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To Those Who Defend Family Court Decisions That Discriminate Based on Parents' Religion:

I've seen quite a few defenses of the anti-pagan-parent decision along the lines that the best interests of the child should trump constitutional considerations, that parents should be free to believe what they will but shouldn't be free to expose their children to it, and the like. I discuss this in considerable detail in my article, especially Part II.B, PDF pages 53-81. But for now, let me ask you what you'd think of this hypothetical decision:

One factor we count in favor of awarding custody to the father is that mother is a devout Christian, who takes the view that sex before marriage is immoral, that homosexuality is immoral, and that people who don't accept her so-called Savior are going to end up eternally damned. Moreover, mother not only practices this in private, but expresses her views in ways that the child will surely learn about, for instance by going to Christian churches in public places, and discussing her religion online where she has two to four websites of so-called "blogs." And we have reason to think that as the child gets older, mother will actually try to teach these views to the child.

In our view, such teachings are distinctly against the child's best interests. We believe that they may cause unnecessary psychological suffering during adolescence, especially if the child finds himself sexually interested in the same sex. The fear of eternal damnation -- both for the child and for the child's love ones -- strikes us as especially likely to cause needless suffering, especially since it seems to be entirely lacking in any factual evidence.

Finally, we would be remiss in ignoring that the mother's views are decidedly out of step with the views of the diverse yet oddly ideologically homogeneous City and County in which we live. If the child adopts such views, the child may find himself having a hard time interacting in productive and nondiscriminatory ways with his neighbors, whether they are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, heterosexual but engaged in premarital sex, non-Christian, or just simply tolerant and open-minded. It is therefore clear to us that it is, all things being equal (or even nearly equal), far better for the child to be raised by the agnostic father than by the Christian mother.

A few possible answers:

1. This decision, as well as a decision discriminating against pagan, atheist, less religious, racist, Communist, unpatriotic, hyperpatriotic, etc. parents, would violate the First Amendment, because (at least absent some evidence that the teaching are likely to lead to serious and imminent harm) a court ought not consider a parent's ideology.

2. This decision is perfectly constitutional, since the best interests of the child trump any constitutional considerations. "The issue wasn't so much that Mom was [Christian], but that she blogged about it. She has a right to her own [attitudes about sex], but the kid has some right to be free of them. There's at least an inference here that the blogging and open talk of [hostility towards certain kind of] sexuality were creeping over into the parenting sphere of this child's life."

3. This decision is mistaken, but only because the court errs in its "best interests" judgment. If it really was against the child's best interests to be raised to believe that premarital sex and homosexuality is wrong, and that non-Christians will go to hell, the decision would be entirely proper. A judge who believes that being raised Christian (or this kind of Christian) is against the child's best interests should rule exactly the way this hypothetical judge did. Likewise, an appellate judge who agrees (or who thinks this finding isn't clearly erroneous) should affirm the ruling. I just think that judges should take a different view of the facts, and rule the other way because of that.

4. This decision is unconstitutional, but a decision discriminating against pagan, atheist, less religious, racist, Communist, unpatriotic, hyperpatriotic, etc. parents would be constitutional, because [please explain why].

JunkYardLawDog (mail):
There is also answer 5. The parties when they got married were both committed anti-christian bigots who found a common bond in hatred of Christianity. They wanted to have children and raise those children as anti-chritian bigots, but then mom became a christian after little Johnny was born and the result was this divorce. Given that all other factors between the parents are equal and do not favor custody in one parent or the other, then the court awards custody to the father because to do otherwise would deny one of the basic purposes of the marriage at the time the marriage was contracted between the parties.

Then you can apply the same logic to the Pagan, whore, mother. The parties got married and promised to be faithful to each other and to cleave only to the other and to love, honor, and cherish the other. At the time of the marriage they wanted children and to impart these bigoted values to those children. Then mommy decided she wanted to exercise her constitutional right to [be unfaithful [gratutious vulgarity deleted -EV]] and to howl at the moon nude and post pictures of it on her pagan website and the result was the instant divorce.

Custody is awarded to father because to do otherwise would deny several of the basic provisions of the marriage contract entered into by these parties at the time of their marriage.

I also like your answer number 4, and the rationale supporting number 4 is.... well duh.....slapping forehead.

Says the "Dog"
8.2.2007 5:56pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
4, because that's what the Founders would say.
8.2.2007 6:03pm
political correctness getting out of control:
2. The decision is constitutional. Unwise, perhaps, but constitutional. If the mother has a problem with the default rule that gives the judge the right to decide what is in the child's best interests, she should (1) have gotten a pre-nup with her husband that the husband would not challenge her right to the child (perhaps a covenant marriage sort of deal), (2) not have moved to a place that elects judges of that persuasion, or (3) petition the legislature for redress.

I realize that (3) is, practically speaking, not an option, but just to point out that there is a legislative solution to the extent that people decide that judges are given too much lee-way to impart moral judgments. It would be an option, however, for the community in general if it considered judicial discretion to be too broad. Also, similar to that, the community should make sure that there are not judges elected/selected who make rogue decisions. If the community truly does have that level of homogeneity, the parents must acede to the state if and when they divorce if they want to live there.

These are still better options than the poor decision-making process of appellate ad hoc musing about how much religion is too much religion or when a parent can shield problematic behavior under the garb of religion or what have you.

If there is a community in which the legal landscape is so alien to one's religion and beliefs, the religious institution should be forthright in promoting covenantal marriages as part of getting married.

At any rate, this is something of an academic question, because judges can hide their reasons for making decisions under secular findings of fact anyway.
8.2.2007 6:05pm
Fco (www):
The government has a duty to protect the well being of the child. But historically the parents have always had the right to provide the child with moral/religious upbringing they see fit.

It disturbs me to see parents teaching their children to be racists, or to disrespect women. But it's their right. As long as the child is not being deprived of his necessities or abused, government should not step in. We do NOT want the government dictating what an appropiate moral/religious/philosophical upbringing parents are to provide their children.
8.2.2007 6:08pm
anonVCfan:
3
8.2.2007 6:11pm
CJColucci:
Zeus has his eye on several of you. Repent before it's too late.
8.2.2007 6:13pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Apropos of nothing, Southwick got out of committee 10-9, with Feinstein providing the flip vote.
8.2.2007 6:19pm
political correctness getting out of control:
Fco, that seems like you are raising the more general question of whether judges can make any moral decisions in custody cases, not the narrow question of whether a belief that is religious in nature must be off limits.
8.2.2007 6:25pm
Daniel San:
3. I actually see less of an Establishment problem in this case than in the Paganism case because the Court relies, not simply on the nature of the belief, but on specific ways in which the child could be affected. As to mother's right to Free Exercise, that is trumped by the best interest considerations.

The reason I give little weight to Free Exercise issues is that the case inevitably involves two parents, each with Free Exercise rights and each with Constitutional rights to control the raising of their child. The child also has rights. Best Interest must control.

I think Establishment clause analysis is more important in this context because a well-reasoned decision can consider that certain practices (or beliefs) can be shown to be in the child's best interest. However, if that showing is not clear, a preference for mainstream religion or for the judge's religion departs from being a best interest determination and becomes a judge's attempt to Establish a particular religion as true, right, and preferred.
8.2.2007 6:29pm
Steve:
Maybe it IS against the child's best interests to be raised Christian. Who knows?

But historically the parents have always had the right to provide the child with moral/religious upbringing they see fit.

And that principle remains. But in a divorce, only one parent is going to wind up as the primary caregiver, with control over the child's moral/religious upbringing. I agree that government shouldn't be deciding what sort of religious upbringing is better or worse, but still, the circumstances dictate that you have to pick one parent or the other.
8.2.2007 6:32pm
Daniel San:
Fco: It disturbs me to see parents teaching their children to be racists, or to disrespect women. But it's their right. As long as the child is not being deprived of his necessities or abused, government should not step in.

In a custody case, the government has already stepped in. I agree that the government should not step in due to the parent's ideology, but once the government is in, between parents of differing ideologies, shouldn't the court consider those ideologies? If racism is not extreme enough, how about advocacy of terrorism, or snake-handling in church, or avoidance of medical treatment?
8.2.2007 6:33pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Steve illustrates a common fallacy here:

I agree that government shouldn't be deciding what sort of religious upbringing is better or worse, but still, the circumstances dictate that you have to pick one parent or the other.

Substitute "political ideology" for "religious upbringing," and you see the problem. We have no trouble figuring out that a parent's politics, per se, should have no influence on a custody decision, even though "you have to pick one parent or the other." You just don't factor it in.

If a parent's political ideology led her to camp outside the president's ranch for months on end, a thousand miles away from the child's school, friends, and family, then that might be a legitimate factor ... but it would be the *practices* in question, and their obvious, uncontroversial effect on the child, that would factor in, not the politics.

Similarly, if the parent's religion requires her to sacrifice live puppies on her son's naked abdomen, then that might be a legitimate factor -- but not the religious beliefs per se.
8.2.2007 6:39pm
WHOI Jacket:
Or a child with Leukemia with a parent is a ChristianScience type or crystal-healer who could not be expected to provide the necessary medical care?
8.2.2007 6:41pm
political correctness getting out of control:
I agree with Daniel San. A custody court decision is unlikely to interfere with a person's free exercise. It has greater potential to violate the Establishment Clause, though even there, it's important not to regard every moral judgment as touching the third rail of religion. Cramming the appellate opinion books with ad hoc, probably biased opinions based on specious reasoning (or for ulterior motivations) creates a greater legal morass in the long run that cannot be easily untangled, if at all. You can't just redesign precedential systems, especially in constitutional law, when they become nonsensical.

We're well into that ballpark with some of our First Amendment jurisprudence already.
8.2.2007 6:42pm
Mike S.:
Might it depend on the community? I could see a big difference between a big city with wide religious diversity and a small town where everyone except the one parent attends the same Church (or coven, or whatever.) And might not how the child was raised up to this point matter? One can argue that a sudden shift in religion might not be in the best interest of the child either way. There was a case like that in the Mass SJC about 10 years ago where, if I remember correctly, continuity was the deciding factor.
8.2.2007 6:43pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Perfectly constitutional, because the judge made a tough judgment call as best he could given all the factors involved (which would include, in my book, the community where the parents lived... a good result in San Francisco might be different from a good result in Boise, Idaho). "The best interests of the child" is such a vague test that it's not really possible to quantify it sufficiently to please rigid legal theorists, so let we have to do things the old fashioned way and just let the judge exercise some good old common sense, even though such common sense may not be ideologically pure and rigidly defensible.
8.2.2007 6:45pm
Fco (www):

If racism is not extreme enough, how about advocacy of terrorism, or snake-handling in church, or avoidance of medical treatment?


Those examples involve physical danger to the child. But your point is well taken (and Steve's). It's not a matter of wether Paganism is inappropiate for a child, but which of the two options is in the child's best interest. Which the government has already been asked by the parents to decide. So maybe I knee-jerked and my previous comment doesn't really apply.

Assuming all else being equal, can the judge rule in favor of the father because he believes a christian upbringing is better? (cue the ACLU). What if it's a jewish father vs. a christian one?
8.2.2007 6:48pm
Steve P. (mail):
What if it's a jewish father vs. a christian one?

Gay parents! Now that's a whole different can o' worms. Which religion treats homosexuality the worst?
8.2.2007 6:57pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
1. Any decision that takes a child away from a fit parent based on some mumbo-jumbo "best interest" opinion of the judge ought to be unconstitutional.

I am really shocked at those here who say that subjective family court considerations trump Constitutional rights, or that parents have to forgo their Constitutional rights if they want to maintain their parental relationships with their own children after divorce.
8.2.2007 7:09pm
Steve:
We have no trouble figuring out that a parent's politics, per se, should have no influence on a custody decision, even though "you have to pick one parent or the other.

I'm going to disagree with your well-stated objection, Anderson. It's not simply an issue of the parent's political ideology, or which religion they happen to belong to. It's a question of the overt acts they commit in the course of raising the child. There's a difference between belonging to a religion, and bringing a child up in that religion.

In this case, it wasn't simply an issue of the mother holding pagan beliefs, but of what she would be exposing the child to. In terms of the environment in which the child will grow up, these practices are obviously a huge component. Whereas whether the parent you get raised by is a Republican or a Democrat has very little tangible impact on your environment except, as you state, in extreme cases.
8.2.2007 7:14pm
JBL:
Hmmm. Nothing ultimately persuasive, but here are some possibilities...

1. There are various laws that protect children from sexuality and the expression thereof in general. Whatever their merits, a Christian anti-sexual message is more in line with these laws than the Pagan pro-sexual message. Christian morality can be taught without discussing sex in detail. It's possible to argue that the notion that explicit details should be avoided in the presence of minors is not specifically religious.

2. It might be possible to distinguish the cases based on their proximity to a diagnosable clinical disorder. One could make an argument that sadomasochistic behavior is dangerously close to clinically psychotic, compulsive, or self-harming behavior. One could make the argument that Christianity generally does not meet that standard. What about, for example, a hypothetical case in which the parent requesting custody believed themselves to be the messiah?

3. The hypothetical case you suggest implies a hypothetical world in which Christians are a taboo minority. Worthwhile thought experiment, but counterfactual. The 'interests of the child' argument can be made purely on the grounds of majority views without expressing any judgement of those views.

4. Sadomasochism typically involves performing an action on someone else. It goes beyond speech. What about a hypothetical case where the parent requesting custody is a Christian with the (once not uncommon) belief that spiritual purification requires mortification of the flesh?

5. It could be said that in filing for custody, the parent is essentially asking the state to get involved. The standard may not be the same as the standard for what would be permissable in private life otherwise.

6. What about the parallel to miscegenation laws? It has been argued that interracial pairings are unwise because it can make things difficult for the child. Is that the same argument or different? There are a number of distinctions between discouraging racism and discouraging religion, but are they dispositive?
8.2.2007 7:21pm
Hattio (mail):
Folks,
I'm unsure where I come down in any theoretical case. But to make the "in the mainstream/out of mainstream" argument a little more concrete, lets examine a hypo. One parent wants to raise the child in a religion that demands some outward sign be worn at all times (whether a yarmulke, girls wearing bonnets or otherwise covering their heads, the knife for Sikhs, whatever). Let's assume there is credible evidence that children who do this are typically taunted, mistreated, even beaten up in school. Does best interest of the child automatically weigh in favor of that child NOT going to the parent with religion which is outwardly observable?
What about an opposite hypo. I've heard Mormons says they look for the outline of the "garments" underneath the clothing of Mormons they meet for the first time. What if a person were in a small, mostly Mormon town in Utah or Idaho, would "best interests" require the child to go with the Mormon parents? How does the public reaction to a private issue change the scenario?
8.2.2007 7:30pm
Steve:
I've heard Mormons says they look for the outline of the "garments" underneath the clothing of Mormons they meet for the first time.

I wonder if Mormons get slapped more than other folks.
8.2.2007 7:33pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Anderson, I agree with you (quelle horror!), most especially when you write that it is the parent's practices rather than his or her beliefs that courts should look to when deciding custody cases.

Lifestyles necessarily involve a person participating in certain practices, a tautology, I know, but one which if spelled out would have made this quote from the opinion more obvious and perhaps have limited cries of "foul!" in this case:

[M]other and her boyfriend have a perfect right to engage in sado-masochism, paganism and their chosen sexual orientation, but nevertheless, this Court is not convinced that [they] would exercise the due diligence that is required to engage in those practices without exposing such lifestyle to the parties' child[ and thus] adversely affect[ing]the best interests of [the child, a 4-year-old girl].


We may disagree as to the extent that professed sado-masochism, paganism, sexual orientation, and routine drug use will have on the "best interests" of a child. But it is untrue that the judge in this case made the ruling based on mere belief.

The Court of Appeals of Ohio also noted the link between beliefs and actions and responded to the argument that lifestyle choices should have no bearing on custody:

With respect to the trial court's consideration of appellant's lifestyle choices, religion and sexual preferences, consideration of these choices is not per se an abuse of discretion. Such evidence may be considered to the extent it has a direct adverse impact on the child. Thus, the court can consider the moral conduct of the parent as it relates to the direct or probable effect on the child. (Internal citations omitted.)
8.2.2007 7:34pm
scote (mail):

2. It might be possible to distinguish the cases based on their proximity to a diagnosable clinical disorder. One could make an argument that sadomasochistic behavior is dangerously close to clinically psychotic, compulsive, or self-harming behavior. One could make the argument that Christianity generally does not meet that standard. What about, for example, a hypothetical case in which the parent requesting custody believed themselves to be the messiah?

Indeed, people often do generally claim that Christianity does not meet the standard of psychotic behavior, but expressions of extreme religiosity and psychotic problems are highly correlated. Distinguishing "reasonable" voices in people's head of God telling people what to do ("love thy neighbor") from unreasonable (real world examples: "Invade Iraq," "kill your children," etc.) can be problematic. Once you throw rationality out the window and believe that some people hear divine voices in their heads it becomes very difficult to tell other people they psychotic for hearing similar voices.
8.2.2007 7:39pm
Hattio (mail):
Steve, I'm not Mormon, but I understand the "garments" come down to mid-bicep and close to the knee. I'm not sure this wouldn't result in less slapping than most people get.
8.2.2007 7:41pm
pete (mail) (www):
I would vote for 3 since there is no way to objectivly determine that teaching "the view that sex before marriage is immoral, that homosexuality is immoral, and that people who don't accept her so-called Savior are going to end up eternally damned" is bad for the child. The quoted views are shared by many, if not most, Christians in the US so millions of Americans with perfecly fine familes and healthy children are automatically declared less fit parents by this judge.

I would also hope a judge who agreed with the mother's religious views would also ignore them when making the decision since their are also plenty of agnostics, pagans, etc. who are fine parents.

If it is realy true that "It is therefore clear to us that it is, all things being equal (or even nearly equal) parents," then 1. if they are mature enough to make the call, ask the child, 2. flip a coin, or 3. be super biblical about it and do what Solomon did when presented with two people fighting over one child.
8.2.2007 8:05pm
frb (mail):
So long any decision is based on reliable expert testimony that meets established standards of admissibility (e.g., the Daubert standard), I see no reason to outright exclude from consideration the impact that "ideology" might have on the "best interest" of the child. For example, if the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence showed that a particular ideological approach to parenting results in substantial psychological damage, I think the best interest of the child should trump any First Amendment right of the parent. On the other hand, parents should have wide lattitude to choose how to rear their children. Maybe you accommodate these competing interests by erecting a high burden of proof, requiring, for example, clear and convincing evidence of imminent psychological harm (or something along those lines) in order for a judge to make a custody determination based on parent ideology.
8.2.2007 8:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The answer is, "none of the above." Which parent raises the child will have a small effect the child's eventual personality and behavior. We know from the work reported by Steven Pinker in his book, The Blank Slate, that the determinants of a child's personality are largely inherited. Suppose the parents had identical twins and the court awarded one child to each parent. In 20 years does anyone think you could tell which parent raised which child? Of course I'm assuming that either parent can provide the necessary physical resources for the child. Of course that's not a problem since the court will award child support and thus equalize each parent's ability to provide the necessities of life. Thus absent the danger of physical harm or neglect, it doesn't matter who gets custody.

A parent's attitude towards homosexuality is also irrelevant because only about 3% of the population is homosexual and the parent has little control over the child's ultimate attitude anyway. We have to learn that children are like their parents mainly because they share their parent's genes, and not how the parents raised them.

The judge should simply rotate custody and absent a clear threat to the child's welfare, leave them alone so the family doesn't go bankrupt to lawyer fees.
8.2.2007 8:58pm
eeyn524:
Suppose the parents had identical twins and the court awarded one child to each parent. In 20 years does anyone think you could tell which parent raised which child?

Yes. People blow a lot of money on fancy pre-schools, argue endlessly about the content of elementary education, or spend years homeschooling based on the idea that what is said to a child actually makes some noticeable difference. Maybe you believe this is all foolishness?
8.2.2007 9:35pm
vepxistqaosani (mail) (www):
4, because I said so.

Now go to bed!
8.2.2007 9:58pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
# 1 is the only way to go, and I might add, that if we see too many decisions in such cases along the lines of EV,s hypothetical (?) one, we're probably going to find out why the founding fathers included the Second Amendment....
8.2.2007 10:08pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Maybe you believe this is all foolishness?"

Yes it is largely foolishness if you think you can really shape the ultimate personality of a child by what you say to him. One might spend money on a private school to give your child a more pleasant and safe environment in which to learn. Some schools and teachers might even be better at knowledge transmission, but you are foolish if you think a school is going to make a shy child gregarious, or an aggressive child more timid. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? The education and parenting industry has a large stake in perpetuating these myths, so I'm not surprised people believe them.

It's very hard to do controlled and randomized experiments with human beings, but the studies on identical twins reared apart strongly suggest that most personality traits are genetically driven. Of course extreme environmental depravation will certainly have a long lasting detrimental effects. Of course if one of the twins is raised in Uganda and the other in Palo Alto, you are going to see a difference because of the extreme difference in environment and culture.
8.2.2007 11:16pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Imagine for a moment that we had a purely libertarian constitution, and thus all actions which did not directly harm other people would be constitutionally protected. In such a scenario, how would a judge ever decide which of two equally fit parents should have custody of the children in a divorce?

Every single lifestyle choice, drugs, smoking, drinking excessively (as long as one did not do that while driving the child), sex, you name it, all of that would be constitutionally protected. In short, every possible distinction one could make between the two parents would be based on constitutionally-protected activity.
8.2.2007 11:52pm
eeyn524:
Yes it is largely foolishness if you think you can really shape the ultimate personality of a child by what you say to him...you are foolish if you think a school is going to make a shy child gregarious, or an aggressive child more timid.

Agreed that people have innate tendencies, which they can then be taught to direct and control, which I thought was the whole point. Let's say we accept your statement - in which cases judges should not take into account the educational plans of the competing parents when deciding custody. One parent says "move to a country where it's legal to start workin' em 18/7 at age 6" and the other says "prep school followed by college" - equally valid choices?
8.3.2007 12:23am
A. Zarkov (mail):
One parent says "move to a country where it's legal to start workin' em 18/7 at age 6" and the other says "prep school followed by college" - equally valid choices?

Of course not. I explicitly ruled out extreme differences in environment. Of course you can damage the health and intellectual development of a child, but that's not what at issue here.
8.3.2007 1:12am
Oren (mail):

It might be possible to distinguish the cases based on their proximity to a diagnosable clinical disorder.


What do we gain by replacing the arbitrary and subjective judgment of a man in a black robe with the arbitrary and subjective judgment of a man in a white lab coat?

This is no way to ensure consistency.
8.3.2007 10:08am
political correctness getting out of control:
Zarkov, there are very few things I will call absurd, but the proposition that parents'attitudes, culture, and habits do not exert the dominant effect on a child and that genes explain most of a kid's attitude and behavior is at liberty with just about my entire life experience of observing parents and kids. How about the observable fact that adopted kids so often take on their adoptive parents' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors? There is no genetic association there.
8.3.2007 10:51am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"How about the observable fact that adopted kids so often take on their adoptive parents' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors? There is no genetic association there."

If you go to page 372 of The Blank Slate, Pinker states the three laws of behavioral genetics. Here they are:

1. All (an exaggeration but not by much) human behavior traits are inheritable.
2. The effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes.
3. A substantial portion of the variation of complex human behavioral; traits is not effected by the effects of genes or families.

Certain instances of behavior such as what language you speak, what religion you belong to, and what political party you register in are certainly culturally determined.

These conclusions are based on studying the behavior of adopted children, fraternal twins raised apart and identical twins raised apart. Read Pinker for the details.

Thus behavioral genetics tells us that the effect on behavior by family is small compared to random variation and genes. Thus I doubt that given two similar parents it would matter all that much which one becomes the primary custodian absent some extreme factor such as neglect or abuse. Does it matter whether the child becomes a Republican like his father?

In the case of a Muslim marrying a non-Muslim, we have the potential for real trouble. A court should not give custody of a girl to a Muslim father who might want his daughter to have a clitorectomy when she becomes an adolescent. If he is from the Middle East he might steal the child and take her to an Arab country where she will become a virtual prisoner. Unfortunately our compromised State Department seems unwilling to help out an American mother who finds herself in this predicament. Islam is not compatible with American values and the fewer we admit in as immigrants the better.
8.3.2007 2:15pm
Earnest Iconoclast (mail) (www):
Where is there a Constitutional duty to protect children from bad ideologies that would trump a parent's Constitutionally protected freedom of speech and freedom to exercise a religion? I would like to protect children but I don't want the government deciding which religions are okay to teach children and which are not.
8.3.2007 7:10pm