Click here to listen to this material as a free mp3 recorded Bible message.
In recent decades our society has seen the rise of various "liberation" movements, including Women's Liberation, Animal Liberation, etc.
This movement is generally promoted by "child advocates" working through various child welfare and social service agencies. These especially include official government agencies, such as child and family services agencies. In particular, a leading force in promoting the movement has been the United Nations, which sponsored the "International Year of the Child" (IYC). (This occurred some time ago, but we will see that the UN is still implementing its goals.)
Like other such movements, this one tries to put its best foot forward in the eyes of the public, in order to gain a favorable impression. But most people are unaware of the real goals of those who lead the movement. Our purpose is to discuss the goals of these leaders and compare them to the Bible.
Nothing in anything we teach is ever intended or should ever be construed to justify or to in any way incite or encourage personal vengeance or physical violence against any person.
Two documents were part of a book entitled The Children's Rights Movement.
This book was endorsed in the official IYC publication IYC Report [according to the "Pro-Family Forum Newsletter" - 9/79].
(1) "A Child's Bill of Rights," by Richard Farson, printed in MS Magazine, 3/74 [reproduced in "Pro-Family Forum Newsletter" - 9/79]
(2) "Youth Liberation," published by Youth Liberation Press [quoted in Christian Inquirer - 10/79]
Remember that these documents are not the rants of some loose cannons in the Child Rights movement. They are endorsed by powerful government agencies, including the United Nations.
To implement their views, in 1988 UN agencies formulated the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."
President Clinton signed it in 1995, but to take effect it must be ratified by the US Senate. So, President Obama pushed for its ratification. For years Hillary Clinton served as chairman of a powerful children's rights advocacy group named the Children's Defense Fund. She has lobbied extensively for this UN Convention.
So far, all nations have ratified the Convention except two: Somalia and the United States!
To gain popular acceptance, this treaty is less overt than other Child Rights statements, yet it clearly implements the policies of Children's Liberation. Its defenders often try to deny or tone down the impact it will have, but if it is ratified, you can be sure that it will be the major tool they use to implement their agenda.
Treaties become part of the supreme law of the land, alongside the Constitution. As such, this UN Convention will have as much weight as laws passed by Congress. Currently, most laws that regulate parent-child relationships must be passed at the state level. But under the treaty, all such laws will become the responsibility of the Federal government, not the states. Worse yet, the terms of the treaty will be enforced by international committees of "experts" from other nations, whose decisions will be binding on American courts and legislatures. In short, family relations in your home will be governed, not by state laws (as at present), but by Federal laws, and ultimately by a bureaucracy consisting of people from other nations. (See Farris, pp 1-3.)
Please note at the outset that this treaty refers to all children under age 18.
Consider some of the major goals of the Children's Rights Movement that are made clear in these publications and implemented in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As we proceed, please consider where you may have observed these ideas being expressed or implemented. Ask yourself how much our society - including members of the church - have already been influenced by these ideas. Then consider how we will be impacted if this UN Convention is passed.
"We must have complete freedom of speech, press, assembly ..." ("Youth Liberation").
So, Children's Lib says children should be free to go where they wish, say what they want, and associate with whomever they choose. This includes the freedom to leave their family and choose any other living arrangement they prefer, including living in communes operated by children or by the government.
Article 15 of the Convention grants "the right of the child to freedom of association."
Article 18 grants children a right to state-run child care facilities and calls on the government to ensure "facilities and services for the care of children."
So, the Convention requires the government to provide alternative living arrangements for children, and it guarantees that children (age 18 and down) can join any club, cult, or gang without parental objection.
What if the child chooses not to "associate" any longer with his natural family? Suppose he prefers to become part of a cult or gang? What if he chooses to leave home and live in a commune? Parents would be powerless under the Convention to prevent this. In fact, the government would be responsible to help provide him a place to live!
1 Timothy 5:8 - Men should provide for their own households. A man who will not do so is worse than an unbeliever. Surely this includes providing for ones natural children.
Ephesians 6:4 - Fathers should bring up their children in the nurture of the Lord. This is the duty of parents. No passage gives the government the right to set up or to allow alternative living arrangements for children against the will of the parents.
Ephesians 6:1-3 - Children must submit to their parents. They have no right to leave home and go wherever they please, just because they are upset with their parents. And the government has no right to set them free to allow them to leave.
1 Corinthians 15:33 - Evil company corrupts good habits. And since parents must bring their children up in the training of the Lord, it follows that parents must limit their children's association with evil companions. They must teach children not to "run with a bad crowd," and children must obey those rules. They are not free to go wherever they want with whomever they want.
All these are God-given duties. Government has no right to contradict these duties or to set children or parents free from these duties.
[See also Proverbs 1:8; Luke 2:51; Romans 1:30,32.]
Imagine what families would be like if Child Liberation has its way. All of us can remember foolish things we thought, said, or did when we were young. For our own good, our parents often restrained us from doing things that would have turned out foolishly and perhaps even tragically. We may have resented our parent's interference at the time, but now we realize our parents were right and we were wrong.
Think of the tragedies that would occur if kids, regardless of age, are free to go anywhere they want, anytime they want; and if parents try to restrict them, kids can just leave and live somewhere else!
Has our society been influenced by the views that characterize Children's Liberation? How many people have accepted the doctrine that parents "cannot tell their children who their friends will be," or that we should not restrict who they are with and where they are going? Such ideas are just the old spirit of rebellion that has characterized young people for generations until they grow up and learn wisdom. But what will be the consequences to our homes and our children if these views become the "supreme law of the land" if this UN Convention is passed?
"The Right to Educate Oneself. Children should be free to design their own education, choosing from among many options the kinds of learning experiences they want..." ("Bill of Rights"). But remember that "education" and "learning experiences" would include religious training. So, if children are free to choose their own education and learning experiences, then parents could not indoctrinate them religiously without the child's permission.
"We must have complete freedom of ... religion ..." ("Youth Liberation").
"Children have the right to freedom from religious or political indoctrination." ("The Charter of Children's Rights," via E. Britnell, "Searching the Scriptures," 5/76)
Article 14 of the Convention grants children "freedom of thought, conscience, and religion."
Article 29 says the government must see that children are educated in "the spirit of understanding, peace, toleration ... [for all] ... religious groups of indigenous origin."
The American Bar Association published a book entitled Children's Rights in America, that examines the application of the UN Convention. It shows that a "Christian" private school would violate the Convention if it teaches that Christianity is "first and only among the religions of the world." (2/13/95 letter from HSLDA)
So, the Convention would enforce the view of Children's Rights that any child should be free to attend any religious group and hold any religious views he chooses, without parental interference. He can decide what beliefs he will or will not allow the parent to teach him. If the parent insists on teaching doctrines or making the child attend church meetings that the child disapproves, the child can report the parent to the authorities.
Meanwhile, government agencies must teach the child to "tolerate" and have "peace" with all religious groups. However, schools - even private schools and home schools - would violate the law if they teach that the gospel of Jesus is the only one true religion.
Religious freedom sounds wonderful ... for adults, who have developed the wisdom and maturity to evaluate evidence and distinguish truth from error. And when they grow up, children must decide for themselves whether or not they accept the beliefs their parents taught them. However...
This must begin at the earliest possible ages.
Ephesians 6:4 - Fathers should bring children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 - Children should be taught God's word diligently at every opportunity throughout the day.
Genesis 18:19 -Abraham commanded his children to keep the Lord's ways. And note that God approved of this. This is what God expects parents to do.
2 Timothy 3:15 - From a child Timothy had been taught the Scriptures that could make him wise to salvation. Timothy's mother and grandmother practiced what Child Rights leaders say should not be done. But the end result was to provide Timothy with the hope of salvation.
Once again, these are God-given duties. No government rule or agency has the right to interfere with parents who seek to train their children to serve the true God, who created us all.
[See also Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 4:9,10.]
John 14:6 - Jesus taught that no one can have a right relationship with God and no one can be saved from sin, except through Him.
Acts 4:12 - Likewise, there is no way of salvation except through Him.
John 8:24 - Those who do not believe in Him will die in their sins. Surely good parents should teach their children to know the truth so they can avoid eternal punishment.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 - Specifically, religious error must not be tolerated but must be opposed by teaching truth.
Since parents are commanded to teach their children the ways of God, it follows that parents must teach these truths to their children.
[Revelation 3:19; Ephesians 5:11; Jude 3; Mark 16:16]
In a garden, if you do not plant flowers or vegetables, weeds will surely grow. So, if we do not instill religious truth in our children, sin and error will surely take over.
The real reason Children's Rights leaders do not want parents to influence children religiously is so that schools and other agencies can influence children to accept the "politically correct" doctrine that all religious beliefs are equally valid. Meanwhile, all who teach otherwise are muzzled by the law! The result is that children hear only one side of the subject.
How diligent are we in teaching our children to learn and obey God's word? How many people have accepted the doctrine that parents should not "make" their children attend church meetings and Bible studies, but the children should be allowed to decide for themselves where they will go and what they will be taught? What will be the consequences to our homes and our children if our government accepts the views of this UN Convention?
"We want sexual self-determination ... all people must have the unhindered right to be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transsexual" ("Youth Liberation").
Dr. Alayne Yates, a pediatrician and author of "Sex without Shame," advocates "total sexual liberation" for kids. Parents should encourage children to experiment sexually. Incest between children or between father and daughter can be beneficial. (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/15/78) Similar views were advocated by prominent sex educators John Money and Wardell Pomeroy (Time, 9/7/81).
So, Children's Rights leaders believe children should be free to participate in any form of sexual activity they want, without hindrance from parents, government, religion, etc. This means they should be allowed to participate in pornography, premarital sexual relations, homosexuality, and abortion. Sex education should inform them about these sexual freedoms. And "non-sexist education" means they should be taught the views of Women's Liberation.
Article 16 of the UN Convention grants the child the "right to privacy." But remember, "right to privacy" is the legal strategy that was used to legalize abortion on demand, contraception for unmarried teens, and other forms of sexual activity.
Article 24 requires governments to provide children with "family planning education and services." "Family planning education" is the code name for education in "safe sex," which almost universally justifies homosexuality, pornography, abortion, and every form of sexual immorality.
Article 29 requires the government to teach children "equity of sexes." Teaching "equity of sexes" means the schools should become indoctrination centers for feminism, teaching that men have no authority in the home and no distinctions in gender-related roles may be tolerated.
Since several countries ratified the UN Convention decades ago, we have a track record to see how the UN Convention would be applied.
The UN Committee to enforce the Convention praised Columbia for partially decriminalizing abortion and criticized Chile for its laws against abortion. (Farris, p12)
The World Library and Information Congress interpreted the UN Convention to mean:
So, the UN Convention would encourage children to practice sexual freedom and would require governments to teach children about various sexual "alternatives" and to provide them with all related "services" (such as government-funded contraception and abortion). Parents would violate the law if they attempted to hinder their children from exercising these freedoms!
Hebrews 13:4 - The sexual relationship is holy, pure, and beautiful, but only in a lawful marriage between one man and one woman bound together for life. The sexual union outside marriage is forbidden. (See also 1 Corinthians 7:2-4,9; Romans 7:2,3.)
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Extra-marital sex, premarital sex (including incest), and homosexuality violate God's laws of sexual morality and pervert the purity of marriage. (See also Revelation 21:8; 22:14,15; Mark 7:20-23; Ephesians 5:1-11; Exodus 20:14; Galatians 5:19-24.)
Romans 1:26,27 - Homosexuality violates nature and constitutes a shameful perversion of God's laws regarding sexual morality and marriage. (See also 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Genesis 19:4-11.)
Matthew 19:3-9 - Divorce and remarriage (on grounds other than fornication) also violate the purity of marriage and God's plan for man and woman. (See also Matthew 5:32; Romans 7:2,3.)
Genesis 25:21,22 (Job 3:3,16; Hosea 12:3; Luke 1:36,41,44) - Unborn children are described throughout the Bible as "children," "babies," "sons," and "daughters." This shows that God views them as human individuals, just the same as children, babies, etc., that have been born. To deliberately kill them before birth violates God's laws against murder just the same as killing them after they have been born.
When parents fulfill their God-given duty to bring their children up in the training of the Lord, they will teach their children these truths and will exercise authority to see that they obey God's word.
1 Timothy 5:8; Genesis 3:17-19 - The husband is commanded to provide family income. No young man is ready to marry till he is ready to fulfill this role.
Ephesians 5:22-24; Genesis 3:16; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Titus 2:5 - The husband is appointed by God to be the leader in the family, just as Jesus is the Head of the church.
Ephesians 5:25-31,33; Titus 2:4 - Both spouses must treat one another with love and respect. Jesus' relationship with His church sets the proper example of the love we should imitate.
Titus 2:4; Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; etc. - Both husband and wife must fulfill the responsibilities of parenthood. No parent - father or mother - is free to desert or neglect their God-given duty to raise their children to serve God.
Titus 2:5; 1 Timothy 5:14; Psalm 113:9 - The wife should work at home caring for her family. No young woman is ready to marry till she is willing to submit to her husband and work to care for her family as a homemaker.
These teachings apply regardless of age. However, no one has the right to be "sexually active" until he/she is married. And no one should marry until they are mature enough to understand, accept, and fulfill the commitment and responsibilities involved.
If the UN Convention is fully implemented, the result would be total chaos in society regarding God's plan for marriage.
Have we taught our children a proper understanding of marriage, sexual decency, and roles in the home? How many people have been influenced to allow their children to practice freedoms that God does not approve? How many young people enter into marriage having little concept of what roles they should fulfill or how they should treat their spouse? What will be the consequences to our homes and our children if our government passes laws such as those advocated in this UN Convention?
Article 13 of the UN Convention gives children the right to "freedom of expression." This includes the right to "receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds ... either orally, in writing, or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice." So, parents would have no authority to restrict in any way what information the child receives, what music he listens to, what books he reads, what movies or TV or other entertainment he chooses, nor how he chooses to express himself. And remember "expression" has come to mean what people say or do ("sexual expression," etc.).
Article 2 says children have the freedoms described in the UN Convention "irrespective of ... parents' ... religion, political or other opinion."
Article 43 calls for establishing a committee of ten experts "to investigate and prosecute parents who violate their children's rights."
Article 9 says "competent authorities" may remove children from parents when they determine "such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child."
Article 18 of the UN Convention says the government "shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children."
So parents would not be permitted to restrict their children's choice of information or expression, regardless of the views of the parents, including their religious views. A committee of experts will investigate parents; and if in their view parents put too much restriction on their children, the children may be removed from the home. And the government should set up institutions and services to enforce all this.
In England, officials for the UN Convention demanded that Parliament pass laws banning spanking in schools, and they recommended "that physical punishment of children in families be prohibited in light of the provisions laid down in the Convention." They also objected because parents are allowed to remove children from sex education classes. Finally, they called for schools to inform children of the freedoms they have under the Convention! (CWA Alert, 3/95; PS Report, 5/95)
The UN Committee's report on Ireland said:
So, application of the UN Convention would ban all spanking and corporal punishment. It would eliminate the right of parents to control what education and information their children receive. And these are just some of the earliest applications of the Convention. Where will the future lead as UN bureaucrats have more time to decide how far they can go?
Obviously, however, children need some adult guidance. So, who ultimately decides what is best for children, if not the parents? Children's Rights leaders say this should come from trained counselors or "child advocates" in schools and day-care centers, child welfare agencies, and ultimately the UN bureaucrats.
Feminist Kate Millett is quoted as saying: "The care of children is infinitely better when left to the best-trained practitioners who have chosen it as a vocation rather than to harried and often unhappy persons with little time or taste for educating minds" ("Pro-Family Forum Newsletter," 10/80).
So, despite their proclamations, Child Libbers do not really believe children should be free from all adult authority. They know that adults must guide children and make decisions for them. They just want to make sure that ultimate authority over children rests with child advocates, not with the parents! So, the real issue is who will guide the children: parents who teach Biblical morality, or government specialists who teach Humanist/Children's Rights amorality?
Ephesians 6:4 - Parents should give children limits according to God's commands and according to the good of the child, not according to the selfish whims of the parents. Note that God gave the duty of training children to parents, not to government agencies and bureaucrats. (See also Titus 2:4; Colossians 3:21).
Ephesians 6:1-3 - Children must obey their parents' rules, acting and speaking respectfully toward parents. They may disobey only when obedience to parents would cause them to disobey God - Acts 5:29. (See also Proverbs 1:8; Luke 2:51; Romans 1:30,32; Colossians 3:20; Exodus 21:15,17.)
Proverbs 13:24; 23:13,14 - Parents should use rewards and punishments (including spanking) to motivate obedience. (See also Hebrews 12:5-11; Luke 15:20-24; Proverbs 22:15; 19:18.)
This does not justify child abuse, which involves lasting harm caused by hatred or loss of control. That is not love. Spanking is temporary pain given for the child's good to motivate obedience, when it is clear the child knowingly disobeyed. It should be given before the confrontation has escalated to the point that the parent has lost his self-control.
God requires parents to prepare children to live as adults. Adults need a proper attitude toward authority figures who reward obedience and punish disobedience - including civil rulers, employers, and God Himself. Children learn proper attitudes toward other authority figures by first learning proper attitudes toward parents themselves.
When children are not taught to respect their parents, they will have great difficulty learning to respect other authority figures. This is what leads many to become delinquents, addicts, and/or criminals. That is true child abuse!
Have we been influenced by the ideas held by the Children's Rights Movement? Have we allowed our children to speak disrespectfully, to misbehave, or to violate God's word without punishment? Are we afraid to stand up to our own children and insist they obey us? Are we willing to obey God's command to use spanking and other forms of punishment to enforce our God-given authority in love? What will happen to our rights as parents if our government accepts the views of the UN Convention?
Remember, this UN Convention applies to all children under age 18. And if passed it becomes the supreme law of the land, alongside the Constitution and laws of Congress.
Not everything taught by the Child Rights Movement is wrong. No false system is wrong on every point. Error is universally disguised by mixing it with truth (Matthew 7:15; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). But the Child Rights movement, like many similar movements, in many ways stands in fundamental rebellion against God's plan for children, for the home, and for true service to God.
Furthermore, Child Liberation completely misunderstands the true concept of "liberty." A ship is truly free to reach its goal only when restricted by the rudder. A train is free to reach its destination only when restricted by the tracks. So, we are free to achieve a useful life only when we abide by God's word (John 8:32). Those who promise liberty by rebelling against God's rules, are themselves the slaves of all kinds of immorality (2 Peter 2:19). When we follow such philosophies, like the train without the tracks, or the ship without the rudder, our lives will end in ruin.
How well are you following God's plan for the family?
Christian Inquirer - 10/79
Phyllis Schlafly Report, 5/95
"Pro-Family Forum Newsletter" - 9/79
"Understanding the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child," By Michael P. Farris, 12/15/2008; (this article has been significantly revised but was available at: parentalrights.org.)
“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Home School Court Report, 7-8/1993
Copyright 2012, David E. Pratte
Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale. Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. For details click here for our copyright guidelines.
Keys for Raising Godly Children
Marriage Preparation & Improvement
Solving Conflict in Marriage Relationships
Bible Plan for Family Relations
Divorce, Remarriage, & the Family
How to Change Yourself (Self-improvement)
Return to our home page (the Gospel Way)
Free audio Bible
Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.