They’re Coming for your Children

Beware!  The State is coming for your children.

That is the reminder recently from some conservative Christian commentators.

As we’ve noted here at ILYBYGTH, the struggle for control over children between parents and the state has a long and bitter history.

The cover of Sam Blumenfeld's 1981 Is Public Education Necessary depicted a teen being forcibly abducted from his home by agents of the State.  His crime?  Learning outside of government schools.

The cover of Sam Blumenfeld’s 1981 Is Public Education Necessary depicted a teen being forcibly abducted from his home by agents of the State. His crime? Learning outside of government schools.

Recent warnings have come from Elizabeth Mitchell of Answers in Genesis and Roger Kiska of the evangelical Alliance Defending Freedom.

The lesson from Germany is stark, both insist.  In that country, homeschooling parents have had their children taken away by the government.

Mitchell tells the story of the Wunderlich family.  By German law, the four children of this homeschooling family were arrested for violating a school-truancy law.  Mitchell warns that such threats are not limited to Germany.  “Those of us,” she insists,

who maintain that the Word of the Creator of the universe can be trusted from the very first verse work to provide answers to equip children and adults to understand science as well as the suffering in the world in the light of God’s Word. At the same time, we as Bible-believing Christians must not take for granted our freedom to speak the truth. . . .  we need to remain vigilant to guard against encroachments that chisel away at the freedoms we have in our own country.

Writing for the Alliance Defending Freedom, Kiska similarly warns, “today, the suppression of parental rights to teach and influence their own children isn’t restricted to overtly fascist regimes.”  In Sweden and Germany, “a land once shrouded under the Nazi flag,” homeschooling families have been attacked by government forces.  Such threats are not limited to Europe, Kiska insists.  He asks,

So, could Europe’s degree of intolerance and crackdown on homeschooling reach American shores anytime soon? It all depends on how vigilant we are in opposing decisions like the one in New Hampshire—and it’s precisely why ADF is fighting to protect parental rights in that case and abroad so that a very nasty cancer is not allowed to grow.

For outsiders like me, this anti-state rhetoric can seem strangely hyperbolic, even a “paranoid style.”  But dismissing these fears as mere social neurosis misses the point.  For many Americans of a conservative bent, the dangers of government aggression are of primary concern.  So, for instance, when pundits such as Allison Benedikt make an aggressive case for public education, many conservative writers express alarm.

This is more than just a paranoid style.  This is a thorough-going distrust of government power.  This distrust lies at the heart of conservative thinking in the United States.  Many conservatives still relish the pithy expression of this central idea by Ronald Reagan.  As Reagan put it, the most terrifying words in the English language are these: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

For some conservatives, that government “help” might include the forcible abduction of children.  Folks like me might scoff at the extreme paranoia of such ideas, but we will be wise to understand that such warnings resonate with large numbers of Americans.

 

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2 Comments

  1. pgaikin

     /  September 8, 2013

    Ah, Kiska Sweden was neutral during WW2 and traded with and profited from both sides, it was never under the Nazi flag. That said, the return of European Fascism is a real problem for every government. The best examples are the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece and the government of Hungry which turns a blind eye to the neo-Nazi groups terrorizing Roma’s and Muslims. That just two but there are neo-Nazi groups in nearly ever country with various degrees of strength. Anti-Semitism is also on the rise again. .

    Reply
  2. Martin Gander

     /  December 11, 2015

    You have a lot of material tagged ADF here — what is their purpose and history? Home school advocacy? They seem to cover a lot of issues.

    Reply

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