Parental Rights
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"The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities."
-- Lord Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877

Parental Rights

There has, for the past several years, been a push for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would prevent any governmental agency or body from interfering in the moral upbringing of a child by the parent or legal guradian of that child. Fortunately, no such amendment has passed either of the legislative bodies of the federal government, but many states have had such a bill pass in either the state house or senate. God protect the children of whatever state passes such an amendment.

But what is so wrong with such an amendment, you might ask? The government has no right to tell me how to morally raise my child. To this, I would totally and absolutely agree. And here is where most people fall prey to the slick packaging of the extreme religious right groups who are behind this amendment. Because the government has no right to dictate morality, anyone opposed to this amendment is made to appear to be in favor of an intrusive "Big Brother" type government. But take just a few moments to really consider what the law says: NO governmental agency will interfere with the moral upbringing of a child by the parent or legal guardian. That means there could be no laws passed protecting children from abuse. That means child labor laws would be null and void. That means child welfare agency's could not remove children from abusive homes. That means children would have no guarantee to a free education. They would have no guarantee of food or even housing. That means laws against incest would no longer be enforcable. Why? Because the parent could always claim to be teaching their children morality. And no governmental agency or body could interfere with that right.

Children are already treated like property in this country. The Constitution guarantees all of us certain rights. An amendment to the constitution giving parents special rights will take away many of the rights guaranteed by the constitution to every citizen, including children. The government MUST have the right to enter a home and remove a child from an abusive environment. The government MUST have the right to force a parent to feed, clothe, house and educate their children. The government MUST have the right to protect children from those who would take advantage of their youth and naivete. If the government is denied such a right, then children are being denied their constitutional rights. A parent has the right to teach morality to their children AS LONG AS SUCH TEACHING DOESN'T VIOLATE THE CHILD'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!!!!!!

We do NOT need a parental rights bill. What we need instead is a bill ensuring that in cases where children are involved, the best interests of the child are the most important consideration. If a child is not being fed or educated or clothed, then the government MUST have the right to enter that home and remove that child. There should be a number that children are taught to call if they're being neglected or abused. They should be taught that number as soon as they're able to understand what it means, much as they're taught to dial 911 in an emergency.

I can already hear the protests. "Any kid who doesn't like what his mother/father fixed for dinner or the clothes they bought for school or the school they're attending or the discipline they receive will call the number. Then the government gets involved and kids who aren't really being abused are taken from their families." Such HAS been a problem in the past and the children's welfare agencies must be reorganized. But the biggest reason such across the board removals have been happening is that, due to understaffing, the agencies MUST err on the side of the children. If there were enough social workers to handle the case load, each case could be given more careful scrutiny and such cases would virtually cease to exist. But as long as we have administrations in power who continuously cut social service programs, we'll continue to have understaffing.

Children rely on adults to protect them and the sad truth is that sometimes the adults they turn to the most, their parents, are the ones who offer the least protection and the most serious threat to the children's well-being. In such cases, there must be an alternative recourse for the child in the form of some governmental agency. Or a private agency regulated by governmental standards. The next time your local government seeks to cut budgets, make sure that the children don't suffer from such money saving efforts. Or the next time a tax increase is proposed, make sure that the children will benefit. They are, after all, the future of not only this country but theentire human race on this planet.

How the parental rights of one
three year old cost her her life.

Separation of Church and State
Sexual Orientation
Personal Responsibility
Adoption Issues
Religious Freedom