Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Court Takes on Authority to Decide How Much Faith a Child Should Have


The following is further proof of precedents being set by "society"...there is, in many ways, no longer a separation of church and state, but it is becoming more and more evident that the state is going to continue to dictate to the church what it can and cannot do.

Inside the Issues with Alan Sears
How would you like it if someone talked this way about your daughter or granddaughter?

"(She is) well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level."

Not bad, huh? But not good enough for a court in Laconia, New Hampshire. A 10-year-old there (the daughter of divorced parents, living with her mother) recently wound up under the professional assessment of a court-appointed "marital master" - who tries family cases and makes recommendations to a judge - when the father wanted to change how the child was being educated. The child has been home-schooled since first grade, with a curriculum that meets all state review standards. She also attends three public school enrichment classes and is involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities. And the "marital master" freely concedes that she's doing great.

"It is clear that the home schooling...has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the...public school system," he says. But, in his opinion, that's not enough.

The "master" said, in effect, "Sure, she's happy and healthy and smart and well-adjusted and gets along great with her peers, but she's also a little too...Christian, for my taste." He suggested - and the court readily agreed - that she should be ordered into a government-run school, where her beliefs could be muddled by a non-Christian environment.

The "marital master" based his decision on conversations others testified they had with the little girl, whose "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs," he said, "suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." Apart from the obvious question of what right a court-appointed observer has to determine how much faith is appropriate for a child, the case is stunning for its violation of New Hampshire's own legal precedent: the state's Supreme Court has specifically declared that "Home education is an enduring American tradition and right."

"Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children," says ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton. "In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working. The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews. This is a step too far for any court to take."

ADF attorneys are looking to appeal this bizarre decision in the days ahead. Please pray for their efforts, for this family, and for the many like them across America who are trying to stand for their faith against the aggressive intrusions of activist courts. Blessings,


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