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May 06, 2009


Consider this hypothetical example:

Parents want their 15-year old child to attend a particular church. The child sues to prevent the parents from forcing her to go to this church.

If the US had signed this UN treaty, is there a chance that a judge would rule for the child, based on the "freedom of religion"? Of course there is. So, Stewart is wrong when he confidently asserts that this treaty could never infringe parents' rights.

I suspect that many liberals would be on the child's side in such a suit. That attitude would equate to, "I don't mind if it happens", rather than "It ain't going to happen."

I do agree that the Constitutional Amendment won't pass. Nevertheless, a camnpaign for the Amendment may be a useful way to focus on parents' rights. E.g., the Equal Rights Amendment never passed, but that campaign helped women gain their full rights through a combination of legislation and judicial decdisions.

Since when is a child REFUSING to go to a church an example of "freedom of religion?" That's like claiming that someone is exercising their 2nd Amendment Rights by choosing not to own a gun.

daniel, there are SC decisions holding that a child in school cannot be forced to recite a prayer or even to listen to one. I believe that these decisions are based on Freedom of Religion. However, Freedom of Religion doesn't currently apply to a child when it's his parent who is deciding on what church the family should attend. However, if the US signs a treaty guaranteeing Freedom of Religion to children, then I think a judge might well hold that parents were limiting in their ability to force their children into particular religions.

BTW, generalizing from my example, ISTM if the US signs this treaty, it will either have no effect or it will increase children's rights by decreasing parents' rights. In the former case, there's no need for us to sign it. In the latter case, our signing the treaty would reduce parents' rights, contradicting Stewart's predicion. (Actually, I'm not 100% sure what the "it" was in Stewart's rant. I think he used the word "it" to mean a reduction in parents' rights, but there was some ambiguity.)

Parental rights already have limits, ask the parents of
Andrew Wantland
Robyn Twitchell
Ashley King
Ian Lundman
These children died because of the parent's refusal to seek medical care, preferring their religious belief in faith healing.

"I believe that these decisions that these decisions are based on Freedom of Religion."

I doubt it. It sounds like the decisions you mentioned were based more on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, not the "freedom of religion" portion of that same Amendment.

To clarify: It sounds like the decisions you mentioned were based more on VIOLATIONS OF the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, not on violations against the "freedom of religion" portion of the same Amendment.

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