Truth is stranger than fiction.
Take the case of a West Virginia mother who was ordered by a local circuit judge and a family court judge to share custody of her four-year-old girl—not with her ex-husband or other relative, but with two babysitters! It gets worse. These justices, who viewed the babysitters as “psychological co-parents”, also granted them full custody. The mother, in turn, was told she could only visit her daughter four times a week at McDonalds.
You might want to read that again.
In October of 2007, the case reached the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals at which time the mother, after much emotional and financial expense, was granted full custody of her child. Talk about an alarming reality. How could any court assign a couple of teenage babysitters co-parenting rights, not to mention primary custody over a mother?
When the U.S. Constitution was written, our Founding Fathers didn’t envision a need to include a provision protecting parental rights in the upbringing, nurturing, and education of their children. Today, as Michael Farris, president of ParentalRights.org, points out, a perfect storm is brewing, one which threatens to trump the right of parents to raise their children according to their values with what the government views to be in their child’s “best interests.”
Michael is no stranger to this issue.
For thirty years, he’s defended parental rights. He cites three cases that illustrate this threat to a parents’ right to educate, discipline, or nurture the faith of their child. Take the issue of education. Earlier this year, Justice H. Walter Croskey of California’s Second District Court of Appeals ruled that “parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children.” According to the activist court, educating youth is the job of “credentialed teachers.” Some 166,000 homeschooled children in California would have been affected by the decision had Justice Croskey’s opinion become law. But, as WORLD magazine reports, the case was vacated and will be reheard later this Spring.
Regarding the issue of discipline, a Supreme Court of Washington ruling (In re Sumey) stated that, according to Michael Farris, “if parents ground their children for taking illegal drugs, the state can remove custody even though the rules are reasonable and the method of enforcement is reasonable.”
Regarding the matter of faith, Michael tried a case where parents lost the custody of their 13-year-old son “unless they would agree not to take their child to church on three services a week but cut back to one service a week. No hints of abuse or neglect just simply too much church in the opinion of the judge.” Does the frequency of church attendance of your child sound like a decision for a judge to make?
Michael identifies two primary forces behind the movement to trample on parental rights—radical rulings handed down by liberal courts, and a movement to apply international law and policy, such as the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. Michael believes “If the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child becomes the law in this country, every parent in this country will lose their ability to make judgments for their child, unless the government agrees with the judgments the parents make.”
Personally, I believe that parents, not the government, are best suited to raise their children. And I definitely take issue with the notion that a babysitter should share any level of co-parenting input.
What about you?