Thursday, May 26, 2005

It Starts Here, Ends Up With Burnings

As a Wiccan all my adult life, I am appalled and, frankly, frightened by the decision in a divorce decree by Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis, that prohibits both a father and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." Both parents, although now estranged, are Wiccan.

Both parents had originally protested the decision and the father, Thomas E. Jones Jr, is now appealing the decree saying:

"This was done without either of us requesting it and at the judge's whim. It is upsetting to our son that he cannot celebrate holidays with us, including Yule, which is winter solstice, and Ostara, which is the spring equinox."

It would appear that some busybody at the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights, had told the court that, because the Jone's son attends a 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.

and because of this the judge took the opportunity to inflict his own religious bigotry on the child and his parents. The Indiana Civil Liberties Union are assisting Jones with his appeal and as their director, Kenneth J. Falk, put it:

Religion comes up most frequently when there are disputes between the parents. There are lots of cases where a mom and dad are of different faiths, and they're having a tug of war over the kids. This is different: Their dispute is with the judge. When the government is attempting to tell people they're not allowed to engage in non-mainstream activities, that raises concerns.

It doesn't just raise concerns, it raises goosebumps and hackles if you are Wiccan or any other kind of pagan. If this moron made such a judgement in the UK, I suspect and hope that he would never sit on any kind of bench except maybe a park bench ever again.

If this is an example of a faith-based judiaciary, then I am a convert - bring back the fillibuster!

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