Parents, Beware: 3 Books Offer Insights Into What Families Need to Know About Ideology Affecting Education and Beyond
With so many schools under secular assault, education is another arena where parental rights are bludgeoned. These books offers sage advice.
First Cell of Society in Danger
PARENTAL RIGHTS IN PERIL
Stephen M. Krason, ed.
254 pages, $40
That parents are the primary educators of their children is a foundational principle of Catholic social thought which, until recently, has also been honored in Western law.
There is a reason that when people act in ways parents would it’s called in loco parentis.
Parental Rights in Peril is not just the title of this book; it’s the message. An anthology of papers given at Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2021, its authors’ message is clear: Parental rights over their children are under broad and ongoing assault today.
They’re under assault in three key areas: health care, education and child custody.
In health care, what started out as the government bypassing parents to allow minor girls to have abortions has morphed way beyond that. Mary Rice Hasson talks about the many ways pediatricians now hide from parents relevant medical information in “sensitive” areas (anything to do with sex). Did you know that a teen can now be put on prophylactic anti-HIV treatments without a parent’s knowledge (even though awareness of its contraindications for other medical conditions, including those that might arise in an emergency, are relevant)? Of course, the contemporary frontier of parental exclusion is what is called by some “gender-affirming care.”
Education is another area where parental rights are bludgeoned. From schools that dare rename children without even parental knowledge to explicit sex “education” courses and books that are more propaganda for lifestyle libertinism (as long as the “consequences” are avoided), even primary schools are now loci for teachers subverting parents.
James Mason offers some good news: After parents saw their children’s literacy and computational skills drag as a result of the great COVID lockdown (and “drag shows” applauded by the culture), the home-schooling movement finally ceased to be some weird outlier and become a mainstream alternative to “public education.”
Stephen Krason treats extensively the abusive “child protective services” (CPS) system, tracing its history from its origins as brainchild of Walter Mondale through the largely unaccountable growth of its powers over all families.
CPS should worry all parents because what was supposed to be a way of protecting kids against physical abuse has the potential of being a tool to attack parents in the name of ideological agendas. Consider that Virginia Democratic state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman wants to expand the state’s definition of “child abuse” to include parental “non-affirmation” of a minor’s “gender transition” so as to enable CPS to insert itself. Will parental refusal to submit children to mandatory COVID shots as the price of compulsory school attendance also become a cause for CPS intervention?
While any number of concrete cases can be marshaled to demonstrate the offensive against parental rights, Michael Farris sums up the entire campaign this way: It’s about the state deciding to subvert the values by which parents raise their children when the state doesn’t like them.
“I would suggest that the ultimate and most dangerous invasions of parental authority involve government efforts to impose the government’s preferred worldview or moral philosophy upon all children. If governments possess the power of coerced indoctrination of children, little is left of the family’s true purpose and scope. And little remains of freedom for any citizen of any age. Governments that seek to indoctrinate children are always tyrannical. Even if such governments are not yet tyrannical in every function, coerced indoctrination is the very essence of tyranny and, at the same time, the gateway to an increasing scope of soul-numbing oppression.”
Every parent should get and read this book.
Sociologist Shows How to Save Our Children
THE ABANDONED GENERATION
By Gabriele Kuby
Translated by James Patrick Kirchner
St. Augustine’s Press, 2022
203 pages, $21
To order: staugustine.net or (800) 621-2736
Jesus warns those who cause “little ones” to stumble would suffer a better fate being dragged by a millstone into the sea (Matthew 18:6) than to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Gabriele Kuby writes about the fate of children today, which she calls “the abandoned generation.”
Despite the lip service we pay to children, her comprehensive overview — from before they’re conceived until after they go into the world — documents the many ways today’s children are violated, especially when we examine the rights of children and the family through a Catholic lens, as she does. She writes from a German perspective, one with its own unique aspects but not alien from overall trends across the West, including America.
“Let’s look at what we do to children. Children are our future. Let’s look at what we do to our future. It’s painful to see reality as it is. Children are prevented. Children are killed before birth if they are unwanted. Children are produced in a laboratory if they are wanted. Children are deceived about their lineage. Children are frozen as embryos and consumed for research. Children are bought and raised by same-sex couples. Children are placed in the hands of strangers from infancy. Children are sexualized as early as kindergarten. Children are made confused about their sexual identity. Children are sexually indoctrinated in primary school. Children are encouraged to ‘change’ their identity. Children are exposed to smartphones. Children are exposed to pornography. Masses of children are sexually abused. Children are orphaned by divorce. Children must grow up in shattered families. Children become sad. Children become sick. Children are doped with Ritalin. Children are robbed of their childhood.”
Kuby just doesn’t write an indictment, but goes into every one of those issues, addressing it — no holds barred — from a Catholic perspective. Combining secular knowledge, especially her expertise as a sociologist, with faith, she tells you both what contraception does and how it necessarily reshapes its users’ mindsets into making themselves (contrary to the Creed) “the lord and giver of life.” She describes the infamy of abortion, including how abortions are done at different stages of the unborn child’s development and how language is euphemistically manipulated to make evil appear a “right.”
Hers is a woman’s perspective, one glaringly absent from policy discussions where it would be relevant but eliminated because we pretend parenthood is androgynous. Thus, what inhumane motives must drive surrogacy, where a child is permanently ripped away from the one human being he has known for nine months and a woman is told for nine months not to bind with the child in her womb, to satisfy the wants of other “adults” with a checkbook? Likewise, what motives drive state daycare, which, valuing a woman’s economic performance over her social contribution in raising a human being, subsidizes placing infants in strangers’ care while financially penalizing mothers who recognize mother and child want and should be with each other during those years? Women’s perspectives are especially strong in her chapters on “becoming a parent” and her interview with a home-schooling mother.
Her chapters on “sex education” in Germany — better described as propagandistic grooming for gender ideology — are must-reads when American leaders are attacked for keeping it out of elementary schools. Her turns of phrase are on target, e.g., “divorce orphans” for kids that are shuttled between parents.
The author’s prior contribution on the sexual revolution, The Global Sexual Revolution, was published in 2015.
Kuby charts what a world in which we truly believed in parental and children’s rights would look like. All Catholic parents, especially those starting out in life, should read it.
Why Racism Is Evil … and the Truth About CRT
ALL ONE IN CHRIST
A CATHOLIC CRITIQUE OF RACISM AND CRITICAL RACE THEORY
By Edward Feser
Ignatius Press, 2022
163 pages, $17.95
To order: ignatius.com or (800) 651-1531
“Racism is widely, and rightly, condemned today. In a world that seems increasingly divided on moral and political issues, that racism is wrong is one of the few things about which there appears to be broad agreement. But what is exactly is racism, and why is it wrong? What does the Catholic Church teach on the subject? What does she teach regarding other issues that often arise in discussions of racism, such as slavery, immigration, and nationalism? What should Catholics think about Critical Race Theory and other increasingly influential ideas and movements promoted in the name of antiracism? This book addresses those questions.”
A neat summation of a brief-but-easy-to-read book, All One in Christ spends three chapters on racism, slavery and immigration and four on critical race theory (CRT). Edward Feser, professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, is thoroughly grounded in Thomistic philosophy, but with a capacity to make the most complex ideas generally accessible without sacrificing depth.
As a philosopher, Feser likes to make distinctions, not to play intellectual stimulus, but because distinctions are important.
Take racism. “Racist” is so frequently hurled around as an epithet that it loses its meaning. Feser defines it in a way that provides the ultimate ground on why racism is evil:
“Racism is the belief that not all races have the same basic rights or duties and/or same supernatural destiny and, therefore, not all races should be equal before the law, find equal admittance to economic, cultural, civil, and social life, or benefit from a fair sharing of the nation’s riches.”
“Slavery” is often blamed as the cause of today’s racism. Feser demonstrates how the Church consistently opposed chattel slavery, while distinguishing between it, indenture and penal servitude. Racism is also often invoked to oppose tighter immigration laws. Feser shows how the Church has traditionally walked a careful line between welcoming the immigrant and defending a receiving society’s rights to protect its citizens’ interests and the country’s stake in promoting social cohesiveness. Without coming down one way or another on concrete policies, Feser arms his reader with all the principles of Catholic social thought relevant to making a prudential judgment about them.
The majority of the book focuses on CRT. His four chapters begin with defining what CRT is, drawing extensively on material from its leading voices, especially more popular authors like Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. “The fundamental assertion of CRT is that racism absolutely permeates the nooks and crannies of every social institution and the psyches of every individual. It goes especially deep in each individual white person …” and that racism “is evident in any ‘inequity’ or ‘disparity’ that exists between whites and members of other racial groups.”
After laying out the arguments of CRT, Feser subjects them to philosophical critique. The chapter is almost a course in logic applied to CRT, showing the general reader how CRT commits almost every logical fallacy in the book. If you ever wondered what philosophers mean when they speak of “begging the question,” “circular logic,” “importing conclusions in the premises,” or “ad hominem/non-sequitur” arguments, you’ll understand them and how CRT violates them after reading Chapter 5.
Chapter 6 explores social-science responses to CRT, especially focusing on how family breakdown and not racism might account for different crime, educational and prosperity rates among races. Chapter 7 examines CRT from a Catholic perspective. Having stripped away its rational flaws and considered social-science alternatives, Feser finds that CRT is, in fact, racist, despite claiming the mantle of “antiracism.”
Given the broad assault on parental control over children’s education, parents will want to arm themselves with this short but very accessible book.