by Autumn Leva
I’ve always loved talking with my husband, but one thing that’s surprised me most in our eight-month-long marriage is how much there is to talk about — from lively discussions over the household budget to negotiations over who washes the dinner dishes to choosing a home church. Since we’re both lawyers, that probably contributes to the length of our conversations.
We talk about kids fairly regularly — and if we were to forget to discuss this, my in-laws helpfully remind us. We wonder whether our kids will love football as much as my husband — or if they’ll defy us both and choose baseball. But mostly we talk about our deep desire for our kids to follow God and to love Jesus.
But you know what kid-related topic never has come up? We’ve never discussed what we would do if the state took our kids away.
It turns out this is something we, and other Christian parents and future parents, need to discuss. Up in Canada, the Ontario Legislature just passed a law (with minimal opposition) that would allow child protective services and judges to consider factors such as a child’s “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” when deciding whether to strip parents of custody.
Let me explain how this new law would play out in the real world using my husband and me as an example: Say we give birth to a baby girl whom we raise in the church, praying with her and reading her Bible stories every night. We send her off to kindergarten, and she comes home one day telling us she wishes she were a boy. My husband and I lovingly explain that God created her to be exactly who she is, that both male and female are made in His image, reflecting His nature. Our daughter returns to school and informs her teacher we won’t let her dress or act like a boy. From there, the state takes over, questions my husband and me about our faith, and removes her from our home. We then enter into a long legal battle to regain custody of our child.
For anyone who may be thinking “that’s just Canada,” this is already being discussed in the U.S. For example, the Massachusetts Legislature has a bill (SB 62) that would put counselors at risk of losing their licenses for helping a little girl understand how God has fearfully and wonderfully made her female (and not male), and, even worse, would label parents as “child abusers” when they affirm their little girl’s wishes to seek counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender-identity issues.
The most haunting quote I’ve seen from Canada about their new law was directed at the Catholic Church: “Why has the most powerful spiritual body in this province, (the Church), not lifted a finger nor raised a voice to oppose this tyranny against Christian families, and those from other faiths? The lack of spiritual leadership is killing us… We hear nothing but silence from the Church. This has to stop.” (emphasis added)
We’ve reached a place where parents have to think about what to do if our government labels us “child abusers,” because of our faith, and takes away our kids. No parent should have to worry about this. Churches may be nervous or unsure about wading into political issues, but surely when Christian parents are at risk of losing the right to parent according to their faith, the time has come for churches to reclaim their bright lights and saltiness.
May we as believers in the Only One True God never be accused of being silent here in America.
If you and your church are ready to flood a thirsty culture with the Living Water, Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family policy groups are ready and eager to help! Our Alliance can make sure you have the latest news on what policies, like the one in Massachusetts, that may affect your family in your state. We’d love to help train you and your church how to be salt and light on the “mission field” of your state capitol. And, if you feel called, we can even get you training in how to talk to the media and testify before the legislature.
Please let us know how we can help at firstname.lastname@example.org!