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2/7/2008 5:18:02 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
From the Desk of Mike Farris


From the Desk of Michael P. Farris

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

I am writing to you today about obtaining permanent protection for our
rights as parents.

For nearly 25 years, HSLDA has focused on defending the right of
parents to home educate their children. We have met with great success
in this effort, and we have seen God's hand of blessing on thousands
of families as the homeschooling movement has progressed.

After all, this movement was built upon the firm belief that parents
possess a God-given right to direct the upbringing and education of
their children. And I know that you'll agree with me in saying when
that right is under fire, we must do whatever we can to protect it.

Parental Rights are in Jeopardy

A "perfect storm" that could literally demolish the rights we value so
deeply is approaching on the horizon. If these threats persist, we
could soon be looking at the demolition of the parental role, and an
upsurge of government intrusion in family life.

Even though parental rights are recognized as a fundamental right
under current Supreme Court doctrine, there are two threats to the
recognition of this principle.

The Threat from the Federal Courts

Today an increasing number of Supreme Court justices refuse to
recognize that parental rights are a fundamental right. In the 2000
case of Troxel v. Granville, only four of the nine Supreme Court
justices expressly agreed that the Constitution "protects the
fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care,
custody, and control of their children." Two of these justices --
then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
-- have since left the Court.

Even Justice Antonin Scalia, a noted conservative, holds that parental
rights are not judicially enforceable at all until there is a specific
parental rights provision in the Constitution.

The Threat of International Law

Even as the recognition of parental rights is fading within the
federal courts, international law which diminishes parental authority
is approaching possible ratification. The growing use of international
law in American courts offers a frightening glimpse into the future.
If the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
becomes binding on this country, then parental rights as we know them
will be erased. This international treaty provides for the government
to define what is in the "best interests of the child," supplanting
the parent as the ultimate decision maker.

Moreover, if the UNCRC is ratified, all state laws which recognize the
right to homeschool will be superseded by international law if
international tribunals or American courts think that such education
is not in the "best interest of the child." We would do well to
remember the example of Germany on this point.

There is Only One Solution

I am convinced that there is only one solution to this attack on the
child-parent relationship: We must amend the Constitution to
permanently secure the rights of parents. The Parental Rights
Amendment [http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4735] is the only way to
protect and preserve the rights of parents to make key decisions for
their children, as well as to direct their upbringing and education.

The only way that we can accomplish this goal is to gain the
nationwide support of millions of parents like you. We need to raise
our voices to safeguard the child-parent relationship. And we need to
be organized and vocal so that Congress will listen.

It's the Battle of Our Lifetime

The battle for parental rights will be the fight of our lifetime.
That's why I am turning to you for support as we launch this vital
campaign.

The process of amending the Constitution is both long and challenging.
Our goal is to have a substantial number of Congressional co-sponsors
before the Parental Rights Amendment is even introduced. Ultimately
the amendment requires final approval of two-thirds of both the House
and the Senate. Once passed by Congress, the amendment must then be
ratified by three-fourths of the states.

We Need a Groundswell of Support

As you can see, passing the Parental Rights Amendment is not going to
be easy. But it is completely possible. If we can find 10,000 people
within each congressional district who are willing to contact their
congressmen and senators on this issue, then we can gain a favorable
response from most members of Congress. We are referring to these
individuals as Citizen Co-sponsors. Our goal is to find 10,000 Citizen
Co-sponsors in at least 80% of the congressional districts in the
country. While this number may seem daunting, it is clearly
attainable. In fact, if each HSLDA member recruits 40 people to become
Citizen Co-sponsors by signing the petition, we will reach this goal.

The bottom line is this: we need a groundswell of support and activism
from our HSLDA members. That's why I am asking you to do two things
right away.

1. Join ParentalRights.org

You can become a Citizen Co-Sponsor simply by signing the petition
[http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4736] for parental rights on
ParentalRights.org.

But I am asking you to take this one step further.

I am challenging you to join the campaign
[http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4737]. With a gift of $25 or more,
you can become a member of ParentalRights.org. There are two reasons
why we urgently need your financial support. The first and most
obvious reason is that building the infrastructure to secure a
Constitutional amendment requires a substantial amount of money.
Second, under existing federal law we can only send detailed
information about the political implications of this effort to
dues-paying members. Therefore certain communications will only be
given to our dues-paying members rather than those who have only
signed the petition.

2. Get your friends and neighbors involved

I'm asking you to enlist your friends and family to visit
ParentalRights.org, and encourage them to join the campaign. Our
user-friendly Tell a Friend application
[http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4738] enables you to upload email
addresses from your address book, and easily inform friends of the
importance of the campaign. Growth is essential during the early
stages of this effort, and that support needs to start now.

We need grassroots support from dedicated parents in all 50 states to
ensure the smooth passage of the amendment. I firmly believe that the
homeschooling movement is the key to victory in this massive effort.
We've come a long way in the last twenty-five years... but there is so
much more ahead.

I'm challenging you to join the fight
[http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4737] today.

Sincerely,


Michael Farris
Chairman, Home School Legal Defense Association
President, ParentalRights.org



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