James Dwyer is a respected law professor, whose teachings have influenced much of the current family court system today. His most common teaching? Parents have no inherent right to make choices for their own children.
Speaking with Michelle Malkin for CRTV, Dwyer told the syndicated columnist:
“That’s the state that empowers parents to do anything with children, to take them home, to have custody, and to make any kind of decisions about that.”
This is hardly taken out of context. If you examine his life’s work, this is the drum he has been beating for years. He is quite opposed to looser regulations surrounding homeschooling, and his soon-to-be-released book, The History and Philosophy of Homeschooling, will explain why he believes the state needs to take more control of homeschooling parents and remove legal parenthood from biological parents.
In his academic article entitled “Parents’ Religion and Children’s Welfare: Debunking the Doctrine of Parents’ Rights“, Dwyer argues for parent’s rights to be abrogated. He writes:
“The scope, weight, and assignment of parental rights have been the focus of much debate among legal commentators. These commentators generally have assumed that parents should have some rights in connection with the raising of their children. Rarely have commentators offered justifications for attributing rights to persons as parents, and when they have done so they have failed to subject those justifications to close scrutiny. This article takes the novel approach of challenging parental rights in their entirety.”
He concludes the article by saying:
“These findings compel the conclusion that parental child-rearing rights are illegitimate. A better regime would simply grant parents a legal privilege to care for and make decisions on behalf of their children in ways that are not contrary to the children’s temporal interests. Children themselves should possess whatever rights are necessary to protect their fundamental interest in an intimate, continuous relationship with their parents. This includes the right to be insulated from any state interference that is not in the children’s interests.”
Consider the recent proposal in Ontario to remove transgender children from the custody of their parents if they do not allow the child to transition and the consistent push to allow young children to transition as well as the perverted sex “education” happening in public schools. There are many, like Dwyer, who want to mandate children be subject to this, regardless of what their parents want.
Dwyer’s arguments against parental rights were recently cited in an article entitled “The Harms of Homeschooling” by Robin L. West, in which the author attempts to examine the “dangers” of keeping children so far from the watchful eye of Big Brother.
The target of West’s article is clear, she says so herself: Christian homeschoolers.
“The majority of homeschoolers today,” she warns, “and by quite a margin, are devout, fundamentalist Protestants.”
She continues to lament the ways in which homeschooling has become more legal in recent decades in the United States.
“The result is what we face today: a widespread and thoroughly privatized educational practice that devolves full responsibility for a child’s education to whatever parent wants to claim it, which is not only legal, but virtually unregulated as well.”
West, as you can imagine, is a big fan of Dwyer’s ideal state, in which parents are mere temporary guardians of their children, subject to close scrutiny from the government.
“Jim Dwyer has done what most academics aspire to–to change the conversation in their field,” she writes. “Jim’s work on children’s rights and his questioning of widely shared assumptions about parental authority have transformed the academic dialogue about the parent-child-state relationship.”
Dwyer himself also believes homeschooling poses a risk by preventing parents from being reported to CPS. He is also a fan of the notorious Clinton’s Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), which provides financial incentives to state social workers and agencies to remove children from the homes of their parents, even if there has been no case of abuse or harm.
In praising the ASFA, he wrote that family law is “becoming more child-centered and protective in order to avoid the social costs of harm to children. A great example is the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act, which requires states to authorize termination of parental rights in some cases before a child has been maltreated.”
Although Dwyer goes to great lengths to argue for the constitutional rights of the child to support his ideas that parents’ rights should be reduced, he fails to recognize that raising one’s own children according to their beliefs is itself a fundamental constitutional right.
The First Amendment protects the free practice of religion, and Christian parents are commanded in Scripture to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV). Putting this much effort into arguing away parental authority is also a clear deviation from the basic moral principles of the Bible, namely, the fifth commandment to honor one’s parents.
The Bible establishes the authority of parents over their children quite clearly in both the Old and New Testaments (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20, 1 Tit 3:4) but as our society moves further and further away from the Judeo-Christian values it was founded on, arguments like this take priority over the natural hierarchy of the family.
Parents, it is our God-given right to raise and educate our children, and we need to make sure we do not stand idly by while the state takes this right from us. Take this as a warning that now more than ever we need to remain vigilant and fight for our children!