Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Truth about Abstinence Education

Reader,

I found this article in my research for the set of Centaur Scrolls articles I'm working on right now which shows the results of over 20 studies on abstinence education. There are hundreds of abstinence education programs across the country, and this research paper discusses a number of them, giving both national and specific results on abstinence education. From it you should see the effectiveness and utility to society that comes from such forms of education.

Centaur

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Same-Sex Marriage and the Family

Reader,

I’ve discussed parental rights at length on this blog, but there is one side of parenting which I have refrained from discussing: what the proper setup for parenting should be. For those of you who know me, you know that I support traditional marriage, and that I also believe that the Parental Rights Amendment, though it does not define “parent,” should be used to help us return to a proper understanding of marriage. So I will pose to you the question: “Is traditional marriage necessary?” What are the consequences of not upholding traditional marriage?

There is a danger to those who enter a same-sex relationship. According to the research conducted by Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes with the US Department of Justice, same-sex cohabitants are at a significantly greater risk of domestic violence and abuse from their partner than their heterosexual counterparts. They note that “among women, 39.2% of the same-sex cohabitants and 21.7 of the opposite-sex cohabitants reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by a marital/cohabiting partner at some time in their lifetime.” For men, “15.4% of same-sex cohabiting men reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked by a male partner,” while only “10.8% reported such violence by a female partner.”

These numbers are not just unique to the United States; other countries are experiencing the same phenomenon. According to a study conducted by the General Social Survey in Canada, same-sex partners were twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to be the victims of spousal violence. Same-sex marriage is not conducive to a good home environment.

The United Kingdom, which is also highly accepting of LGBT individuals, reports even higher rates of domestic violence (1 in 3 partners). Is this a lifestyle we want to promote? It should be quite obvious that same-sex marriage and traditional marriage are not equally viable options; there is a world of difference between the two.

In the next article, I want to investigate further this idea of domestic violence.

Until then, I invite you to continue to

Watch the stars,

Centaur

The Centaur Scrolls: Sexual Freedom and Its Dangers, Part III

Reader,

In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, the United States restricted the ability of children to work, and made education available and mandatory for children under the age of sixteen. The act brought hope to Europeans, who saw America as the land of opportunity where education and social improvement was possible. And no one, I believe, will challenge that this was a positive improvement in our society.

Education today, however, has dramatically changed in nature. Instead of being the tool for improving their integration into our society, today’s curriculum is being guided by an agenda which attacks the very foundation of our society: the family. Research suggests that our children are being trained to live as independent, individualistic machines, programmed to march in lockstep with the dictates of foreign entities in the name of “globalization” and “being a world citizen.” Sexual education programs are one of the ways in which this agenda is accomplished.

What do I mean by “sex education”? First, let us not speak of programs around the world which protect Muslim girls from sexual slavery in a harem, or programs in Africa which warn girls and boys about the dangers of sexual slavery and the like. These situations do not assist us in bringing clarity to the situation. I want to confine our discussion to the curriculum used in the United States to teach middle-, high-, and in some cases elementary-aged children about reproductive services, and how unhealthy these “services” really are.

Providing useful information to the next generation is not a crime. But this proposition requires us to answer two fundamental questions: 1) Who should teach children about sexual health, and 2) What should they be taught? For thousands of years, parents have fulfilled the teaching aspect of these propositions. Yet in recent years, there has been a trend away from parental guidance toward school “professionals” to teach sexuality. What is the difference? Parents offer the information out of love, while professionals offer it out of interest.

What do I mean by this? Parents have the incentive to offer the soundest advice to their children, because these are their children. While health professionals in schools are certainly not conniving, evil creatures who seek to poison, steal, kill, and destroy, they have an agenda behind what they teach. And that has consequences.

One of the gravest consequences is that important sexual health information is noticeably absent from the curriculum. It almost goes without saying that sex education encourages earlier sexual activity. Current science is discovering that when children learn about sex at earlier ages, they tend to become sexually active earlier. This becomes a problem when children are taught about sex without being told important health facts, such as the increased vulnerability of girls to HPV and HIV before their bodies have fully matured. Sex education supporters are hurting young people; they are doing them no favor.

These courses often stand opposed to the will of parents because sex ed encourages irresponsible behavior through the use of technology. Even though abstinence, the most prescribed form of education by parents, has a significantly better success rating at avoiding harmful diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and future health problems, schools present abstinence as only one of many acceptable choices. A ninth-grade textbook tells students, “Testing your ability to function sexually and to give pleasure to another person may be less threatening in early teens with people of your own sex,” and that “You may come to the conclusion that growing up means rejecting the values of your parents.” And sex education proponents wonder why people like me are upset, :)

My row with this textbook is not so much the words on the page (though I do take issue with them), so much as what is not said on the page. Dr. Miriam Grossman’s research in the field, released recently, indicates that homosexual relations—-or any form of sexual relations during your early teens, for that matter—-are not “less threatening” from a health standpoint, and individuals who engage in these activities have a higher chance of developing cancer and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Furthermore, students were encouraged not to take this book home, but to leave it in their lockers. Why? Because the teachers knew that parents would not approve. If this information is really best for the student and backed by clinical evidence proven in the field, why are they hiding it? Why didn’t the school officials talk about this with parents at a teacher-parent meeting to make sure that the parents were educated? Because the research to back it up doesn’t exist.

Some may object, “But can’t our children opt out of sex education programs in their curriculum?” While schools may give that option, courts have split on whether or not parental permission is required for such teaching to occur. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in Fields v. Palmdale School District in 2005 that “once parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend . . . their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished,” and that “While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child.”

Opposing sex education is not “pulling the wool over your child’s eyes,” but rather an age-old principle of allowing parents—who know their child best—to determine when they learn about a very important part of life. Parents need to maintain their right in this area of our society without interference from the government, “professionals,” or others who would strive to take their place.

Watching the stars,

Centaur

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Sexual Freedom and Its Dangers, Part II

Reader,

The following article will address the misconception that sex education and the “sexual freedom” which it fosters by examining this article from the Guardian.

In the United Kingdom, the External Steering Group released a report stating that the wellbeing of a child improved through sex and relationship education (SRE) taught at school. Mr. Andrew Copson, writing in the Guardian, amazingly turned to Article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the basis for why children should receive such education.

It is important to note that Mr. Copson ties this right to the CRC. First, this indicates a direct tie to the document which I have been fighting for a while now. Second and more importantly, the CRC only applies to those under the age of eighteen (except in Scotland, where it applies until the age of 21). This is the age group that Mr. Copson is targeting. Keep this in mind.

Mr. Andrew Copson and other sex ed supporters are doing these children no favor. Mr. Copson states that “young people want this education, they need it, it is their right to have it, and if we withhold it from them on grounds of our own ideologies, we will only be doing harm.” Amazingly, those who claim to “place the child . . . at the center of our thinking” as he does in his article in the Guardian, are not fighting for children: they are merely fighting for their ideology.

The true advocate for the child is the parent. Not only do children of all ages (even through their teen years) generally trust their parents and respect their opinion (there's an article here), parents are infinitely more qualified to make decisions than a bureaucrat behind a desk thousands of miles away. The sexual freedom that Mr. Copson argues for, as future articles will show, is harmful to their personal health and wellbeing, especially at the age that Mr. Copson supports such intercourse and education. Do your research, Mr. Copson.

Seek the truth, find it, and defend it to the death,

Centaur

The Centaur Scrolls: Sexual Freedom and Its Dangers

Reader,

I started working on a project about four weeks ago (since before my last post) on the dangers of sexual freedom, especially among young people, and why parents should be involved in helping their children through these difficult decisions. This research, however, led to a number of other documents and stories which expanded the scope of the project so much that I have seriously considered writing a book about them. For the now, I will be writing a series of articles on a number of different subjects, so keep your eyes out.

To whet your appetite, look at this article written by Mr. K Edgardh, reprinted by NCBI. The article mentions the sexual freedom of the Swedes: sex education since the 1950s, abortion on demand since 1975, age of consent at 15, easy access to contraceptives, and "during the past 20 years, approximately 70% of all teenage pregnancies have been terminated by an abortion," with about 90% of those abortions at the request of a 15- or 16-year-old.

The article goes on to show how these risky behaviors are affecting the rest of society, and the personal health of those that engage in it. This is where America is heading: if we don't rein in the mindset of "children should be able to determine what is in their best interest without Mom and Dad's approval," they will be hurt--badly.

More on the way,

Centaur

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who Determines What Your Children Eat?

Reader,

I found a really cool article about how family meals--and family involvement in planning and preparing meals--helps children stay healthy and avoid dangerous behaviors. I found this very interesting, and wanted to pass it along to you.

To briefly summarize, parents have an amazing impact on how their children eat. Thus their outlook on food, their choice of diet, etc. will affect their children. It also mentions, however, how sharing family meals decreases substantially the chance of using illicit drugs, gang activity, and smoking. I've mentioned this before (you can read it here), so feel free to brush up on that article for more information. But all of this raises the question, "If we want to provide the best environment for our children, how should we be eating?"

Do we need to cut out all hamburgers? No, I don't think so. But emphasizing the importance of also eating healthy foods as part of a balanced, healthy diet should also be present. And that's not asking too much, is it?

Let's set a good example for them, shall we?

Centaur

Monday, September 27, 2010

What Is Your Doctor Asking Your Child?

Reader,

When your child goes to the doctor, there's usually a time when you are asked to step out of the room. At some medical institutions, a questionnaire of some sort is then given to your child.

I want to say upfront that these questionnaires are not inherently evil. They were not (I hope) designed by someone who hates the family and wants to see the privacy and realm of the American family destroyed. That said, there are some aspects of these questionnaires which make me wary.

Here's a good example: a survey from Utah Valley Pediatrics, which is used across the country (a friend of mine in Pennsylvania showed it to me). The purpose of the surveys, according to its creators, is to help to address problems with domestic violence, low self-esteem, ADHD, etc. They have a number of surveys and guides for parents also available at their website.

What worries me about this questionnaire, designed for children ages 14 and up, is that it asks questions related to personal health, hygiene, and psychological development, but also intrudes into other areas which are not strictly the realm of doctors--in fact, there is little a doctor could do to help in some of these areas.

For example, why do they ask, "Are your grades this year worse than last year?" While I can understand wanting to feel for low self-esteem, there are other places where they do that effectively. Why is this so necessary?

They ask questions like, "Do you or anyone you live with have a gun, rifle, or other firearm," and ask in the same question, "Are you worried about violence or your safety?" Again, I can see a feasible example of where this could be important, but why include the question regarding gun possession, as if there was an automatic connection between the two?

I am afraid that questionnaires like this, administered to children generally instead of upon suspicion of abuse or the like, are being used in a way that conflicts with parental rights. This must change.

Centaur

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Threat of the CRC Article

Reader,

Check out this article from FamilySecurityMatters.Org. It's a very good analysis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), including talking points from Phyllis Schafly of Eagle Forum.

Centaur

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Parental Rights and International Law

Reader,

I’ve often mentioned international law on this blog, but I want to spend a little more time discussing some of its finer points. This article will be rather long, somewhat tedious (unless you enjoy this stuff, in which case I say, more power to you), and very dry. But it is important to fully understand the threats facing parental rights today.

International agreements and treaties threaten to tell us as Americans how we should rule our country. While many see treaties as harmless documents purporting altruism and goodwill, the truth is that with each treaty comes an obligation to enforce it in our nation. Dr. Michael P. Farris, who holds a J.D. from Gonzaga University, and is pursuing an LLM in international law from the University of London, writes that “under the most basic rule of international law, every nation that becomes a party to a treaty is obligated to perform the duties that it assumes under the terms of the treaty. Moreover, under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, every treaty is superior to all internal law—including the nation’s constitution—with one important exception.” We will address the exception in a moment. But first, there is a critical element of international law which must be understood in order to aptly understand this exception.

When America supports a treaty, we are noting supporting a fixed document. When we sign a treaty, we agree to uphold not only the text and meaning of the treaty when we signed it, but also any additional amendments and new meanings which may follow. Treaties today are not strict documents agreed to by other nations, but conventions—groups of individuals who determine the meaning and extent of the treaty—which routinely expand in their scope and demands over the course of time.

While international agreements have a role—and an important role—in our world, this should not include taking away the ability of state lawmakers to make decisions on family law. When we sign a treaty, we give a portion of our legislative power to a group of foreigners who have probably never studied our constitutional law, possibly never visited our shores, and most certainly have not studied our state child protection laws. The child protection laws on the books in the fifty states are exceptional at providing protection for children. Signing a treaty, rightly understood, is a huge concession of state legislative power to a foreign entity.

So what is the exception? A nation may sign a treaty with any number of Reservations, Understandings, or Declarations (RUDs), which may exempt, clarify the interpretation of the article from the perspective of the signatory state, and affirm important principles which may apply to the treaty in question. The difficulty with RUDs, however, is twofold.

First, nations are consistently pressured to remove RUDs at the expense of local legislators. Once the treaty is signed, a 2/3 majority of a legislative body is not required to approve of a rescinding order for an RUD; all that is required is the executive’s signature. Thus, the ability to make laws transfers from the legislative to the executive.

The second dilemma is that RUDs are not always recognized in international law. The International Court of Justice is not required to honor an RUD. According to Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, “A State may, when signing, ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to a treaty, formulate a reservation unless . . . the reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty.” Prof. Louis Henkin, in the American Journal of International Law, notes that since all reservations are designed as opt-out statements for specific clauses of a treaty, all reservations, at least to some extent, are “incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty,” since “the object and purpose of the human rights conventions, it would seem, are to promote respect for human rights by having countries—mutually—assume legal obligations to respect and ensure recognized rights in accordance with international standards” (Louis Henkin, U.S. Ratification of Human Rights Conventions: The Ghost of Senator Bricker, The American Journal of International Law, Vol 89 No 2, 343-344 (Apr. 1995)). While we certainly should respect and ensure recognized rights, an international agreement which can change from year to year without legislative approval is not the way to accomplish this aim. That is the role of our elected representatives.

So what is the solution? How do we both respect the rights of states to set child protection laws, while meeting the domestic threats to parental rights? The answer is an amendment to the US Constitution. According to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the Constitution stands on equal footing with treaties. In the realm of international law, however, a provision in the Constitution which expressly touches on a subject of customary international law is considered to be overriding and preeminent. In effect, the Amendment would serve as the ultimate reservation on any treaty regarding parental rights.

Centaur

Scotland: Free Expression on the Internet

Reader,

Here's an article I found today on WorldNet Daily; it's a shocking article, although we here at the Insurgency have seen it coming for quite some time. In Scotland, the internet filters in Scotland on school grounds are being lifted, so that now children can view sexually explicit material on the internet while at school.

But this is not all: the article continues:

"It was uncovered a few months ago that Scottish children as young as 11 were being taken on outings to various "health" clinics where they were being given instruction in abortion, contraception and homosexuality by other students as young as 14."

Now, religious conviction regarding marriage and family planning aside, why are eleven-year-olds being taught this information? And why are fourteen-year-olds involved in the teaching? Something is wrong here!

I wish that I could say that this is all, but the article continues:

"Health officials in the Southampton area also recently created Charlie Condom, a character who promotes condoms to 13-year-olds."

Why use cartoon characters? Because they appeal to young audiences.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that I'm not being followed; something is wrong here. The internationalist agenda is targeting a young audience with a message, primarily because they know that they cannot win the older generations who know the truth. So they turn to education.

Is this what we want in our country? Will we only be reactionary, or will we take an active role in defending our country? Visit www.parentalrights.org today, and get involved in protecting our nation now.

Centaur

The Centaur Scrolls: The Legal Argument for Parental Rights, Part IV

Reader,

This post will tell of the blow that swiftly and deftly sliced the ancient pillars which protected parental rights in our legal system. I’m no “tree hugger,” but the cutting of these ancient towers down brought me sorrow.

In the year 2000, the traditional defense of parental rights disappeared. In Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court demonstrated that it was completely confused on the standard of protection for parental rights. Three points display the confusion well.

First, the Court was dramatically fragmented in its decision. In no less than six different opinions, the Court turned to almost every possible standard for measuring parental rights under the sun. No more than four justices agreed on any one decision, making it a plurality decision.

Second, the long train of parental rights protection which we have previously discussed was noted, mentioned, but not followed by five of the six opinions. Only Justice Clarence Thomas turned to Meyer et al. in making his decision.

How did this happen? We don’t know. But we are already seeing its effects.

The indecision of the court has led to lower court decisions which threaten the longstanding tradition of protecting parental rights. In Blair v. Badenhope, 77 S.W.3d 137 (2002), the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to use the strict scrutiny test for its decision on denying a parent custody of his child. Not only did they refuse to use the strict scrutiny test, they didn’t even mention it! Where did this freedom come from? The Court refused to use it in Troxel.

In 2005, the Maryland Supreme Court also refused to use strict scrutiny for parental rights, even though they cite Troxel where it defends parental rights as a fundamental right. What this indicates is that even if parental rights are viewed as fundamental, they may not receive the legal protection due a fundamental right. The protection we have enjoyed for so long is fading fast. Case in point: we cannot rely on the courts for the protection and preservation of parental rights.

So what is the solution? How do we both respect the rights of states to set child protection laws, while meeting the domestic threats to parental rights? The answer is an amendment to the US Constitution. Judges within our nation are under oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, meaning that they must consult a Parental Rights Amendment as a preliminary and primary resource for their analysis. The Amendment’s text would solve the confusion of the Supreme Court in Troxel, and return us to the proper standard for protection found in Yoder, Pierce, Meyer, Prince, and Sherbert among others. The rights of parents are protected, while the rights of the government to intervene in cases of child abuse and child neglect are still upheld.

Q.E.D.,

Centaur

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: The Legal Argument for Parental Rights, Part III

Reader,

In a previous post, I demonstrated the past precedent for parental rights, up until 1972. There are a number of other useful cases (Prince v. Massachusetts, Quilloin v. Walcott, and Santosky v. Kramer among others) that were mentioned subsequently, but Meyer, Pierce, and Yoder summarize the issue succinctly.

What I didn’t mention in those cases, however, was the standard of review for rights that are fundamental in nature, such as parental rights. I want to take some time now to do that.

In Wisconsin v. Yoder, Justice Burger draws on the principle which has provided the protection for parental rights over the centuries: the standard of protection for fundamental rights. Citing back to Sherbert v. Verner in 1963, Prince v. Massachusetts in 1944, and other cases, Justice Burger writes that only “those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served” are compelling enough to justify limiting a fundamental right.

What does this phrase, “[government] interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served,” mean?

First, it is very specific. In order for the government to have a “compelling governmental interest of the highest order,” the government must prove that there is a situation which threatens an important government priority. This “compelling governmental interest” is not defined as “a whim of the government,” or “a passing fancy in domestic policy.” A “compelling governmental interest” must be a fundamental function of government essential to its role as governor.

A compelling interest “not otherwise served” is an interest which can only be accomplished by limiting the right. This is important: if there is another means of accomplishing the task at hand, the government is obligated to pursue that alternate option instead of limiting the fundamental right. This was the standard for restricting parental rights laid out in Yoder.

A case study is helpful in understanding this otherwise vague and abstract theory. In the case of parental rights, child abuse and child neglect have routinely been upheld as compelling interests of the highest order (protecting citizens) not otherwise served (the only way to protect the victim is to remove him/her from the home environment, and specifically from the abusive parent). All that is required for law enforcement to rightly limit parental rights is to have proof of abuse—the usual requirement for removal of a child from his home.

We uphold state child protection laws with this standard already; the only thing that changes under the Amendment are cases involving the prosecution of parents in which no evidence of child abuse exists, and those parents shouldn’t be tried for abuse in the first place.

The important thing to realize about strict scrutiny test is that by 1972, parental rights were very well-protected. They looked as if they would never need further defense, since they were adequately defended by both the Supreme Court and state lawmakers. The next article will tell you how all of that changed.

Centaur

The Centaur Scrolls: The Legal Argument for Parental Rights, Part II

Reader,

In the last scroll I wrote to you about the precedent of the Court up through its 1972 decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder. Now I want to take you from 1972 up until the turn of the century, so that you will catch a glimpse of just how often the Court had protected parental rights (since we will not examine every case that they ruled in favor of parental rights). This will set us up nicely for the shocking truth in the next article, regarding the dramatic and abrupt turn away from protecting parental rights in Troxel v. Granville.

In 1978, the Supreme Court in Quilloin v. Walcott upheld its decision in Prince v. Massachusetts (1944), where they stated that “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents.” Both Prince and Quilloin tied back to Meyer and Pierce, which were discussed in the last scroll. The Quilloin decision followed on the heels of Smith v. Organization of Foster Families in 1977, where the Court stated that “the liberty interest in family privacy has its source, and its contours are ordinarily to be sought, not in state law, but in intrinsic human rights.”

The 1980s saw even greater protection for parental rights. Citing back to Stanley v. Illinois, in Lassiter v. Dept. of Social Services in 1981, the Court held that “this Court's decisions have by now made plain . . . that a parent's desire for and right to ‘the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children’ is an important interest that ‘undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection.’” In 1982, Justice Blackmun described parental rights as constituting a “fundamental liberty interest” in Santosky v. Kramer, and that these rights have a “critical need for procedural protections” because of this liberty interest. And again, both Lassiter and Santosky ties back to Meyer and Pierce.

In M.L.B. v. SL.J. in 1996, the Court also defended the rights of parents, stating that “choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as ‘of basic importance in our society,’” tying back to Boddie v. Connecticut in 1971. In all of these cases, parental rights were protected as fundamental rights.

Now, I know that there were a lot of cases suddenly thrust upon you, so this is what I want you to take away: there is a longstanding, highly respected history for the protection of parental rights dating back to two central cases: Meyer and Pierce. When the Supreme Court (or any lower court) faces a question regarding how much protection should be given to parental rights, there is a long tradition of protection which should not be ignored. For over seventy years, the Court was very clear on the standard for parental rights were: it’s a fundamental right, deserving strict scrutiny (which we will discuss later).

Why did I take all of this time laying out the issue? There are myriad cases which were not addressed in this or the preceding article – why do we write so much about it? Because everything changed in the year 2000, and no one knows why. But that is a discussion for another day.

Centaur

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: The Legal Argument for Parental Rights, Part I

Reader,

The following set of articles will build the legal case for passing an amendment to the US Constitution to protect parental rights. Much has already been said about why the Parental Rights Amendment for the preservation of our country’s heritage and traditions (for more information on it, visit www.parentalrights.org, and find out how you can get involved). But I want to take time now to discuss the legal background and ramifications of passing—and not passing—the Parental Rights Amendment.

The rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children have been protected by state and federal law for centuries, finding protection in state statutory laws, state constitutions, family court rulings, and the Supreme Court of the United States. But in recent years, there has been a trend in restricting the rights of parents without sufficient justification and evidence for proving that the parents are not acting in the best interest of the child. Over the next few articles, we will examine the threat to parental rights in two realms: domestic and foreign. Here, however, I want to focus on the legal precedent which has been set regarding parental rights.

Parents have traditionally been given the benefit of the doubt in raising their children. In Meyer v. Nebraska in 1923, the Court upheld the rights of parents to choose subjects of study for their child. Citing back to cases decided in 1884 and beyond, Justice McReynolds wrote that “it is the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life,” and that “[the teacher’s] right thus to teach and the right of parents to engage him so to instruct their children . . . are within the liberty of the [First] Amendment.”

In 1925, the Court expanded on what was entailed in this “natural duty.” In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Justice McReynolds held that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Notice that this is not just a grant of power to parents. There is an obligation which comes with the “natural duty,” here recognized as a “high duty,” of parents: they must prepare the child for additional obligations. The right of parents to raise their children has a forward focus: it prepares the next generation to participate in our democracy, our society, and their future.

Justice Burger’s decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder in 1972 mentions this passage from Pierce, where he wrote: “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” He uses this opportunity, however, to clarify what these “additional obligations” are in Pierce: “the duty to prepare the child for ‘additional obligations,’ referred to by the Court, must be read to include the inculcation of moral standards, religious beliefs, and elements of good citizenship.” That’s what we are protecting when we protect parental rights.

Notice: parental rights are always tied to a significant benefit to society. Parents raise their children so that they will be better equipped for later on in life. While there are exceptions to this rule, this is the norm--and the vast majority of cases support this. If you disagree, fine: but realize that this is how the system works, and that parents are reliable in the main. And that is now “established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”

More to come,

Centaur

"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch, as it is your's, Badger, to remember." -- Glenstorm

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Parents v. The Gangs and Cults

Gang activity is exceedingly harmful to youth. Once a young person enters the gang ring, there are few opportunities to leave it. The gang leader becomes a father to those within the gang, providing protection from rival gangs, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of importance and increased self-esteem. Adolescents who enter gangs tend to have other socio-economic factors which drive them toward gang involvement, but a breakdown in the parent-child relationship is a critical reason to join—everyone needs to feel loved and wanted.

Parental involvement and monitoring in a child’s life has been widely recognized as an integral factor in preventing gang involvement. Dr. Phelan Wyrick, the Gang Program Coordinator for the (OJJDP), and Dr. James Howell, the Adjunct Researcher for the National Youth Gang Center, recognize the parent-child relationship as “likely to have the greatest impact” in dealing with children involved in gangs.

Wyrick and Howell also advocate the use of after-school programs and probation periods to assist in rehabilitation, but they specifically note the power and importance of preserving and improving the parent-child relationship as key to success. Citing four academic studies taken over the past fifteen years, Wyrick and Howell state that “poor family management, including poor parental supervision (monitoring) and control of children, has been shown to be a strong predictor of gang membership.” Parents must take the lead in raising their children; the strength of that relationship is integral to ensuring the best interest of the child.

One commentator claims that “parents play a pivotal role in keeping young people out of gangs,” and that “parents can protect their children from gang activity through taking positive actions, such as monitoring their children's activities, fostering close relationships with them, and using positive discipline strategies.” What parents think, say, and demonstrate to adolescents is a powerful message with a profound impact. While we generally think that parents lose their influence over their children during their teen years, research indicates that the opposite is true. Parents have a profound impact on their children’s lives, guiding and directing their growth.

Closely tied to this issue is another destructive community which easily entraps adolescents: cults. One of the tactics cult leaders use to gain control over their followers is to alienate cult members from their parents and family members. This creates an isolation which drives members toward the cult leader as their new “father.” Some cults will split up families within the cult, forcing children to live with other parents, and even at times forcing spouses to split and live with other people, in order to centralize power within the cult leader. This has a devastating effect on the psyche and personal growth of the child.

But the damage doesn’t end there: families coming from cults have difficulties in their interaction with each other. One commentator notes that “post-cult marital pairs often view each other in the way they viewed the cult leader,” and that conflict within the family may be dealt with by “projecting uncomfortable or unacceptable feelings onto their partners.” The danger of treating your partner like the cult leader is that suspicion of motives and manipulation becomes commonplace within the marriage, making it significantly more difficult for spouses to work out their problems without putting on a fa├žade with their partner. Family interaction is destroyed.

Life is highly regulated by the cult leader—so much so that “married couples may feel that it is best to hide their positive feelings while in the cult, because true affection between members can be perceived as a threat to the power of the cult leader.” Even the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit is regulated by the cult leader. The cult leader’s manipulation and example permeate all of life, regulating every personal interaction of the cult members in order to preserve his power. Families are completely destroyed.

Organizations that rescue individuals from cults highly recommend that parents become actively involved in helping their children recognize the dangers and appeals of cultic practices. While parental actions may not be perfect in keeping young people from joining cultic groups, it does significantly decrease the risk of entering such practices. There is a reason why cult leaders attempt to appear to their followers like a parent: the position of a parent in the life of a young person is powerful, and its power should be protected and preserved in the hands of the right people—his loving parents.

Preserving the parent-child relationship without government intervention is critical to attaining success in a number of societal ills regarding children. In recognition of this fact, the Parental Rights Amendment was proposed to forever protect the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. By supporting the rights of parents to raise their children in a responsible way, we can fight the social evils caused by groups which attempt to replace the love of parents with a group leader.

Centaur

The Centaur Scrolls: Parental Rights Improve Public Health

Reader,

Much has been said about the Parental Rights Amendment: it protects the rights of good parents to raise their children, it preserves our national sovereignty in the realm of family law, it defends one of the most fundamental and core values of the American heritage. What is often not covered, however, is how parental involvement improves public health. Parental guidance and involvement have effectively reduced underage drinking, teens driving under the influence, underage smoking, and substance abuse more than any other factor. Moreover, it has also been discovered that positive parental guidance in the realm of sexuality has a proven track record of improving public health and reducing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

(For information about the study, click here (it can also be found here, and through ProQuest, subscription required). My sincerest thanks to those who conducted the study; all information in this article was taken from the studies and research covered in the article above, unless cited otherwise.)

I recognize that this may be considered an almost inappropriate topic of discussion: we tend to skirt this issue, leaving it unaddressed unless we confront it directly with legislation. Yet the discussion must be had in order to truly understand and appreciate the importance of parental guidance to our society. Adolescents and youths alike are much less likely to engage in sexual activity if their parents are actively involved in limiting what they view, who they see, and where they go. By defending parental involvement, we improve public health.

Melina Bersamin and her associates at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley, CA, in their article, “Parenting Practices and Adolescent Sexual Behavior: A Longitudinal Study,” have compiled the most extensive study ever conducted on the influence of parental involvement and instruction on adolescent behavior, integrating research from 61 studies and scholarly works spanning twenty years of analysis. The findings of their study are truly amazing in their universal and resounding support for parental rights as a means of increasing public health and reducing the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Citing several studies, Bersamin notes that “perceived parental attitudes toward premarital sex and actual parental attitudes toward sexuality are strong predictors of adolescent sexual behavior.” In other studies this was confirmed in longitudinal analysis: parental disapproval, and particularly maternal disapproval of premarital sexual activity, significantly reduced the chance of premarital sex in adolescents from year to year. Other studies also found that “effective communication styles and positive parental relationships also are associated with fewer pregnancies.” By encouraging parental involvement and protecting parental rights, we can reduce other problems which confront our government today, in addition to increasing public health and making life for these young people easier and better.

Parent-imposed limitations on television viewing and time unaccounted for with friends dramatically reduced the risk of receiving STDs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS. According to a 2002 study conducted by Cohen, Farley, Taylor, Martin, and Shuster, “high school students who were unsupervised less than 5 hours a week (high supervision) were less likely to have had sexual intercourse and had fewer lifetime sexual partners than students who were unsupervised more than 5 hours a week.” If adolescents do not have parental involvement and guidance, they suffer. We need to protect parental rights.

National statistics support these findings. According to the studies, “80% of youth reported that they were influenced some or a lot by "what parents have told them" and 79% reported being influenced some or a lot by "what parents might think" (Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen Magazine, 2000). More than 90% of these teens agreed that among the benefits of waiting to have sex is enjoying the respect of parents.” Children are greatly impacted by what their parents think, and the knowledge which parents have of the dangers of open sexual activity does pervade the conversation. By encouraging parental involvement, we can dramatically increase public health and provide a better future for our children.

By “parental supervision” in this study the researchers mean “interactions with children about television. The interaction can take place before, during, or after viewing.” The results were clear: “Parental television mediation strategies were also predictive of changes in adolescents' sexual behavior. Specifically, parental limitation of television viewing was negatively associated with both sexual behaviors. Parental coviewing was inversely related to vaginal intercourse initiation only.” In other words, limiting what your children watch helps reduce the chance of premarital sexual activity, and thus reduce the chance of receiving an STD.

Because we universally see teen rebellion around us, we tend to assume that the influence of parents over their children wanes with time. According to the study, however, this is far from the truth. On the contrary, the opinion of parents on subjects including drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex plays a significant role in the decision-making paradigm of the child, even into and through his or her teen years. Bersamin goes as far as to say that parents have “considerable influence” over their children’s sexual behavior during their teen years.

What does this tell us? When parents are involved and actively make their stance on premarital sex known, youth are less likely to be sexually active and are less likely to contract STDs. The studies particularly drew attention to television co-viewing and discussion before, during, and after the viewing. These two factors, taken together, are the sole element that cannot be reproduced or replicated in any other setting than the family unit. Parental involvement in the upbringing of children is absolutely essential because it is considerably effective.

It is interesting to note the dramatic difference between these studies and what we see in the Netherlands. Dutch children actively engage in sexuality, substance abuse, and alcohol. The World Population Foundation found in a 2006 study that almost 30% of boys and girls fifteen years of age are sexually active, and of those 30%, 92% of boys and 97% of girls have used some form of contraception. The numbers were higher for those above fifteen years of age.

But the story does not end with sexual activity. In an interview conducted by Kathryn Westcott of the BBC News Network, Laura Vos, a Dutch girl of sixteen when the interview was conducted in 2007, reveals just how free that nation is: “In this country, it's very free, you can do anything you want. . . . You can smoke at 16, you can buy pot in the store next to the school. You can do what you like and because it's not illegal, it's not that interesting for us to provoke our parents with it.”

If children do not think that it is important to tell their parents, is the feeling mutual? Do parents not care about whether or not their children are sexually active, drinking, smoking, or doping? Ysbrand, a young man of eighteen when the interview took place, sheds light on the situation through his story. According to Ysbrand, he was a drinker and smoker “for some time,” and presumably his parents knew of his habits. But, as he describes it, “They've never liked it, but they realize that they were young once. They are just waiting for me to give it up in my own time.” His parents do not take an active roll in helping him, even though his drinking and smoking habits are crippling his chances at a long, healthy life.

Is this a systemic problem, or is Ysbrand’s family an isolated case? According to Paul Vangeert, the Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen, this mindset is commonplace. He states that “because parents are more relaxed, the dynamics of the problems are less severe than in countries where they are seen as more of a serious issue.”

Illicit drugs are being used by young people just beyond school grounds. Drinking and smoking are common, and no one is warning them of the threat to their future and present health from these habits. Why? Because “it’s not that interesting for us to provoke our parents with it.” This is the root cause: parents are not involved. This is the great difference between America today and the Netherlands: American parents want to protect their children from destructive habits. American parents are concerned about whether their children smoke, drink, use drugs, or are sexually active.

Or are we?

Are we willing to stand up and fight to protect parental rights? If we want to protect our children, we need to empower parents. Visit www.parentalrights.org for more information on how you can get involved in protecting the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

Centaur

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Government-Engineered children?

Reader,

I read the following today; it is a work written by Mr. Dan Moxley, a Virginia resident and father who recognizes the importance of parental rights, entitled, "Government-Engineered Children: Save Parental Rights." I loved his thoughts so much, I wanted to send them on to you.

Centaur



Government-Engineered Children?
Save Parental Rights
Dan Moxley

Since its adoption by the U.N. in 1989, the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” has been ratified by 193 of its 194 member nations. Even Somalia, with its broken government and war-torn state, signed on earlier this year alleging it did so to protect its children. The only member nation not “compassionate” enough to have done so is the United States.

Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner represented the convention to a concerned inquirer affirming that it protects a child’s “right to a name and nationality, freedom of speech and thought, access to health care and education, and freedom from exploitation, torture, and abuse.” We will demonstrate that this tug-at-the-heart-strings representation is nothing more than a manipulation tactic of the left.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. has suffered the scrutiny of other U.N. member nations, as well as domestic antagonists. Intense pressure is being applied to force the U.S. to recognize that adoption of this convention is the only appropriate response. Why has the U.S. not fallen in line with the other 193 U.N. member nations by submitting itself to this standard? Has the U.S alone been perceptive enough to understand what every other U.N. member nation has overlooked?

Not exactly. Of the countries that ratified this convention — more than 87 percent by the end of 1994 — few faced Constitutional hurdles similar to those of the U.S. Their constitutions were structured such that their governments were able to yield sovereignty and parental freedoms to the U.N. with relative ease. The delayed implementation of the U.N. convention in this country is substantially the result of limitations integral to our Constitution. To this extent, all wisdom is attributable to the founders.

To the credit of some contemporary legislators, their awareness of various dangers has prevented the U.N. convention from gaining U.S. sanction. One danger, evident only since the mid-1990s, is the ability of the U.N. to issue interpretations, or “general comments,” on the convention. Since, as it affirms of itself, “the convention, like all human rights instruments, must be regarded as a living instrument, whose interpretation develops over time,” and since the U.N. convention does not permit “any reservation incompatible with (its) object and purpose,” these new interpretations cannot be ignored. Once established by the U.N committee, they are legally binding on all ratifying nations. The U.S. would be no exception. This would be like agreeing to buy someone’s home and later finding out the previous owner’s legally-binding interpretations include unlimited weekend getaways at your new residence. You had better plan on being close friends.

The convention’s ability to be altered and yet binding, objectionable as it is, has not been the only objection in the U.S. There are two issues considered to be equally important. The first is: the U.N. convention as it stands would require and enable the federal government to develop a massive bureaucracy that would eclipse even the one anticipated with the new federal health care system. Every U.S. citizen would be subject to U.N. laws and world government. While one can debate what would occur under the U.N. convention, there can be no sensible debate about what could occur. Not only would ratification result in a comprehensive yielding of our sovereignty to the U.N., but it would prove the single greatest devise on the political horizon employable to complete annihilation of “states rights.”

The other substantial reason the U.S. has not supported this U.N. convention is due to the direct, dramatic impact it would have on the American family. Purporting to establish and secure the rights of children, it actually takes the rights of American parents to rear their own children and gives them to a panel of 18 would-be sages in Geneva, Switzerland. The rights that would be shifted to the U.N.’s oversight, if only according to present interpretations, are all-encompassing: the child would be able to “receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers … through any … media of the child’s choice,” and this “whether their parents or guardians consent.” Children will “have access to confidential medical counseling and advice” including “family planning education and services,” and this “without parental consent.” They will have freedom from corporal correction, “however light,” freedom of religion and freedom of association. (Notice the esteem this compassionate convention ascribes to parents).

While the U.N. currently frowns on your daughter marrying at 12 years of age, you will not be able to demand that she leave her Satan-worshipping 18-year-old boyfriend and return home. If you try to restrain any right in any fashion, your child will have the right to appeal to a government worker. If you persist, the federal government will be bound to replace you with a more cooperative guardian – it is cooperation, not character, that matters to the U.N. (They have decided that they will engineer character).

Does this sound like the convention Sen. Warner is promoting? Need I say that his representation bears all the marks of intentional deception? Represent it as something no reasonable person would reject; withhold all information that no reasonable person would accept.

The U.S. alone has stood against the pressures of ratification for more than two decades, but as we have been promised by the current administration, things may be about to change. Susan Rice, present ambassador to the U.N., has promised the Senate will adopt the U.N. convention this term. There have always been parties attempting to impose it on this country, but the current imbalance in legislative power – in favor of liberal democrats — poses the greatest potential risk to date.

Motivated in large part by the current threat, an organization has arisen to lead the effort to establish permanent protection for families. Parental Rights (found on the web at www.parentalrights.org) is seeking to garner support in the House, in the Senate, and in the states to secure an amendment to the Constitution. Contrary to left-wing extremist propaganda, the proposed amendment seeks only to make explicit the rights that have long been recognized by the states. Such an amendment would not only seal the fate of the U.N. convention, but it could also make it more difficult for judges who, in violation of their oath of office, make decisions regarding family law that are more representative of U.N. convention interests than those of the U.S. Constitution. At present, the proposed amendment has gained significant support — 139 co-sponsors in the House and seven co-sponsors in the Senate.
Others have also joined the fight: Numerous states have passed parental rights legislation, urging Congress to pass the parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Here in Virginia, the resolution passed the House of Delegates on Feb. 15 by a vote of 64 to 31. One day later, the full Senate waived a reading of the resolution and sent it to the rules sub-committee to determine whether it was worthy of serious consideration by the full Senate — it never again emerged. Knowing that Senate approval would indicate Virginia’s support of appropriate parental rights, the Virginia Senate dismissed it without even meeting formally for deliberation.

Since the passage of the parental rights amendment would effectively nullify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it would retain appropriate authority for the states as well as for parents, why would any legislator reject it? There are few possibilities: Either they are ignorant of the dangers, or they favor a massive federal government that will confiscate every conceivable right from the family. Presently, we have state delegates, including our own James Schuler, who voted against the proposed amendment, as well as a Senate, the majority of which believes such an issue is not worthy of their time. Other Virginia representatives oppose parental rights at the federal level, as demonstrated by their unwillingness to co-sponsor the amendment, including various Representatives and Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb. Our representatives are responsible to protect, not surrender, our rights as parents. Failure to endorse this amendment to the U.S. Constitution suggests that what is good for our children is better understood by government than by the people – the parents. Those who refuse to support the amendment demonstrate they have no intention of being public servants; that they are more interested in being career politicians than preserving our freedom. It is time that We the People replace these con men with freedom loving statesmen.

All concerned citizens need to contact their representatives and demand proper representation. Don’t be deceived by their depiction of the matter – review the material yourself at www.parentalrights.org or elsewhere on the web. Determine to vote for representatives who will strive to protect the rights of the good people of Virginia.

International Law Enforcers?

Dear Reader,

I was reading through the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's Concluding Observations on Article 8 of the Optional Protocol for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for Tunisia in 2009, and came across the most startling passage. After mentioning how a new commission must be created within the nation, the purpose of this new commission is outlined in Article 10:

"This body should be provided with the necessary human and financial resources that would enable it to establish a child rights unit to adequately monitor and promote the implementation of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, including this Optional Protocol."

Now, proponents of international law--and CRC proponents in particular--have often claimed that the CRC and other pieces of international law are harmless; it has no teeth, no enforcement. Um, really? While law enforcement powers are not mentioned by name in this passage, the unit gains investigation powers:

"should be mandated, inter alia, to receive and investigate complaints from children alleging that their rights, including those enshrined in the Optional Protocol, have been violated."

Is this the "harmless" treaty everyone speaks about? A commission which is only accountable to an international body, not elected by Americans, is given the power to investigate (a law enforcement function, notice) cases regarding any claim of abridging parental rights. Presumably, your constitutional rights under the 4th and 5th Amendments must be upheld during this investigation, but again, that is not stipulated in the treaty. So, we don't know.

If we want to run a grave risk of losing face, losing sovereignty, or losing our sacred honor, we can pursue ratification of the CRC. But if we want to stay with the protections which we currently provide to children--which, by the way, are among the most comprehensive and effective child protection laws in the world--we run none of these risks. Your choice.

Still in the fight,

Centaur

Monday, August 16, 2010

Interesting Article: Parental Rights and Sex Education Programs

Reader,

I will warn you: don't show this article to your kids. My blog is safe, but not this link. Ye be warned.

I read an article today which was written by a doctor who routinely works and counsels young teens who need to be treated for sexual diseases or receive procedures related to sexual health. Her thoughts and concerns are absolutely astounding.

Her conclusion from her work in the field is that sex-ed classes are not providing a number of important facts about reproductive health to students. Information regarding the enhanced ability of the human body to defend against STDs and STIs when the individual reaches physical maturity, the psychological and emotional effects of sexual activity as adolescents, etc. are not provided in classes. These pieces of information are necessary for making an informed decision, and are routinely left out of sex ed classes.

If we want to protect our children, why don't we leave education up to those who have fulfilled the role of teachers from ages past: the parents? If you are a parent and your child is in a school, your parental rights are in danger (I'm finishing the Scroll on school sex education and the general threat to parental rights in terms of public health; so stay tuned for that). Join with ParentalRights.org, and sign the petition to protect your rights as a parent.

Semper Fi Parentis,

Centaur

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Interesting Article on Parental Rights

Dear Reader,

In a discussion with an acquaintance about parental rights, I was directed to the following article by Mr. Kerry Morgan, J.D., which I found very interesting. I understand where he is coming from, but, with all respect, I think he misses the point of the Parental Rights Amendment which is marching through the US Congress.

He makes the argument:

"But the federal amendment also empowers both the United States and every state government to infringe upon this “fundamental” parental right. If the government can demonstrate “that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served” the parent’s fundamental right must yield....Protection of parental rights ought to be accomplished on a state to state basis."

Now, I understand his concern: any grant of authority for the government to restrict a fundamental right must be weighed carefully. But the misunderstanding arises from the fact that the words used in the Amendment have a very specific meaning, tied to very specific circumstances, with a very high burden of proof.

The wording for Section Two of the Amendment (which is the wording that he takes issue with) is taken from Wisconsin v. Yoder, which the Supreme Court decided in 1972. In Yoder, the Supreme Court upheld parental rights as fundamental, tying back to decisions made almost 50 years earlier, and a tradition which has been recognized as integral to our culture and critical to our society for centuries. According to the Court, however, fundamental rights are not "weak" as Mr. Morgan would suggest; instead of just proving that the government interest is reasonable, the government must meet the highest standard of proof in the legal realm.

The Court cited back to Sherbert v. Verner, decided in 1967, where the Court famously laid out the three-part "Lemon" test for restricting a fundamental right (it was articulated before Sherbert in Lemon v. Kurtzman, and thus is sometimes referred to as the "Lemon Test"). The test includes:
1. That the government's interest be of the highest order. This is not defined as merely what the government thinks important, but an interest essential and integral to the very existence and role of government (protection of citizens, for example),
2. That this interest cannot be otherwise served. If there is another way of accomplishing this compelling interest without restricting the right, we should pursue that course of action, and
3. That the means of accomplishing this interest be narrowly tailored to place as little restriction on the right than is necessary to accomplish that interest.

What, then, would be required to prove that the government's "interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served"? A common example from family law is helpful to understanding how the test would be applied to parental rights.

In the case of child abuse and child neglect, the government has an interest of the highest order: protecting its citizens. The only way to protect these citizens, however, is to remove them from the abusive environment (restricting parental rights to custody). But this interest does not authorize them to barge into any house upon little to no evidence of child abuse, since that would unduly infringe on parental rights. Thus the Parental Rights Amendment would protect parents who are falsely accused of child abuse, while still allowing law enforcement to protect those who are truly in danger.

Notice how well-protected parental rights are: the burden of proof is on the government to show that their intervention is absolutely necessary. This is not a "weak" right.

His argument for state laws is also interesting. He mentions the threat of "an abusive Congress" in the article, but fails to demonstrate how a state law--or even state constitutional amendment--would protect the citizens of the state from said abusive Congress. The only way to keep Congress, the Courts, or any government entity--even international entities--from infringing on parental rights is to protect it in the Constitution.

If you want to learn more about ParentalRights.org and want to get involved, visit their website at www.ParentalRights.org, and get involved in your community today.

Join the fight,

Centaur

"The time is right."--Glenstorm

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: The Importance of the Family


You may remember advertisements with celebrities including Malcolm Jamal Warner and Phylicia Rashad which advertised “sharing more than a meal, at the family table.” This campaign, which began from a survey sponsored by TV Land and Nick at Nite, emphasized the importance of families spending time together to eat a meal, build memories, and draw closer together as a family.

Is this an antiquated idea? Does it really matter if families spend time together? Is a strong family unit a desirable for its members and society as a whole? I want to use this article to speak to parents, children, siblings, and spouses about the importance of quality time together as families from a national and personal perspective. Instead of exposing the negative effects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) here—the opportunities of which to do this on this subject are legion—I want to restrict my discussion to simply why a strong family unit which cares about family time is important to us as Americans and individuals within a family. Most of what I say is already substantiated on this blog, so there will be few links here. Browse the Insurgency if you’re looking for more information.

First, there are many personal benefits to spending time together. It has often been said that “the family that eats/plays/prays together, stays together.” This statement is perhaps more true than any of us will ever know. Family is a place where people want to belong: if we do not spend time together, we have no sense of belonging. Our movies and society tend to idolize the wanderer, the one without a home. But let’s face it: we hate that life. We want a place that we can call ours, and a group of people that we can belong to and, in some sense, own as our own.


Beyond the personal benefit and need for family, a strong family unit also builds a strong sense of security for children. Most cases of adult violence, substance abuse, and criminal acts of various kinds are related to having an unstable, insecure childhood. Broken families result in broken lives farther down the line. By keeping families strong today, we build the American society of tomorrow.

Time together with Mom and Dad also keeps kids out of trouble. One of the major planks of a number of campaigns against underage drinking, underage smoking, illicit sexual activity, substance abuse, and gang and cult activity is to know where your child is, who they hang out with, and what they are doing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to spend time together. You know precisely where they are, what they are doing, and who is with them. Spending time with your child may not seem that important at the time, but statistics indicate that the impact of family time is vast in the life of both the young child and the teen.

Family time can also give us a sense of direction and mission. For those of us who work a consistent job with a “same-old, same-old” routine, we need a sense of purpose and direction in our lives. Prioritizing our families, and particularly our time together as a family, is one way of doing that.


Finally, strong family units provide us with a strong foundation for our nation. Across the globe, we see the fall of parental involvement in their children’s lives followed by the fall of society. As societies remove parents from children, they also see a rise in crime, a rise in teen violence, a rise in sexual activity among minors, and increased substance abuse. Fighting for the family is also a way of fighting for society.

If you really want to turn America around, I would highly recommend that you start by evaluating your family’s position. We start with our own problems, and then move on to solve the foreign problems around us. I will highly encourage you to get involved with www.parentalrights.org and see how you can join the fight for families today. But I will also encourage you to spend time today with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, or whoever composes your family unit. These relationships are too precious to lose: will you defend them today?

In the action,

Centaur

(All photos courtesy of: Woman’s Day Online, “12 Ways to Bring Your Family Closer,” accessed: July 1, 2010)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Parental Rights and Religious Freedom

Reader,

Scripture admonishes us to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Parents in particular are commanded throughout the Old and New Testaments to take the lead in teaching their children about the faith, and foster spiritual growth (Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:7, etc.). Scripture calls the righteous instruction of parents “a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:9).

Parents bringing their children up in the faith is the most effective way of building a strong faith in another person, since the loving care and dedication of parents shows the love of God to children in a personal way. Yet in America today we increasingly see the desire in our culture to restrict the ability of parents to freely teach their children about the Gospel or share their faith openly. What is the cause, and how do we turn the course of our nation around?

Modern man disdains family religious instruction in part because it is more powerful than the instruction they can give in a classroom, television show, or three minute song on the radio. Family instruction is constantly given to children from a young age: it is difficult to rival. It is because they recognize the role of the family in religious instruction that we have renewed attacks against parental rights in the legal, social, and academic communities.

In Washington state, for example, a child was removed from his home because he was receiving “too much church”--here defined as a Sunday morning worship service, a Sunday evening worship service, and a Wednesday night prayer meeting. The church was not part of a “fringe denomination,” presenting no danger to the child or anyone else in their services. Rather, because the child was being taken to church often by his parents, state social workers removed him from his home. A local judge upheld the decision to remove the child, and would not restore custody to the parents until they promised to only take him to one service a week. The threat is real: the Enemy wants us to stop teaching our children the Word of God.

Furthering the damage to religious freedom, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was created in 1989. Article 14 of the CRC states that “States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Yet this statement is clarified: “States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents . . . to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.” This sounds good, doesn’t it? Parents and legal guardians—grandparents, foster parents, etc.—should provide direction in religious instruction. What’s wrong with it?

The difficulty is the final portion of this sentence: “...in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.” The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which interprets the meaning of the CRC, has determined that the “evolving capacities of the child” require parents over time to lessen the amount of religious instruction which they give their children. What is more, the teenage years are the years when young people need parental guidance most, as they are confronted by many difficult decisions coupled with peer pressure. Parental rights—and religious freedom—are not respected by the CRC: it is a clever ruse.

The intent of the CRC writers is clear: they want to remove parents from the equation of religious instruction, because then they win. Article 13 of the CRC is the Free Expression Clause, which protects the rights of children to disseminate and access information “regardless of frontiers.” The only exceptions made to this ruling are if the information is harmful to another person or if it compromises national security. In other words, children should be free to explore our world and seek and share information with little supervision or other protective measures. In nations like the Netherlands and Sweden, this has led to the revoking of internet filtering software and widespread access to pornographic and violent material, in the name of “freedom of expression” and “access to information.” That’s the message children receive.

In Sweden, sexual solicitation over the internet was legalized, because teenage girls had the right to free expression--oh, and parents couldn’t keep them from accessing the internet because of their rights to freedom of expression and association. In Scotland, billboards and signs like this one appeared across the nation:



The creators of this sign were not seeking tolerance--they are attacking theism. A quick visit to any of the three websites in the bottom right corner of the sign will assure you that this is true. Humanism-Scotland.org specifically turns to Articles 13 and 14 of the CRC as the basis for their ability to place this signs on buses across the United Kingdom to raise money for humanist and atheist activism groups. It’s not about religious freedom: it’s about religious relativism.

In our nation, we have also witnessed this change. Not only have children been removed from their parents for “too much church,” a girl was placed in a different school setting because her religious convictions demonstrated that she was being sheltered by her parents: they believe that she needed more broad exposure to secular ideas.

In an effort to stem the tide and reclaim lost territory, ParentalRights.org was founded for the purpose of passing The Parental Rights Amendment, a constitutional amendment which would forever protect parental rights in our nation. International agreements such as the CRC, according to the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, yield to the Constitution alone--we need an amendment.

ParentalRights.org is actively fighting the battle in the legal, social, and international realms to stem the tide of atheism and humanism which are creeping into our country today. Will you join the fight and support parental rights today? Visit www.parentalrights.org for details on how you can get involved in your community today.

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -- Jim Eliot

The Centaur Scrolls: The Parental Rights Amendment and Child Abuse

One of the most brutal and horrific sins which an adult can commit is child abuse. Using one’s vastly greater physical ability, mental development, or emotional connection with a child to harm or neglect him or her is one of the most disgusting crimes known to man. Research conducted by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) in 2007 indicates that about 56% of all cases of child abuse across the nation involve a child age three or younger (This link also includes the written questions for the study. They are neutral, balanced questions which do not introduce the bias of the researcher. The study is very good, and should be considered reliable within the natural limitations of crime statistics). Because we universally agree that child abuse and child neglect are heinous crimes, every state has laws on the books which criminalize these actions.

Some have claimed that the Parental Rights Amendment would protect child abusers and child neglectors in the name of “parental rights.” This is not the case, as evidenced by the wording of the Amendment itself, its interpretation by the Supreme Court of the United States, and its general applicability in current family law. The Parental Rights Amendment does not protect child abuse; rather, it fights against it.

In 1925, the Supreme Court held in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” This decision, citing back to Meyer v. Nebraska in 1923, reaffirmed not only the importance of parental rights, but also the great responsibility which accompanies parental authority: parents have the high duty to prepare their children for future obligations. Child abuse and child neglect are a clear rejection of the recognition and completion of the “high duty” of parenting.

The Supreme Court later held in Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, 480 U.S. 39 (1987) that parents with a history of child abuse forfeit their parental rights. In Ritchie, Mr. Ritchie was denied his parental rights to obtain the medical records of his daughter because he had been charged with raping her. Child abuse constitutes a forfeiture of parental rights.

This is because child abuse and child neglect have universally been upheld as constituting a “governmental interest of the highest order,” granting the government a significant compelling interest in the case. What is more, removal of children from abusive home environments has routinely been regarded as an interest “not otherwise served” by the government: there is no other way to protect children from abuse than to remove them from the abusive environment.

This is the language which appears in the Parental Rights Amendment. Section Two of the Amendment reads:

Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

Thus, under the Amendment, there would still be the option of CPS and police intervention in a case of child abuse or neglect. The Amendment would not defend child abusers.

The Amendment protects children from the threats which face them without disregarding the usually trustworthy, loving, caring work of Mom and Dad. According to census data from 2006 (the most recent information we have for national child abuse statistics), there were around 905,000 different instances of child abuse reported in the nation. Census data also indicates that there were 7.3 million children in the United States in 2006. This means that 12.4% of children were victims of child abuse. This also means that at least 87.6% of children were being raised by fit parents. What is more, the percentage number is the low end of the estimate, since children are captured, used, and abused by individuals who are not their parents. Thus the number of abused children is not an accurate number for the number of unfit parents in the United States (but the specific data for this number is not available to us). Thus we conclude that the vast majority of parents in the United States--over 87%--are fit parents. We can trust them.

The level of abuse changes from state to state. In the State of Hawaii, the situation is better for children. According to the most recent studies available for Hawaii child abuse cases (2003), 4,046 children were victims of child abuse. According to census data, there were 298,693 children in the State of Hawaii in 2003. This means that in that year, 1.35% of children were victims of child abuse in the state. Since a portion of these children were abused by adults who were not their parents, the number of “unfit” parents in the state is less than 1.35%. According to crime statistics, the estimated number of incidents involving parents is 3,035 cases, or 1.01% of children. The vast majority of parents--those responsible for raising almost 99% of children in Hawaii--are good, responsible parents fit to direct the upbringing of their children.

What these statistics do not show, however, are the number of parents who are treated as child abusers, even though they are responsible parents. According to another national study by NCANDS, about 61% of child abuse claims are unsubstantiated: there is no evidence that child abuse was actually taking place. Even though they did nothing wrong, these individuals—most of whom were parents—now carry the stigma of having been investigated for child abuse.

In the State of North Carolina, the situation is worse. According to a 2002 study by the North Carolina Department of Human Resources Division of Social Services, 107,157 children were reported as child abuse victims, but only 30,016 of these children were actually confirmed as victims. This means that in 28% of cases, the child was actually abused—leaving 72% of those accused of child abuse innocent of the charges. Where is the protection for these parents? It has already been demonstrated that parents are generally trustworthy in raising their children, so where is the protection for these parents who are falsely accused? Good, responsible parents today are being treated like child abusers by the state—they need protection.

To treat all parents as we treat child abusers and child neglectors is both uncharitable and unjust, being based on erroneous information unsubstantiated by the facts. For millennia, parents have raised their children well: why can we not trust them in the 21st Century? If you believe that parents should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, please support the Parental Rights Amendment, get involved with www.parentalrights.org, and affirm the pivotal and critical role of parents in the development of a child.

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"The time is right." -- Glenstorm

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Best Interest of the Government, not the Child

Friends,

I came across this trial memorandum written by the Alliance Defense Fund the other day, and what I saw was very disturbing. The case strikes at parent school choice: a mother who had legal custody of her daughter was forced by the government to send her child to an alternative form of schooling, because it was "in the best interest of the child."

Problem: the child preferred the mode of schooling which her Mom chose! The will and desires of the child were not considered -- the judge ruled in favor of the best interests of the government, not the best interest of the child.

Some may argue that the best interest of the child included public education (the judge's decision) and not home education (the mother and daughter's choice). But any argument of socialization which could be made does not stand, because that was not the reasoning that the judge used to reach his conclusion. He made his decision based on this assessment: the girl's religious beliefs were keeping her sheltered, and she needed to expand her way of thinking.

Now, regardless of your thoughts on religion, when a government official steps in and tells a young girl that she needs to expand her horizons by questioning her faith without providing evidence that her faith is 1) unsound, 2) harmful, or even 3) not in her best interest to follow, we have a problem. That's tyranny: the desire to crush the conscience of a young person not because what they have is faulty or unsound, but merely because it is not his personal preference and believe, is straightforward tyranny. When you add that this is the young daughter of a single mother, you have tyranny in its grossest form.

This is why parental rights need to be protected. Governments taking away parental rights are not foreign to our shores; these abuses occur within our nation. Are we willing to take a stand against it? What will you do for parental rights today?

I will highly encourage you to visit www.parentalrights.org and get involved in passing the Parental Rights Amendment today. Join the fight -- we need you.

Watching the stars,

Centaur