Parental Rights

The state of Massachusetts is considering a bill that would make it a crime for parents to spank their children.

Which reminds me to put in a big plug for this blog’s reader and mentor Rich Shipe, who is heading an organization to promote the rights of parents. Specifically, his group is pushing for a constitutional amendment to that effect. Here is the proposed text:

The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

No treaty nor any source of international law may be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

Go hereto learn more and, if you want that amendment, to sign the petition. Go to the Parental Rights blog for some chilling examples of parental rights under attack.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    I hope that we won’t have to spank our children, but that really makes kids of my generation who were spanked by very loving parents feel pretty lousy about it.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    I hope that we won’t have to spank our children, but that really makes kids of my generation who were spanked by very loving parents feel pretty lousy about it.

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  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Interesting that it is the liberal side in this case that thinks that judges are being too lenient, and failing to trust in their judgment.

    The problem here is that there obviously are bad parents who abuse corporal punishment. But we already have laws that outlaw child abuse. Cases of this nature should be in a gray area decided by a judge — it’s a feature, not a bug.

    That said, (though I am not a Constitutional scholar) I can’t see that this amendment is worth much. It proposes to exchange the gray area of punishment/abuse with the gray area of “governmental interest”. Either way, sounds like you’ll need a judge to decide whether a parent’s actions fit. What then, is the benefit?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Interesting that it is the liberal side in this case that thinks that judges are being too lenient, and failing to trust in their judgment.

    The problem here is that there obviously are bad parents who abuse corporal punishment. But we already have laws that outlaw child abuse. Cases of this nature should be in a gray area decided by a judge — it’s a feature, not a bug.

    That said, (though I am not a Constitutional scholar) I can’t see that this amendment is worth much. It proposes to exchange the gray area of punishment/abuse with the gray area of “governmental interest”. Either way, sounds like you’ll need a judge to decide whether a parent’s actions fit. What then, is the benefit?

  • Joe

    We do a three step discipline program. First offense, the child is told that the behavior is not allowed with an explanation, in age appropriate terms, why and an instruction that the behavior will be punished in the future.

    Second offense, a time out. The duration of the time out is one minute for each year of life. My 7 year old gets a 7 minute time out etc. During the timeout no one is allowed to acknowledge the child unless it is an emergency. After the time out is over the child must explain to the parent why they were put in a time out and apologize to the parent. The parent then accepts the apology and warns the child against future misbehavior and reminds the child that a spanking is the next punishment.

    Third offense, if it happens a gain the child receives a spanking. Before the spanking occurs the parent reminds the child of the rule, the prior discipline and that the child was warned. Then the parent spanks the child. If the third offense does not occur in relative time proximity to the second offense the offense is treated as a second offense and punished with a timeout.

  • Joe

    We do a three step discipline program. First offense, the child is told that the behavior is not allowed with an explanation, in age appropriate terms, why and an instruction that the behavior will be punished in the future.

    Second offense, a time out. The duration of the time out is one minute for each year of life. My 7 year old gets a 7 minute time out etc. During the timeout no one is allowed to acknowledge the child unless it is an emergency. After the time out is over the child must explain to the parent why they were put in a time out and apologize to the parent. The parent then accepts the apology and warns the child against future misbehavior and reminds the child that a spanking is the next punishment.

    Third offense, if it happens a gain the child receives a spanking. Before the spanking occurs the parent reminds the child of the rule, the prior discipline and that the child was warned. Then the parent spanks the child. If the third offense does not occur in relative time proximity to the second offense the offense is treated as a second offense and punished with a timeout.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s House Bill 3922 that makes it a crime for parents to spank their children.

    If this passes parents living (or visiting) Massachusetts may be charged with child abuse and their children forceably taken from them.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s House Bill 3922 that makes it a crime for parents to spank their children.

    If this passes parents living (or visiting) Massachusetts may be charged with child abuse and their children forceably taken from them.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    tODD, you actually hit the nail on the head with what we are doing with ParentalRights.org. Our nation has recognized for a long time that the parental right is a fundamental right. There is a growing move in our courts and from international law that would change that standard to the “best interest of the child” standard. Essentially that means that as parents we are no longer given the benefit of the doubt on innocence but now have to prove our innocence. The government should prove guilt. There are many parents out there who wish they could have had their day in court but instead are treated like criminals by a system that takes kids away and then forces the parent to prove innocence to CPS workers. Child abuse is a hard and real problem but we can’t undermine the child-parent relationship by allowing a CPS worker to presume guilt and forcing a parent to prove innocence. Justice is turned on its head and ultimately it is children who lose.

    It is very sad to see the shockingly high number of children who are removed from their parents under just suspicion of wrong doing. This should unite both conservatives and liberals because everyone should agree on the importance of parents in the lives of their kids. We may not always agree on the specifics, but we should all agree that mom and dad should be the decision makers on the important issues facing their kids.

    You can learn the issue in full under http://www.parentalrights.org/learn

    Thank you very much for the plug, Dr. Veith!

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    tODD, you actually hit the nail on the head with what we are doing with ParentalRights.org. Our nation has recognized for a long time that the parental right is a fundamental right. There is a growing move in our courts and from international law that would change that standard to the “best interest of the child” standard. Essentially that means that as parents we are no longer given the benefit of the doubt on innocence but now have to prove our innocence. The government should prove guilt. There are many parents out there who wish they could have had their day in court but instead are treated like criminals by a system that takes kids away and then forces the parent to prove innocence to CPS workers. Child abuse is a hard and real problem but we can’t undermine the child-parent relationship by allowing a CPS worker to presume guilt and forcing a parent to prove innocence. Justice is turned on its head and ultimately it is children who lose.

    It is very sad to see the shockingly high number of children who are removed from their parents under just suspicion of wrong doing. This should unite both conservatives and liberals because everyone should agree on the importance of parents in the lives of their kids. We may not always agree on the specifics, but we should all agree that mom and dad should be the decision makers on the important issues facing their kids.

    You can learn the issue in full under http://www.parentalrights.org/learn

    Thank you very much for the plug, Dr. Veith!

  • Pingback: In Light of the Gospel » Blog Archive » Parental Rights Under Attack

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  • Carl Vehse

    Now the Minnesota State Supreme Court is getting involved in the spanking issue according to this StarTribune report.

  • Carl Vehse

    Now the Minnesota State Supreme Court is getting involved in the spanking issue according to this StarTribune report.

  • fwsonnek

    Luther says next to the rod lay the apple. are there any parents here who are intentionally doing this? how does it look and how does it turn out?

  • fwsonnek

    Luther says next to the rod lay the apple. are there any parents here who are intentionally doing this? how does it look and how does it turn out?

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