How Christian parents are being backed into the
What if the government ordered you to sin?
That is precisely what millions of Christians are
facing in battles with local child protective agencies charged with
preventing child abuse -- agencies which seem to have expanded their
original mission of restraining clear-cut brutality and enlarged it to
reengineering the parent-child relationship. In fact, the scope of the
power-grab is worldwide.
Consider the case of Canadian Joe Clearly. As
reported in the Canadian Christian journal Quit You Like Men, in
January 1995, Cleary, of Ontario, had disciplined his 5-year old son
Gavin by spanking him with a belt. Gavin was fully clothed, but his
squirming left a single mark above the belt line which was seen by his
swimming instructor, who reported it to the authorities. The next day,
Joe Cleary was "arrested without warning, handcuffed in front of his
boss and co-workers, and charged with assault with a weapon."
After suffering two days and a night in jail Cleary
pleaded not guilty. Cleary’s doctor testified that he and his wife, who
have six children, are model parents -- in fact, they were described as
exemplary. Undaunted, the Children’s Aid Society is now pressuring the
Clearys to sign an agreement not to practice corporal punishment upon
any of their children.
At the bail hearing Joe and his wife Perri (who was
nursing their ten-day old infant) were castigated by the prosecutor for
their biblical family arrangement. Perri was described as a "slave" and
THE CHINO CASE Could a case like the Cleary’s
ever happen in the United States? Investigative reporter Brenda Scott,
author of Out of Control: Who’s Watching Our Child Protective
Agencies (Huntington House, 1994) writes, "By the child abuse
industry’s own figures, over one million people are falsely
accused of child abuse each year in this country." Many of these cases,
she writes, involve Christian parents who practice corporal punishment.
Consider the case of Valerie Chino, of Albuquerque,
New Mexico. Mrs. Chino works at a private Christian school where both
her sons attend. When the two boys got into a fight on the playground,
Mrs. Chino broke it up. One son, Earl, who is quite a bit larger than
his diminutive mother, suddenly launched into a fit of rage, screaming
at Valerie that he did not have to obey her. In response, Earl got what
most people would call a well-deserved slap. Not hard, and just once.
Earl, however, was apparently not ignorant of the
children’s rights sentiment in American culture. He called police and
accused his mother of battery. Now Valerie is being treated like a
criminal for doing what most people would say a responsible parent
should: restoring family order and exercising firm, loving discipline on
a rebellious brat. She was arrested by the police, booked, photographed
and fingerprinted. She may have to pay a stiff fine; she could
conceivably go to jail. Even if Chino is acquitted, what signal does
this send to any parent who hears the news? When, they may justly
wonder, will a an overzealous teacher, neighbor, family member, or even
child report them?
GOD VS. GOVERNMENT Overreaction on the part of
law-enforcement agents would be an isolated problem except for one
thing. The bureaucrats’ inflated sense of mission is now backed by an
Many powerful people are advocating the expansion of
"children’s rights," including Hillary Clinton and the National
Education Association. The NEA officially opposes corporal punishment by
parents. This is echoed in codes such as the United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child, currently being considered by the Senate.
And as this movement begins to connect with local and state child
protective agencies, a major assault could be coming on what liberals
see as "backwards" Christian parenting.
With regard to their children, God clearly
requires parents to "bring them up in the training and admonition of
the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). He also commands children to "obey your
parents in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:1). God’s command to parents also
means disciplining children -- physically if need be. Proverbs 13:24
states, "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him
disciplines him promptly." Of course, the Bible speaks against abuse or
"exasperating" children; but loving physical discipline is exhorted.
This could drive Christian parents like the Clearys
and Valerie Chino into making some excruciating choices.
Should Joe and Perri Cleary obey God, refuse to sign
the state’s agreement, and possibly go to jail and have their six
children taken away -- or will they agree to commit sin by pledging to
refrain from corporal punishment even when the Bible says spanking is
necessary to mold his child’s character?
Should Valerie Chino submit to an agreement that she
not spank her rebellious boys, even knowing that by signing she would
violate God’s commands?
Many under-informed Christians ask, "Why should the
church be involved in social issues?" The children’s rights controversy
is a good answer to give them.
What You Can Do
1. Warn your Senators about the U.N. Convention
(Treaty) on the Rights of the Child. Point of View recently
mailed over 14,000 petitions from listeners to their Senators, asking
them to refuse to accept President Clinton’s recommendation that they
ratify this treaty. It would submit the United States to U.N. laws
against a parent’s authority to spank children, restrict children’s
entertainment, make children attend church, and restrict children’s
association or sexuality.
Several years ago England signed it --today the U.N.
is using it to pressure Parliament to outlaw spanking in the home.
2. Ask your Senators and Congressman to co-sponsor
the Parental Rights Acts. This bill would restore the rights of
parents to discipline their children according to their moral and
religious tenets, including spanking.
3. Educate yourself, your church, and your
friends. Order the book Out of Control: Who’s Watching Our Child
Protection Agencies by Brenda Scott, and get a tape of Marlin’s
recent interview with her. Call the Freedom Club Line at 1-800-227-1444.
The Source of this Article
This article is adapted from The
Freedom Club Report, a monthly newsletter published for supporters
of Point of View Radio Talk Show.
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