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.)