Here are some of the provisions of the bill:
- To live in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment, and to know and be cared for by the child's parent or legal guardian, except in circumstances when the child's removal from his parent or legal guardian is in the child's best interests;
- To be free from physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional abuse, neglect, cruelty, and any form of discipline that humiliates, demeans, or inflicts unnecessary mental or physical suffering or pain
These are certainly noble ideals and I am sure that the crafters of this bill are well intentioned. I certainly take no issue with the idea that children should be raised in a safe nurturing environment. Physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse, neglect and cruelty are evil when directed at other adults - much less children.
The problem I have is that the language in the bill subjective by nature. No hard definition is given for cruelty. What amount of pain rises to the level of "unnecessary" - is a slap on the wrist unnecessary? Are parents who choose to educate their children at home neglectful?
These are not decisions I would entrust to the NJ judiciary - and in the event the UN treaty the bill is based on is ratified, I would not entrust our federal judiciary either - much less the type of judges Presiden Obama would appoint.
UPDATE: If you live in New Jersey and wish to contact your state legislators, go here.