UN Criticizes Catholic Church Over Access of Sex Information for Children

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  • Nate Kellum
    Nate Kellum is Chief Counsel for the Center for Religious Expression.
By Nate Kellum, CP Op-Ed Contributor
February 13, 2014|8:58 am

This past week, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) grabbed national headlines with a blistering and blustering critique of the Catholic Church, coupled with presumptuous recommendations on how the church can do better.

The report revealed more about the impropriety of the CRC than any shortcomings of the Catholic Church.

Though some of the concerns raised about the in-house handling of clergy sexual abuse merit inquiry, the committee's report was largely unsubstantiated. More troubling, the CRC went out of its way – and beyond the purported context of the document – to condemn the Vatican for the church's teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and even had the audacity to tell the church to amend its canon laws to permit certain types of abortions.

The Holy See – the sovereign state of the Roman Catholic Church that enjoys permanent observer state status at the United Nations – subjected itself to this reproach by ratifying a U.N. treaty known as "Convention on the Rights of the Child." Being a party to this overly intrusive process, the Holy See is obliged to receive, but not necessarily heed, the CRC's recommendations.

Ever since the Holy See first opted to participate in the treaty it has been careful to reserve authority over religious matters, but the CRC has a recommendation on this point as well, admonishing the Catholic body to "undertake the necessary steps to ensure the Convention's precedence over internal laws and regulations." In case the Vatican is slow to pick up on this directive, the CRC suggests the Holy See revisit canon laws and make changes to jibe with the philosophy of the committee.

For those familiar with the CRC, this power grab is not surprising. The committee has long maintained a radical, global agenda that acts to undermine the sovereignty of nations and the authority of parents.

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The CRC insists that children – regardless of age – have the right to not just access information about sex, but to contraceptives and abortions, without parental consent or notification. More broadly the committee advocates that children possess the right to seek any medical treatment or counseling without parental consent. In its so-called defense of the child, the CRC also urges nations to create mechanisms for children to legally challenge their parents in court for violating their "rights" to things like free expression and privacy in the home.

Any nation ratifying the treaty is susceptible to highly publicized condemnation for failing to adopt any of the committee's extremist ideas about children. In 1995, the CRC publically rebuked Great Britain for allowing parents to opt-out their children from objectionable education about sex.

By the same token, nations who happen to have representatives on the committee – which include Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Egypt – manage to evade due scrutiny for mistreatment of children. In 2002, the CRC did a perfunctory report on Saudi Arabia, mentioning an incident where 15 girls died from a fire at a school. The committee specified a concern about the building not meeting safety standards, but ignored how Islamic police forced girls to go back into the burning building to their deaths because they were not fully clothed in loose, body-covering garments.

Only three nations in the U.N. have declined to abide by this outrageous treaty, and thankfully, the United States counts as one of them. The U.S. actually signed it, but has yet to ratify the document, which would compel our country to uphold the treaty by international law and deny parents their God-given rights and responsibilities to raise their children.

The only reason ratification has been avoided thus far is because no willing President, particularly, Clinton and Obama, has been able to secure the requisite two-thirds majority vote of the U.S. Senate. This is yet another reminder that elections have consequences. We need to make sure our Senators – and Presidents, for that matter – have the good sense to acknowledge the role of parents.

As parents, we only have eighteen years to fulfill our biblical mandate. We can't afford to lose them.

Nate Kellum is chief counsel for the Center for Religious Expression a non-profit organization in Memphis, TN dedicated entirely to the protection of religious speech.
 

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