I saw this news story the other day linked at sermonaudio.com about a North Carolina judge's order that three homeschooled children be returned to public schooling. Sadly, the case involves a dispute between parents who are divorcing. The mother is a Christian who desires to homeschool her children. The father is concerned about her religious slant and the fact that his kids aren't getting "mainstream science." By all accounts the children are academically above grade level, content, and thriving. So, why does the Dad's conscientious objections take precedence over the mother's? Is this a case of religious discrimination?
Here's a difficult dilemna. Obviously, my heart goes out to the children and the wife as I'm clearly a big proponent of the homeschooling choice fulfilling the parent's calling to "bring up your children in the nurture, instruction, and discipline of the Lord." And nothing is more concerning than the leftist judicial system controlling what our children learn. Where I struggle is the other "family order" aspect here. If wives are to submit to their husbands, what should our message be as a church and fellow body of believers? Maybe the divorce (a complete other subject) ultimately will nullify the Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5 commands on marriage but this is a difficult balance. Is a more bibilical reaction of the church to encourage the couple to accept the husband's choice (albeit wrong in my view) for now yet begin steadfastly ministering to them on educational choice and praying over their marriage. This gridlock of opinion may in fact be the source of the divorce itself. Maybe I'm just drinking Polyanna's Kool-aid but both issues just may be salvageable with proper support and encouragement.
The ruling issued by the judge is available here: http://www.newsobserver.com/content/media/2009/3/17/courtorder.pdf and paints a somewhat different picture than the news article.
I glanced over the document you linked. Yes, as noted, the whole situation reflects the sad and sinful circumstances of a divorce proceeding and custody battle. It certainly looks like the husband's attorney has done all he could to smear the wife and her church. And, sadly, it also looks as though an infidelity is at the heart of this. Regardless of the doctrinal stance of the wife's church, the troubling aspect remains, however, the role of the state in this. Does the state have the right to dictate, contra a parent's conscience, how a child is to be educated or religiously instructed? What if the state decides that the choices I have made on educating my children is unhealthy? What if they decide my church is a cult? This is what I find alarming.
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