material well being, educational well being and health and safety. Here are the results:

UNICEF chart
[click for better view]

America ended up 20th out of the 21 wealthy countries. You paranoid Christians aren’t just arrogant idiots, Marybeth, you’re dangerous to your own people, your children. Those are the facts.


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