HOW DO WE DEFINE PARENTAL RIGHTS?
By Brian Shilhavy
So how do we define “parental rights”?
This seems to be a hotly debated question on the Internet these days, especially when we publish stories of medical kidnappings.
But are “parental rights” any less than “human rights,” as already defined by the Constitution of the United States of America, and specifically the Bill of Rights?
If an alleged murderer, rapist, terrorist and others are afforded due process of the law as protected under our Constitution, why not parents? Is it really lawful to allow such authority to social service workers, empowered by local law enforcement, to remove children from the custody of their parents, in cases where neither the children nor the parents agree to such separation and it must be accomplished by force against their will, with no arrest made or charges filed?
Sadly, the lawful rights of American citizens are almost never discussed in such situations in the conversations and debates we have seen in social media and the Internet when discussing these stories. Most people start with an assumption that the State has a right in some situations to forego the Constitution and due process of the law to “protect children.”
Two Recent Cases
Let’s give two recent examples from stories that appeared in the mainstream media recently, and have been highly publicized.
The first one involved a family from Maryland. Both parents are scientists, and they follow a parenting style called “free-range” parenting. They allow their two children, ages 10 and 6, to walk together without them to places in their neighborhood, such as the neighborhood park. Police picked them up walking home one day, due to a complaint, and CPS came in and threatened to take custody of the children, forcing the father to sign a “safety plan” they drafted. The father said he would like to consult an attorney first, and the CPS employees allegedly threatened to remove the children from the home if he did not comply. So he did. Story and video here.
When we published this story, almost everyone wanted to debate whether or not these parents were right in allowing young children to walk the streets around their home during daylight hours.
But is that the issue we should be debating here? Was any crime committed? Were there any complaints filed against the parents that could lead to an arrest and charges pressed? The children did not file a complaint. The parents did not file a complaint. In short, were their Constitutional rights violated or not?
Yes! If we want to start judging others, based on our own interpretation of what constitutes good parenting or not, as to when the Constitution and due process of law should be abandoned, we are advocating tyranny, not rule by democratic law.
The second case involves the Stanley family in Arkansas. Social services allegedly visited the home after an anonymous complaint. The initial visit allegedly found everything in good order, and the complaint unfounded.
However, they allegedly returned later with a search warrant for a mineral substance that the FDA has announced they think is dangerous (although not illegal). After searching the home for 5 hours and interviewing all 7 children, the children were removed from the home, against their will (or at least most of them) and the will of their parents.
right-to-remove-children-from-a-home/#sthash.mWqDYzH3.dpufat the children were being held under charges of “abuse,” and not due to the mineral supplement mentioned in the warrant. But no complaint was filed, and no arrest was made. It was later revealed that some of the older children, including one who does not live with the family any longer, do not apparently agree with the parents’ religious views or parenting style.
Again, almost all of the conversation or debating involving this story was around whether or not the children were in danger and should have been removed. Were the parents and younger children’s Constitutional rights violated?
Yes! Once again, due process of law was not followed, and the alleged victims, the younger children, were allegedly traumatized by being force ably removed from their parents against their will, and the will of their parents.
Whether or not the parents did “abuse” their children is not the main issue here, but whether or not there was reason to abandon due process of the law, and Constitutional rights. If we afford due process of law and civil rights to alleged murderers, rapists, terrorists, and others (who can also be a threat to children), then why not to parents? Why can’t the alleged “abuser” be removed from the home, arrested, and charged with a crime, instead of removing the alleged victims and traumatizing them? (We actually answer this question above.)
In both these cases, if the State acted outside the bounds of the law and the family’s Constitutional rights were violated, it is properly called “state-sponsored kidnapping.” Also, in both cases, the parents could have acted more wisely to try and prevent these state-sponsored kidnappings by understanding their Constitutional rights, and refusing to talk to the social workers and police the first time they showed up.
Of course with medical kidnappings, as can be seen above in the case with baby Sammy and the parents in Sacramento, it is almost impossible today to refuse the complaint of a medical authority if one takes their child to a medical facility, and disagrees with the “Holy Doctors” who are worshiped much like deities in our culture today.
If we are going to change this system of tyranny involving state-sponsored kidnappings, we must wise up and understand what due process of law means, and what our rights are under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We must STOP debating the merits of each of these state-sponsored kidnappings, and understand that if due process of the law is violated, then they are ALL wrong.
Who Will Stand up for Parental Rights?
As we asked above, are “parental rights” really any less then all basic “human rights” afforded to citizens of the United States under the Constitution? Do parents have less rights than suspected murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc.? If the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States protect suspected criminals from abuse of government power, do not those same rights apply to parents who are accused of being “abusive”? Does the State ever have a right to remove children from their family without following the same due process of law applied to others suspected of criminal activity?
Sadly, one group that would like to be known as a national group standing for “Parental Rights” apparently feels the State has a right to take children away from their parents if those parents are seen as “unfit.” In a discussion about the Stanley Family story in Arkansas on their Facebook Page, they made the following statement after the sheriff department issued their statement to the press on alleged abuses by the parents, as a reason for why they removed the children from the family:
“While we stand by the right of fit parents to make decisions for their children, there are also times when the state must intervene where parents have been abusive or negligent.” (Popular National Parental Rights Organization)
Does this statement sound like it comes from a group that wants to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, protecting “parental rights”? As of the time of this writing, there still have been no formal charges made, nor arrests made, with either parent of the Stanley Family, and yet this “Parental Rights” group believes that the State’s actions are legitimate if the parents are “abusive or negligent” by someone’s standards of “fit” or “unfit” parents.
Unfortunately, that is called “tyranny” or “fascism,” and such abuse of civil rights is why our founding fathers wrote the Constitution and added the Bill of Rights.
It would appear to me, that most Americans have lost their way in understanding these important liberties that so many have sacrificed their lives to defend. Until we decide to stand up for these rights that are written into the Constitution of the United States of America, don’t expect much to change. Many brave men and women have given up their very lives to protect these rights, and we should not give them up so easily.