The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a ruling on Monday barring a Christian couple from adopting more children because they argue that the Bible condones them spanking their biological children, the Worcester Telegram reported.
Melanie and Gregory Magazu have argued that they only spanked their children in the bathroom so that they would not be humiliated. They said that the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) decision to reject their application in 2012 was “arbitrary and capricious” and infringed upon their religious rights, since they followed the proverb, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
A Worcester County Superior Court judge ruled last August that the couple’s use of corporal punishment would be harmful to prospective adoptees — many of whom are taken from abusive households — because it “could very well trigger the very trauma the placement was intended to mitigate.”
“They have to protect their kids — we get that,” Melanie Magazu said at the time. “But I think that not every family that’s spanking is an abusive family.”
The couple also said they would promise not to use the same sort of punishment against any child placed in their care, but the high court found in a unanimous decision that the DCF was right to reject their application.
“Although the department’s decision imposes a substantial burden on the Magazus’ sincerely held religious beliefs, this burden is outweighed by the department’s compelling interest in protecting the physical and emotional well-being of foster children,” the court stated.
[h/t The Friendly Atheist]