September 15, 2014
Mike Farris Goes to Washington for Parental Rights
Cordell James Asbenson
On September 9, HSLDA Founder and Chairman Mike Farris went to Capitol Hill for the second time in a year to testify before Congress. While his first testimony took place before the Senate on the issue of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Farris’ testimony last week was before the House Constitution Subcommittee on the proposed Parental Rights Amendment, H.J. Res. 50.
Mike Farris was joined by Wendy Wright with C-FAM, who also testified in favor of the amendment. Law professor Catherine Ross testified against the Parental Rights Amendment. We encourage you to watch the hearing in its entirety, including Mike Farris’ testimony. You can also read the written testimony by Mike Farris, Wendy Wright, and Catherine Ross at the link above.
The Parental Rights Amendment would ensure that parents’ fundamental right to direct the education, upbringing, and care of their children is preserved in the United States Constitution. This amendment would protect parents from UN treaties, state and federal laws that undermine parental rights, and the growing threat of international law that seeks to elevate government officials over parents.
This is important now, more than ever, as Farris explained: “The nation is moving in a practical way in a direction that is absolutely opposed to parental rights.”
In his testimony, Farris gave an overview of the current state of parental rights by looking at how the lower courts are moving away from the Supreme Court ruling in Wisconsin v. Yoder that protected parental rights. This ruling stated that the “primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”
The shift away from this ruling is seen most clearly in the case of Littlefield v. Forney Independent School District: The ruling “ …changed the burden of proof from the government proving that it has a compelling need to intrude into the family, and instead puts the family as bearing the burden of proof to justify that its reason to objecting to a government program is sufficiently warranted.”
Farris also addressed the current abuses against parental rights in the U.S. by sharing stories of parents whose rights are being trampled by government officials.
The Parental Rights Amendment was met with appreciation by some on the committee, but others expressed opposition. This hearing showed that the fight for parental rights is far from over, and there is a great need for your support.
Please call your United States representative today and ask him or her to support H.J. Res 50. We would also encourage you to call your United States senators and ask them to support the Senate version of the Parental Rights Amendment, S.J. Res. 37. To find your congressman’s contact information you can visit HSLDA’s legislative toolbox.
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