Religious privilege is more important than the lives of children, some Virginia legislators think.
A House committee is supporting omnibus legislation for greater oversight of home day care businesses in the aftermath of child fatalities in the homes of unlicensed providers, including the death of a 1-year-old Chesterfield County boy in a fire last fall. …
In addition to the licensing threshold [which lowers the number of children that home day care providers may take under their wing without obtaining a license], the omnibus bill would require fingerprint background checks for licensed day care centers and home providers, but not unlicensed providers and those with a religious exemption, who would be subject only to a name background check as they are now.
Now ponder this:
The need for a national fingerprint check was underscored by Ely Lafkin, a Rockingham County resident whose 12-week-old daughter, Camden, suffocated in an adult bed at the home of a provider who had a criminal record that was hidden from the name background check by five aliases.
So a name background check was useless in that case. Only the fingerprint of the provider would have revealed the risk to Camden and other children.
It’s unclear from the story why the state of Virginia would give an exemption to religious applicants. I guess that either the legislators believe that people of faith couldn’t possibly harm children, or that it’s a nod to the superstitions of one particularly dim set of Christians who think that fingerprints or biometric scans secretly imprint the Mark of the Beast.
Regardless, the interests of children, whom this was supposed to be all about, are now taking a backseat to accommodating the religious.
At least 54 children have died in home-based day cares in Virginia over the past ten years.
(Image via Shutterstock)