Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Parental Rights

Farris: Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Parental Rights
Dear Parental Rights Champion,

The highly acclaimed Zogby Poll has just released the results of the first in-depth analysis of our efforts to protect the right of American parents to raise their children free from improper governmental interference. I am thrilled to be able to present to you a summary of the findings from this brand new Zogby Poll.

First, here are some of the highlights from this poll:

The American public stands strongly behind parental rights. America does not want governmental or UN interference in the American family. The public supports a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of all parents.

Those are the headlines. And these findings are true—in varying degrees, of course—for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Support for parental rights comes from all regions of the country, all racial and religious groups, and at every level of income.

Here are the survey questions, in the order they were asked:
Poll Question 1
Do you agree or disagree with parents having the legal option to give their child a modest spanking?
The government elites are adamant in their opposition to traditional parenting practices. Chief on their list is the elimination of even modest spanking. The UN wishes to ban spanking through the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But the American public thinks otherwise. On Question 1:

58.7% strongly agree
26.4% somewhat agree
6.0% somewhat disagree
6.9% strongly disagree
2.0% not sure

These are political landslide kinds of numbers.

Various subgroups view this parental right slightly differently (see the in-depth breakdown online), but a large majority of all groups agree. Americans are solidly united in support of parental rights to traditional, modest discipline.
Question 2
In general, parents have the constitutional right to make decisions for their children without governmental interference unless there is proof of abuse or neglect. Do you agree or disagree with this view of parental rights?
All American voters

73.6% strongly agree
20.0% somewhat agree
2.6% somewhat disagree
1.6% strongly disagree
2.2% not sure

The goal of the Parental Rights Amendment is to protect this historic understanding of parental rights. This question reveals that America is nearly unanimous in agreeing with this goal – 93.6% in overall agreement, and 4.2% in disagreement.

The sub-groups are available online, but let me include this one sample:

Conservative 98.4% agree 0.9% disagree
Moderate 91.4% agree 4.8% disagree
Liberal 91.6% agree 7.1% disagree

When 98.4% of conservatives and 91.6% of liberals agree on an issue, you know that America is truly united.
Question 3
Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment to permanently protect parental rights, allowing them to make decisions for their children without government interference, so long as there is no proof of abuse or neglect?
All American voters

45.9% strongly support
17.1% somewhat support
8.5% somewhat oppose
18.3% strongly oppose
10.2% not sure

It is important to note that this question does not make any argument as to why the Amendment is needed. If people were told that the Supreme Court had begun to move away from the traditional standard, the support would almost certainly be much higher. As it is, 63.0% of Americans support the Parental Rights Amendment with 26.8% opposed. Keeping in mind that well over 90% support the goal of the PRA, the opportunity to increase this number above 63% is very strong.

The sub-group views on this question are online here.

Again, a political election that is decided 63% to 26.8% is a called a landslide. America supports the PRA by numbers that represent a landslide even without an explanation of why it is needed.
Question 4
A United Nations treaty on children’s rights is currently being considered by the United States government. If this treaty made international law, it would trump some existing state laws on parents and children. Do you support or oppose this treaty?
All American voters

3.4% strongly support
8.2% somewhat support
9.9% somewhat oppose
44.5% strongly oppose
34.1% not sure

This question reveals a great amount of uncertainty, but for those that had an opinion, 5 Americans oppose the UNCRC for every 1 American that supports it. The question may have been confusing, because the next question clarifies the treaty just a bit and the results are very clear indeed.
Question 5
If you knew that the United Nations treaty on children’s rights would give government broad discretion to overrule parents and decide what it thinks is best for a child, would you support or oppose this treaty, or does it make no difference to your opinion?
1.5% strongly support
4.9% somewhat support
11.6% somewhat oppose
66.7% strongly oppose
4.5% no difference
10.9% not sure

With a single explanation of the effect of the CRC, the opinion of the vast majority of Americans becomes very clear. 78.3% oppose this treaty, and only 6.4% support it.

Opposition to the CRC is found in every political faction. Republicans oppose it 90.1% to 3.9%, Independents 78.5% to 5.2%, Democrats 67.0% to 9.5%. Even liberals opposed the CRC 56.3% to 15.7% – again, a landslide.
The vast majority of the American electorate is on our side in this issue of parental rights. The level of support varies a bit from the “landslide” level on the low end up to “nearly unanimous” on the high end.

We have all known that our issue is right—legally and morally. These polls tell us that our issue is winnable.

The challenge we have is to get our message to the American public. If we can reach the public, we will win. It is that simple.

To reach the public we need resources. We need ads, we need earned media (which requires hard work from our staff to make it happen), and we need to use the internet more aggressively and more effectively.

All of these take a great deal of money. And our budgets are very modest. (By the way, I take no salary or expenses from Parentalrights.org.)

We believe that we have a very realistic shot at stopping the Convention on the Rights of the Child in this session of Congress. Right after the last election, Barbara Boxer promised that it would be ratified in this session.

I also believe that we have a realistic chance of passing the Parental Rights Amendment in the House early in the next term of Congress.

The public stands with us. If we can reach them with our message, the vast majority in Congress will listen to the voices of the voters.

Will you please help us with the very best gift you can so that we may reach the American public with our message and protect the rights of all parents for generations to come?

Thank you for helping us make history.

Warmest regards,

Michael Farris

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About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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5 Responses to Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Parental Rights

  1. Jan Cosgrove says:

    It would help if the questions were not so biased and based on myths peddled by a neo-con lobby.

    The First question should be:

    * If you knew there is a treaty which the US has signed but not ratified and which says children have recognised rights (eg of belief, identity, equality, education, care, health etc) regardless of nation, race, faith or other difference, which emphasises the primary role of parents in directing the upbringing of their children and of the state to support that, and which only has the power to recommend not enforce, do you think the US should now ratify that treaty?

    All the other questions become so much flim-flam as they also are biased to an extent that makes them totally unrelated to the real truth about the UN CRC – the world’s most signed-up-to and respected Convention, adopted by all of the USA’s allies and friends and which is helping parents and governments make life better for hundreds of millions of children.

    The PRA campaign is really about whether children have the right to decide what faith they will adopt, they want a Constitutional Amendment which would take away that fundamental right from a child guaranteed to all citizens in the First Amendment. It is dishonest of them to pretend otherwise. It would make kids the slaves of their parents religious beliefs and intentions. We know most kids are happy to be brought up by their parents in their faith, most parents know they have to allow their kids to make up their own minds, but there are fundamentalist believers of all faiths who will deny that to their kids. There is no case for a PRA to help them justify that.


    • Jan,
      The Parental Rights Amendment is about so much more than choice of religion, as is the CRC. You are mistaken to say that choice of religion is the number one issue in the debate. In addition, the “rights” included in the treaty are less about the well-being of children than about how much power the government has to come in and force decisions on parents. Practically, the CRC could (and probably would) be used in the US to keep children from being religiously influenced in any way, as any influence could be seen as “undue” influence on their rights to make their own decision. Religious books or programs targeted at children could be highly censored, or prohibited. In other words, the so-called “right” could lead to severe curtailments on organized religion, and in the name of “child rights,” the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans could become very limited. Again, however, what you bring up is only one tiny issue among a vast number of issues tied up in the CRC.

      But in order to pursue this argument you’ve made, I’ll pretend for a moment that the CRC would work the way you say it will.

      You’re only looking at the “rights” angle, and ignoring the “responsibilities” side of the question. Parents have rights over their children BECAUSE they are responsible for the well-being of their children. Their rights enable them to carry out their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

      Supporters of the CRC claim that children need to be given a whole raft of “rights” that the state must enforce and that restrict the decision-making power of the people responsible for those children. But the children don’t bear the full responsibility for themselves until they reach 18. Their rights and privileges should not be as expansive as those of adults until they can take full responsibility for themselves and their actions.

      Giving children freedom of religion looks nice on paper, but it’s a complicated mess when you work it out. If your child decides to join a cult, or become a witch (to use an extreme example), under the treaty you would be forced to go along with that choice. As the responsible parent, you would have to aid that child in fulfilling his decision (a ten-year-old isn’t going to drive themselves to meetings, and perhaps there will be items you’ll need to purchase for him related to his religious activity). If your child is harmed by his choice of religion, guess who would be responsible? YOU.

      A child is not ready to take full responsibility for his actions, and needs the guidance and protection of his parents. All children initially have a huge lack in knowledge, in experience, in reason, and in wisdom. They acquire these things at different speeds as they grow up. Protecting children thus includes being able to tell them ‘no,’ and to tell them what they ought to do, because they are unprepared to consistently make choices in their best interest. And as long as a child lives at home and relies on his parents’ resources, they have rights over him. After all, he owes them. They brought him into the world and have met his every need throughout life. When he lives on his own, it is his life to do with as he pleases. But as long as he is under his parents’ umbrella, so to speak, he’s got to follow their rules. It’s common sense.

      For the sake of full disclosure, I’m the National Grassroots Director at ParentalRights.org, the organization leading the effort to pass the PRA and defeat the CRC. The opinions expressed above are my own and should not be attributed to the organization as a whole.


  2. Henry Ferro says:

    I need to contact Susan Sachenmaier, I am a lawyer in Florida in need of expertise in the questioning of alleged child victims and her article was very helpful. If you could help, I would be most appreciative.
    Henry Ferro (800-943-3776)


  3. Jan Cosgrove says:

    Jonathan, thank you for your response. I am not at all clear whether you or PRorg recognise children as having rights in their own regard, as distinct from ‘protections’ afforded by and at the discretion of parents. The CRC is not a statement of such protections but of rights which children uniquely have precisely because they are not capable of exercising the rights of full adulthood. Therefore any such childhood right has to be seen as to a large extent dependent on adult guidance and even direction as the CRC makes clear.

    We need to be more precise in the language used – you say ‘umbrella’ but more accurate a term is “mandate” as understood e.g. in international law. South Africa once had a mandate for South West Africa, awarded by the League of Nations, which gave it responsibility for the administration of the territory (seen then as being too immature to govern itself). When South Africa was judged to have abused its mandate, it was taken from them and the nation now known as Namibia came to maturity. I think the analogy is quite good in that the citizens of Namibia were regarded as having rights not privileges granted by South Africa (racially based in that case).

    Such territories were regarded as being ‘held in trust’ by the mandated nations. The aim was to guide them to independence, with their citizens rights being fully respected by the mandated powers. Thus I think has always been the civilised norm, I think it accords with the domestic practices of civilised nations as regards the place of children and the role of parents.

    Is there a right of parents to impose their religious beliefs on their children? You tell me. Clearly what obtains is that the parent, being in the position and role of guide and of responsibility, influences the child to an extent where quite normally a child will follow that belief/practice until …. and there we have that issue of evolving understanding by a child. Your child may come to a conclusion about faith you may not like or approve. What to do? You tell me.

    Example: child says I want to go to another Christian church. Do you let him? Do you have to take him? Many other questions.

    Or, he says I want to convert to Islam? Same again, but a rather larger issue for most US and UK parents ….

    Or, Scientology? Hmmm. Many see this as a cult.

    Hell, Dad, I don’t believe any of it, I am an atheist. Blame the school for that? (My eldest never believed in Sky Pixies (his term) and when told at 3 that grand-dad had gone to live with Jesus he just said ‘No he isn’t, he’s dead on the sofa watching television’ and has stayed that-minded since. All his own. What was my responsibility there?)

    Re what parents might see as a cult, there is nothing at all in the CRC which says parents have to go along with that at all, indeed they have a duty of protection against exploitation, as would the state where it was seen parents were failing in this. Not all CRC rights back each other up in every circumstance, often there has to be judgement as to which holds where balance has to be established.

    You say the state has to enforce those rights. That plainly is not true as most parents already respect their children’s rights just because the ARE parents and recognise that (sacred) Trust. The state intervenes where there is abuse, not where there isn’t. If it does the latter, cases get to court to enforce parental rights. It is regarded as abusive of children where the state intervenes improperly against the child’s best interest and welfare.

    You speak of severe curtailment of the First Amendment Right – does that Right include a subsidiary unspoken right to require your children to believe what you believe? (Or your wife? Or slaves? speaking of bygone days.)

    ‘Looking good on paper’but it brings real problems …. Giving women the vote …. Emancipating slaves ….. Democracy’s all very well but not in the hands of 500 as the Chair of a Conference once said to me as the delegates voted in a way not expected or liked by the patrician management committee that had been used to getting its way for years.

    The view you appear to promote is very comforting for those who seek some ‘ideal’ (for parents) framework – “Whilst under my roof” etc. That has been an age-old source of intergenerational conflict and often as useless as a chocolate teapot in the real world of evolving child capacity within a family (wait, one can at least eat the teapot).

    The CRC in my view embraces and codifies in broad terms the ‘in trust’ principles of child-rearing. What people seem to miss is that, precisely, the fulfilment of those rights depends crucially, as the CRC recognises, on adult parental guidance (which can mean ‘No’ where a child’s best interest is to be served at that point). The CRC sees the state’s role as promoting that framework unless it is abused or absent.

    It seems to me that you should say what right PR org says children have – maybe start with love, protection, regard to best interest etc. And I do think you need to start by recognising the fundamental difference between childhood rights and those of maturity. In every case, even a similar right has very different connotations, and that is where e.g. PRA claims have their basic flaw.

    For the record, father of 2, doting grandfather of 2, playworker, and National Secretary of Fair Play for Children at http://www.fairplayforchildren.org

    PS Despite all this, there will be many areas where we converge in our views, for sure.


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