Praise God for the “island of freedom!” In the 1990s, we began to see this metaphorical safe-harbor developing in the United States, as well as in other countries around the world. While liberties were being curtailed by over-zealous legislators and bureaucracies, we were blessed to see an island forming for those who wanted to opt out of excessive state control.
To the present day, it’s astounding to watch the US Supreme Court carve out exceptions for the Montana School Tax Credit, and the Little Sisters of the Poor who didn’t want to subject themselves to the contraceptive/abortifacient insurance mandate. While the courts and the legislatures have tended to take the nation in the wrong direction, God has still provided some breathing room for Christian families and ministries.
Most notably have been the exceptions established for anybody who wanted to homeschool their children here in the US and elsewhere. While schools were turning increasingly progressive (or “regressive” depending on how you look at it), some parents objected to the agenda. They looked to opt out on the control and the programs. Several parents went to prison for it, but we were amazed to see homeschooling win in almost every court case and legislative battle.
Parental rights for those families whose children attend public schools has diminished greatly over ten years. Beginning with the Brown and Mozert cases, public-schooling parents lost ground in controlling any aspect of their children’s education. In Fields v. Palmdale, the 9th circuit clearly ruled against parents who wanted to exempt their primary school children on an explicit sex survey. The justices ruled that “once parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend, their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished.”
For the twenty years I have worked with Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), I have watched in awe as homeschooling has been consistently exempted in so many legislative battles at the capital. From the several motions to further restrict the compulsory attendance age, to many attempts to mandate vaccines, homeschooling families have been exempted by amendment over and over again. I can’t think of a case we have lost in the arena of parental rights in the last three decades!
Under the Obama administration, Christians were exempted from Obamacare and its abortifacient-coverage mandate from the beginning through the Christian Medical Sharing exemption. Millions of Christians have taken advantage of this exemption, saving $40 billion in ten years (about $215,000 per family). And, they didn’t even have to fund abortions and abortifacients as part of the plan!
Here’s what I see is happening. Those who seek to take responsibility for their children’s education, upbringing, and healthcare are also provided the freedoms to do so. For some reason, God has rewarded us with remarkable liberties during one of the most difficult times in the history of Western society. Let’s take advantage of it, and continue to defend our precious liberties — this beautiful island of freedom — for our children and grandchildren to come.