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"When the state unjustly usurps the educational authority of parents, it harms the common good."

Princeton researcher Melissa Moschella has defended in a seminar organized by the ICS that the right of parents to educate their children cannot be replaced by the state.

20/03/13 16:37 Isabel Teixeira de Mota
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Melissa Moschella at ICS PHOTO:

Should governments force parents (especially those of economic status leave and without alternative) to send their children to classes that may contradict their religious or moral values in matters of privacy or conduct staff?

In a seminar conducted at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at the University, researcher Melissa Moschella has argued that coercive state action at subject of Education of children is a violation of parental rights. " When the State unjustly usurps the educational authority of parents, it harms the common good by violating the right they have to fulfill their obligations to agreement with the dictates of their conscience, in addition to harming children," stressed the Princeton University (USA) researcher.

Moschella spoke at the international seminar on Natural Law and Rationality internship, organized by ICS and the Social Trends Institute, where he presented a discussion paper on the limits of coercive state intervention at Education from a natural law perspective.

For Melissa Moschella, governments should respect and protect the rights of parents such as those they defend by proclaiming freedom of religion. "The very staff and serious nature of the exercise of religion is comparable to the obligation parents have on their children's Education ," she says. "If the State were to say: you are not allowed to go to Mass on Sundays, but I will send a pious expert in your place, one would not accept it because it is an obligation staff. It is the same with the right of parents to educate their children. The State can help parents in their educational task, but it cannot coerce them to let their children be taught things that the parents think may be harmful, because this is a parental responsibility."

The reason why these rights are considered something special, the researcher continues, "is that they are not only a right to act agreement with some preferences, but a right to comply with an obligation; and obligations are not the same as preferences".

His central argument is that "parents have primary, pre-political Education authority over children because of their staff relationship to children and the special obligations that flow from that relationship."

For the researcher, the distinction between preferences and obligations "is completely lost in the language of liberalism, which reduces everything to preferences, autonomy and maximum freedom of choice, while obligation (the duty to be at the risk of losing integrity) disappears".

Contrary to this idea, Melissa Moschella defends that"it is necessary to recover that area of distinction between preferences and obligations, and to determine the subject of protections to be given to the conscience and integrity of the person in relation to the fulfillment of his or her obligations".

Sherif Girgis, PhD student at Philosophy from Princeton University, participated in the seminar with a discussion paper on "Natural Law and the Substance of Marriage". A text of his on this topic ("What is marriage?", co-authored with Robert George and Ryan Anderson, published in 2010), became the most consulted article of the year in the Social Science Research Network.

Organized under the direction of Alejandro Vigo Pacheco, researcher of the ICS, the seminar also counted with the intervention of Craig Iffland (University of Notre Dame) entitled "Natural Law and the ethics of killing", and the interventions of Matthew O'Brien (Villanova University) and Daniel Doyle (University of Navarra). The first with the discussion paper "Natural Law and liberalism" and the second "Natural Law: the classical approach".