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Judge forbids Wiccan parents from teaching "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals"

Posted by Al Barger on May 28, 2005 06:52 PM (See all posts by Al Barger)

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States
Roger Pilon
Book from Cato Institute
Release date: 01 September, 2000

File under cracker jurisprudence:

A judge in Indianapolis has forbidden two parents from exposing their nine year old son to their Wiccan religious beliefs. Indianapolis Star

As part of a custody ruling between the divorced parents, Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, forbade them from exposing their son to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." Both parents are avowed Wiccans- but no Wicca for little Johnny.

From the Indianapolis Star:

The parents' Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford's attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones' son attends a local 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," the bureau said in its report.


Judge Bradford is obviously an idiot whose decree will almost certainly be shot down on appeal from both parents. Judges don't get to pick out your family's religious beliefs. (See: US Constitution, Amendment #1) Duh.

Besides that, though, this Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau logic may be even dumber. They're apparently actually arguing against exposing a child to multiple religious traditions. Don't want him having to deal with two conflicting ideas. Might confuse his little brain.

For starters, would the Wiccan stuff be cool with the DRCB if they stopped sending him to Catholic school? That way, he'd just be getting one set of belief programming. Also though, the boy apparently attends a Unitarian church. Those of us less enlightened than Judge Bradford and the DRCB might think that this active three way mix of belief systems would provide the young man an excellent rich background from which he could intelligently sort out his own beliefs.

Best of all though is Judge Bradford's ruling phrase "non-mainstream religions." It is a source of great joy to contemplate which groups BS (belief systems) get to be mainstream. What are the criteria on which this judgment is based? How long the religion has been around seems to be a big one. (Wiccan beliefs pre-date Christianity.) How many adherents a religion has seems to have a lot to do with it. It's hard to deny "mainstream" status to a group that has millions of adherents.

These judgements are obviously largely subjective. Personally, I tend to find Wiccan types much more palatable than some of the freakier Christian groups. So as I separate the legitimate mainstream religions from the discredited and inappropriate non-mainstream beliefs, I will also add in a factor for how well these groups work and play well with others. I think that particularly important.

Here then is a beginning preliminary list for officially approved religious belief systems vs evil and inappropriate BS.

Unification (Moonies)

Earth First!
Jehovah's Witness
Seventh Day Adventists

This is obviously only a beginner list. Please suggest more candidates for the two classifications in comments. In fairness, Islam should be broken down into more sub-groups, some of which would probably pass for legitimate belief systems. Not the Wahhabis or the Nation of Islam, but maybe some others. Perhaps someone could help us break out the good ones.

The most important difference between this list and what list Judge Bradford is working from is that I would never in life presume to enforce my list onto someone else's parenting.

God and Country index and explanation


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