Comparing and contrasting Yoder with Ginsburg, at face value, the cases seem quite different.
After all, one deals with an Amish parent who took her children out of high school for religious reasons, and the other case deals with a Luncheonette owner who sold questionable materials to a 16-year-old boy. While each case deals with differing state laws and statutes, they come together in the effort to answer the question: how much authority does the state possess over other people’s children?
The decisions in Yoder and Ginsburg are quite conflicting. Regarding Yoder, the court decides that if your religion conflicts with your high school, then you don’t have to go. This generally puts religion before education.
In Ginsburg, the state comes out victorious and presents itself as the ultimate authority over what kind of material a 16-year-old child can see or read. This decision portrays the state as having supreme authority over parents. However, in Yoder, parents are the authority over the state and the Board. Essentially, in Yoder, the child is the victor. The state hands over its authority to the parents and loses the upper hand. In this case, the child is the victor, especially because she did not want to go to school. In the Ginsburg decision, a minor is still deemed a minor when it comes to obscenity, and the state holds onto its authority.
The point is that when we are dealing with something as important as school, and something as inconsequential as incredibly soft pornography, the court does not allow a child to look at either in a book or a Playboy. It seems almost incredulous to me. Can it be said, then, that religion comes first over education? Isn’t our country founded on the separation of church and state? The Yoder decision clearly combines the two and allows an Amish parent to pull her children from high school, although the law clearly states that you must attend school until 16 years of age. Are those Amish children now considered adults because they don’t have to obey the statute? My question is, aren’t all minors still minors, whether Amish or not? Just like the law, the answers to these questions can range in an incredibly large way. Interpretation of the statutes differs in each person or judge who reads them.
So, I don’t know how to even answer my own questions. What I do know, though, is that I believe that the state should not be able to dictate differing laws and opinions about what children can and cannot do on the basis of religion.