Family, Slavery, & the Church

Examining the Associations between Sustainable Development Population Policies and Human Trafficking illustrates that family restoration is one of the best solutions to modern day slavery.  But what has been the most influential institution in resisting slavery?  This guest post by Regent Law 2016 graduate Joseph A. Kohm, III details exactly how that has happened….

Slavery’s Undefeated Enemy: The Church
Contrary to modern narratives, the church collective (Catholic, then Catholic and Protestant together) has rejected institutionalized slavery not once, not twice, but three times since the resurrection of Christ. (I am not including Saint Paul’s references to slavery in the Roman Empire as that existed before the church.) First in the Middle Ages, then in the trans-Atlantic and American trade, and today in the modern sex slavery trafficking industry the church has opposed institutionalized slavery in both word and deed – and it has never lost that battle.

Before serfdom (and the modern misconceptions about it), medieval monarchs and lords made a regular process of enslaving anyone they conquered; it was a standard law of medieval warfare. But as the Middle Ages progressed, we see institutionalized slavery slowly grind to a halt and then cease altogether before the high Middle Ages because the church so vigorously opposed it with its words, proclamations, and its (then) considerable powers of excommunication and papal interdict. Score: Church 1, Slavery 0.

A few hundred years later, the church and its constituents rallied again to combat the evil and heresy of colonial slavery. It is worth mentioning that this is an issue that has historically united Catholics and Protestants and should be used for that purpose again today. Both sides of the church, especially the manpower of its constituents, fought tirelessly through the institutionalized sin nature of “wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces” to eliminate the slave trade, first in England (led by William Wilberforce) and then in America through the abolitionist Republicans. While it is true that southern ministers generally misinterpreted scripture to heretically support slavery, the interpretations of northern and black ministers to condemn it was then (outside the southern United States) and is now universally considered proper Biblical doctrine. We all know how things turned out: Church 2, Slavery 0.

Modern slavery is significantly different and, I would argue, even worse than it has ever been. While slave labor trafficking is still lucrative, sexual slavery trafficking has made slavery infinitely more lucrative and widespread than it has ever been. Instead of being driven by the sin nature of reaping the rewards of another person’s work, slavery is now primarily driven by unrestrained sexual appetite and expression, which inevitably leads to the breakdown of the family. But once again, at the forefront of the battle against this great evil is the church. The largest nonprofits working against slavery are Christian: A21, International Justice Mission, and Operation Underground Railroad to name just a few. Unfortunately, the church has lost much of the influence over society that it had in the previous two cases we discussed. We can only hope that governments around the world will see the wisdom in ending sexual slavery and restoring the family so that humanity’s, not just the church’s, collective record against slavery can reach 3-0.


State Public Policy and the Best Interests of the Child

Last week Focus on the Family was the sight of the Statesman Academy and the Public Policy Conference of the Family Policy Alliance in Colorado Springs, CO.  2011 Regent Law graduate Autumn Leva Stroup directs the efforts of the Family Policy Alliance with family policy lobbyists around the nation. 

Presenting the concepts of the best interests of the child in the context of state public policy was a great opportunity, as every state in the nation is working to protect children with legislation, education, and in families. 

The Conference was packed in attendance by heroes of our time – those who work tirelessly to protect children and families around the country from their own state capitols.  Regent Law is proudly a leader in this effort.

  From left: Colin Stroup, Autumn Stroup, Me, Joseph Kohm
If you are interested in learning how your state treats children and their best interests you can find your state code here:
50 State Codes on the Best Interests of the Child:

Alabama Code of Ala. § 12-15-139 and Code of Ala. § 12-15-142

Alaska AS § 25.20.060

Arizona A.R.S. § 25-403

Arkansas A.C.A. § 9-27-102 and A.C.A. § 9-28-104 and A.C.A. § 9-13-101

California CA Fam  § 3011

Colorado C.R.S.A. § 14-10-124

Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-56

Delaware 13 Del. C. § 722
District of Columbia DC ST  § 16-914

Florida Fla. Stat. § 39.810

Georgia Ga. Code Ann. , § 19-91

Hawaii HRS § 571-46

Idaho I.C. § 32-717

Illinois 750 ILCS 5/602

Indiana IC 31-17-2-8

Iowa ICA § 598.41

Kansas K.S.A. 23-3203

Kentucky KRS  § 403.270

Louisiana LSA-C.C.Art.134

Maine 19-A M.R.S.A. § 1651

Maryland Fam. § 5-203, 9-102

Massachusetts M.G.L.A. 208 § 19

Michigan MCLS § 722.23

Minnesota Minn. Stat. § 260C.511

Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-24

Missouri V.A.M.S. 452.375

Montana MCA 40-4-212

Nebraska R.R.S. Neb. § 43-2923, Neb. Rev. St. § 42-364

Nevada N.R.S. 125.480

New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. § 461-A:6

New Jersey N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 and 9:2-4c

New Mexico N.M.S.A. 1978, § 40-4-9

New York McKinney’s DRL § 240

North Carolina   § 50-11.2

North Dakota NDCC, 14-09-06:2

Ohio R.C. § 3109.04

Oklahoma: 43 Okl.St.Ann. § 112

Oregon: O.R.S. § 107.137

Pennsylvania:  Tit. 23 § 5301

Rhode Island:  Gen.Laws 1956, § 15-5-16

South Carolina: S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-240, S.C. Code Ann. § 63-11-530

South Dakota: S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-5

Tennessee: T.C.A. § 36-6-101

Texas: Fam. 153.005

Utah: U.C.A. 1953  § 30-3-10

Vermont: 15 V.S.A. § 665

Virginia: Va. Code Ann. § 20-124.3 and Va. Code Ann. § 63.2-1205

Washington: Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 13.34.115

West Virginia: W. Va. Code § 48-9-102

Wisconsin: W.S.A. 767.41

Wyoming: W.S.1977  § 20-2-201

The best interests of the child are protected by parents, whose rights to do so are constitutionally protected by the United States.


The Tragedy of Charlie Gard

With great sadness, the health, welfare, and best interests of baby Charlie Gard were not allowed to be protected by his parents.  Rather, the state determined, right to the end, what was best for Charlie. 
The lethal combination of an international standard giving state actors precedence over parents (see Suffer the Little Children: How the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Has Not Supported Children ) combined with government health care effectively removed Charlie’s parents from his care and protection. 
This sad tragedy is discussed further in depth at The Legal Significance of the Natural Affection of Charlie Gard's Parents drafted by Prof. Louis Hensler, who surveys the importance of the concept of the natural affection of parents for their children in American law.  He also explores the significance of the possible ongoing shift in the perceived basis of this natural affection from an understanding that natural affection is given by God to consideration of the possibility that there is no such thing as natural affection at all, with particular attention to the case of Charlie Gard. Having presented this concept of natural affections at Pepperdine Law School’s Nootbaar Institute this past spring, Prof. Hensler has been watching and applying his ideas to the Charlie Gard conflict.  You will find his ideas most interesting.
Tracing the Foundations of the Best Interest of the Child Standard in American Jurisprudence reveals the great differences between the rights and duties of parents toward children in American law versus those around the world.  While the Gard family’s opportunity for restoration with their now deceased son here on earth is ended, they still need our prayers, for now, and toward complete restoration in eternity.


No Best Interests for Life of Charlie Gard

The life of UK baby Charlie Gard has been ordered by three courts to be terminated, despite all the efforts of his parents to save him.   

Should a child not be allowed to live because he or she has a rare disease? The international Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) guarantees in its language that a child has a right to life, but when that right was tested in two separate English courts and then in the International Court of Human Rights, legal protection for Charlie was denied by all.  His parents have fought the national and international judiciary and the medical community unsuccessfully to protect his life.  He is ordered to die in defiance of their wishes, and his right.  Read the National review summary of the case here.

In the United States parents and courts are legally required to protect the best interests of every child.  Charlie's parents are being denied the opportunity to do that by the very legal system that should be supporting them in that effort.