Private Values and Private Responsibility

We are facing the same old problem again, with new decorations. The religious right wants the government to get out of our private lives, and teach our children religious values. Can you see the problem? It is ironic that they so seriously want to relive some painful history that they never learned, and do not want their children taught that history.

While they extol the virtues of the pilgrims fleeing the Old World for religious freedom in the New World, they ignore that lessons learned in that. Catholics established Maryland, and tried to keep it Catholic. Religious enclaves were the rule, and worked to prevent uniting the colonies. So unpleasant were these disputes that for a constitution to be ratified, the Bill of Rights had to INSURE that the new government could never do to them what had happened to them before, and they had tried to do to others; they knew the attempt would be made, for they had tried. Religion is a private value, and we have determined that if we are to have this right, we must afford it to others.

Some claim prayer has been banned from our schools; they have never seen a class starting to take a final exam. They want public, lead prayers in the school. There is the problem. Public school is a government function, and must never lead toward any religion, for this is the exclusive responsibility of parents.

These parents, however, have abdicated responsibility for their children, and wish government to step in and do their job. Why should government play parent the way they want? Why should it be forced to teach children honesty, integrity, sobriety, obeying the laws, refraining from sex and pornography, and prayer? Is it because the parents can not, for they do not?

The parents of a 14 year old are insisting on the incarceration of a young woman, who has borne his child, after he was found in her car at 3:00am. She has a problem. The parents, however, did not know where their child was, another problem. They are legally and morally responsible for him, and failed. A mother allows her toddlers on the tracks, and the transit authority is responsible [contributions paid for the funeral, then she tried suing for two million dollars]? The parents of a bunch of teens are not responsible when the teens get drunk and roll the car, killing some [parents of teens old enough to buy liquor in some places buy the beer, and the parents sue the store owner for the result of their children's intoxication]? The Internet is responsible when their children (like their parents) seek pornography on the net [60% of top Yahoo search terms involve sex]?

If parents teach their children their values (children do learn by their parents example and interaction with their parents), government only needs to teach skills and facts, which it is far better equipped to do than personal values, which are explicitly not uniform, and therefore must conflict with the parent's values part of the time.

Individual responsibility is the only viable way.

Please evaluate this.
Copyright © 1998 Norman Montgomery; All rights reserved.