Conference weighs in on parental rights issues

Photo by Brigid Mack 

Donovan Roudabush
Staff Writer

A small group of Franciscan University of Steubenville students joined Catholics from across the country for a nonstop lineup of various speakers at a conference on parental rights Oct. 15-16 in the Gentile Gallery.

The conference doubled as the annual political science department’s Brownson/Scanlan Lecture in Politics, Law, and Religion.

The conference kicked off with a talk about the philosophical foundations of parental rights by W. Patrick Lee, Franciscan University professor of philosophy.

Patrick F. Fagan, director of the Marriage and Family Research Institute of the Catholic University of America, discussed the overall state of parental rights in the welfare state. He said the decline of the human population through contraception is particularly troubling.

“Even the word ‘marriage’ has been hijacked,” Fagan said.

Mary Rice Hasson, Kate O’Beirne fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, discussed the abuse of parental rights in the healthcare industry. She said there is too much trust in medical professionals since they generally ask for consent all the time while giving little thought.

George Ash, associate professor of graduate education and chairman of the education department, and Charles Kokiko, superintendent of Jefferson County, discussed parental rights in public schools Saturday, particularly regarding sex education in the public education system.

Allan C. Carlson, president emeritus of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, gave a talk entitled “The Weakening of the Family in America and How it has Undermined Parental Rights.”

Allison Folmar, a civil rights attorney, talked about the issues that face the minority community in regards to parental rights.

The conference was hosted by Stephen Krason, chair of the Franciscan University political science department. He concluded the conference with a talk about false child abuse allegations.

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