Friday, May 27, 2005

Parents prohibited from exposing their child to their own religion

It happens. . . couples divorce and in the midst of a custody battle, arguments over which of the parents religious beliefs can/can't be taught to their child. This, however, is not one of those cases. When Tammie Bristol & Thomas Jones, Jr. divorced last year, the Marion County (Indiana) Judge who issued the divorce decree included an order that prohibits them from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The twist in the case is that both parents are practicing Wiccans and agree they want to raise their 9-year old son in their religion. Despite the couple's vehement objections to the order, Marion Superior Court Chief Justice Cale J. Bradford issued the order based on the a Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau report which indicated the child attends a local Catholic school.
"There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones' lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages," the bureau said in its report.
Mr. Jones himself attending Catholic school growing up despite not being Christian and disputes the bureau reports concerns. Aside from the fact this is an outrageous example of judicial activism, if there was concern about inconsistency between religious views taught at home and school, shouldn't the issue have been raised with the parents and, if determined to be a legitimate issue, wouldn't the most logical step be to advise the parents to reconsider sending their child to Catholic school? I guess Scalia, Santorum, et. al. will soon be telling us that if we read the First Amendment of the Constitution literally, we'll see the freedom of expression is only [Christian] denomination neutral but does not apply to other religions.

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