This case has me very upset. What right does this "judge" have to say one religion is wrong and prohibit parents from sharing their beliefs with their child?
What if the parents were practicing Catholics? The outcry from the world would be immediate.
Court Overturns Judge's Order In Wicca Case
Divorce Decree Had Instructed Parents To Shield Son From Beliefs
POSTED: 4:33 pm EST August 17, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS -- A judge exceeded his authority by ordering an
Indianapolis Wiccan activist and his ex-wife to shield their
9-year-old son from what his decree called their "non-mainstream
religious beliefs and rituals," the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled
The appeals court threw out the order from Marion Superior Court
Judge Cale Bradford, citing a state law that gives a custodial
parent the authority to determine a child's upbringing -- including
religious training -- unless certain exceptions are met.
Divorcing parents can agree to allow such orders, or judges can find
that certain limitations on upbringing are needed to protect the
child from physical and emotional harm.
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union, representing Thomas E. Jones and
Tammy Bristol of Indianapolis, had challenged the
religious provision of the divorce decree.
Jones, a Wiccan activist who has coordinated Pagan Pride Day in
Indianapolis for at least six years, said earlier this year that he
and his ex-wife were stunned when they saw the language in the
judge's dissolution decree on Feb. 13, 2004.
"We both had an instant resolve to challenge it. We could not accept
it," Jones said when the appeal was filed this year.
A court commissioner wrote the unusual order into the couple's
dissolution decree after a routine report by the court's Domestic
Relations Counseling Bureau noted that both Jones and his ex-wife are
pagans who send their son, Archer, now 10, to a Catholic elementary
The decree said "the parents are directed to take such steps as are
needed to shelter (the child) from involvement and observation of
these non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The splitting
parents challenged that section of the decree, but Bradford let it
The order was criticized by various religious and advocacy groups.
Wiccans consider themselves witches, pagans or neo-pagans, and say
their religion is based on respect for the earth, nature and the
cycle of the seasons.
Wiccans contend their religion is becoming more mainstream. The
parents' appeal said there were about 1 million pagans worldwide in
2002, more than the numbers who practice Sikhism, Taoism and other
established religions in the United States.
Among other things, the appeal claimed the decree was
unconstitutionally vague because it did not define mainstream
religion. But the appeals court based its ruling on state law.
ICLU attorney Ken Falk said nobody fought the parent's challenge, so
an appeal was very unlikely.
"I think the bottom line is the court said a parent has the right to
determine the upbringing of their child absent some compelling
orstrong reason," Falk said. "I have to tell you in reading all the
cases, I've never found a case where both parents agreed yet a court
directed some other type of religious upbringing." Cop
Remove Judge Cale Bradford
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Remove Judge Cale Bradford for blatant disregard of civil rights