Sunday, October 18, 2015

Government should not penalize parents by making them pay twice

"Because parents have the personal obligation to take care of their own children, no other person can take over their responsibility and corresponding authority," writes Melissa Moschella, an assistant professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of America.
Even when parents delegate part of that authority to teachers, doctors, relatives, etc., they remain ultimately responsible. For that reason, parents have not only the responsibility, but also the right, to rear their children in accordance with their consciences. 
When the state requires that children be educated in a way that parents consider harmful or inadequate, the state is preventing parents from fulfilling their obligations, thus violating their conscience rights and potentially damaging the children. It is assumed, of course, that the state considers itself to be acting for the benefit of the child, as in the case of the Romeikes and the Johanssons. But since parents have primary authority over their children, when there is disagreement between parents and state, the state should defer, except in clear and non-controversial cases of abuse, neglect, or threat to public order. ... 
The state also has the right to enact minimal educational regulations with a view to the maintenance of public order. Such regulations assure that all children receive the education that they need to become law-abiding and productive citizens able to participate responsibly in the democratic process. However, the state can and should enact such regulations in a way that supports, rather than undermines, the primacy of parental educational authority. It thus should not impose a particular curriculum, require that all children attend a state-run school, or penalize parents (even financially, by requiring them to pay both school taxes and private school tuition or homeschooling costs) for not sending their children to a school operated by the state.

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