I was riffling the other day through a compendium of writings from colonial times, and came upon an early constitution, I believe from Maryland, outlining capital crimes. Murder, obviously, was a capital crime, as was what we'd call voluntary manslaughter. Then there was "stealing a man," which meant, evidently, stealing a human being, or what we'd call kidnapping. That too was a capital crime. I'm not sure that capital punishment is a prudent sentence for a kidnapper, simply because, if he has nothing to lose, he might just murder his victim anyway to cover up the crime. But I hardly think that it is an excessive punishment, if we imagine the horror the crime causes to the loved ones.
So that has made me think of the battle that is before us as Christians, who believe in the holiness of the family, and its priority to the state. For not all religionists believe in such priority. I've been following the details of a state-sanctioned kidnapping in a non-Christian nation. It seems that a young Christian couple decided that they did not want to send their son to the state school. They fought matters out with the local school authorities, were harassed by them, subjected to daily fines, and haled before judges. Finally, since one side of the family lived in another country, they decided they would simply move there. It should be noted that they were violating no law, but non-Christian nations of a certain sort seem to have unwritten "laws" that trump laws that are actually on the books, so that they can boast that they support "freedom of religion," let us say while their ambassadors are hobnobbing at the UN, but the reality on the home ground is actually quite different.
One would think that their decision to emigrate would settle the issue. But then one would be underestimating how implacable the opposing religion is. The Christian family had boarded a plane to fly to the mother's home country, when officials arrived before the plane took off, seized the boy, and put him in the custody of government-approved foster parents. This, without a single charge of any crime, and without a single piece of evidence that the boy was anything but happy and confident. The officials, of course, drummed up "justification" for the kidnapping, noting that the boy had two cavities that were untreated, in baby teeth. When I was a kid, I had cavities in baby teeth now and then, and I will wager that so had every one of the kidnappers.
The boy has now been living away from his mother and father for more than a year. I believe that everyone involved in this kidnapping deserves to spend time behind bars — a lot of time. You can read about the case here.
It is an example of distilled evil. Burke wrote that there is nothing in nature so purely evil as the heart of a metaphysician, by which he did not mean the heart of someone who studies the meaning of cause and effect, and what "being" is, but an ideologue, one who applies a single idea, with relentless certitude, with mechanical or mathematical inexorability, to every human affair and all human conditions. This is a case of such pure evil. It does not palliate the evil that it is committed for the sake of the state religion.