Remember little Elian Gonzales, the 7-year-old Cuban boy who in 2000 was forcibly taken from his family by federal agents in Miami? This dramatic — but unfortunately not unusual — involvement of government in the parent-child relationship shows how law and politics are intruding into family life. “Parental Rights” are becoming controversial. The United Nation even has a “Convention on the Rights of the Child.” It makes you wonder how “Honor thy father and mother” was replaced by “It takes a village.”
Three cases are in the news. The first is that of Justina Pelletier who was placed under state guardianship because the doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital claimed she was faking an unusual disease under the prodding of her parents. The hospital claimed that the parents were suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy and were therefore endangering their child. In fact, the parents relied on the doctors of Tufts University who had diagnosed the girl with the disease. This case is still pending but the girl has been returned to Tufts.
The second is the case of Rachel Canning, the New Jersey teen who sued her parents for “child support” when they refused to financially support her or allow her to live in their home without following their rules. That case is also pending but, so far, she’s been unsuccessful.
Third, but not last, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn the deportation of a German family that requested asylum because they claimed religious persecution. In Germany, home schooling is illegal. They are Christians who wanted to home school their children for religious reasons.
In each case the “village” comes in the form of government agents, caseworkers, judges and others who, ultimately, are backed by men with guns. These folks think they know better than parents what the kids need
Now, I’m not so much of a purist to believe that the state should never be involved in parental rights cases. But as the morality of the state diverges from that of parents, the cases of conflict are sure to arise more often. The U.N. treaty would, if adopted by the United States, supersede all state and federal laws regarding children. The treaty would ban corporal punishment, make every parental decision subject to court review as in the Canning case, and, of course, give girls a right to an abortion without any notice to the parents.
Do we really believe an overworked caseworker, let alone some U.N. bureaucrat, cares more or knows better than a parent about their child? Do we think that Judges, with no training in counseling or sociology, can all have the wisdom of Soloman to set “standard” visitation schedules for all divorcing couples in a county? If parents could work these things out themselves it begs the question: Why couldn’t they work out the other issues in their marriage?
If you don’t want the government raising your kids, it’s up to you to do a better job of picking your partner and keeping your family together. Marriage is the ideal. Parents should be in charge. Kids deserve it.