Action Item: Parental Authority
Two developments yesterday, in the Senate and a provincial court, are a strike against parental authority and require immediate action from ARPA Canada readers. Read the two stories below as well as the recommended action items. It doesn’t matter how much time you have, there is something you can do.
Story #1: Father doesn’t know best, court rules in girl’s fight to get grounding overruled
TU THANH HA – Globe and Mail – June 19, 2008
First, the father banned his 12-year-old daughter from going online after she posted photos of herself on a dating site. Then she allegedly had a row with her stepmother, so the father said his girl couldn’t go on a school trip. The girl took the matter to the court – and won what lawyers say was an unprecedented judgment. Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court ruled on Friday that the father couldn’t discipline his daughter by barring her from the school trip.
The judge’s decision, made from the bench, applies only to the girl’s unusual circumstances, lawyers for both sides said, trying to dispel visions of grounded teenagers rushing to the nearest courthouse to overturn their parents’ punishments. Nevertheless, the case triggered an uproar in the Gatineau region of Quebec, near Ottawa, where the girl, her divorced parents and her stepmother live.
Even though the school trip is now over, the father is appealing the ruling because his moral authority over his child had been undercut by the court, said his lawyer, Kim Beaudoin. “He is stunned by this situation. He feels like he’s lost his daughter,” Ms. Beaudoin said in an interview.
“My client wants to appeal so no other parents will live through the same thing.”
Lucie Fortin, the lawyer representing the 12-year-old, said the judge found that depriving the girl of the school trip was an excessive punishment.
Read the whole story here.
Story #2: Senate Passes Bill That Would Criminalize most Spanking – Bill Now Goes to the House of Commons
Senate passes anti-spanking bill
Elizabeth Thompson, Canwest News Service – June 19, 2008
Proposed legislation that could see parents hit with charges of assault for spanking their children has passed a first crucial step on its way to becoming law. The bill, which would prohibit parents from using force on their children except in very limited circumstances, was adopted without fanfare by the Senate last evening. Liberal MP Marlene Jennings will now take it to the House of Commons, which must also adopt it before it can become law.
“It is to send a signal, so that people who use violence in a repeated way will no longer feel protected,” said Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, author of the bill that has taken nearly four years to wend its way through the upper chamber. “It is not to arrest everyone who gives their child a tap on the arm.”
Darren Eke, press secretary to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, said the Conservatives will likely be given a free vote on the bill.
Read the rest of the story here.
How and Why To Respond:
Strong families are essential for a strong nation. Yet it is well known that families in Canada have been breaking apart at a drastic rate ever since no-fault divorce was ushered in back in 1968. Families need support, not further undermining by the State.
The Biblically-based political idea of sphere sovereignty holds that the church, the state, and the family occupy different spheres of authority. Parents are the authority figures in their homes and are responsible for raising their children in a good way. Of course the state has an interest in a healthy home. But it should not be extending its authority beyond that which it has been given by God. In our day and age, the state often seems to think that it is god and it alone knows what is best for all of society. The two stories above are examples of how courts and appointed Senators think that they, not parents, are responsible for raising children. The first story is especially strong in its disregard for the Firth Commandment “”Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
To see what happens next to S-209 (the corporal punishment bill), check out this update.
If you have 5 minutes: Read the links to the full story of each case (above) and bring these matters before God in prayer.
If you have 30 minutes: Do the above and also write a letter or email, or make a phone call, to your MP and urge him or her to vote against the bill on spanking. Contact information for your MP is available here. For a good article which responds to many of the common challenges against corporal punishment click here.
If you have 60 – 90 minutes: Do the above and also write a short letter to the editor of your local paper about either the court case or both the court case and the Senate bill on corporal punishment. Remember to keep your letter short and not angry so that it is more likely to get published. Also, try to respond to an actual story that appears in the paper (the Quebec court decision should be in the papers today, and the Senate bill was in many papers yesterday).
Sample Letter to the Editor:
RE: Quebec Court Rules Against Father Who Grounded 12 Year Old Daughter
I was deeply saddened to read the story about the Father in Quebec who was taken to court by his 12 year old daughter because he had grounded her. And the court not only agreed to hear the case, it ruled in favour of the daughter!
Families are weak and falling apart everywhere we look in this country. The last thing we need is state-endorsed rebellion against parents. Parents discipline their children out of love. This father didn’t ground his daughter to be cruel. It was for her own good.
Our courts should be protecting and preserving the family unit, rather than breaking it apart. Surely there are other cases, that pertain to real criminal matters, that should be occupying our judge’s time.