Parental Rights and School Mask Mandates: It Is Worse Than You Think

Aug 26, 2021 by David Fowler

Parental Rights and School Mask Mandates: It Is Worse Than You Think
This is my last commentary on COVID-related issues, at least for a while, and parents who are frustrated with public K-12 schools and mask mandates do not really know how bad things are regarding parental rights. For the following reasons you have no such rights or, at least in the very near future, you will have none. So read this carefully and be appropriately terrified.
To appreciate what follows you must understand this: For the last 48 years, the United States Supreme Court has been slowly but systematically re-ordering the coercive powers of the civil government behind those who would seek to have us deny and suppress the obvious, the distinction between male and female, and all the consequents of that reality, which will necessarily include the organic, biologic connection between parent and child and the rights and duties that would naturally arise out of that relationship.

Tracing the Long War Against Parental Rights

In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court began its process of de-humanizing persons as those endowed with life by our Creator’s use of the male sperm and female egg. 
In Roe, persons were reduced to creations of positive, man-made law (by vote of five justices) —that is, created life capable of surviving outside the womb—and, prior to then, a pre-natal person was only a real person in the eyes of the law when the pregnant woman decided not to kill her child.
With the reduction of created persons to nothing more than a positive law status bestowed by the United States Supreme Court, and with motherhood disconnected from being pregnant and tethered instead to her “choice” to become a mother through full-term gestation, the way was paved for the Court to throw fathers out of the marital child-creating picture, which it did in 1976 in the Danforth case. There the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for state law to give a married father a say in his wife’s decision to kill their unborn child.
With the deconstruction of persons, motherhood, and fatherhood in the abortion context and the exaltation of the autonomous self above obvious biological givens and realities, it was only natural that the Court would use its powers to declare unconstitutional state laws recognizing husband and wife as a given organic, biological element and pre-condition to the formation of a marital relationship. It did so in 2015 in the case called Obergefell v. Hodges.

The Coming Abolition of Parental Rights

Christians blew past Obergefell to look for religious liberty protections, foolishly thinking that the denial of what they would call creational norms and obvious anthropological realities would be restricted to marriage licenses. But here is what a friend of mine said about that several years ago:
Incompatible definitions of marriage are but proxies for incompatible worldviews. Peaceful coexistence of institutional expressions of these contenders within a single society will endure only during the transition. There can be no sustained peace between such contrary visions of human nature and society; between such contrary selections of “whom you will serve.” (That, indeed, is what this is all about.) (emphasis added)
In other words, biological parents today think they have rights by virtue of natural kinship relations arising from the union of male and female, previously known in this regard as mother and father, and they think our institutions must recognize them. Such thoughts are simplistic and naïve. 

Biological Parenthood Will Evolve Like Marriage

Parents and parental rights organizations naively think that old Supreme Court precedents acknowledging parental rights will keep them from being brought under the control of our civil overseers. 
However, they ignore legal reality when they think the Supreme Court will allow those old precedents to stand in the way of giving our civil overseers authority to make sure the parents of tomorrow will nurture children in the new understanding of what it means to be human, where the obvious is obscured, denied, and suppressed for the sake of individual autonomy. After all, autonomy over objective, given, biological realities is asserted in Obergefell's first sentence:
The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. 

Why, David, do you use harsh words like “simplistic” and “naïve?”  You might ask, “Didn’t the Court say this new understanding of individual autonomy to create one’s own understanding of reality—whether it be male or female, mother or father, or parent—would only be within a “lawful realm?”
Sure, and if you ask that question, you have not yet grasped the point of the Court’s decision. The Supreme Court will now decide the limits of that “lawful realm” for all of us.

Why Old Parental Rights Precedents Will Not Matter.

Why do I say that these old precedents will not matter? Because Obergefell is the precedent for both ignoring and misusing old precedents and ushering into the Constitution the Court’s “new insights” into the meaning of “liberty.” Those “new insights” are what the majority of the justices said gave rise to same-sex “marriage.” Want proof?
First, Obergefell reversed a decision from 1972 holding that marriage between two people of the same sex was not even an issue under the U.S. Constitution. Second, it took old precedents involving marriage in which the husband-wife relationship was material to its fundamental meaning and said only that “marriage” was fundamental.
Then it disregarded all of those precedents to say that the majority had “new insights” into the understanding of marriage and liberty, and with that, it formulated a new basis for marriage. State law must create a government-approved relationship made up of any two people who love each other. Of course, not even the U.S. Supreme Court can require a state to enact a law like that, but the unforced abdication by states of their authority in favor of Supreme Court holding is an issue for another day. And the Court obviously presumed, and correctly so,  that the word “marriage” would be placed on this newly sanctioned, government-created relationship so that the naive and gullible might think that marriage as an organic, biological reality still exists.
Until this long-standing march to reformulate the natural, given, and obvious millennial old meaning of words like person, mother, father, and marriage is repudiated or at least challenged, why would any logical person think this new anthropological model of constitutional jurisprudence will not be used to reformulate parental rights too?
Parents, get used to yelling and protesting. You only think your children are yours and you only think you have inherent and immutable rights in that relationship because you are living in the memory of what used to be. 

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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