The right of parents to decide what is best for the child has been an implied “fundamental right” for most of US history. The Founding Fathers thought it was so obvious that they failed to enumerate it in the Bill of Rights. For decades the courts have ruled as though it was an enumerated "fundamental right".
Fundamental rights differ from non-fundamental rights on two important dimensions:
1) The government must prove it has “high compelling interest” that absolutely requires its interference with that fundamental right;
2) The government must prove that its means of interference is the least restrictive possible.
Most laws cannot survive this scrutiny. Usually, when a government tries to interfere with a fundamental right, the Supreme Court has sided with the citizen.
However, if parents' rights are not considered "fundamental", then the hurdle that protects the parent from government control is much lower. The government only needs a “legitimate interest” rather than a “compelling interest”. In addition, if not a "fundamental right, then the government may do a lot more to your child – it may use any “reasonable means” as opposed to the least restrictive means possible. Most laws aimed at non-fundamental rights have survived challenges.
Parents’ right to raise their children as they see fit (absent abuse and neglect) is increasingly being undermined:
1) Courts have begun to rule that parental rights are not “fundamental”. Conservative judges note that it is not explicitly written in the text of the Constitution. Activist judges have bolstered government's power to control our families.
2) States are passing more laws and school boards are passing more rules that assume that the government, not the (non-abusive) parent, has the final say-so of what is ‘best for the child’.
3) A UN treaty, The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), makes bureaucrats, not loving parents, the final arbiter of what is best for any child. The impact of US ratification of this treaty would be devastating. The American Constitution requires that all states follow ratified treaties, even though most other countries have no similar constitutional requirement to follow treaty provisions.
Governments in other countries have used the UNCRC to justify:
- outlawing home-schooling
- controlling private and parochial schools
- requiring children to learn specific government lessons, despite the parent believing it would be hurtful to their child and their family.
The government would win every disagreement with parents over how to educate their child.
We are witnessing the erosion of American parental rights. Recent American cases have ruled that parents “abandon their responsibility to the state” whenever they send their child to a government school, and that the “state’s duty to educate its citizens” -- in whatever fashion a government bureaucrat decides – supersedes any parental right to control the upbringing of your child.
The fight is between you and a politically powerful elite who believe that they know The One Right Way to raise your child. Many sincerely caring people want to construct a “better world” by controlling what and how (your) children think. They know that some parents might even dare actively disagree with their vision of a “better world”, and, if permitted by the government, could interfere with their indoctrination of your children. So, they increase government control over your children, insidiously, but always stealthily, because they know that, if they were to ever try to take your children's minds directly, American parents would strike them down.
These elite, who support forcibly taking your tax dollars in order to control your kids’ minds, believe that parents have no inherent rights – the only rights are those that are permitted to you by a government, which, they believe, they control. ParentsDecide believes that parents have a fundamental right that any good government should recognize, respect, and protect.
The Child presents a Constitutional amendment to textually define parental rights as fundamental as the only solution to prevent judges from negating, legislatures from encroaching, and international treaties from superseding American parents’ rights.
Is anything more important than the minds of our children? Should parents be assumed to love and ably care for their children and to be doing the best for them, unless the State can prove otherwise?
What do you think? Should parents have the constitutional right to make educational decisions for their children without government interference – absent proof of abuse or neglect?