Child abuse in Scandinavia...

"There is no bad weather, only bad clothing." So say Scandinavian daycare workers, mothers, and grandmothers who for generations have been putting their wee ones outside to nap. Children sleep in strollers outside coffee shops while mothers are inside drinking warm coffee. Outside daycares are rows of strollers. One daycare worker reassured the Western journalist:

When the temperature drops to -15C (5F) we always cover the prams with blankets.

Here in the Land of Liberty, if you leave your child inside your car for one minute in a parking lot, Child Protective Services nannies will brand you an unfit mother and threaten to take your child from you.

Listening to Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils last night, free on Librivox, as almost always, his warnings are perfectly fitting a century later. Sadly though, they seem to have done no good.

May God give us civil magistrates who will turn back the loss of liberty that increasingly dogs the family and church life and witness of Christians.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

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Actually, it takes a lot more than that to get investigated by CPS

>>Actually, it takes a lot more than that to get investigated by CPS...

I'm sorry to disagree with you, dear sister; it takes a lot less than that. And speaking of "that," it will net you a permanent record as an unfit mother with no trial and no appeal.

Mothers, who often have abandoned their children to be raised by other women so they may go off and hold office in D.C. or state capitals, work out their guilt over child-abandonment by telling other fathers and mothers who actually love and care for their own children what they may and may not do with and to their children. These unfit mothers write and pass laws that would make the most protective nanny of past generations gnash her teeth in frustration. And almost all these hectoring-mother-laws do absolutely no good other than to allow the unfit mothers working in the state capitol to feel fulfilled as a woman. The men join in because their female colleagues tell them they should "do something for the children" and child protective services and law enforcement officers "just enforce the law."

We have hundreds of children in our congregation and their mothers and fathers would be foolish if they failed to pray for the protection of their children from oppressive civil magistrates.

Love,

Actually, it takes a lot more than that to get investigated by CPS

I wish that were true.

Unfortunately even standing near your car with your children inside is considered illegal. Awhile back I had an encounter with a law inforcement officer that was rather unnerving. I had taken 2 of my grandchildren (around 3yrs and 5yrs) along with my elderly mother out. We made a pit  stop for my mother at a fast food place. I left the children in the car, walked across the parking lot so I could keep an eye on my mother and still see the children. I was standing directly in back of my car, where I could see both the children and my mother when the woman in the car next to me got out of her car motioning my to come. I was informed that what I was doing was against the law, that I could not leave children unattended. Now she saw me standing opposite my car, she paid no attention to my explanation just kept repeating her position and the law. Even after I got back into my car she sat there watching, and I suppose figured that I was indeed watching for my mother when my mom got back into the car. I only felt safe when I got back onto the highway. I know never to leave a child unattended with no one watching, but I was standing right there within 50 feet of them.

Tim,

You wrote the following:

Mothers, who often have abandoned their children to be raised by other women so they may go off and hold office in D.C. or state capitals, work out their guilt over child-abandonment by telling other fathers and mothers who actually love and care for their own children what they may and may not do with and to their children. These unfit mothers write and pass laws that would make the most protective nanny of past generations gnash her teeth in frustration.

I agree with you completely that some CPS regulations are ridiculous and make parents look like criminals when they are behaving like, well, parents.

However, do you have any proof for the statement you made above? I'm not saying that there might not be some validity with what you are saying. However, do you know of actual women in state legislatures or in Congress that pass specific laws that dictate child-rearing practices because they feel guilty because they are/were not stay-at-home mothers? 

>>However, do you know of actual women in state legislatures or in Congress that pass specific laws that dictate child-rearing practices because they feel guilty because they are/were not stay-at-home mothers? 

Dear Sue,

Knowing some would object to that judgment, I thought about it a while and decided I should post it. So I stand by it, and yet affirm your challenging me on it.

Have I known mothers who have put their children in daycare so they could "have a life" and earn degrees and money? Yes, and I'm sure you agree. Have I known mothers who have put their children in daycare so they could "have a life" and earn degrees and money who have felt guilty about their abandonment of their children, and thus have not disciplined them as they ought? Yes, and maybe you'd agree.

You see that in life we'd have to close our eyes and ears to avoid seeing motivations behind facts. And for pastors, such motivations are the God-ordained gifts necessary to proper shepherding. Some pastors desire the ability to see motivations behind sins and they pray for this gift so integral to discerment. Most though avoid discernment—either praying for or using it—because we know making judgments and warning against sinful motivations is viewed by Evangelicals today as sin.

In other words, I don't think our disagreement over the judgment I made in the post has much to do with whether or not my judgment is correct as whether or not such judgments are ever correct. But if we were talking together, I think I could quickly demonstrate that you yourself make such judgments all the time, and base your life upon them. What's bad form today is speaking of them publicly. They're to be hidden and those who fail to hide them are viewed as ill-bred.

Does this make sense?

But to get back to your question, if you agree that such laws are evil, undercutting children's natural sovereigns placed over them by God, do you have another sinful motivation you think more likely? Try me: I might agree.

Love,

* * *

Priceless news story, Todd!

Love,

Sue,

I used to live in a district in Indiana represented in the State House by a woman whose first name starts with "P" and rhymes with "eggy," and whose last name sounds like a grape juice brand. The crowning acheivement of her legislative career, so far, was passage of a bill mandating carseats for every child in Indiana under the age of 12 (think about that--a child cannot graduate out of the carseat until he is a teenager!). I have recently had a lot of first-hand experience with some of the other meddlesome and onerous requirements of this law. Don't get me wrong--carseats are good and important. But they don't expire like a jug of milk and suddenly become unsafe! And they shouldn't be so cumbersomely big that it's impossible to fit more than 4 of them into an 8 passenger van!

Whether Representative Mrs. Carseat was motivated by a guilty conscious over abandoning her own children--short of her confession it's hard to prove, but I think that said carseat law is a pretty convincing indicator. Or possibly it's a guilty conscious over the hundreds of children who die at the hands of abortionists every year in Indiana (which her party stalwartly defends and supports); so she salves her conscious by pushing a carseat law that puts onerous requirements on every Hoosier parent, and it saves the lives of about 10 children every year.

A lot of these carseat laws are very punitive towards large or even modest size families.  They really assume every family is four or less.

>>it saves the lives of about 10 children every year.

In this post, I showed how, assuming the best-case scenario, this woman's booster seat law saves one life a year.

In another post, I linked to articles demonstrating these laws save no lives--as in none! Zilch. Nada.

Now, I've come to the conclusion that these laws actually lead to a net loss of lives. This Atlantic piece on the crash of ValueJet 592 in the Everglades (in which one of my parishioners died) explains the logic behind my new conclusion.

Love,

I just got to thinking that things are upside down when a 6-year old boy can decide that he is a girl, and everyone is kowtowing to the kid including the permissive parents, while a 12-year has to sit in a car seat.  See http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22674172/transgender-fountain-1st-grader-banned-from-girls-bathroom

What would you do with a child like that who from the beginning insisted that he was a girl? Who wanted nothing to do with being a boy? It didn't sound like the child suddenly decided to be a girl but had always felt strongly that way. On the other hand how can a 6 yr old be considered transgender? They barely are old enough to know the differences between girls and boys. What happens when this little boy who wants to be a girl hits puberty? He still is a boy whether he likes it or not. It sounds like the mental health professionals labeled this child as transgender without figuring what the root of the problem was or understanding where the child was coming from.

 

In Indiana it's till you're 8, not 12.

Love,

We all know how society treats 6-year old boys who want to be girls (see: Boulder), but for a more interesting twist, how should the church deal with the same issue?  What if that family came to church one day, and insisted that their boy use the restroom for women?  What if the elders insisted that the boy use the boy side and on Monday the family filed a lawsuit?  What if in Sunday school the teacher split up the boys and girls for some reason, and the boy insisted on going with the girls?

Oops, I stand corrected, twice: carseats that save no lives, mandated until the child is 8-years-old.

Pr. Tim, based on that article from The Atlantic you would probably like the book Deep Survival, by Laurence Gonzalez. The opening case study is about how mountain climbers on Mt. Hood who "roped together" in the belief that it would protect them in case of falls during their ice-climb ended up dying because they were roped together and one of them fell. It covers a lot of other cases, too (including the Challenger explosion), where increased complexity, in the pursuit of safety, created unforeseen accidents.

Greatly simplifying that article, it says that overly-complex systems cause normal accidents. I'm doubtful that this particular law actually qualifies as "complex" in the way the author means. However, I don't doubt that it is a part of a larger system of laws that is so complex that it would qualify. And I don't doubt that some lives have been lost because of that system's complexity.

Also, here's a related paper on the topic of complex system failures.

Dear Joseph,

Yes, complexity of systems. But more, steps taken toward the total eradication of risk—in this case to children—always bring on risks never imagined and often are more lethal than leaving things be. In other words, the parallel in this case is the law of unintended consequences.

Love,

Tim,

You wrote,

But to get back to your question, if you agree that such laws are evil, undercutting children's natural sovereigns placed over them by God, do you have another sinful motivation you think more likely? Try me: I might agree.

Well, I certainly agree that some of these laws are evil, some are just common-sense written into law (maybe that means they are evil?), and some make sense. 

I may change my mind on this, but my first thought was that the intent of these laws was to do something that can't be done -- legislate responsible child-rearing. The people who wrote these laws had good intentions but used their own ideas about what constituted being good parents and went way overboard. 

Obviously, some of these laws are necessary because there are a considerable number of rotten parents out there. Some don't know how to raise children and some just don't care.

One thing that I didn't see in the article Denver Todd linked to was whether the boy in question was intersex of some type. If his condition is physiological, he has a medical condition, not a mental health one.

For more information on intersex conditions, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

(I realize Wikipedia isn't the fount of wisdom, but it's a quick way to provide a link.)

>>maybe that means they are evil?

No, that would be a straw man, dear sister. I believe the civil maistrate should protect babies from being killed by their mothers or assasins they hire, and I would make no protest against such a law, never calling it "evil." But you must keep your eye on the ball. The real evil today is the decimation of mediating institutions (ordained by God) by civil magistrates out to destroy all authority but their own.

>>The people who wrote these laws had good intentions

Really? Then the mother who hires a butcher to slaughter her unborn child is equally deserving of your defense. After all, she only means to spare the child from a life of being unwanted, of poverty, of the pain of knowing he's an inconvenience to his mother and she resents him, etc.

But I think this is a consistent pattern in our discussions. You believe not thinking or talking about sin in the inward parts is charity and I think it's a denial of the Fall and refusal to help those in bondage to see their sin. As I've said many times, this is not how any author or The Author of Scripture deals with men, so there's every reason to believe it's not how we ought to deal with men, either. It is a habit of the rich and sophisticated and mannerly, but pastors have never been nice men.

Loving men. Dying men. Helpful men, but not nice men. We serve the Holy Spirit and make the judgments necessary to serve Him.

I encourage you to read the New Testament and think only of the judgments there as you read. Write "J" in the margin next to every judgment there, particularly the judgment of men's hearts which are helpful in calling those men to repentance and faith.

Warmly, with love,

Abram,

When I taught at the public schools, one day I had to take my class to a talk by Ms. Eggy where she told the kids how her husband asked and she promised that she would not take up a residence in Indy but would drive home each night. She then went on to say how she was always the type of student to get an A and so she took up a residence in Indy to get an A as a legislator.

Yeah, I'd say Tim's right.

Tim,

You wrote, in part:

I encourage you to read the New Testament and think only of the judgments there as you read. Write "J" in the margin next to every judgment there, particularly the judgment of men's hearts which are helpful in calling those men to repentance and faith.

I have taken your advice, but instead of reading the NT cover to cover I'm going over the New Testment and Gospel Lessons in my Daily Office Morning Prayer devotions after I've finished them and looking for passages that refer to judgment. I use an online version of the Daily Office, so I can cut and paste these parts of the NT into a Word document and keep them all together.

I can't think clearly enough right now to discuss the rest of your post.

Your [insomniac] sister in Christ,

Thanks for your helpful engagement Mr Bayly.

Love you all. Always pray for David and me as we work, please.

Tim, you wrote:

But I think this is a consistent pattern in our discussions. You believe not thinking or talking about sin in the inward parts is charity and I think it's a denial of the Fall and refusal to help those in bondage to see their sin. As I've said many times, this is not how any author or The Author of Scripture deen, so there's every reason to believe it's not how we ought to deal with men, either. It is a habit of the rich and sophisticated and mannerly, but pastors have never been nice men.

Maybe I haven't explained myself well, but I believe in original sin 1000%! How could anyone who has lived with serious or permanent disease/illness in a family member, to name just one example, could not? God (in my opinion) didn't cause anyone to get cancer, serious orthopedic problems, Alzheimer's disease, etc. They are results of the fall.

Yes, because original sin permeates all of society we see it in many places -- included some heavy-handed laws (or the interpretation of these laws) that strongly dilute (or even remove) the authority children have over their parents. 

As an example, physical child abuse exists and it probably always has. But  laws against physical abuse of children have gone from punishing real child abusers and to leaving parents who spank their children to fear that they may see CPS on their doorstep. There is where I believe the sin lies -- in the interpretation of the law, not the law itself. There is no way for me to say that anyone who interprets a law against physical child abuse too literally (meaning that a few swats on the buns is child abuse) has sinful intent or not. Some people do and some probably don't. I, for one, certainly don't want to throw out laws for legimate child physical abuse . 

Another example would be children's education. Would a law requiring all children/teens to attend public schools until age 16 or early graduation be wrong and possibly sinful? Absolutely, because it takes away freedom from parents to educate children as they see fit, including parents of faith or no faith.

But I wouldn't see a law requiring children/teens to attend school (public, private (faith-based or secular), or homeschooling until age 16 or early graduation as wrong, provided that all students take the same proficiency tests and/or graduation tests required by public school students. I see nothing wrong with such a law because it would provide parents broad discretion in how to educate their children, and not limit them to public education.

And no, I don't condone abortion, except in very limited cases and even in those cases I believe that it should be allowable and certainly not the "default" position. I have counted it as a privilege that a few people have told me about the fact that they have had an abortion (in one case, a man told me about his wife's abortion when they were dating). In every situation but one, everyone had been raised in a Christian home and one woman was a practicing Christian at the time of her abortion. They knew that what they had done was sinful. I saw no reason to pound them over the head with it. One woman was very reluctant to have an abortion and felt coerced into it by her boyfriend. She asked to come over and visit and we grieved about who her child might have become after the fact.

I've rambled on a lot already, but Tim, you've challenged me to think more seriously about how the different ways that systemicl original sin has tainted our entire world. This is something I'll be asking God for wisdom about.

P.S. I'm not rich or very sophisticated (many people, especially academics, would have considered our family "white trash") but I try to have good manners. :)

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