The Nation's Pulse

Saying No to the Liberty-Loathing State

Resisting the declaration of war on homeschooling.

By 3.12.08

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Five years ago, when the smoking ban in restaurants first went into effect in my home state of Connecticut, I told a few folks who were happy about it that it was only a matter of time before the government came after their private property rights or other issues that were near and dear to their hearts. Most people scoffed at my defense of the restaurant owners' property rights and one fellow actually said, "The problem with you people is that all you care about is the Constitution."

Of course, the ensuing years only saw more government intrusion and some shocking court decisions eat away at the liberties of a proud, freedom-loving people. The case that most disturbed my liberal friends was the U.S. Supreme Court's shocking 2005 decision in Kelo v. New London, which essentially eviscerated the Fifth Amendment's proscription against depriving citizens of their private property except for "public use."

Now, when I repeat my warnings that, with liberals in power, no one's rights are safe, I hear little or no argument at all. And the fellow who chastised me about the Constitution has since actually read the eight-page document and is now a proud conservative who joins me in castigating those still in denial.

Yet, while I bemoan the liberal goings-on in my once liberty-loving state, I only have that much more empathy for the many good people of California, who also have a RINO governor, but labor under the "leadership" of a much worse regime. This week's outrage concerns the ruling of an appellate court that "parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children" and that those who do so might be subject to severe penalties.

Now the judges in this case may actually have a legal leg to stand on, given that California really has no concrete provisions either for or against homeschooling on the books, but of course, that is not really the issue at hand. That more and more parents are taking direct responsibility for the raising of their own children is naturally troubling to the proprietors of the Nanny State.

The father in the case said that he withdrew his children from the public school system because "[w]e just don't want them teaching our children. They teach things that are totally contrary to what we believe." This is an affront to those who would wean our children on their secular, socialist agenda. Here is the real kicker from Judge H. Walter Croskey, writing the unanimous opinion (emphasis mine):

The parents in the instant case have asserted in a declaration that it is because of their "sincerely held religious beliefs" that they home school their children and those religious beliefs "are based on Biblical teachings and principles"… [T]hose assertions are not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California's compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights. Their statements are conclusional, not factually specific. Moreover, such sparse representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to home school his or her child.

One of the many reasons that Judge Croskey and friends fear additional "easily asserted" claims, just might have something to do with a law recently passed in California which states: "'Gender' means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

Yep, this law basically says that God might have erred when handing out sex assignments and that the little kiddies -- no doubt aided by their state-sponsored counselors and teachers -- can now assume whatever gender they choose. The bill also deals with revised "activities and instructional materials" to be used in class. I'll leave it to you to figure out what that means.

Homeschooling is a threat to these folks because in states that continue to refuse to permit realistic school "choice," concerned parents must look elsewhere. This particularly bucks the feminist agenda, which is huge in the educational field, because homeschooling allows moms to stay at home and make the raising and educating of their children their number one priority instead of going out to do battle with the dreaded "glass ceiling." And it has the anti-God squad foaming at the mouth as well.

Liberals get really testy when some folks, devout Christians for example, choose to live their lives under God's laws; but have no compunction in compelling others to live under the tender mercies of the Nanny State where they make the rules. They seem genuinely shocked when citizens refuse to cede their parental rights to them so they can fashion their children into liberal clones.

The case in California might unfortunately lead to more government regulation of homeschooling, but hopefully it will be overturned on appeal. In his opinion, Judge Croskey cited parts of Wisconsin v. Yoder, a 1972 Supreme Court case dealing with an Amish family who wanted to withdraw their children from public school after the eighth grade. What Croskey didn't cite was this from the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger:

This case involves the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the state, to guide the religious future and education of their children. 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 tradition.

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut. You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).