Parental rights don’t come from the government. They don’t come from neighbors or anyone else. They are inalienable, endowed by our Creator.
Understanding this distinction frames every controversy and debate happening in public schools since their inception.
There are those who believe that it is the government’s responsibility to provide an appropriate education. But what happens when what the government wants taught is in conflict with a parent’s desire for education?
It is why debates over school curricula, library books, and education practices are happening in Utah and in school districts across the country. Many parents are not seeing the values they want taught to their children in public schools.
Parents are the ultimate authority in their child’s life, deciding on education, religion, and medical care, just to name a few. The government can only affirm that right, nothing more.
It is why the Supreme Court in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, said a “child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
I choose to have my children attend church and read the Bible. That doesn’t mean I can force your children to do the same. Just like you aren’t allowed to tell me that I can’t take my children to church. I only have rights for my own children. Not yours.
Asking the government to legislate a particular worldview, especially regarding the education of children, violates your and my inalienable rights to parent our children as we see fit.
Instead the government should affirm these rights. Because in order to be free, we have to honor the rights of others, including parental rights.