Monday, April 05, 2010

The state as god

The religious landscape in Sweden has shifted radically in the last century.

What used to be a Lutheran country has become a radicalized society of so-called humanists who seem, in reality, to hold humanity in contempt. A brutal and severe religion of atheism, socialism, and feminism - carried out by force of the state - has taken the place of Christianity and has displaced the former's emphasis on the sanctity of life, of individual liberty, and of the duties of government officials to behave ethically and with restraint.

When the state becomes god, there is no longer any check on its power. If we have learned nothing from the 20th century, everyone on the planet ought to understand that there is nothing more ominous than an omnipotent state.

I think there are sobering lessons for in Scandinavia's experience with a shifting culture and rapidly changing religious landscape. Much of the rest of Europe is headed in the same direction, and I believe the U.S. is on a similar trajectory. As an aside, and as a word of hope amid the gloom, Christianity is not dead in Sweden. There is a faithful remnant of the Church of Sweden that continues to thrive - even against the grain - in pockets throughout Sweden. There is a similar heroic Christian resistance all across Scandinavia.

When the people of a civilized society turn away from God, they replace their religious devotion with the service of a god that does not respect individual freedom nor see the natural family as inviolate. In our day and age, that god is often the state. Many of these fights between the Church and Caesar are being waged on the battlefield of education. Do parents ultimately have this authority, or is this within the sphere of the state? Do parents grant teachers a temporary authority to act in loco parentis to educate their children, or does the state grant a temporary authority to parents to raise their citizens?

Unfortunately, when the government is god, children are wards of the state first, sons and daughters second. This leads to the extraordinary belief that it is profitable for children to be taken from their families to be raised by strangers in the name of the state - even to the point of arresting them on their way to leave the country and breaking up families for years! This is not the stuff of dystopian literature, but rather current events in the lives of real people around the world - even in the United States.

The following article appeared in the Home School Court Report of the HSLDA, Vol XXVI No. 1. I could only find it online cached here (reproduced below). Here is an additional report from the Johannsson family.

"State-Napping Exemplifies" UN Treaty’s Dramatic Potential

Seven-year-old homeschooler Dominic Johansson and his family were sitting on an airplane on June 25, 2009, ready to leave Sweden to start a new life in Mrs.

Dominic Johansson
Courtesy of the family
Dominic Johansson in happier times.
Johansson’s native country of India. Without a warrant—or even any accusation of crime—Swedish police officers under the direction of local social workers boarded and took Dominic from the plane and from his parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Johansson are facing this simply because they decided to homeschool their son. Local officials said that the action to intervene in this family was intended to guarantee Dominic’s right to an education. The Johanssons have been separated from their son since June, only being allowed to visit with him under supervised conditions for an hour or so every 3–5 weeks.


Just as disturbing is Swedish Embassy official Stig Berglind’s appeal to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in defense of the local Swedish authority’s actions.

Mr. Berglind noted in his response to a letter from Home School Legal Defense Association President Mike Smith that the CRC requires that a child’s best interests and the child’s “right to be heard” be “obvious starting points in all actions concerning children in social services.” However, Mr. Berglind and Gotland’s officials apparently ignored the fact that the convention also notes that children have a right to be with their parents as a family, and that separation is a serious act to be used only as a last resort. This action in light of an incredible proposal within the Swedish parliament to allow homeschooling only under “extraordinary circumstances” (essentially banning home education) is of grave concern and is part of a troubling trend in some European countries to restrict homeschooling.

Courtesy of the family
Dominic Johansson and his mother in early 2009: Little did they know their family would soon be fighting for custody of Dominic because of their decision to homeschool.

The inhuman treatment of this family by a so-called Western civilized nation is indefensible. HSLDA calls on Swedish officials to return Dominic to his parents. To find out how you can help the Johansson family, go to

Although the United States has not ratified the CRC, the Obama administration is looking to submit this treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification in the near future. The Johanssons’ story graphically illustrates how the CRC would endanger parental rights. Visit to learn how the passage of a Parental Rights Amendment would help to preserve your rights as parents.

— by Michael P. Donnelly

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