Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ted Cruz Needs Some Schooling

Yesterday, I read an article about Ted Cruz talking to homeschoolers.

Ted Cruz wants the parents of these homeschooled kids to be afraid of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child. He seems to think it's going to take parenting decisions away from Americans.

What this REALLY is about is governments of countries around the world coming together to put together kind of a Bill of Rights for kids. It's an opportunity for governments to pledge things like:

"The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."

"States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

"States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse."

Those are just a few things in there. Take the time to read it all, please. There's a lot of good stuff in there that can help improve the lives and guarantee the rights of kids all over the world. Guess which country has NOT yet ratified this document? That's right...'Murica! Land of liberty! You know, the place where it's a free country unless you're LBGT, a woman, not a Christian, an immigrant, black, some middle and lower class white dudes, or a child.

Ted Cruz actually said this, "Nothing in international law, nothing in any treaty should be used as a backdoor vehicle to undermine the rights of every parent here to raise your children consistent with your faith, with your good judgement and the love you have for your children."

What he's really saying is that he doesn't believe kids should have the right to decide for themselves what they believe. There is nothing in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child that says parents shouldn't raise their children in a manner consistent with their faith. What it does say is that governments pledge to do things like protect the rights of kids to decide for themselves what they believe, put in place policies that guarantee our right to things like education and healthcare, and protect us from abuse and neglect. Oh, and it also says that governments "will respect the rights, responsibilities, and duties of parents."

In addition to his remarks against the rights of children, Ted Cruz also decided to make some hateful remarks about atheists.

"You know, last year, there was a chaplain in the Air Force up in Alaska who wrote in a blog post the phrase ‘There are no atheists in fox holes.’ He was ordered by his supervising officer to take it down. I guess it was deemed insensitive to atheists. I kind of thought it was the job of a chaplain to be insensitive to atheists."

Apparently not only does Ted Cruz not believe in a Bill of Rights for children, he doesn't believe in the one for adults either. You know, the one that guarantees us that our government will respect our religious freedom. I guess he doesn't see the need for those who serve our country to respect the others who serve, putting their lives on the line, who happen to be atheists.

I've got some news Cruz can use. I'm a homeschooler. I'm also an atheist. Even though I'm an atheist, I stand 100% behind the freedoms of others to worship how they choose. I have a lot of friends who are Christians and a few who are members of other religions. I will do whatever I can do defend their right to their beliefs. I understand that the same freedom that gives them the right to practice their religion is the freedom that protects me from being forced to practice a religion.

My parents aren't atheists but they have enough respect for my rights that they allow me to decide for myself what I believe. This doesn't mean that my parents don't raise me in a manner consistent with their faith.

One of the ways my parents teach me about their faith is to share with me things they read or hear about that are consistent with their faith. Some time ago, my mom shared with me something written by a pastor about using the Bible to bully and deny rights to the LBGT community. This was at a time when I had some very negative feelings about Christianity. Reading it made me realize that it wasn't Christians who were bad. It was the actions of some Christians who were bad.

Since that time, I've gotten to know the pastor who wrote that article and I've read many other things  he's written. His name is Mark Sandlin and I'm afraid to disappoint Ted Cruz, but he's extremely sensitive to atheists. He is so sensitive to them that he recently spoke out against the fact a girl who tried to start a secular club at her school was being bullied and threatened. As an atheist, I don't utilize the services of a chaplain the way most people think about that term. But one day, when I was trying to find a word that wasn't offensive to either Christians or atheists, he helped me by sharing his perspective as a Christian who was understanding of my perspective as a non-Christian. Mark, in a way, is a chaplain to all, regardless of their beliefs.

I find it very sad that Ted Cruz, someone who wants to continue to serve in the government of the United States of America, is afraid of ideas like freedom and people like my friend who are sensitive to those with different beliefs. I find it even more sad that he would speak to a group of kids and parents in an effort to make them afraid of these things too.


  1. Madison, you give me hope for our future! As long as there are young people like you who continue to make a stand for the rights of all people, this kind of mentality will not prevail. Keep speaking up for what's right! Kudos to your parents for raising you the way they have, and allowing you the respect and opportunity to make informed decisions for yourself.

  2. I've got news for Ted Cruz. The job of a 'Chaplain' is to minister to those who are spiritually hurting. An Atheist is just as likely as anyone else to wonder why their house burned down, why their child died, or why their car got stolen. There are no answers to such questions, but ministers should be able to give comfort in such situations, if they cannot, it is their own fault, not the fault of those needing comfort. As a medic in the U.S. Army, I've known plenty of Atheists in foxholes. Just because a soldier is in imminent danger of losing their life does not change their spiritual belief. I'm sick to death of pseudo-Christians and pithy phrases that imply Atheism as situationally dependent. Atheism/Agnosticism is sometimes easily developed when people are raised in a non-religious environment, and sometimes a painfully developed realism based in education and realization that a childhood faith can no longer stand. Thank you for your blog post. I appreciate your writing.

  3. It takes a lot of courage to go against one's parents' religious beliefs, especially at your age. I could not come out to my parents as an atheist when I was 13, despite my reservations about Christianity, so I admire your maturity in being able to do so.

    Kids are generally smarter than adults give them credit for, and yes, they do deserve a bill of rights. But maybe I'm preaching to the choir.

  4. Madison, I'm glad you took the occasion of this post to tell us where you stand on matters of religion. (I don't believe that you'd stated your atheistic belief before this; if you did, I missed it.)
        You remind me of my daughter, who turned 45 last year. When I realized only within the past ten years that I myself am an atheist – or, rather, when I shared the fact with my daughter – she told me that she had realized when she "was a kid" that there was no god! She had the grace not to ask me why it took me so long to realize it. <smile>
        You and my daughter are two clear-thinking women!
        Her name is Jennifer, and she's the wife half of The Neumanns, your fellow Moristotle & Co. characters....