Joseph Maraachli and the state's usurpation of parental authority...

Joseph Maracchli was the subject of an intense right-to-life battle in Canada last spring. Sadly, a couple months ago he died at his parents’ home in Windsor, Ontario. He was 20 months old. Andrew Henry wrote about Joseph on Baylyblog back in March. You may review the details here.

The number of similar cases will explode in coming months and years and there are important lesssons Christian fathers and mothers should learn. God has given parents the natural affection and compassion for their own children that no doctor can truly have no matter how highly trained or respected he may be.

This is not to say that parents are incapable of being neglectful of their children, but it's the exception rather than the rule. God’s good gift to children is parents who are loving and tender toward them.

The ever-increasing power and authority of government in our lives can only produce bad fruit, and the belief that a well-paid and benevolent bureaucracy can make better decisions than parents is wicked...

but also purest nonsense.

In his essay “The Drift From Domesticity” in The Thing, Chesterton skewers this lunacy. Speaking of the “vague notion” of the state “eliminating the parental function,” he writes:

It is based on that strange new superstition, the idea of infinite resources of organization. It is as if officials grew like grass or bred like rabbits. There is supposed to be an endless supply of salaried persons and of salaries for them; and they are to undertake all that human beings naturally do for themselves; including the care of children…

The actual effect of this theory is that one harassed person has to look after a hundred children, instead of one normal person looking after a normal number of them. Normally, that person is urged on by a natural force, which costs nothing and does not require a salary; the force of natural affection for his young; which exists even among the animals. If you cut off that natural force, and substitute a paid bureaucracy, you are like a fool who should pay men to turn the wheel of his mill, because he refused to use wind or water, which he could get for nothing. You are like a lunatic, who should carefully water his garden with a watering-can, while holding up an umbrella to keep off the rain.

This is our modern society. This is the superstition by which we justify the wholesale transfer of authority and responsibility from parents and pastors to government “experts” who are “better equipped” to handle such difficult decisions. Not content with a spade, we begin to dig ourselves deeper into this hole with a jackhammer. Then we turn to an excavator, and finally dynamite. We've gone from First Lady Hillary Clinton telling us "It Takes a Village" to President Barrack Obama's full-scale social welfare state where all responsibility is corporate and all authority flows from inside the Beltway.

Note carefully that the mass of authority never diminishes. No matter how hard rebels work, authority never declines. It simply is transferred from one officer to another, one location to another, one sphere to another. Authority is irreducible. And for many years now the mediating institutions of the home and church have seen the state confiscating the authority God delegated to them.

The church is content with this transfer since pastors and elders don't really want to bear the weight, anyhow. Thus the government doesn't need to worry much about them. The occasional sabre-rattling by the IRS in the face of white preachers who stray too close to saying something prophetic is all that's needed to keep churches docile. The state adds its weight to seminaries in rendering the Gospel innocuous.

Joe Sobran used to say "If voting did anything, it would be illegal." Sadly, this applies to churches, also. Take abortion as an example: "If churches said or did anything, they would be illegal."

Then consider the authority of the home.

That parents should have to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to take their child home to die in peace is such an awful thing that we can hardly look it in the face. Thankfully, in the case of Joseph Maracchli many faithful Roman Catholics took up the burden of exposing this wickedness, and were roundly ridiculed, derided, and condemned for questioning “the experts.”

As Protestants, it is our shame that we are not on the frontlines of the battles over life, death, mercy, authority, children and the home. To those who are, God bless you. Don't drop out of this good fight.

I've often said that the greatest wickedness of our civil magistrates in these United States is not that 1.3 million unborn children are slaughtered each year by our President, Congress, and Supreme Court. Rather, their greatest wickedness is their usurpation of the authority of fathers and mothers over their children through their claim of the right to assist those children in murdering their unborn children, and never mind what their parents have to say about it.

The present state of sphere sovereignty in these United States is that, by law, the civil magistrate now owns and exercises the authority of permitting the minor child to murder her unborn child. Meanwhile Reformed men have hissy-fits over what they claim is the clear and present danger of the church straying over onto the the civil magistrate's turf.

Honestly. It would be laughable if it were not so destructive of Christian witness and faithfulness.

(TB, w/thanks to Andrew Henry who wrote parts of this post--sorry, I'd forgotten.)

Comments

It's so sad I don't even know what to write, but I wanted to acknowledge your post and thank you for it.

Meanwhile Mr. Obama is requiring Catholic hospitals (etc.) to provide contraception (some of which is clearly abortifacient) to all employees. However, this despite the constant teaching of the Church that all contraception is "intrinsically evil."

Thus, by August 2013, these 400 U.S. hospitals will effectively cease to be pro-life institutions.

Where will the Christian wife or daughter give birth without that infamous Auschwitz stench permeating her delivery room?

Where's your promised "Hope," Mr. Obama?

Allan,

It's not just hospitals - it is schools and colleges and soup kitchens and adoption agencies. I have a friend who teaches at a Catholic University and he says that they are considering dropping coverage for employees and giving them a bump in pay instead. But even here, if the institution drops coverage, they have to pay a penalty -- so they are *still* funding the contraception mandate. And this just a week after SCOTUS slapped the Obama admin for over-reaching on religious exemption, in a 9-0 opinion where even Obama's two appointees voted against him.

I had begun to believe that this had been a step too far and Abp Dolan would lead his brother bishops in a revolt. But then I remembered their utter unwillingness to apply Canon 915 to Nancy Pelosi, Secretary Sebelius and dozens of other Catholic pols in regard to their "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin".

Canon 915 is about the obligation to deny communion to those who are, as above, obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin". It has, in the past, involved public excommunication of pro-segregation politicians. So why not now with pro-abortion politicians? As good as the Roman Catholic witness often is, this failure on the part of her bishops is nothing short of shameful.

Kamilla,

Do you mean that the mandate for including contraceptive (and also probably sterilization) coverage in employee health insurance even applies to Roman Catholic parishes who have their own K-5 or K-8 schools?

Do you think it would it be possible for Roman Catholic organizations to require staff to be active members of a local parish and follow the teachings of the RC church as a bona fide occupational requirement to get around this?

As an aside, one incredible thing about the Joseph Maracchli issue, as shown in the pictures, is that he has a father. Contrast that with most children-in-peril cases in the press, where the mother poses for the camera, and the father is nowhere to be seen.

Yes, Sue.

It is a very narrow rule that will possibly even exclude some churches from being exempt - but ALL hospitals, schools, etc. are required to comply with the HHS contraception mandate. They can file for a year exemption, but it applies now unless they do. Even the staff requirement wouldn't be enough because those schools don't exclusively serve Roman Catholic students and families and don't exclusively catechize - they teach Math, English and Science as well.

This is why it's so hideous. The Obama administration and secretary Sebelius have mistaken CS Lewis's warning for an instruction on how to proceed: They will let you have your religion in private, and then they will ensure you are never alone.

The mandate says that only those organizations are exempt whose primary purpose and almost exclusive activity is the teaching of it's religion. It must exclusively hire and almost exclusively serve members of that religion. The mandate includes coverage of birth control, the morning after pill and the week after pill as well as sterilization - WITHOUT co-pay or other cost sharing.

In addition, those organizations who did not read their contracts closely enough and are just now finding out they *are* paying for such coverage will be penalized if they attempt to remove it. Any institution that drops insurance coverage for its employees will also be penalized.

So much for religious freedom ... while my views on contraception aren't as stringent as the Roman Catholics, I support their right to provide employee benefits that don't violate their beliefs.

As an aside, I have worked for one-profit where birth control was covered in the health insurance's drug benefit, one non-profit whose health insurance originally covered birth control pills and then stopped covering them, and one for-profit company who never covered them. My husband's employer's health insurance has never has. And none of these employers ever provided abortion coverage either except for very rare circumstances. So is the RC position much different than that different than at least some other employers?

Mr. Obama is primarily using the force of government to now even provide free powerful steroids thus completely separating intercourse from reproduction. Sex is now a purely recreational activity even for the married Christian couple. However, if a family wants to be open to one or more children -- good luck with that -- you'll be on your own.

This is just one of several reasons why the Roman Catholic Church's constant teaching considers all contraception "intrinsically evil."

Wow, this is all sounding more and more like the late Joseph Bayly's book, Winter Flight!

But really, even we looked at this from a non-Christian perspective, it is ridiculous that an insurance plan would even "need" to provide free contraception in the first place. What is wrong with people paying for it out-of-pocket, if that is their choice? With every insurance plan I have been on, only "medically necessary" items were covered under the plan. What is medically necessary about contraception?

Health insurance is already over-priced; many families cannot afford it. How will it ever become more affordable in the direction we are headed? Our government is going to make it so expensive that the only place we are going to be able to get medical attention is through the government itself. This is discouraging news.

Allan, you asked:
"Where will the Christian wife or daughter give birth without that infamous Auschwitz stench permeating her delivery room?"

The answer will be "in her home" until that becomes illegal across all 50 states. (I don't know the ins and outs of home births, but my understanding is that the rules are different from state to state).

Question: does this new Contraceptive Mandate mean that pro-life doctors (and hospitals) would be required to perform abortions, if that is what their patients choose?

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