In a recent “Lean Forward” spot on MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry said:
We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a kind of a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s then we start making better investments.
This announcement is troubling in many ways. Any parent who actually believes that children belong to their parents will find it objectionable. Christian parents, beyond their own natural understanding of the meaning of parenthood, accept some biblical mandates that stand in opposition to this view. Any person who believes in the traditional values of marriage, family, and children will be appalled at the very idea that children belong to the community, because most of them have had a lot of “everybody else is doing it” moments in which they firmly taught that “our family does not do it.”
Above all of these issues, anyone who has studied the USSR or any of the rhetoric of the Communist Party will recognize the way the Party separated children from their parents as a state policy in countries the Party controlled. Children of the Communist era grew up knowing that it was their duty to spy on their parents and tell on their parents for saying or doing things against the god-state each soviet republic had become. There are people who have asked me over the past five years, “Where did you get the idea that Barack Obama is a socialist?” My answer has always been, “I simply see what he stands for.” After this statement entered the public record, it became very clear that Melissa Harris-Perry is also a socialist. It is not name-calling to apply that label to a person who has spoken out consistently in support of socialist principles. It is simply recognition of her position politically and socially, no more pejorative than recognizing an oak leaf and acorns as evidence that a tree is an oak tree.
Melissa Harris-Perry has a history of supporting values destructive to families and supportive of state policy controlling family life. A Google search on her name will display evidence that she felt threatened in 2012 by anti-abortion activism. She supports the idea that a union of two homosexuals is a marriage. She thinks free contraception is a cultural imperative. She has a right to her opinions as an American citizen, but citizens with quite different opinions need to know where she stands in order to respond appropriately. It is important to know her general stance on family issues in order to assess the seriousness of this statement. The evidence reveals that this is a very serious statement.
Ms. Harris-Perry is not alone in her perceptions about the education of children. Public voices have already jumped to her side to say that if the community had owned the children in Sandy Hook, the shooter would never have become a shooter. There being absolutely no evidence to justify such a point of view does not seem to be important to people who want a simplistic solution to a complicated problem.
Christian parents need to be alert now that this statement has been widely broadcast. Voices in the media make it appear that her viewpoint is not unique. In fact, Christian parents who were unaware until now that some people believe this idea may be late in discovering that such ideas are being promulgated elsewhere. In schools. In school boards. In city councils. In state legislatures. In Congress. If someone promotes this idea in a nationally-broadcast statement, then it is likely to be boiling under the surface all through the culture.
Christian parents no doubt already feel targeted. Many Christian parents homeschool their children precisely in order to avoid letting the “community” teach their children values that the parents reject. Now they must be extremely vigilant to prevent social activists from creating legislation or regulations that will interfere with their ability to homeschool their children. There have been a number of attempts to prevent homeschooling parents from controlling their own curriculum, and this statement will almost certainly propel additional initiatives in that direction.
Do not think that you can sleep through this challenge. In Kazakhstan and Tajikistan today there are laws that forbid parents to take their children to worship services or to teach them to study the Bible. Such laws may sound outrageous and unthinkable in the US. Well, how outrageous is it to hear a television personality say that your children do not belong to you?
What do you see in your community? What do you see in your local schools? If you homeschool, what public pressure is being brought to bear on your right to educate your own children? What signs do you see that the culture of the US is pressuring the government of the US to take your children away from your control?