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North Carolina Judge Assaults Mother’s Right

In my last post, as I listed areas of life where the imposition of socialist tyranny will produce the enslavement of conscience, I referred to the fact that “Parents will be required, without exception to surrender their children for indoctrination by the state.” I’m sure the usual purblind skeptics dismissed the thought as another example of rhetorical hyperbole. Providence came to its defense today in the form of a report out of North Carolina where “a judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be ‘challenged.’ The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.”

Judge Ned Mangum did not usurp Ms. Mills right to decide the best education for her children because the schooling she provided was academically deficient. He is reported to have “stated that his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated but that ordering the children into public schools would ‘challenge the ideas you’ve taught them.'” As reported, I’m not sure whether that statement is an example of self-evident dishonesty or shocking ignorance, but either way it makes hash out of the notion that Mangum is better qualified than their mother to decide the educational path of her children. The word “ideological” literally refers to that which gives an account of ideas, or is done on account of them. So if he sends the children to public schools in order to make sure the mother’s ideas are challenged his decision is precisely ideological. If, when he made the statement, he knew the meaning of the word, then he spoke dishonestly. If he did not know it, then he revealed such deficiency in his own education as to raise serious doubts about his qualifications to make judgments about anyone else’s. (In the U.S. lawyers get a doctorate when they graduate from law school, right?)

But the deeper issue goes beyond this or any other judge’s capacity or qualifications. It has rather to do with the natural right of parents to fulfill their responsibility before God for their children’s upbringing. A mother who seeks to assure that her children will receive an education that reflects her conscientious beliefs as to their moral welfare, does precisely what the laws of nature and of nature’s God require of her. She does what is right. In light of her right, the state (including any judge acting on its behalf) is obliged to refrain from interference with her action unless, by dint of proven wrongdoing, it can assert the obligation to act on behalf of some superior right of the children (or their other parent) to prevent or correct the wrong. No such wrongdoing has been suggested in this case. In fact her husband, whose adultery his lawyer admits to be the cause of their ruined marriage, acknowledges that Ms. Mills “has done a good job with the homeschooling of the children.”

Judge Mangum is reported to have said that “public school would ‘prepare these kids for the real world and college’ and allow them ‘socialization’. But if his idea of socialization includes the need to challenge the Christian ideas their mother has taught them, then he not only interferes with her natural right to raise up her children, he tramples on one of the most important elements of the free exercise of religion. When one individual or group forcibly takes away the children of another in order to raise those children according to beliefs foreign to the beliefs and conscience of their parents, it is an unconscionable act of injustice and bigotry. What this judge does under specious color of law is no different than what their Spanish persecutors once did to Jewish People in Spain, or what American slaveholders in the nineteenth century did to the children torn away from their mothers to be sold into slavery in some distant state.

It may be to our credit that we speak of these things calmly, and seek to settle them by peaceful means in our courts of law. But this decent restraint should not lead us to forget the enormity of the issues involved; issues that have throughout human history roused deep indignation, humiliation and implacable anger, such as eventually ignite the heart’s dry timber of grievance into the consuming flames of hateful war. As good people have lived and sacrificed to do right by their children, so also they have died, if need be.

Are we now so distracted by our little pleasures and playthings that we have no sense of the wounds we are inflicting upon the hearts and consciences of decent people? They know that the higher law of justice demands that they resist tyranny, even though black robed and velvet gloved. They must especially resist it when it reaches into their homes to deliver their children to what their consciences declare to be corruption. Our founding creed says that we should suffer while evils are sufferable. Children are done to death in the womb. Their parents’ rights and duty towards them cast aside in the courts. All in the midst of times when the Constitution that may be the highest manifestation of our common sense of law and justice is treated with no more respect than an old TV guide.

When will it be enough to rouse us from complacency? When will we see enough to make out the pattern before our eyes? We see the disparate elements. We react to each with a little outburst, a little temper, perhaps a little prayer. But from a judge’s usurpation of a mother’s natural right to educate her children, to what may be the contemptuous usurpation of the highest office in the land, the elements come together to evince a design. Is it the design for despotism of which our Founders spoke? Despotism is such an odd and unfamiliar sounding word: so rarely used, so little understood. But this ignorance too has its place in the design. It’s hard to rouse hearts to meet danger when the words to describe it have gone out of style. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty…” to let arrogant judges, politicians and bureaucrats dispose of the souls of their children, and the charter of their liberty, and the future of their country. Is that how it goes? Is that how you remember it?

Worth considering? Then don’t forget to DIGG IT!!!!

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Elizabeth October 29, 2009, 4:40 pm

    When is it OK for a Grandmother to be confided in when their 8 year old Grandson is being taught things that are wrong, when he gets in trouble at school for fighting and molesting girls on the school bus. The judge gave custodity of my grandson to a sex addict and at tyrant; all because he confided in his Grandmother. Ms. Addie Rawls from Jhonston County North Carolina has heard this case twice and never did the Mother or her Mother and Father get on the stand.

    Beware North Carolina….your judges are not what they seem.

  • larry white August 19, 2009, 8:48 am

    Thanks again, Dr. Keyes, for another profoundly stirring post. And chiu_chunling, for commenting in similarly enlightening fashion. This blog is one of the strongest voices for liberty I know of, and is now part of the core curriculum of my own "home school"—my self-education for living in freedom among a free people under God.

  • britney July 21, 2009, 12:31 am

    nice post and thanks for sharing…
    Entertainment at one stop

  • graciela April 2, 2009, 2:23 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  • chiu_chunling March 23, 2009, 7:23 am

    This is just saying that what the judges actions, up to the point at which he decided to attack the woman’s religion, were within the authority granted him by the law. I did not dispute this point, in fact I specifically mention it in my earlier post.

    You are trying to attribute a straw-man argument to the outrage that has been expressed over what the judge did, however legally he did it. Nobody is disputing that fathers do have a legitimate interest in the well-being of their children and that the law should recognize that. The problem here is that the father is not demonstrating such an interest and the judge’s idea of the well-being of the children is outrageous.

    The mother has a right to publish the details of how the court is treating her. She exercised that right. This judge is attempting to punish her for that by attacking her choice of religion. While I personally suspect that I would prefer her to belong to a different church, that doesn’t change the fact that such an attack is blatantly illegal and dishonest. A judge cannot justify rendering judgments against someone on the basis of dislike for their choice of religion, no matter how many other people may share that dislike.

    Would I have advised this woman to join a different church had we been acquaintances? Quite possibly. Would I have therefore lent my testimony about the probable doctrinal shortcomings of her church to such an utterly unconstitutional proceeding? Never! Those engaged in that despicable little game have sacrificed every core principle of liberty, and that alone warns me to distrust their testimony (well, that and every other detail I know about the individuals involved, but I don’t really know them that well personally).

    If the judge has evidence that there is some actual harm being caused to the children by this church, then he is free to do that. He has instead chosen to resort to tangential slanders based on the word of those who value fidelity to neither marriage nor law.

  • tikk March 22, 2009, 9:11 pm

    chiu_chunling: Family law differs from state to state, but every state holds that parental decisions as to education are to be shared equally between the parents. In other words, the father has just as much a right to *not* want the children to be homeschooled as the mother has a right to want the children to be homeschooled. One party does not hold a trump card in case of an impasse–the parties either negotiate a settlement, or go to court and have it break the impasse. So in a sense, family law IS about apportioning “wishes” like some kind of fairy godfather.

    A judge charged with such a task must adhere to a single standard, that being to consider which, of the two choices sought by each side, would be in the “best interests of the child.” It is important to realize that judges can, and often do, take into account multiple factors besides quality of education in making such a decision.

    Here, the judge accounted for the fact that the mother had disconnected from her family and friends and had immersed herself in the Sound Doctrine church, whose lessons became part of the children’s homeschooling, to a negative degree, according to the mother’s parents, sister, and friends.

    And here’s the point: the father has just as much a right to *oppose* this as the mother has to impose it, a fact for which no one here seems to account. Confronted with this impasse, the court found credible the testimony of the mother’s parents, sister, friends, and ex-members of the Sound Doctrine church as tilting the scale to the father’s side.

  • chiu_chunling March 22, 2009, 3:01 am

    Actually, the nature of the father’s wishes has a lot to do with why everyone is so riled by this case. It was the father’s wishes that broke up the marriage, it is the father’s wishes that his children’s mother be forced into abject poverty and legally persecuted, that his children not receive religious instruction because that would mean teaching them that adultery is morally unacceptable…let it rest.

    The law is not about apportioning “wishes” like some kind of fairy godfather. The law is about preventing people from carrying out actions that are destructive to society at large. I’m sure that this father has many perfectly good desires which do not involve grievous harm to the moral fabric of society and the integrity of the marriage covenant. But it has been his choice to focus on his wishes to destroy his own marriage, prevent his children from receiving an entirely appropriate moral instruction on that point, and persecute his wife through abuse of the legal system.

    Should we ignore the wishes of misogynistic necrophiliacs or pedophiles? I’m sure that being free to do so would make us all a good deal more comfortable. But when they choose to act on those “wishes” we really don’t have the option to ignore those actions.

    If you can provide some reasoning or evidence to back your apparent implication that the father is being treated unfairly, please do so. But I will not lightly deride the difficulties of fathers by claiming this case as an example without some clear indication that the father is being treated unfairly.

  • tikk March 21, 2009, 8:40 pm

    Can someone please explain why everyone seems to feel that the father’s wishes should be completely ignored?

  • chiu_chunling March 18, 2009, 12:16 pm

    It seems that the judge in question has now resorted to defending his decision by characterizing this woman’s church as a “cult” which subjects young children to sexual harassment and harsh treatment. Mysteriously, this only became a concern for the judge after this woman’s plight became national news.

    After reading the list of beliefs of the Sound Doctrine Church, I can certainly see why he has problems with their influence on these children. Imagine teaching children that their father’s adultery is not acceptable!

    A simple case of a judge abusing his judicial authority to cause additional hardship to a woman already dealing with the consequences of her husband’s infidelity (not just to their marriage vows, but to his duty to their children) is enough to inspire outrage. But that didn’t quite rise to the level of this blatant abrogation of the most fundamental rights granted by our Constitution. If he’s going to resort to something like this he might as well have thrown her in jail without even a hearing.

    Due process, even abused to inflict hardship, is still due process, but treating the freedom of religion with such contempt demonstrates a profound need for this judge to be removed and disbarred immediately. Judges have a lot of power under the law, but some things they simply cannot do. And patently trampling the fundamental laws whereby their authority originates is one of them. Even if this woman belonged to the Midnight Circle of Satan’s Brides church or something, that would not (of itself) constitute cause to disparage her rights under the law (though it would certainly be cause for caution).

    Given the fact that her children are doing well academically (better now than when they were in the public schools, which is the reason she started homeschooling) and that the divorce is not due to any adverse action on her part, the judges behavior was already inexcusable, if (arguably) legal. But he’s now burned a bridge he should have left open for his retreat. You cross the Rubicon, you’d better be ready for the consequences.

    We’ll see if the legion at this legal wizard’s back is enough to topple the republic. I’m actually betting they make a pretty good showing, at least so far as aggravating a total meltdown of the existing government is concerned. I wouldn’t give a wad of spit for their chances of actually riding the storm that follows, though.

    He should at least have followed the example of the unjust judge “which feared not God, neither regarded man:” and simply said, “Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” But that might be expecting a bit to much from these illiterate hacks, I guess.

  • John March 15, 2009, 7:53 pm

    This judge said:

    “It will do them a great benefit to be in the public schools, and they will challenge some of the ideas that you’ve taught them, and they could learn from that and make them stronger,”


    “It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement.”

    If this judge is so concerned about a childs education, then he should force every public school kid to be home educated. That way some of their “ideas will be challenged and they will be stronger.”

    This judge is not reasonable.

  • Lee March 14, 2009, 4:58 pm

    I am a “Pro-Life,Pro-Gay Rights so far left I’m almost right” liberal and proud of it. I also home-school my children and participate in activities with both secular and Conservative Chistians.I am horrified at what the judge said and cannot believe the religious bias in his statement. I may not agree with your religious beliefs but I do believe in your right to pass them onto your children in the same way I am passing on my beliefs to my children. I would like to see this become a discussion about parental and constitutional rights and not a trashing of left-wing individuals. There is an amazing amount of support for this mother in all political arenas.

  • Brian March 13, 2009, 1:19 pm

    We’ve ben living this same nightmare for the last six years. In our case, the Judge, William Bell of Huntsville, AL, forbade us from teaching the Bible in our home.



  • Raymond March 13, 2009, 1:17 pm

    Local details sound like the father is raking his wife and kids over the coals and the judge is helping. It is beyond believable. How can a judge make a decision based on the religion of the mom, and say it is not on idealogy? Don’t like her church, huh? You want to broaden the kids… Not your job. How does someone keep their job as a judge like this??? This is a fine example of where we as Americans need to set an example. If someone is this detached from reality, then they should be removed from this position of supreme power. The mother’s religion isn’t a factor. The success or FAILURE of homeschooling isn’t a factor. The judges low opinions of the mom’s choices isn’t a factor. Doesn’t what the parents (or in this case whoever has custody) desire have the only weight? Kids are a responsibility of the parents, not the state. Take away the authority, and all you have left is the fiscal and legal responsibilities. Joy.
    Ray McGill
    Homeschool Dad

  • Brite Wingz March 13, 2009, 2:29 am

    Thank you for sharing this story. It needs to be known that our freedoms are at risk, regardless of how an individual (or a judge) may feel about homeschooling. This could set a precedent and open the door to stripping American families of their rights to chose what they honestly believe is best for their own children.

  • Most Rev. Gregori March 12, 2009, 8:34 pm

    I hope that Mother stands up to Judge Magnum and fights him tooth and nail.

    I can tell you, people are getting fed up and our government is pushing us right into a revolution. The blood will be on their hands.

  • Amy Su Anne Jones March 12, 2009, 2:44 pm

    I’ll be there tonight. After reading AIPNews.com, I don’t understand why conservative radio hosts ignore or dismiss America’s Independent Party when it openly stands for the same values in which they profess to believe.

  • Matthew R. March 12, 2009, 2:25 pm

    I posted a longer comment earlier, but it didn’t post for some reason. Anyhow…

    What the judge said might have been a consideration 25-30 years ago when homeschooling just started. But there are PLENTY of us homeschoolers who were taught by their moms for all of K-12 and are doing just fine. I didn’t have a single issue with getting used to college, and in fact adapted much better than most public school kids (or maybe I was just far more responsible then they were.)

    Just because the government says, “this is what your kids need to know to be successful”, doesn’t make it true. Education is supposed to be about teaching kids to learn, not teaching them to regurgitate boring facts. That’s what my mom did. By the time I graduated high school I had built 2 houses with my family, traveled the entire US, traveled to Europe 4 times, built up a successful website business, and started my video production company that is now my full time job. Yes, it seems that a lack of socialization really hurt me.

    What people don’t realize is that homeschoolers are far better about socializing with people than public school kids are. From a very young age I could talk to people of all ages about a variety of subjects. Trying to get high school students to have a decent conversation with someone 10 years old, let alone 50 years old is very difficult.

    The one good thing about what’s happening is that most young conservatives I find were homeschooled. So if young conservatives can take over the Republican party, then we will be in good hands because most of them will have probably been homeschooled.

    BTW, Dr. Keyes, I would love to see you write more about the Constitution. I believe that getting the masses to fully understand what it says by looking at what was said in the Federalist papers is the key to shrinking government. If people understand that under the Federal Constitution that all these social programs are unconstitutional, then maybe we can get more regular people into Washington and actually get good things done for a change.

  • Alan Keyes March 12, 2009, 1:27 pm

    Amy Su Anne Jones:
    You’re right. There’s more to be done than writing. This evening I’ll be participating in the national town hall conference call of America’s Independent Party. You can find information about this and other AIP activities at AIPnews.com. I am just one voice, but there are many hearts and hands working together to develop a network of citizen action from the grassroots up. If you have the time, come talk to us this evening, to me and others who share indignation and outrage, but also faith, hope and determination. More than two or three are gathering.
    Alan Keyes

  • Shark Girl March 12, 2009, 1:22 pm

    I look at the children who attend public schools and I wonder how they can be so ignorant. My niece came home with her new class schedule she had to pick from. The classes she’s required to take have nothing to do with educating the children. It had to do with “dumbing” them down. I was angry when I saw the classes.

    My nephew was being forced to take a class that his mother didn’t even know what it meant. I told her to look it up, then fight it. It was glorifying Michael Moore’s propaganda.

    And yet another class required of my niece was to learn about witchcraft.

    I’d like to know what lobby group/lawyers are financially feeding Judge Magnum to cause him to rule the way he did.

    I’m researching his name to see if I can find out who he’s affiliated with that may be influencing his decision. I’ve learned to follow the money when it comes to judges, and you’ll figure out why they make the decisions they do. Chances are, someone is pulling his strings.

    I’m convinced our judges are puppets, and those that don’t move when the strings are pulled, are cast off the benches. (Judge Roy Moore comes to mind)

    How do the judges get removed from the bench when “we the people” don’t have a say in it?

  • Amy Su Anne Jones March 12, 2009, 12:56 pm

    Alan, there are many among us who share your indignation and outrage. However, if you, as a political activist, can only write out your heart in a blog that draws no more than half a dozen comments, what more can the average citizen do but muster a little temper and pray? Letters and phone calls to moronic judges and congressmen go unheeded, or worse, are laughed at. We can’t take off work and fly around the country to protest; there is reason to protest something every day.

    My little boy wants to be a soldier. I tell him, “Just make sure that America is still worth fighting for when the time comes for you to enlist.” In my opinion, that day is quickly passing.

  • Terry Morris March 12, 2009, 2:16 am

    Dr. Keyes wrote:

    But if his idea of socialization includes the need to challenge the Christian ideas their mother has taught them, then he not only interferes with her natural right to raise up her children, he tramples on one of the most important elements of the free exercise of religion.

    Most homeschoolers who have been at it for any length of time understand what is intended by the term “socialization.” It’s not intended to make them better, but to make these children worse. It seeks not merely to “challenge” the worldview which their parents have passed down to them, but to overthrow it.

    The kind of “socialization” skills children receive in the public education system are the kind that destroy the soul.

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