Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Agnostic dad gets custody reduced

A reader sends this story:
Religious Discrimination in America: Father's Custody Reduced Because He Is Agnostic

Craig Scarberry, a father of three, shared 50-50 custody with his ex-wife until last week, when he learned that time with his kids would be cut to just four hours a week and every other weekend.

According to Indianapolis' Fox 59,

Searching to find out why, he found Judge George Pancol wrote, "the father did not participate in the same religious training as the mother, and noted that the father was agnostic. It goes on to say that when the father considered himself a Christian, the parties were able to communicate relatively effectively.
I actually think that it is plausible that Christian dads do better than agnostic dads, on average. But even if that is true, there are several things wrong with acting on it.

First, we don't believe in punishing people for stereotypes. Even if, say, Swedes were better than Hungarians on average, we would not have a court policy of favoring Swedes over Hungarians.

Second, we don't believe in holding people accountable for their religious beliefs. Religion is a very personal thing to most people, and they should not be judged on how they articulate those beliefs.

Third, this is blatantly unconstitutional. Any judge who is willing to do something like this is probably willing to do unjust harm in all sorts of other ways as well.

Unfortunately, family court judges can make biased and subjective decisions in all sorts of ways. If this judge is upheld on appeal, the judge will just learn to do the same thing without mentioning religion in his decision. We need to get rid of all of the subjective biases, not just religion.


Anonymous said...

so how are "Christian" dads likely better than agnostic/atheistic dads?

Anonymous said...

Christian dads do better than agnostic dads? Wow.

George said...

I just said that it was plausible. We live in a primarily Christian society, and most people think that Christianity is a good thing. So most people probably also think that a Christian upbringing is good.

Rating a dad as "better" is obviously a subjective opinion. There is no generally-agreed standard for what is better. So any discussion of what is better will depend on social norms.