Deciding how to raise a child is an incredibly personal choice, one that can often be at odds even with what 'experts' recommend.
In their efforts to become foster parents, one Massachusetts couple has been locked in a years-long battle after being turned down because they spank their biological children.
On Thursday, the couple took their fight to Massachusetts's highest court, Fox 25 reports, claiming their choice to spank can't be discriminated against, as it stems from their Christian beliefs.
It was 2012 when Greg and Melanie Magazu — who currently have two biological daughters and a newborn son — first applied to become foster parents. As they told CBSBoston, things were looking great after a social worker told the Magazus during their in-home interview that the were “wonderful parents.”
But that all changed when the topic of spanking came up, as Greg describes:
“As soon as we got to the spanking question, it was like ‘Oh. You spank your children? Well, you need to stop doing that.’ And when we said we weren’t going to stop doing that they said ‘No kids for you.’”
For Greg and Melanie — who was sent to the foster care system herself at the age of 11 after suffering an abusive childhood — the choice to spank is never driven by anger.
Instead, the Magazus say the act “always begin[s] with a chat about the reason and end[s] with a hug,” and is inspired by their faith.
Their attorney, David Bodaza, told WCVB:
"The Hebrew and Christian scriptures tell us whoever spares the rod hates his son, but whoever loves him is diligent to discipline him.
“[The Department of Children and Families] is saying that Christians and Jews need not apply.”
The Magazus also point to their own well-adjusted children as proof of their good parenting.
Though spanking is legal in Massachusetts, the state's point of view is still clear, as “any type of corporal punishment in the home could have a bad effect on foster children placed there,” Fox25 reports.
After presenting their case yesterday in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Magazus hope that the forthcoming decision “will open the door for other Christian couples to become foster parents – folks who might have been screened out before.”