We need to recognize and defend parental rights (& responsibilities)

         Let us begin by defining what the phrase 'parental rights' means.  How we define 'parental rights' will be determined by our world view.  Are those rights acquired by activity on our part or are they an endowment from some higher authority?  If they are acquired by activity on our part, are they beyond the legislation of others?  If they are endowed by some higher authority, are they conditional or are they inalienable?  It is my firm conviction that parental rights are endowed by the Creator, with some being conditional (therefore acquired) and some being inalienable.

         I believe that the phrase 'parental rights' involve two critical ingredients, the one is stated and the other is implied:  parents and offspring.  It links those two ingredients in a relationship that has rights imputed to one party of that relationship without denying that the other party has rights as well, i.e., saying that we believe in parental rights does not mean that only parents have rights. On the other hand, it also does not mean that parents have only rights.  Both parents and offspring have rights and responsibilities in the relationship.  Part of what we are saying, when we say that someone has rights, is that someone has just expectations and a moral basis for demanding the fulfillment of those expectations.  

         We often recite 'parental rights' like a mantra, when brought up short by statist intervention in our relationship with our offspring, so let me be perfectly clear on this one thing:  The supreme parental right is to be free to fulfill our parental responsibilities according to the dictates of our own conscience!  Let us be responsible to our Creator, not some self appointed authority, for we are indeed responsible to Him.  If we do not seek with all power at our disposal to set aside any hindrance erected by criminals or tyrants, we shall be answerable for our failure to perform our obligations to Him.

         Parental rights is a plural phrase, because it has numerous aspects.  Parents have the right to honor and obedience from their offspring, but the passing on of their value system to their offspring is not only a right, it is a responsibility.  Providing shelter and sustenance is a responsibility.  Developing the moral character of one's offspring is not only a right it is a responsibility. Developing skills of one's offspring for survival as an adult is not only a right it is a responsibility.  To interfere with the exercise of one's responsibility is as dastardly as interfering with the exercise of one's rights.  


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