United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child (No. 1)


Are you concerned about what governments—including our own—are doing to families throughout the world?  Are you pleased when the United States government attempts to usurp the rights and prerogatives of the parents? Can you believe our own government can be such an unrelenting enemy of the home as God ordained it? These questions are designed to challenge your thinking regarding the nature of human government and of the home.  If you will listen carefully today, you will learn what some elitist in our government and in other world governments are attempting to do to homes—including your home and mine. 


On November 20, l989, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child—unanimously means that our Ambassador to the United Nations voted for this monstrous proposal.  It took ten years for the convention to be drafted.  The United States was very active in arranging for this onslaught against the home.  As of this date, 176 nations, including the Vatican and almost all industrialized nations have signed the convention.  The United States has not ratified the treaty, but there is great pressure both at home and abroad for our nation to join with the other nations of the world in allowing the United Nations to control the homes of the world.  You may think I am using some very strong language, but you will understand why at the end of our discussion today.


The president is being pressured by international organizations and by children’s rights groups at home to send the treaty to the United States Senate for ratification.  Some of the organizations in America which are urging ratification of the treaty are: The National Education Association, the National Council of Churches, the Children’s Defense Fund with which Hillary Clinton has been associated for many years, Planned Parenthood, the National School Board Association, the American Bar Association and the International Council on Social Welfare.  If any of this surprises you, it is because you do not understand the nature of these radical groups or you are ignorant of what they believe and promote.  Some provisions of the convention appear to be innocuous, but most of them pose a great threat to the homes of our world.  I shall dwell only on those which should disturb every American who loves his home and wants to operate it as he believes God desired.


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child would forbid all corporal punishment.  Article 28:2 specifically forbids all schools from using any form of corporal punishment.  Articles 19:1 and 37 (a) not only prohibit schools from using corporal punishment, but would not allow parents, legal guardians or any other person who has responsibility for the child to punish the child physically.  Can you believe any government is so morally insensitive and intellectually stupid to even dream of such regulations?  How absolutely arrogant for any government—including our own—to imagine that government bureaucrats have the interest, the ability and the wisdom of the parents who brought children into the world and are charged by God almighty to take care of those children.


Who will make decisions about discipline?  Will we have child specialists, such as, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers whose judgment or lack of it will determine how the child will be reared? Did you know that these so-called “specialists” have not demonstrated any greater ability or wisdom in rearing their own children than the average parent?  There is some evidence to suggest they have not done so well.  The real experts on childrearing are the dedicated mothers and fathers who are willing to make great sacrifices for the welfare of their offspring. We must do all within our power to help parents do their work even better, but the intrusion of government into childrearing would create more confusion than we have ever dreamed. It would be a disaster from which we might not recover.  Besides, who gave the government—any government—the right to interfere in the on-going families of our country?


The government has made a colossal mess of virtually every endeavor it has undertaken.  If the United States government cannot control its own spending, cannot keep the Social Security System, Medicare and Medicaid from going into bankruptcy, how can it supervise and control what happens in a hundred million homes in America?  And who would be responsible for reporting on those families which decide to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?  Would we have spies in every home, in every community, in every school to report on the monsters who paddle their children?


Do some parents abuse their children when they use corporal punishment?  There is absolutely no question some parents are too harsh, to cruel and too abusive, but do we have to deny all parents the rights to rear their children as they see fit just because some parents fail to use restraint on their own behavior?  Millions of American children have been spanked and are more mature, more disciplined and more responsible because of it.  I shudder to think what would have happened to a dozen Claiborne children had our parents not spanked us when we needed spanking.  My brothers and sisters without exception will tell you we are better people because our parents paddled us and because we knew they would.


Do the so-called “experts” think they know more about the rearing of children than the God who made us and who revealed guidelines for parents?  Melissa Miller’s 1994 book, Family Violence: The Compassionate Church Responds (Scottsdale, PA), is one example of wrong-headed thinking on the topic of physical punishment of children.  She accuses Larry Christianson, James Dobson and Larry Tomcsak of “breaking the child’s will” (p.38).  She lists the following as consequences of physical punishment: fear, anger and hate, apathy--a lack of empathy, depression, rigidity and dissociation, sadomasochistic behavior, paranoia, domestic violence, aggression, and delinquency and authoritarianism” (p.38). How absolutely ridiculous for her to make these charges without any evidence to sustain them.  Her book will do great harm to families if they read it and attempt to follow it.


Solomon by divine inspiration wrote: “He who spares his rod hates his son: but he who loves his son chastens him in time” (Prov. 13:24).  Obviously, no parent is justified in bearing a child to the point of abuse, but paddling a child for serious infractions of family rules cannot be considered abuse.  If we do not begin to turn youngsters out of their way and bring them up to fear God and righteousness, what we see in many of our communities today will get much worse before it gets better.  If parents really love their children and want the best for them, they will do whatever it takes—short of abusing them—to help them to respect their fellowmen and to abide by the laws of the land.  We are reaping the tragic results of an undisciplined nation.  The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child would make the situation immeasurably worse.


If the United States Senate ratifies the United Nations treaty, it will be required to guarantee that children are vested with “freedom of expression.”  Section one of the treaty says that a child has a right to “seek, receive and impart information of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally or in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”  Today children and young people in many homes have learned and use the filthiest language imaginable.  My parents would not have allowed such vulgarity and would have done whatever was necessary to stop it.  If that meant paddling, then that is what they did.  They did not allow us to take the Lord’s name in vain, to tell filthy stories, to gossip about our neighbors to use so-called “four letter words.”  Some children as young as four in modern societies use language which would make a hardened stevedore blush.  If the UN treaty were made the law, parents could not interfere with their children’s freedom of expression.  Neither could school teachers.


The provisions of the UN treaty would prohibit a parent’s regulating what children see or hear or read.  If the child wanted to buy and bring into his home the dirtiest and most gruesome pornography, the parent would be restricted from telling the child what to do.  Do I need to tell you what is being produced by popular entertainers? Have you been reading the lyrics of the songs by Snoop Doggy Dogg and Nine Inch Nails?  You cannot be unaware of Ice-T’s “Cop Killers.”  Did you know that Calvin Klein sponsored advertising campaigns which featured a 13 or 14-year-old girl in provocative poses?  It was so inappropriate that U. S. News & World Report called the ads “decadent.” Under the UN treaty, this kind of decadence would only increase because parents would have little or no control over their children’s behavior.


Even without the UN treaty, young people sometimes appeal to the courts because they believe their parents are too old-fashioned, too oppressive.  Parents have been sued by their children because the parents would not allow their children to view some television programs or to go to certain movies or to go to dances.  Tragically, some television programs and some movies promote sexual promiscuity drug abuse and beverage alcohol.  They often present crime and criminals in a good light.  Television talk shows present the very raunchiest types of programs for our children and young people to watch. What could parents do about such shows if the UN treaty were ratified by the United States senate?


Pornography has been around for a long time.  The people in our country spend $8 Billion every year on pornography--$2 Billion on child pornography.  No facet of American society shows the degradation of our moral values any more than the proliferation of pornography—especially child pornography.  Of course, liberal theologians and academicians insist that pornography has no adverse influence on those who consume such trash.  They are flying in the face of the entire experience of the human family.  We are influenced either for good or evil by what we read and see and hear.  Solomon wrote 3,000 years ago—and all subsequent human experience has confirmed this: “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). If reading pornography has no detrimental effect on the reader, how can we tell our young people that reading good books or magazines has a beneficent influence on their lives?  But parents would not be able under the UN treaty to determine what their young people read.  The children would be able to seek, receive and impart information of all kinds—either orally or in print.  Do you see any room for parental guidance in that provision?


And nor, dear friends, we face one of the potentially most devastating mediums of communication any nation has ever known—the Internet.  You probably have heard recently about the racism and even Nazism which are being promoted on the Internet.  Hate messages which would make Hitler blush are daily fare on the Internet.  But even worse—if possible—are the sexual messages being advertised on the Internet.  Pedophilia—sex with children—is receiving great publicity on the Internet.  The kidnapping, rape and killing of children appear on what amounts to a pedophile bulletin board. The Internet gives detailed instructions which enable a pedophile to pick up children from their homes and schools.  Beastiality, torture, bloodletting and sadistic injury can be found on the Internet.


As you know if you have a computer and children, our children learn very quickly how to use the computer to surf the Internet.  It does not take them long to find what they want.  Most parents today do not approve of their children’s learning about pedophilia, sadomasochism and other bizarre and twisted sexual behavior.  But if the UN treaty were ratified by our senate, there would not be much parents could do about what their children learn from their use of the computer.  Parents would even be reluctant to complain since they might be arrested for their interference with what the child sees or hears or reads. Can you imagine the confusion which would rein in homes and in communities across the nation?  Take away all parental restraints and guidance and what would you have?  Utter and absolute moral chaos? 


Under the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, children will be guaranteed the “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”  If you know much about what occurred in communist countries all over the world—especially in Russia, in Romania, in Albania and in communist China—you know that parents were not permitted to instruct their children in the faith of their parents.  The parents were permitted to attend church services and to read their Bibles—although they could not do that in Romania and Albania—but they could not take their children to worship services; nor could they give them religious instructions in the privacy of their homes.  In some cases, where parents violated these restrictions, the children were taken from their homes and placed in orphanages.  The parents had great difficulty getting their children back.  Eventually, the parents and their children migrated to the United States.


Do you remember what God commanded the Jewish parents to do for their children?  Please listen carefully to these admonitions.  “Hear therefore, O Israel:  The Lord our God is one Lord: and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart.  And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.  And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on your gates” (Dt. 6:4-9).


How would the Jews have reacted if some government had told them they could not influence the thought, the conscience and the religious convictions of their children?  What would have been the Lord’s response to such oppressiveness?  But that is precisely what the United Nations Convention of the rights of the child would try to accomplish—not only in the United States but throughout the world.  As you can readily understand, such utter foolishness would destroy the moral values of great portions of the world’s populations, although many of the signatories of the convention, such as, China, would pay absolutely no attention to the treaty since they are notorious for ignoring treaties.  The treaty would primarily affect those nations who believe they are morally obligated to honor their agreements.


What can you and I do about such offensive proposals?  My friends, you can begin by praying for the leaders of our nation and of the other nations of the world.  Paul wrote as follows to the young preacher: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all who are in authority; that we may lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).  You can make a difference by talking to your friends and neighbors and encouraging them to write to the President and to your senators.  Will you please join in the battle against this evil?


Winford Claiborne

The International Gospel Hour

P.O. Box 118

Fayetteville, TN 37334