The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


July 15, 2008

Who should decide?

The Chicago Tribune reports that an Indiana woman has to wait until August for a judge to decide whether her ex-husband’s membership in the Church of Satan is a reason to restrict his weekend visitation.

In an earlier article,
Kristie Meyer’s lawyer, Pat Roberts, defended his client’s right to shape the children’s religious upbringing. Roberts wants the judge to order Jamie Meyer to drop off the children at his ex-wife’s Christian church so they can attend with her. “Frankly, [it] can be emotionally damaging or confusing to children when they’re faced with these two different forms of worship,” he said. “Allowing them to go to church for a couple hours on a Sunday morning is ... not unreasonable.”

The Church of Satan eschews spirituality and celebrates man’s selfish desires. While the Internal Revenue Service defines it as a religion, some may want to debate that. But the question for this blog is: “Who decides?” The article notes: “Across the nation, child-custody disputes involving religion are on the rise as the frequency of interfaith marriages and religious conversions increases and fathers become more active in their kids’ upbringing. Judges risk crossing the line between church and state, experts say, if they try to choose the religion in which a child should be raised.”

So in such a dispute­ among those of different faiths, should a judge, parent—or even the child—make the decision on church attendance?

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