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Diane Robertson

Recently, I have been informed by a couple of nice people how important it is to keep ALL of the laws.  I know what they are telling me is kindly meant. But, I do have to laugh, because well– I don’t even speed. I haven’t for years. Several years back, I got a speeding ticket, and that was enough to convince me that I would rather be late then spend a weeks’ worth of groceries on getting there on time. So, why would some people inform me that I should be following all of the laws?

It is due to many of the political things that I have been writing over the last couple of years. Some of these things, I submit to UFI, and some I just put onto my own little family blog. Recently, I ran into a couple of news articles that I found disturbing, and downright frightening! So I wrote about  them and had some nice people politely, yet strongly, rebuke my opinion.

In this news article, a father, in Pittsburg, PA, left his 6 and 9 year old at a park to play while he showered and ran some errands. A woman at the park watched the kids for an hour and then called the police. The man was cited for two counts of child endangerment, and Child Protection Services is investigating his family.

In this other article, a mother left her two children in her car, in the winter, while she went into the store for ten minutes. When she came out, a police officer had her three year old daughter outside of her car and would not let her come near her daughter. The family is now involved in serious court battles and the mother may end up facing jail time.

I feel outraged about this type of thing. Yes, I do think having laws are good and we should obey the laws. BUT, there is such a thing as corrupt laws. Laws that rip families apart or send otherwise good parents to jail are corrupt laws. Laws that threaten lives or take away basic liberty are corrupt laws.

No one would argue that the Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States were corrupt laws. I haven’t met anyone who believes that Rosa Parks should have given up her seat on the bus even though that happened to be the law.

No one would argue that many of the laws in Nazi Germany were corrupt laws. I haven’t met anyone who felt like Corrie ten Boom, author of  The Hiding Place, shouldn’t have hidden Jewish people in her home because that was against the law.

Now, I am not saying that everyone should just send their children pell-mell to the park and leave them, or that everyone should leave their children in the car at the store.  I am saying that perhaps we should have more trust in the decision of parents to determine what is safe and what is not safe for their children.  I am saying that I think children are better off with parents who have determined it is safe to leave them in a car for 10 minutes in the winter than with an arrested parent or foster parents. And I am saying that children are better off living with parents who send them off to the neighborhood park while they run errands than with a parent in jail or with foster parents.

Many of these laws are known as “Child Endangerment Laws.” These laws are then left to the interpretation of a police officer, social worker, and judge. Leaving a child at a park could be counted as child endangerment as well as taking a child ice skating, owning a trampoline, having a dirty bathroom, giving a child candy for lunch, letting a child climb a tree, sending a child late to school over many days, or allowing a child to walk alone to the neighbor’s house. When children are being taken away from otherwise good parents because of a law that is left too open for interpretation, then that is a corrupt law.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the lady in the park stood up for the parent rather than taking action to break up his family? Would you have stood up for Rosa Parks or wished in her jail for breaking the law?

The good news is, some people are trying to help.

In my home state of Utah, State Representative LaVar Christensen, wrote and successfully passed HB 161 during the Utah legislation period. This law requires the state to provide in-home services for struggling parents and seek qualified extended family kinship placement, before pursuing foster placement. I say hurray for Utah for protecting your families. Now social workers and judges can’t just remove children from their parents without real in home evidence of abuse and a proven inability of the parent’s to change.

Citizens in other states can find a state representative or senator to sponsor a similar bill in their state legislatures. Corrupt laws can still be worked against. Good parents should not have to live in fear of having their family broken up because they allow their children to play without an adult at a neighborhood park.

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