Wednesday, March 2, 2011
This little editorial appeared in our local newspaper, "The Camas Courier," in the February 9, 2011 edition. The world culture that is presented is that of an amoral society where "whatsoever a man does is no crime." This also brings to mind the prophecy from Isaiah that in the last days that evil will be called good and good evil. At the end they suggest contacting your local representatives. Did I do anything? No. My husband and I grumbled about it from home to ourselves. I'm not thinking that this helped in my public virtue quest. Perhaps you will find it interesting reading.
In the Netherlands, children enjoy an extraordinary amount of freedom. Famous for its tolerant attitudes toward drinking, smoking, drugs, and sex, the Netherlands extend much this of this tolerance to its children down to the ages of 4 with sex education. The age of sexual consent is twelve, and you can legally buy alcohol at 16. The result of this is that about 20 to 30 percent of children 12 to 13 years of age drink on a fairly regular basis (at least once a week), and around 60% of 14 to 15-year-olds drink regularly. Increasingly, these children also drink a lot (10% of 12-13-year-olds drink 5 to 8 drinks per occasion). Children can smoke pot, legally, at the age of 16 as well.
Sweden is also very good for children. Among other things, working parents have free child-care for all children between the ages of 1 and 12. The downside –sex education. Sweden already has very stringent requirements for sex-ed, but in 2008 the government started the process of eliminating all exemptions for parents (the "op out" policy), including parents with religious and philosophical differences. This change was primarily aimed at Sweden's large Muslim immigrant populations, many of who claimed religious exemptions for sex-ed classes.
In 2007, an Italian court ordered the parents of Friday Germano to rename his Gregory. When the parents refused, the court changed the child's name itself, over the parents' objections, because the judge felt that the name recalled the servile savage Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe, and because superstitious Italians consider Friday an unlucky day. The court picked "Gregory" after the saint whose feast day fell on the boy's birthday. Under Italian law, officials at city hall are required to report all "unusual names" to the Italian government, which then has the authority to change them-even over the objection of the parents.
Whether you like the lower drinking ages, or you think sex-ed is a good thing, or you agree that children should not be burdened with unusual names, none of these issues were decided by the people of these countries. These policies were the direct result of these countries ratifying a treaty called the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child." Strangely enough, the UN has told the Netherlands (the poster child of child rights) that they have not done enough to implement the UNCRC.
Out of almost 200 UN member nations, only two countries have ratified this treaty-Somalia and the United States. Why? Never mind that it is largely ignored by most of the ratifying countries, it would obligate the U.S. government to violate long held legal precendents of parental rights. This would happen because many courts in the U.S. already accept the idea that parental rights are not constitutionally protected, including Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Scalia.
So far, the U.S. has not been interested in ratifying this treaty, but there are many who believe we need a constitutional amendment to permanently protect parental rights-particularly given the events of the last two years.
This week, the Idaho House of Representatives will be voting on House Joint Memorial No. 1. If passed, it will send the message that the Idaho legislature wants Congress to pass a Parent Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
If you support this idea, contact your Idaho representatives today.