"For Love of Neighbor" is a new documentary film offering a hopeful vision for Christian engagement in politics. Click here to learn more.

All Your Kids Are Belong to Us

This MSNBC promo is making the blog run lately: “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities,” says host Melissa Harris-Perry. This may not matter to Harris-Perry, but it does to V&C readers: The Christian tradition teaches that children do, indeed, belong to their families, and not to “whole communities.” My favorite of many examples of this is Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” That word translated “discipline” here actually has a massive meaning. In Greek, it’s paideia, which actually means every single thing that goes into a child’s upbringing and education and encircles the child into maturity—body, mind and soul. (I’ve taken liberal arts history classes. Don’t get me started.) Also, the Supreme Court has consistently held this. So anyone with other ideas has the burden of proof to explain why their ideas demand a hearing, much less the basis for reversing society. And as mother to two squawky toddlers, I get intensely irritated whenever anyone uses the phrase “our children.” “No,” I instantly think. “These are not your children. You sacrificed nothing for these tiny tyrants, and I’ve given them my own body and blood, as did Jesus in a far greater way. If you want a child, get your own and MYOB.” No one but me and my husband owns my children—only we have the legal or moral right to them, unless we grievously neglect or abuse our duty as parents. I also hate the phrase “our children” because people paste it cynically on every pet project. It’s as if they put my kids on a poster for something I think would harm them, like the UN’s deceitfully named “disability rights” treaty. “Our children” demand public parks. “Our children” require gun control. “Our children” need higher taxes to pay for families whose adults refuse to work. Well, neither I nor my babies support these things, particularly. You can leave us out of it. This mentality essentially applies redistribution of property to families: No one owns children but the state. I do not mean this to say children are property like cattle. Obviously, they have souls and ultimately belong to God. But God delegates the nurture and admonition of children to parents, not faceless government-designated “communities.” *I chose this title before I saw RedState had.