Week In Review: The Erosion of Family Rights and The Seeping Statism of Our Time
It’s been a rough week for parental rights, unborn children, the family unit and religious freedom. It’s been a rough week for generations that aren’t here yet, for the posterity that will inherit this planet from us. Unfortunately, it often takes massive defeats to convince some people that the battles we are engaged in are real and that, in the words of Daniel Webster, “God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
This vigilant defense clearly hasn’t been occurring on a wide enough scale in Germany, where a homeschooling family just lost custody of their four children when a district court ruled that “homeschooling damages children and is an abuse of parental authority.” According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Judge Malkmus ruled that:
“the general public has an interest in counteracting the development of parallel societies and that religious or ethnic minorities must be ‘integrated’ through schools. The judge also stated that the academic competency of the children was irrelevant because it is the state’s responsibility to insure that children are socialized in state-approved public or private schools.”
Why are parents all over the world choosing to homeschool their children? While many do it for academic reasons, feeling they can offer their children a better education than the public schools in their areas, a growing number of families are pulling their children out of state education systems for religious reasons and concerns that the values and virtues they cherish are not being presented to the children they love and are responsible for rearing. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is one administration that has proved particularly antagonistic towards parents since introducing their K-12 Curriculum Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism last year.
This extremely controversial program, which teaches students that “you can’t choose to be gay or straight but you can choose to ‘come out,’ “ has outraged many Canadian families. Parents are not allowed to opt their children out of the classes on religious grounds, and teachers are not allowed to decline to teach them based on their religious beliefs.
Last week, it was revealed that a new TDSB poster, which has been introduced as part of the district’s “Safe and Positive Spaces” campaign, not only portrays homosexuality as normal but also appears to depict polygamous relationships as acceptable. The poster, entitled Love Has No Gender, shows small stick figures of men and women inside colorful hearts. While some hearts contain heterosexual couples, others contain same-sex couples and still others that contain groups of three, with one man and two women, or one woman and two men.
“I think the gut reaction of most parents is going to be, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, what are these being used for?’ ” said Doretta Wilson, executive director of the Society for Quality Education. “This is where parents who may be as tolerant as they come might say, ‘I think maybe we’ve now crossed a line.’ ”
TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said the board does not support polygamy, and that “the reason for depicting two women and one man was meant to show that a person can be attracted to more than one gender.”
Another poster that the campaign has released for display in Toronto District Schools shows an array of cross-dressing children and proclaims, “there are no rules for being a boy or a girl.” A third poster boasts a colorful school of fish with the words, “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re in your school!”
Is the furor over the ‘polygamy poster’ just a case of over-excited, reactionary homophobes who are looking for any possible excuse to bash gays? Mayor Fancois Lebel of Paris’ 8th Arrondisement doesn’t think so. He spoke out last week in a surprising article written for his municipality’s official newsletter, arguing that legalization of homosexual ‘marriage’ would open the door to social acceptance of other taboos. Mr. Lebel asked:
“If the immemorial taboo of heterosexual marriage is overcome, who and what will then stop other taboos, much less ancient, much less universal, from being abolished in turn? For example: tomorrow, how will one oppose polygamy in France, a principle that is only taboo in Western civilization? Why will the legal age of the spouses be maintained? And why prohibit marriages within families, pedophilia, incest, which are still common practice in the world? The door is now open to a spectacle, deadly for civilization, of legal marriage for the whole world, no matter with whom or what!”
It would seem that the majority of Mr. Lebel’s countrymen either don’t share his concerns, or else don’t consider themselves ‘pedophiliaphobic.’ They are joined in this conviction, or lack of conviction, by most of the international spokesmen for our own nation and the spokesmen for most of the Western European nations also, as evidenced by the results of a vote held by the UN Council on Human Rights earlier this week. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute shared on Friday:
“Delegations from European Countries and the United States suffered a setback last week when the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming a positive link between traditional values and human rights. The European and U.S. delegations view traditional values as threats to women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons. This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009. Russia successfully pressed the resolution forward despite attempts by other UN member states to stifle their initiative. (emphasis mine)
The resolution states that, “a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contribute to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide,” and also recognized the positive role of the family in promoting human rights.
It was adopted with 25 in favor, 15 against, and 7 abstentions.
Somehow it’s frightening to learn that our own nation’s delegation to a human rights council was disappointed by Russia’s attempts to recognize the traditional family. However, we shouldn’t find it surprising, because when it comes to upholding ancient social institutions like marriage and family, Russia is fast outstripping the US, not to mention Canada and Western Europe. Last week the Russian Supreme Court upheld St. Petersburg’s 2011 ‘gay propaganda ban,’ which outlaws, “the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors.” It sounds like some religious Toronto District parents might be compelled to flee to Russia in the near future!
In an alarming and highly significant move, a Missouri federal district judge has dismissed a case against the controversial HHS mandate, which would require business owners to pay for employees’ contraception and abortion-inducing drugs without any religious exemptions. Judge Carol Jackson ruled that the mandate does not violate Catholics’ faith, because they remain “free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives.” Judge Jackson wrote,
“This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff’s religious exercise.”
This ruling is more than absurd. It is horrifying. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, it is sinful and tyrannical. It means that the task of separating right from wrong, of determining what are the requirements of a creed, is left to the arbitrary will of a judge. Using Judge Jackson’s reasoning, taxpayer funding for abortions is not a violation of any religious faith. Neither would be taxpayer funding of pornography or prostitution or sex change surgeries or any other operation prohibited by the teachings of any church or creed. But the progressive vision has jumped even further back into the mire of totalitarianism than this.
Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, has issued a call for governments to criminalize organized opposition to abortion by non-governmental groups. The document says states are obliged to use “maximum available resources” to “protect against interference with sexual and reproductive health rights by third parties by enforcing appropriate laws, policies, regulations and guidelines.”
“States are responsible for exercising due diligence, or acting with a certain standard of care, to ensure that non-governmental actors, including private service providers, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of health-related goods and equipment, as well as community and family members, comply with certain standards.” (emphasis mine)It further states that:
The document maintains a vague and unspecific aura, but is obviously intended not only to pressure pro-life activists but also to pressure governments to pressure pro-life activists. It’s going to be a rough, uphill climb.
Hopefully the losses of the past two weeks won’t be in vain but will serve to excite some serious resistance to the seeping statism of our time. Do the truth a favor and pass these stories on to another potential freedom fighter.