Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why folks oppose the religious right


An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion...

The parents' Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford's attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones' son 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.

But Jones, 37, Indianapolis, disputes the bureau's findings, saying he attended Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis as a non-Christian.

Really, this judge hasn't a clue as to what goes on in the minds of kids who actually go to Catholic schools, or how they teach.

At least when I went to one, they were pretty open in discussion about other belief systems; but regardless, if the parents can't expose their kids to a variety of thought about who they are and why there here and what they should do, what kind of parents are they?

While I have my own issues with Wicca, I would no more deny anyone the right to practice it than I would deny Christians the right to pray to the Christian deity.

I sent my pre-schooler to an Christian pre-school for a few months until my wife finally realized that the Montessori school was better as a pre-school, and therefore was worth the higher tuition. I don't regret my son's exposure there; and am fascinated by how he responded to being raised in a Buddhist household and what he experienced there. People have to respond sooner or later to this: people have different religious practices or none at all. The alternative is to deny everyone the right to have this response, and that's simply a denial of human experience.

HT: Atrios.

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