Dad’s Morning Brew Feb. 16

DAD FACING JAIL FOR TAKING DAUGHTER TO CHURCH

OK, I’m going to admit some bias here. I’m a Catholic, and I’m a dad. And this dad is facing hot holy water for taking his daughter to a Catholic church. But this story really has so many problems in my opinion. First, the couple here agreed to raise their daughter in the Jewish faith, even though the father was Catholic. That’s fine. Lots of people make those types of decisions and how parents raise their children religiously or not is their business.

But here’s the problem. They are divorced now. That means they aren’t raising their children together any longer. To me, that means all bets are off regarding prior decisions made when they were a couple.

If the woman wants to raise her daughter in the Jewish faith, she should. That’s her faith and her child should be exposed to that and learn about its basic principles and values. But now that they aren’t making decisions together any longer, he should be able to raise his daughter as he sees fit as well. And if that means he wants to expose her to Catholicism, then what’s wrong with that?

Finally, it sure seems to me the judge’s ruling in this case is a clear violation of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” So while the judge isn’t Congress, he certainly seems to be restricting the free exercise of this guy’s religion, a basic tenet of our country’s founding principles.

I’d love to hear your opinions.

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5 Responses to “Dad’s Morning Brew Feb. 16”

  1. Just because they are divorced doesn’t mean that each one is free to raise their children in any way they wish. They are still raising the child together even though they aren’t in the same house. If the agreement was made to have the child in the Jewish faith, both parents need to agree to change the original terms. The difference in beliefs could be confusing and the best interest of the child should come first.

  2. Sorry Phyllis I agree with the Dad and Tony on this one. In a marriage you work together and make compromises. Now that the family is no longer one and have split into two families with the child’s best interest at heart new compromises need to take place. I have a daughter who is attending college right now and is learning about many religions. This will give her the knowledge and strength in life to be open to many different ideas, faith and people. I think the little girl in the piece is the lucky one to be exposed to two religions so young in life. As she gets older I’m sure she will choose the path right for her. Shame on this Judge.

  3. I worry much less about the legal aspects of this situation and more about how this child will be affected, regardless of the judge’s ruling. I see no easy solution to this problem. I can certainly understand why the husband would, in the interest of familial harmony, agree to raise the child in the Jewish faith. However, the marital union is broken and, with it, that agreement. If he is actually a devout Catholic I can understand why he would want his daughter to understand and participate in his faith. I’m having a tough time coming to grips with the potential confusion and stress this beautiful child will almost certainly experience as she is handed back and forth from mother to father in this battle of dueling faiths. If he re-marries a Catholic woman and the child spends weekends with them it seems reasonable to include her in their religious services…. same with the mother and her potential re-marriage to a Jewish man. It will be a long time before the child is mature enough to make her own religious choices. In the meantime, this “religious” battle will only exacerbate the already tragic circumstances of a split family.

  4. First, let me say that contracts should be binding. If one agrees to raise their child Jewish, then they should raise their child Jewish. With that said though, the facts in this case clarify the justification of this man’s choice to do what he does.

    1. She divorced HIM. She breeched the contract and therefore has no standing to mandate that he still honor his terms without her doing the same. Simple contract law. Tony is dead on.

    2. Religion isn’t something that should be contracted, even in marriages. While married couples should agree ahead of time which way to raise their kids, it is impossible to say a person will never learn a new truth and change course. It is ludicrous this judge deemed this issue worthy of enforcing.

    3. It is clear the issue that got in the way of this marriage. He converted to Judaism. She divorced him. Now she wants to control how he interacts and teaches his own daughter. If she cared about their daughter, she should have picked up the phone to discuss it.

    I have gone down this road. I found the more I cooperated with my ex, the more balanced the kids became. I was forced to learn my own faith to answer my kids questions about the differences. In the end, I don’t know if it helped, but it sure made sharing custody a lot easier.

    Bottom line: If a person wants to insure their child is raised a certain way, don’t get divorced. Simple reality, not an opinion. After all, Daddies are very important too!

  5. I don’t really know about this stuff so i don’t really have an opinion. hehe :-)

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