“Children are an inheritance from the Lord,” says the Psalmist. They are a precious gift from God. Parents’ concern for children should come ahead of career success, personal satisfaction, or their own personal desires.
Contemporary America unfortunately tends to forget that children are a trust from the Lord. Numerous new problems have emerged, including a new wave of selfish materialism. Child abuse and neglect are increasing. Households headed by single parents are faced with added stress. Children are often used as pawns in custody battles. Social trends and economic needs require millions of mothers to enter the work force resulting in their children being reared by care-providers rather than by loving and responsible parents.
Christians understand that children need a close, loving and sustained relationship with their parents. The best providers of child care are loving parents for whom the care of their children in the home is the most important career. Nonetheless, child care outside the home has become a way of life for many American families. As a result, pressure is growing for the federal government and other governmental agencies to support institutionalized child-care services for working mothers. However, we see serious problems. Governmental involvement in the field of childcare has the potential to undermine the nurturing of children while appearing to solve the child-care problem.
Believing that parents have the prime, God-given responsibility for child care, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) calls upon the Christian community to support those governmental measures that embody the following principles:
- The federal government and other governmental agencies should leave to parents the choice of how to care for their children — to care for them at home, to entrust them to family or friends, or to make any other arrangements they believe appropriate. Parents, not government, should decide what is best for their children.
- The federal government and other governmental agencies should concentrate any child-care assistance in the form of tax credits to lower-income families with younger children, not grants to providers of child-care services. Tax credits should not discriminate against women who choose to work in the home.
- The federal government and other governmental agencies should not establish credentials or guidelines for the provision of child care that would favor secularized child care. Parents who believe in religiously-oriented care for their children should not suffer discrimination.