“Committees Gone Wild: How U.N. Bureaucrats are Turning ‘Human Rights’ Against the Family” is one of those unfortunate examples of a well-meaning person making arguments that undermine Christian influence in the public square. It was written by William L. Saunders Jr., and was published in “The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.” At the time that this article was published, Mr. Saunders was senior vice president for legal affairs of Americans United for Life. Previously, he had been a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Human rights is Secular Humanism’s moral and legislative vision. It is incompatible with Judeo-Christian jurisprudence and God’s law.
Mr. Saunders writes, “many of the foundational human rights documents being used today to undermine the family actually provide a remarkable defense of the natural family, marriage between a man and a woman, and parental rights.”
That’s a rather bizarre statement. If these documents can be used to argue competing positions, then they are either internally inconsistent and, taken as a whole, anti-Christian documents, or they are being misused by one side. If they are truly being misused by anti-family forces, how are these people able to get away with their arguments? Why have conservatives become so incapable of making a compelling case for the pro-family nature of these documents over the last number of years?
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the thinking among Christians who want to use these UN documents to make a pro-family case in the public square is their preference for these documents over the Bible. They build their arguments on an inferior, fallible foundation. Not surprisingly, they have been losing their battles in recent decades. Yet, they continue to use the same strategy, year after year, strengthening their conviction that the Bible is inappropriate and inadequate in their nation’s public square.
In fact the UN is at war against the family
Mr. Saunders writes: “Professor Glendon provides the answer: ‘In the article on education  … [the drafting committee of the declaration] made an important change, influenced directly by recollections of the National Socialist regime’s efforts to turn Germany’s renowned educational system into a mechanism for indoctrinating the young with the government’s program. … After Beaufort of the Netherlands recalled the ways in which German schools had been used to undermine the role of parents, a third paragraph, was added: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”‘
“In other words, one of the most important lessons drawn from the experience of the Second World War is that parental choice in education is a fundamental plank of international peace and security. To combat totalitarianism and to protect human freedom, the framers of the Declaration wanted to ensure that parents, not bureaucrats or social engineers, have the final word in the education of their own children. This insight has particular application to the United States, where, since the 1960s, both the federal government and state agencies have presumed almost total control of public schools, often denigrating or ignoring the wishes of parents.”
That’s nice, but so what? America flows out of a Christian legacy that included this principle of parental responsibility over education. American parents, therefore, have willfully abdicated their own legacy on this point. How is an appeal to an international/foreign agreement going to motivate them to all of a sudden take their parental responsibility seriously? If the Bible isn’t going to convict their conscience, why would an international treaty? And who really believes that non-Christians are going to exercise their parental responsibility over the education of their children to a greater degree than Christians?
Secondly, is that affirmation of parental choice in education worth the paper it’s written on? Not if subsequent comment by Mr. Saunders is reliable. He writes: “Both treaties elaborate on the freedom of education and its relationship to the family. The ESC Covenant (Articles 13 and 14) requires the provision of free, compulsory, universal primary education, requiring that the state ‘pursue’ ‘the development of a system of schools.’ These are ambitious provisions that envision an active and extensive role for the state. However, none of what the state undertakes in fulfilling this role is to be carried out in a way that undermines the rights of the family, or of the parents within the family, to direct the education of their children.” Mr. Saunders later writes: “While establishing a statewide education system is appropriate, …”.
Mr. Saunders is involved in significant compromise on what it means to be pro-family if he really believes that the ESC Covenant here is consistent with family values as understood by Christians and social conservatives. This is typically what happens when people seek to find common ground with godless documents, especially those originating with the United Nations. Saunders references a starkly anti-Christian section of the Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and he calls it an affirmation of pro-family ethics!
Earlier Mr. Saunders commends the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for supposedly affirming the primacy of parental rights in education over state interference. But then he references a statement from the ESC which treats education as a creature of the state as reflective of a pro-family ethic. After all, who but the state can make education available as a free, compulsory, universal service? Only the state.
He also advances the age-old myth that the superior form of providing education is making it free, compulsory and universal. He says these are characteristics of freedom of primary education. In fact, the opposite is the case. Socialists, the masters of bureaucracy and social engineering, are the ones who most aggressively push for free, compulsory, universal education. It’s seen as a “motherhood-and-apple-pie” issue so many non-socialists also support some form of free, compulsory, universal education. Regardless of who supports the idea, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, and a key weapon in the secular humanist arsenal.
Mr. Saunders also admits to the naive utopian illusion that the state can act to control education, but must not undermine the rights of the family. This is such a meaningless statement. If the state has a pro-family ethic, it won’t embrace the role of controlling, organizing and managing education, so such a statement is unnecessary. If the state does exercise such a role, then it is an anti-family humanist state, and will ignore any plea to avoid encroaching on the rights or responsibilities of parents. Statements which confuse this analysis by assuming the existence of benevolent dictators serve only to neutralize opposition to dangerous humanist states.
A couple of paragraphs later, Mr. Saunders advocates another unbiblical position; a view that assumes a prior right by the state to control education. He writes: “Of course, such parental education (or parentally established schools) must meet ‘minimum education standards.’” With this common statement, Mr. Saunders has embraced bureaucracy and social engineering in place of real education. This belief assumes that bureaucrats have a greater interest in the education – in the success and well-being – of children than their own parents do. This is a stunningly straight-forward implication of the belief in state-based minimum standards. This view is hostile to Christianity. If King Solomon held to that position, he wouldn’t have been able to come up with the scenario that helped expose the lying mother in the case where two women claimed to be the mother of the same child.
It might be easy for Christians who don’t appeal to Scripture to compromise with heathen humanist ideas and documents to make a case for a certain notion of family values, but a Biblical vision – a Christian worldview – is antithetical to Humanism. Parents have the prior responsibility over every aspect of the raising and nurture of their own children. The Church is to work with parents in pursuit of this responsibility. Where is the Biblical basis for the state having any role at all? It’s the spirit of materialistic security that leads to the idolatry of state-ism, the idea that the state should be the fall-back, the manager, the backdrop, the final court of appeal in every area of life, including education. We exhibit more faith in the state than we do in parents, in the Church, in God when we adopt the views expressed by Mr. Saunders and these UN documents that he likes so much. This is an inescapable conclusion. This is why so many Christians reject the notion of worldview. They don’t want to face the real-world implications of their Christian profession, and change their beliefs and practises accordingly.
But we must if God is to use us to advance His Kingdom and restore our nations in justice and liberty. Many heathens have declared their confidence in the ability of changing nations, changing the course of history, by controlling the education of the very young. They understand God’s truth to a greater degree than most of today’s Western Christians. We need to repent and advance for the glory of God and the building of His Kingdom.