Poor Katie Wernecke. The thirteen-year-old Texas girl was recently made a ward of the state. In addition, she also has Hodgkin’s disease. I am not sure which is worse, a disease that ravages your body or a government that decides to protect you.
Katie was taken from her parents, who had some reservations about continuing her radiation treatments. Judge Carl Lewis ruled she would remain in state custody pending another hearing late next month. Katie pleaded that she be returned to her parents, but to no avail. Her parents said their position was misunderstood; apparently they were not aware they had to justify their actions to doctors or the state of Texas.
Webster’s dictionary defines ward, in this usage, as “a person or thing under guard, protection, or surveillance.” Three types of wards are defined:
“a: a minor subject to wardship”
Examples of this would be the old custom of noble orphans becoming royal wards or Robin as the ward of Bruce Wayne (Batman).
“b: a person who by reason of incapacity (as minority or lunacy) is under the protection of a court either directly or through a guardian appointed by the court — called also a ward of the court”
This is poor Katie’s current status. Her parents are ignored, so her age is used as the state’s rationale for acting on her behalf. In Katie’s case, the “protection” of the court is to deprive her of her parents. Imagine the trauma of dealing with cancer without your family.
“c: a person or body of persons under the protection or tutelage of a government”
It seems most all of us fall under this type of wardship. One level of government or another is always trying to protect us from ourselves or act as our guardian or guiding influence.
Katie Wernecke is not the only one who is under the tutelage of the state to insure “better” health. Our government designates how many shots children must have and at what intervals. It says not only that children will wear car seats, but what type and for how long. It takes money from tobacco companies, who sell tobacco to people who choose to smoke, in order to tell people they should not smoke. It tells us what we should eat and in what quantities (just read the back of any food product). Unfortunately the state feels no compulsion to act as a guard or protector of the millions of children who are aborted each year.
We are wards of the state if we let it educate us. Not too surprisingly, children who get their education as wards of the state schools tend to be convinced the government’s purpose is a benign one. The state also educates us with millions of dollars worth of billboards, TV, and print ads.
As wards of the state, we let it control our lives. We obediently submit to its directives on how we can be more responsible. It tells us how we can and cannot use our cell phones, how we can use our land, how many smoke detectors we must have, and that we must always wear a seat belt. No wonder we call it the “nanny state.” Nag, nag, nag.
Unfortunately, the state never allows its wards to reach an age of maturity. We never are able to tell the state we are on our own. We are perpetual wards of the state, perpetual children of the nanny state.
There is some benefit to growing old as wards of the state, however. The state gives us retirement income. Of course, it does not give us our income that it saved and invested. You see, it spent that years ago. One of the advantages to being a conservator of a ward is you get to play fast and loose with the ward’s wealth. Who is to stop it?
The state keeps us all as wards because that’s what government always tends toward — increasing its power. It does this by controlling us to control wealth. It taxes us directly. It taxes us indirectly, which makes prices we pay rise. It controls our property without compensation, and when it still wants more, it prints paper money and demands that we accept it.
I pray young Katie survives her cancer and can free herself from state wardship. I hope the same for the rest of us.
- Mark R. Rushdoony
Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.
He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.
In 1998, he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at www.chalcedon.edu.
He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.
Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 43 years with his wife of 45 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.