Written by Clint Elliott

It's 10 pm, do you know where your children are?
Parental Rights - Protect the Family

In the late 1960s, while physical unrest raged in city streets across our nation, America’s news anchors captured the attention of parents by asking a probing question of accountability at the conclusion of the evening news – it’s 10 pm, do you know where your children are? Today, while moral unrest rages across our nation, the question for parents might be: It’s 2022, do you know whose your children are? This is a serious question requiring us to ask another question: to what extent have we, as parents, given up what rightfully belongs to us – our children and our parental rights?

Our friend Honza recently spoke to a group of parents in Kentucky about his experience growing up in an Eastern European country under communist occupation. As Honza explained, an effective method for the communist occupiers to control the people involved was propaganda in schools to convince the students that the communist government was their friend, parent, and god. Sadly, as a result of the anti-parent indoctrination in his country, within a generation, his nation, once rich with spiritual heritage, became one of the most atheistic countries in the world. Could such a thing happen in the United States? Or said another way, how are ideologies and agendas in our public schools seeking to indoctrinate our children today?

Ideologies Contrary to Parental Rights

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order seeking to expand the reach of his gender identity ideology to all aspects of federal control over our lives, especially its reach into our local public schools. As a result, public school authorities across the nation feel pressure to develop new strategies for indoctrinating children in extreme forms of sexualization and gender confusion. And unfortunately, the strategies have found some traction. For example, the push to indoctrinate children in the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland reportedly has resulted in a 582% increase in gender-nonconforming children over the last two years. More recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been pressuring public schools to adopt new sexual orientation and gender identity policies, purportedly as a condition of continued participation in the federal school lunch program.

Amid this harmful agenda, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association recently declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health. Similarly, the Department of Justice and Department of Education recently issued a Fact Sheet acknowledging a mental health crisis among students in our schools. In response, some school leaders suggest they now should be the mental health counseling outlet for our children. All this is in direct contrast to the Christian Medical & Dental Associations’ position on parental rights. The CMDA acknowledges that “caring for children should begin with the assumption that a child’s parents are concerned about the child’s welfare and intend to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.”

Legal Protection of Parental Rights

This latter position mirrors history, tradition, and legal protections of parental rights in our nation. Nearly one hundred years ago, the United States Supreme Court acknowledged that “the child is not the mere creature of the State.”1 That same year, the Court declared that the fundamental right of parents in the care, custody, control, and upbringing of their children “is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”2 In 2000, the Supreme Court again unequivocally affirmed the fundamental right of parents to direct the care, custody, and control of their children. They further explained that there normally will be “no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of the parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s child.”3

Several years ago, in response to a public school district’s subjection of children to inappropriate sexually explicit material, the United States House of Representatives reiterated the importance of parents’ rights. Albeit under different leadership at that time, the House resolved that “the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children is firmly grounded in the Nation’s Constitution and traditions.”4

Standing for Parental Rights

To respect and honor this fundamental right of parents, school boards and leadership must restore truth and transparency related to important policies and practices that have the potential to impact every student and family. And in recognition of parental rights, parents must continue to show up, stand up, and speak up to challenge those who want to beguile our children with ungodly ideologies. Indeed, parents must reclaim the narrative, proclaiming that biblical love and biblical justice do not involve affirming a child’s deceptive feelings. At the Justice Defense Foundation, we stand ready to partner with you to support and advance parental rights.

Are you interested in supporting our work to protect parental rights? Then please consider donating a one-time gift or making a recurring donation.

1Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925); Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972).
2Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972). 
3Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).
4House Resolution 547 (November 16, 2005).

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