Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

A plan by a California lawmaker would turn parents who place a careful swat on the bottom of their little one enthralled in pursuit of pleasure during the “Terrible Twos” criminals with a record, and possibly jail time.

“It’s really awfully arrogant to try to protect my child from me,” Karen England, of the Capitol Resource Institute, told WND. “If they want to protect children, protect them from predators.”

The plan is being brought forward by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, a San Jose Democrat who has no children, England said. Specifically her proposal would prohibit parents from ever spanking their 2-year-old or 3-year-old children to correct their behavior.

Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, called it the wackiest bill of the year.

“This punish-you-if-you-spank-your-children bill is intrusive, unenforceable, and the most blatant violation of parental rights I’ve ever seen,” he said. “What’s next, jail time for parents who raise their voices at their children? We already have enough legitimate laws prohibiting physical abuse of children, and this proposal is certainly not one of them.”

“Government regulation of parents’ discipline wipes out the right of parents to raise their own children. This is wrong. God gave children to parents, not to the state,” Thomasson said.

England agreed.

“There already are safeguards in place,” she said. “There’s a difference between hitting and disciplining.”

Her concern, she said, was that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared open to the idea of intruding into people’s homes.

Lieber had said it was “pretty hard” to argue that a parent needs “to beat a child three years old or younger.”

However, family groups said it’s not an issue of being able to “beat” a child, but provide discipline.

Lieber said the bill would prohibit “any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that” with penalties of up to a year in jail.

“Appropriate spanking is not ‘beating’ or ‘abusing’ a child, which is a ridiculous and offensive comparison,” said Thomasson. “When appropriate spanking is lovingly administered, it can help a disobedient youngster to become a well-adjusted adult who respects authority.”

He noted top child development experts teach that children under 15 or 18 months shouldn’t be spanked because they don’t understand it, but appropriate spanking of rebellious children from 2-10 “is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment.”

“Assemblywoman Lieber has stated that her reason for introducing the bill is to ban ‘beating’ children. There is a distinct, obvious difference between beating and spanking,” said Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute. “Beating is abuse generated by anger and frustration – it is already illegal to beat children.”

Brad Dacus, of the Pacific Justice Institute, called it yet another effort to expand the reach of government.

“Even without this proposed new law, California gives such wide latitude to Child Protective Services that decent parents often get falsely charged with child abuse,” Dacus said. “How much more if the state tries to outlaw all corporal punishment on young children?”

He said the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the fundamental rights of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children.

“Even parents and experts who do not favor the use of corporal punishment have expressed alarm that the government would attempt to outlaw it. For instance, researchers at UC Berkeley’s Family Socialization Project have criticized the proposed law because it would seriously undermine parental authority,” he said.

California’s legislature in the last session turned in an aggressive effort at using the power of the state to mandate families’ behavior. Lawmakers in that session approved a series of “sexual indoctrination” bills that failed only because of gubernatorial vetoes.

The plans would have required the state Board of Education to increase sensitivity to so-called “discrimination” by providing unlimited discretion for officials to withhold state funding from schools considered out of “compliance” with those requirements.

A second plan would have integrated “tolerance training” into history and social science curriculums and started a pilot program to force a “new definition” of tolerance on students. That would require them to not only accept homosexuality but advocate for that.

The third part of the plan would have censored any school teaching materials or activities from “reflecting adversely” upon homosexuals, bisexuals or transgenders.


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