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Biblical Worldview: Parental Rights, Part 1


Both the Bible and a plethora of judicial rulings throughout the history of the United States repeatedly affirm this basic societal principle: Parents have a fundamental right to raise and educate their children as they see fit — not the government.

The inevitable clash between radical gender ideology and parental rights is coming to a head in America.

Recent, high-profile, and horrifying cases have revealed that very few states are still a safe haven for parents who want to protect their kids from the insanity of LGBTQIA+ indoctrination and transgenderism.

We expect to see it in progressive strongholds like California, where a bill that passed the state legislature (but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom) would have forced judges in custody cases to consider whether a parent was “affirming” of their child’s “gender identity.” Or even in Colorado, where a school placed middle school girls in overnight accommodations with boys identifying as girls on school trips — without their parents’ knowledge or permission.

But it’s happening in Texas and Montana, too. One Texas father, Jeffrey Younger, lost a years-long custody battle for his nine-year-old twin boys, one of whom his ex-wife argues is a “transgender girl.” His ex-wife took his kids to California, where Younger fears his son may end up being chemically castrated.

In Montana right now, Krista and Todd Kolstad have accused “the state’s child protective services of ‘kidnapping’ their teenage daughter after the girl began to identify as a transgender ‘boy.’”

Even in Indiana, it’s been reported that a Catholic couple is now appealing to the Supreme Court after “the Indiana Department of Child Services investigated parents Mary and Jeremy Cox and later took their son after they refused to refer to him as a girl.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise, even though it’s shocking. It’s not like the radical transgender activists have been quiet about their antipathy towards non-affirming parents. David Moscrop, a far-left commentator, posted on X (formerly Twitter) a stark reminder of the clash of worldviews on this topic, stating: “I am once again reminding you that if trans kids are uncomfortable talking about gender with their parents, their parents are part of the problem.”

This entry in our Biblical Worldview series will explain what parental rights are from a biblical and constitutional basis — and why they are so important to defend in an increasingly hostile and secular society. In the first part of this two-part series, I will explain what parental rights are in general and give an overview of the legal philosophy and judicial rulings that have established parental rights in America. In the second part, I will provide a theologically grounded vision for how Christian parents should understand parental rights from a biblical worldview.

What Are Parental Rights?

The Parental Rights Foundation explains that “Our nation has consistently maintained that parents possess a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit.”

Let’s take the second part of that phrase and then make a few additions from a Christian perspective to provide this workable definition of parental rights:

Parental rights describe the God-given, fundamental right, and duty of parents to raise their children as they see fit and to serve as the primary authority figures in the lives of the children, with the full freedom to reject governmental overreach or usurpation of that authority, unless the parents are failing to provide for the basic needs of their children or are actively harming them or endangering their lives.

And by harm, I mean real harm, not the fake “harm” that people claim is caused by parents rightly rejecting homosexual identities or preventing their children from “transitioning” their gender.

Like man-woman marriage, parental rights form the basis of all functional civil societies. It is not pre-political but rather a bedrock of the political organization of all nations.

The Parental Rights Foundation defends this understanding, explaining that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 declared in Troxel v. Granville “that ‘the liberty interest…of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the] Court. In fact, this right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children predates the Court itself. It is a right that was already understood and acknowledged long before the United States came to be.”

The rich history of the defense of parental rights extends even to John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government, where he argues that “This is that which puts the authority into the parents’ hands to govern the minority of their children. God hath made it their business to employ this care on their offspring, and hath placed in them suitable inclinations of tenderness and concern to temper this power, to apply it, as his wisdom designed it, to the children’s good, as long as they should need to be under it.”

From before the 1600s (when Locke was writing) and up to the present day, the legal recognition that parents had the God-given right to raise their children — and not the state — can be found in a plethora of Supreme Court rulings.

In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled in Wisconsin v. Yoder that “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition” (emphasis added).

In summary, parental rights are fundamental in a free society, as they allow parents to guide, nurture, and protect their children according to their values and beliefs. The best conservative philosophy and a plethora of judicial rulings throughout the history of the United States have repeatedly affirmed this: Children belong to their parents, to be raised how those parents judge best, and not the government.

To learn more about what the Bible says about parents’ rights and responsibilities in raising and educating their children, read Part 2 of this series by clicking here.

As seen in this article, many K-12 schools now embrace the secular woke agenda and are hostile to Christian beliefs and parental rights. Fortunately, parents don’t have to settle for this. Liberty University Online Academy is a K-12 program designed to educate your children in the ways of the Lord while preparing them to stand firm in their faith when they graduate. Our flexible online curriculum ensures that your student is trained at your convenience and keeps YOU the ultimate educator of your children.

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