Why is the “King of Homeschooling” Trying to Block a Treaty Regarding the Rights of the Disabled? July 25, 2014

Why is the “King of Homeschooling” Trying to Block a Treaty Regarding the Rights of the Disabled?

I really, really dislike Michael Farris. He’s (partially or wholly) behind a lot of things that are holding our country back in terms of basic human rights issues, and it’s just mind boggling sometimes to connect the dots on these stories.

Farris, if you don’t know, is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (a group that supposedly advocates for the rights of homeschoolers, but really mostly just advocates for the right of parents to abuse their kids without state intervention), the founding president of Patrick Henry College, and prime mover (after Phyllis Schlafly) from keeping the U.S. from ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), because it would, supposedly, challenge traditional marriage (his daughter’s courtship story is featured in this terrible dating book, so, that tells you more about what he thinks of women). And, according to the eccentric basement blogger and Christian homeschool dad Kevin Swanson, Farris is “the king of homeschooling.”

So that’s Michael Farris. You might be wondering: What’s he up to these days?

Just trying to keep the U.S. senate from voting in favor of participating in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, because he thinks it’ll let the UN and the U.S. government give kids more rights than he thinks they should have. Remember, this guy drafted the “Parental Rights Amendment” because he wants to keep the government out of regulating religious homeschoolers. And that’s his motivation here: keep the U.S. from ratifying the treaty to keep the feds from having too much oversight over homeschooling parents.

He’s worried that it’ll push the U.S. closer to ratifying CEDAW or the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child (which he objects to because it would eliminate spanking as abusive and basically overturn all his work on parental rights) — and rightly so. But our lack of international participation in these human rights treaties means we’re keeping ourselves in the ethical dark ages. The other nations that haven’t ratified CEDAW include Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Palau, and Tonga.

Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole is trying to get the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities pushed through the Senate one more time, and he’s up against Farris, who, as stated, is a staunch opponent to the rights of the underdog.

According to Politico, Farris is optimistic about his prospects:

“We still think we have more than enough votes to kill it on the floor of the Senate,” Farris said. “We’ve got grass-roots activists who will stand up and speak on this issue.” He’s sent an action alert to the 170,000 home-school parents in his association to contact their senators and talk to their communities about the treaty.

“The question is: How many Republicans are going to lose their spines?” Farris said.

Bad choice of words, perhaps, given the nature of the treaty.

Farris’ scare tactics have proven successful time and again. He’s got good reasons to be optimistic — and we can give him credit for yet one more human rights battle lost in the U.S. because of his religious views and fervor.


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