Jan. 2nd, 2008

acroyear: (don't go there)
evidence either in the specific individual (as you'll see), and evidence in the general. Being "religious" is not and should never e a magical panacea that suddenly allows one to either declare themselves nor be universally interpreted as being more moral than one who does not practice or believe.

We've had centuries of power abuse by the Catholics, scores of religious civil wars and strife throughout the planet (often among "Christians"), decades of revelations of violence, sex abuse, corruption, and hypocrisies among religious leaders and the political leaders who are supported by them, lies upon lies upon lies in the name of power or money, yet STILL the general populace and the courts (oh, especially the courts) put professed religious belief ahead of any actual evidence of (a)morality when making decisions that affect children's lives.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: New Ruling on Religion and Custody:
I've got a friend in New York who just went through this and I'm gathering all the legal documents to publicize that case. The outcome was beyond outrageous. The mother, who had full custody during the divorce and custody fight, lost custody because the father would make the child attend church while the mother would not.

This despite the fact that the father had multiple drunk driving arrests and even admitted under oath that he still drove with the child in the car after drinking. This also despite the fact that he had a history of violence, enough to warrant a personal protection order granted to the mother. But the judge felt that raising the child in a "Christian" environment trumped all of that.
Mitt Romney recently did a speech that absolutely disgusted me and pretty much anyone who believes that the Constitution was extremely specific in declaring that no religious test should be required for office.  In order to diffuse all the negativity he was (and still is) receiving over his Mormonism, he openly declared all atheists and agnostics to be the real enemies in order to win back support - the only way for "Christians" to stop hating (well, postpone it, really) other "Christians" is to declare that all "non-Christians" are the enemy.  And if you can't get away with openly declaring yourself anti-semitic or anti-islam (which they often are), you simply go for the one target that isn't "politically correct" and has no extended history of defending their rights.

Romney declared a new war of hate and that the media praised him for it, and that disgusts me.

Note: I'm not saying that Huckabee's stunt last week, where he said "I won't run this anti-Romney ad" loudly and publicly so that the media would run it for him and get his message out while his hands stay clean, was any better - it was simply more of the same hypocrisy and it strikes me as really odd that the media so lapped it up that they don't realize just how badly they are being abused and manipulated.

This pretty much sums it up for me...

*sigh*

By the way, Ron Paul is *hardly* any better - he doesn't support or accept evolution, is anti-immigrant and isolationist, and in the name of "freedom" would allow quack "medicine" to advertise and promote itself with impunity, and that's just the crap I can confirm...

Maybe later, I'll write up why none of the Democratic Party candidates are any better...
acroyear: (good grief pertree)
Pharyngula: There is no such thing as a godless family?:
John and Cynthia Burke have adopted two children. By all accounts so far, they were a decent couple of an appropriate age and financially able to take care of the kids. The first was from the Children's Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange, New Jersey. They recently adopted a second child from the same agency — strangely, the article says their first son is now 31, which would put them in their mid-50s at the earliest, and I might see some grounds for objecting to the adoption on the basis of age…but no, a judge has ruled that they may not adopt on the basis of a rather interesting legal requirement.
In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."
Wow.

[...]
Of course, the typical reaction from Christians and creationists and wingnuts has been pure hysteria — the atheists want to snatch your children away if you take them to Sunday school! Now we can understand it all as a perfect example of projection: if you don't take your children to Sunday school, the Christians will try to take your children away.
And keep in mind,family values supporters: in defense of "faith" you ha[d] broken up a family.  And it's hardly the first time...

[UPDATE: it might have been the "first time", because apparently this was an archive entry from Time (didn't know they'd opened up their archives yet) going back to 1970, and the decision was indeed reversed by the NJ Supreme Court, unanimously, in '71.]

More madness, more hatred, more prejudice, and more wilfull, intentional pain, in God's name, and God damn it all I'm getting sick of it.  The very same assholes who want us to worship the (mostly unconstitutional, btw) ten commandments are the ones violating the spirit of them right and left.
--
jpf, in a comment this morning after the 1970 date was noticed:

I think the reason it is easy to believe that this case could have happened today is that there have been recent cases that aren't that much different.

In 2006 a Christian judge awarded custody of a child to an ex-boyfriend because the judge became personally upset that the mother was a member of the SubGenius parody religion. Eventually custody was returned, but only after the judge took a year making an ass out of himself.

Ed Brayton posted yesterday about two cases, one where a mother lost custody because she didn't take the kid to church like the (drunk, abusive) father would have.

Also, here's a post by Andrew Sullivan talking about a law article by Eugene Volokh on recent discrimination against atheists in child custody cases.

While the case PZ posted is 38 years old and was resolved sanely, the attitude expressed by the judge is still current among a certain segment of the religious, as seen by those quotes from Free Republic above.

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