Do we, as American parents, have the right to rear our children according to our personal religious beliefs?
From time to time, this question burns in my mind. My automatic response is a definite and emphatic “YES;” however, I find my voice growing fainter each time a parent’s rights are infringed upon by the courts.
We’ve all heard and read about this 13 year-old boy, Daniel, from Minnesota with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He and his parents have refused chemotherapy treatment and will be taken to court over their decision. This family is part of the Nemenhah Band. Apparently they adhere to American Indian beliefs and use alternate medicinal therapies.
I’m not passing judgement on the Hauser family. I’m not saying they should or should not have their son treated with conventional medicine.
I am saying that I believe it is their right as the boy’s parents to decide how their son is treated for his illness.
If that were my child, he would have chemotherapy, NO questions asked! I know from first-hand experience that it is a treatable disease with a very high success rate. One of my cousins is a Hodgkin’s disease survivor.
It is my strongest belief that if my son were sick, I should have the right to seek out any and all possible treatments to cure or at least retard his illness; however, it is my opinion that every mother should have this right no matter her beliefs.
Last time I sat in a history class, I was taught that America is the land of the free. America has historically been a place where people can go and practice religious freedom, even if their beliefs clash with modern medicine. I don’t think it’s up to the court to decide for a perfectly sane, caring, loving parent what is ‘best’ for their child.
I know a child’s life hangs in the balance of these debates and that makes me terribly sad. I realize the gravity of a decision and the eternal consequences of that one decision.
I just wonder if this should be the parent’s decision or the courts?
What do you think?
Freedom comes at a great price.