Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Judge orders dad to take his kids to church

The London Telegraph reports:
A judge has ordered a father to take his children to Roman Catholic mass as part of a divorce settlement, even though he is not Catholic.

The man, who can only be identified as “Steve” because of reporting restrictions on the case, faces possible contempt of court and a jail sentence if he fails to go to church when he has custody of the children. ...

Court transcripts seen by The Telegraph show that Judge Orrell discussed his own Catholic faith during the course of the hearing into contact arrangements for Steve’s two sons.
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The legal requirement to attend mass at Christmas applies only to Steve, who is not a Roman Catholic.

His ex-wife is Catholic but is not subject to the same conditions in the residence and contact order.

It reads: “If the children are with their father at Christmas he will undertake that they will attend the Christmas mass.”

Steve, a 51-year-old psychologist, said: “It’s all very bizarre. This aspect of the contact order was not requested by the other side in the case.
While such an order would have constitutional problems in the USA, more onerous orders get issued every day. And upheld on appeal, also.

I did have a psychologist quiz me and my kids on how Christmas was celebrated, and parenting plans got ordered against me and many others with all sorts of details that reflect the dubious prejudices of whoever was writing the orders. This British dad just has to spend one hour every other year taking his kids to church. He got off easy, by comparison.

These stories are useful for illustrating the point that the power of family court judges ought to be limited. I have round that, among the sort of folks who would vote for Barack Obama, they genuinely do not understand why it is bad for a (supposedly) neutral objective outside expert should not define a parenting plan to be binding on child rearing. When you get to the subject of religion, then even liberals can understand that someone can have a sincere and informed belief that still ought not to be forced on others.

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