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The Federal Bureau of Marriage?

Liberty Magazine, July 2003
The Federal Bureau of Marriage?
by Stephen Baskerville

Innocence Is No Excuse

The potential for family therapy to become coerced psychotherapy is realized in the divorce regime's domestic-violence arm. There is evidence that custody, rather than violence, is the main thrust behind the exponential growth of this authoritarian power.

A judge quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal calls that state's domestic violence law "probably the most abused piece of legislation that comes to my mind." Massachusetts attorney Gregory Hession agrees: "The restraining order law is one of the most unconstitutional acts ever passed. A court can issue an order that boots you out of your house, never lets you see your children again, and takes your money, all without you even knowing that a hearing took place." So routine are knowingly false accusations that mothers now report being pressured into making them. Heidi Howard and Nev Moore were ordered by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services to take out restraining orders against their husbands, whom they insisted had not been violent, and attend battered women's classes, though they were not battered women. When they refused, DSS seized their children.

Government therapy that claims to be strengthening marriages can thus be used to destroy them and to institutionalize family members who resist. Fathers accused of no violence are ordered into anger management and batterers' education programs, replete with forced confessions reminiscent of Stalinism. Under a Massachusetts program called Common Purpose, a judge ordered a minister to attend batterers' therapy, which required a confession. When the minister refused, he was jailed for six months.

A Pennsylvania father against whom no evidence of violence was introduced had his daughter seized by sheriffs deputies and was ordered to attend a class called "Men Who Abuse." He said, "I was told that I had to admit to being an abuser. When I refused, I was told that I would be kicked out of the class and charged with contempt and probably put in jail. So this means I have to lie and admit to something that I did not do. I have been told by other men who have been through this in this county that it will be useless to try to defend myself because It will just make It worse."

Child protection is a federally funded apparatus in which therapy and law enforcement eclipse due process. "Although spoken of in terms of social services," writes sociologist Susan Orr, "the child-protection function of child welfare is essentially a police action." Orr calls child protection "the most intrusive arm of social services," because it can confiscate children. Yet because the parents are seldom charged criminally, they cannot defend themselves in proceedings that are often secret and without record.

"The child protection system is built upon the notion that child maltreatment is remediable with the right therapeutic treatment," Orr writes. "By forsaking the courts of criminal law, in which determinations of justice and injustice are made and punishments meted out, child welfare agencies took on the much larger task of attempting to heal family members."

Next Part: Deadbeat Dads
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This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue of Liberty, PO Box 1181, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Annual subscription US$29.50. Copyright 2003, Liberty, all rights reserved.

Index to more of Stephen Baskerville's articles

Stephen Baskerville's website

See also:

Feminism For Male College Students A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry Harry (Off-Site)

whiterose.gif (6796 bytes)The White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2003 07 08
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)