According to a federal judge, public schools—not parents—have the right to control the curriculum to which children are exposed. Joseph and Robin Wirthlin sued Lexington, Massachusetts schools for allowing their son’s second-grade teacher to read the homosexual fairy tale, King and King, to the class without prior notice to the Wirthlins. A couple FRC interviewed for Liberty Sunday, Tonia and David Parker, joined the suit when their son brought home a book about families that included two gay adults. Judge Mark Wolf sided with the school, saying, “…Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become productive citizens in our democracy.” Wolf continued by saying that if parents don’t agree with the curriculum, they are welcome to send their kids to a private school. “It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation.”
Clearly, this is not about diversity but a political agenda. Massachusetts law on homosexual marriages was imposed by judicial decree and is far from settled. The government seems bent on overpowering parents and dictating what’s in the best interest of children. At the very least, the Parkers, Wirthlins and others deserved to be informed about the content of the curriculum and to have their kids exempted from lessons that violate their moral beliefs. School administrators argued that the books did not focus on human sexuality but family structures. If they truly believe that, Lexington officials must be living in the very fairy tales their schools are promoting.
It’s no wonder America is failing miserably to keep up with international test scores. Public schools are consumed with teaching not the basics reading and writing but the chic and the radical. Both couples will appeal the case to the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, where we can only hope that the inherent authority of parents will fare better.
Out of 16 students in my general studies World Politics class only 1 could identify Iraq and Afghanistan on a blank map on their exam. One other student found Iraq and another correctly located Afghanistan.
Pardon me while I go weep quietly in the corner.
Well, it’s not exactly as if those countries have been in the news lately. Perhaps we just need more globes in the classroom — or more military veterans.
On Wednesday night, before a packed Statehouse gallery, the Iowa legislature held public hearings on an issue that has spawned debate all across the country. The three-hour proceedings on human cloning illustrated just how divided Iowans are. Most of the scheduled speakers favored overturning the state’s human cloning ban, but they were clearly not representative of the crowded audience who voiced strong opposition to the bill.
While researchers insisted that the law would promote embryonic stem cell research, not human cloning, critics point out that the bill would not only promote human cloning but would legally protect it. State Senator Pat Ward (R-West Des Moines) says the repeal is “not needed, period” because stem cell research without cloning is already happening.
Although scientists argued that the current cloning ban hinders Iowa’s ability to treat disease, one biotech executive disagreed, saying, “The fact that we’re located in Iowa has not hurt our ability to do business with other scientists… [even under] Iowa law.” In an effort to expose this deceitful “stem cell” bill, the Iowa Right to Life Committee and Catholic-based Fidelis have launched a radio campaign to educate citizens before today’s vote. In neighboring Kansas, the House has introduced a bill that forbids the government from funding human cloning research.
Unlike measures elsewhere, this version accurately defines cloning in the terms used by the President’s Council on Bioethics. The state’s scientists are outraged by the language because they fear that the reality of the procedure will deter voters from supporting “progressive” research.
On Wenesday, FRC filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief with our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund in the U.S. Supreme Court case Fausey v. Hiller. We are arguing that the Court should review the case, which would determine if parents can control “third-party visitation rights.” These cases pit a third party (often a grandparent) against a parent in determining whether visits with the parent’s children will be permitted, and on what terms.
Some states have sought to use a standard (“best interests of the child”) that was developed for mother-and-father disputes and to expand that standard to other relatives and parties. In today’s world these disputes can enmesh families where the grandparents are in fact loving in their intentions.
While recognizing this, FRC maintains that before the state intervenes in a decision made by what the law deems “a fit parent,” the only reasonable standard is to put the burden on the third party to show that the child would suffer harm if such visits were denied. Only such a standard can preserve the fundamental right of parents to supervise the upbringing of their children, a right long ago recognized by the Supreme Court as fundamental under the U.S. Constitution. Churches, counselors and other resources can and should employed to help families achieve reconciliation and enjoy the important cross-generational ties that strong families experience.
FRC Action is joining with some of the most influential faith-and-family groups, to host an event guaranteed to change the debate in 2008. Focus on the Family Action, American Values and other invited cosponsors are teaming up with us to host The Washington Briefing 2007: Values Voter Summit October 19-21 at the Hilton Washington in downtown D.C. Last year’s event attracted more than 1,800 attendees from 47 states, and coverage from every major media outlet in the country. With a stellar line-up that featured speakers such as Dr. James Dobson, Sean Hannity, Tony Snow, Bill Bennett, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, House and Senate leaders, and dozens more, The Washington Briefing 2006 exceeded all expectations. This year’s event promises to be even bigger. Registration for 2007 opens March 15. Book your registration before May 15 and receive a $25 Early Bird discount.
Stating that “nothing defines us more as Americans [than] our religious liberties,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales unveiled the Justice Department’s “First Freedom Project” to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee in Nashville on Tuesday. His new Religious Freedom Task Force will step up enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion and will educate churches on how to file complaints about violations of their rights. We applaud Attorney General Gonzales for recognizing the ongoing threat to religious freedom and for taking firm steps to defend our “first freedom.”
The need to solve cultural problems for today's family is great, urgent, and possible.
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