Parental Rights: Do You Have Any?

ParentalRights.org is organizing a campaign to clarify this parental rights matter. They are trying to get an Amendment to the U. S. Constitution that will define parental rights. Here is a ParentalRights.org video you may find interesting. As it stands now, you may not have the right to make decisions for your child in many instances.

Let’s take a look at some defining court cases.

Did you know that your rights as a parent end when your kids go through the schoolhouse door? In the Fields v. Palmdale School District (PSD) lawsuit the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, in November 2005, decided that issue as regards sex education:

In summary, we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents “to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs” . . . We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select. (Emphasis added.)

That court also stated parents’ “fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished.” (Please read Chapter Ten in Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? for more information on parental rights.)

Created by the Intellectual Freedom Committee 2005-2007, Association for Library Service to Children, a Division of the American Library Association

And in Troxel v. Granville (2000) the Supreme Court tossed a parental rights issue to individual judges and states to apply their own rules to parental rights. I find it astonishing that Justice Antonin Scalia determined that parents have no constitutionally protected rights whatsoever. Only Justice Thomas clearly stated that parental rights receive the same high legal standard of protection as other fundamental rights. However, even that statement is ambiguous because I can find no clear statement (although there may be such a statement that I haven’t found) of exactly what your “fundamental rights” as parents are.

The claim is made that “Laws in a majority of states limit or entirely deny to parents any ‘right’ to be present on school grounds where their child is in attendance.” Check out the status of parental rights laws in your state.

God’s commandments include one to children: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12 NIV). But Scripture also gives parents instructions: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

The Bible is full of blessings and admonitions regarding the responsibilities of both children and parents: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart” (Proverbs 3:1). “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” (Luke 11: 11-12). Is what is being taught in many public schools the equivalent of giving your child a snake or a scorpion?

Ask yourself if parents’ rights (and obligations as Christian parents) have been given over to the government, or taken from them by the government. If that has happened, is an amendment to our Constitution the best way to correct that?

I’ll be interested in hearing from you whether you think establishing parental rights by means of a Constitutional Amendment is a good idea.