NEW YORK CITY, April 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Conservatives are outraged after MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry ran a public service announcement telling viewers of the left-leaning network that children “belong to whole communities,” not their parents. The thirty-second spot was apparently intended to promote increased spending on education, but many conservative observers objected to its collectivist, anti-family flavor.
“We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities,” Harris-Perry said in the ad. “Once we recognize it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the households, then we start making better investments.”
The ad was recorded ahead of the predicted release of President Barack Obama’s proposed budget, which is expected to contain new tax hikes to fund universal preschool for American four-year-olds.
It also comes as homeschoolers are anxiously watching the case of a homeschooling family from Germany that was granted refuge in the U.S. in 2010 because of persecution by the German government. Germany requires all children to attend state-approved schools, and has in some cases removed children from their homes or even put their parents in jail for refusing to comply.
The Obama administration is now seeking to deport the family, claiming that that “United States law has recognized the broad power of the state to compel school attendance and regulate curriculum and teacher certification,” and the “authority to prohibit or regulate homeschooling.”
“The notion that children belong to a state government rather than their own flesh and blood is the most disturbing statement made in recent political times,” media expert Angie Olszewski told Fox News.
“Melissa Harris-Perry is dead wrong. It’s unfathomable that any true American could make such a pretentious and naively ill statement. The government can’t properly run their own budgets schools and public systems. Why would anybody think they could rear children?”
Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America told CNSNews, “The encroachment on parental rights is unrelenting — from the Obama Administration to college classrooms to news desks across the country. Everyone, it seems, is hopping on the bandwagon to remove children from parental influence and let teachers, television programs, video games and cultural influences shape the minds and hearts of next generations of Americans.”
Added Crouse, “MSNBC has assumed leadership in just laying the agenda out there and exposing the plan: the left wants to expand government to the point of taking over the raising of the nation's children.”
Harris-Perry posted a response to the controversy Tuesday, calling the firestorm of criticism over the ad “hateful.” Still, she did not back down from her statements.
“What I thought was an uncontroversial comment on my desire for Americans to see children as everyone’s responsibility has created a bit of a tempest in the right’s teapot,” Harris-Perry wrote. “Allow me to double down. One thing is for sure: I have no intention of apologizing for saying that our children, all of our children, are part of more than our households, they are part of our communities and deserve to have the care, attention, resources, respect and opportunities of those communities.”
Harris-Perry then launched into a litany of sources she says helped her form her collectivist views about responsibility for children, including the pro-life movement.
“I’ll even admit that despite being an unwavering advocate for women’s reproductive rights, I have learned this lesson from some of my most sincere, ethically motivated, pro-life colleagues,” she wrote. “Those people who truly believe that the potential life inherent in a fetus is equivalent to the actualized life of an infant have argued that the community has a distinct interest in children no matter what the mother’s and father’s interests or needs. So while we come down on different sides of the choice issue, we agree that kids are not the property of their parents.”
In an article for RealClearPolitics, conservative writer Rich Lowry offered his take on the left’s objection to family-centered child-rearing and education. “As the ultimate private institution,” he wrote, “the family is a stubborn obstacle to the great collective effort. Insofar as people invest in their own families, they’re holding out on the state and unacceptably privileging their own kids over the children of others.”
Added Lowry, “The truth is that parents are one of society’s most incorrigible sources of inequality. If you have two of them who stay married and are invested in your upbringing, you’ve hit life’s lottery. You’ll reap untold benefits denied to children who aren’t so lucky.”
“That the family is so essential to the well-being of children has to be a constant source of frustration to the egalitarian statist, a reminder of the limits of his power,” Lowry continued. “If the left wants to equalize the investments in children that matter most, it should promote intact families and engaged parents, even if it means embracing shockingly old-fashioned private child-rearing.”
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