Family Issues

Which Religion Gives Everybody a Cracker?

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The case of an Afghanistan veteran facing jail time for taking his daughter to church reveals fault lines over child custody law and has left a troubled nation uncertain whether to joke about Catholic schoolgirls or Jewish princesses.

Religion: Not healthy for children and other living things.

Joseph Reyes could get six months in jail on contempt charges after baptizing his three-year-old daughter and taunting his Jewish ex-wife with the details. ABC reports:

Reyes' decision to baptize his daughter without his wife's permission resulted in what some are calling an extraordinary court order: [Judge Edward R.] Jordan in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., imposed a 30-day restraining order forbidding Joseph Reyes from, according to the document, "exposing his daughter to any other religion than the Jewish religion."

The couple married in 2004. Joseph Reyes was Catholic, but he converted to Judaism to please his in-laws. He has said the decision wasn't "voluntary."…

When the marriage fell apart, Rebecca Reyes, 34, got custody of their daughter. The girl, now 3, has been raised Jewish and attended a Jewish preschool…

Joseph Reyes sent his wife pictures and an e-mail documenting the occasion. Rebecca Reyes responded by filing for the temporary restraining order, which the judge granted.

Stephen Lake, Rebecca Reyes' attorney, said his client was shocked at her estranged husband's actions.

"Number one, it wasn't just a religious thing per se, it was the idea that he would suddenly, out of nowhere without any discussion have the girl baptized," Lake said. "She looked at it as basically an assault on her little girl."

Furthermore, Joseph Reyes had never been a particularly devout Christian, Lake added.

The story has been around for a while, and Reyes is now using an extra-legal argument: the old chestnut about how Jews should worship Jesus too. He tells ABC, "I am taking her to hear the teachings of perhaps the most prominent Jewish rabbi in the history of this great planet of ours." That syncretic view hasn't stopped him from complaining that his ex is too pushy: "I've made every concession that I possibly can make for Rebecca, and I have to draw the line in the sand somewhere and this is where I choose to draw it."

The consensus of legal talking heads seems to be that the court order is not legitimate, but courts have pretty broad discretion on prescribing visitation conditions. Whether attempting to inflict Catholicism can be considered bad for the child's welfare is another matter. But at least both parents agree that you should always use the kid as a weapon in your divorce.

Can goys and Jews ever work it out? Here's a clip from Bridget Loves Bernie, the show so bad it turned Meredith Baxter gay:

Ron Bailey looks at three more strange custody cases.

NEXT: They Burn the Research of Class Enemies, Don't They?

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  1. This is the All in the Family episode when Archie Baptized Joey against the wishes of commie/agnostic Meat Head. With lawyers and judges, lacking Archie’s tact of keeping it between him, Joey and God.

  2. The couple married in 2004. Joseph Reyes was Catholic, but he converted to Judaism to please his in-laws. He has said the decision wasn’t “voluntary.”…

    Bullshit. You were just thinking with your dick.

    Maybe it is time for all blokes out there to stop thinking with your dicks and consider that marriage is a very serious commitment, that you should try to have as much in common with the person you are intending to marry and that you should not have kids until you know you made the right choice.

    And gals: Listen to your mother.

    1. You were just thinking with your dick.

      That’s where real men think. Shred your guy card now!

    2. She probably has big boobs. Dudes will put with damn near anything for big boobs.

      Refer to Paranormal Activity.

      1. I blame the anonymity bot for my error: put up.

        1. Maverick, I thought you were having trouble seeing the keyboard with those big boobs of yours. That’s what you meant by paranormal activity right?

      2. I want a nasty little Jewish princess
        With titanic tits and sandblasted zits…

    3. What?! Wait until after marriage to have kids?

  3. 10$ says the girl will grow up to be an atheist, a pagan or join a suicide cult.

    1. Topless no matter how much nobody wants to see her that way.

    2. She’s witnessed the delights of religion first-hand, she understands how man cannot be moral without it; no way would such a person become an atheist!

  4. Or they could try the crazy idea of letting the kid pick the religion once she comes of age (and is capable of understanding the meaning of everything) rather than just trying to indoctrinate.

    … either way.

    1. Yeah, because it’s not like anyone thinks that their religion is true, or that their children would be endangered by not learning it. Religious people just do those religious things as a hobby. So let the kids decide on their own! It’s just like choosing a favorite sport!

      (Will you be teaching your children to issue condescending atheist talking points, or wait until they are 18, so that they can decide whether or not to do that on their own?)

      1. Good atheists learn condescending talking points on their own.

        And, if a particular religion is true why is there any fear that the rational child will not choose it on their own as they come of age? Yeah, thought so.

        See? Condescension is the easy part.

        1. …if a particular religion is true why is there any fear that the rational child will not choose it on their own as they come of age?

          If not playing in the street is a good idea, then why is there any fear that the rational child will not choose it on their own as they come of age?

          If the Copernican Theory of the solar system is true, then why is there any fear that the rational child will not choose it on their own as they come of age?

          Some people (such as religious nut jobs like Freeman Dyson and Stephen Colbert)actually believe that Jesus being the Son of God is a true fact about the world. If they are right, then withholding it from one’s child is crazy, whether or not it offends atheists, car accident fans, or Ptolemaic astronomers.

    2. I’m sure most people here will take the same approach when it comes to politics, right?

  5. Can we maybe not have a freaking judge intervene in this case? I would understand if the argument was whether or not the baby should handle snakes or something, but the baby is THREE YEARS OLD and splashing water on her head is not going to make her a Christian any more than rubbing elephant powder on her will make her a Hindu.

    Also, any man who uses his baby as a prop like this should be beaten with his own dick within an inch of his life.

  6. I’m going to make an assumption here.
    This is a VERY ugly custody case where there’s probably been a lot of shit that we didn’t see in the article. That being assumed, I agree with the judge.
    The issue isn’t about the religious aspect, the issue is the control either party has over the child. Having been a child in a custody case, I understand what’s going on here. I blame the dad and side with the mom.

    1. Having been a child in a custody case, I understand what’s going on here. I blame the dad and side with the mom.

      I’m guessing 70% of kids in custody cases line up with the mother. Anybody keep figures on this?

      1. Don’t know the stats but mine didn’t do that.

        Then again, I didn’t pull the shit this guy is pulling either.

      2. During their teenage years, they probably line up with whichever parent didn’t get custody.

      3. In my experience, you line up with the parent that didn’t destroy the family and bail on you.

      4. Actually, it’s more like 90.

      5. I’m guessing 99% of gentiles line up against the Jew. Look, according to Jewish law, this kid is a Jew – from birth. The Jews have the prior claim on this one (not to mention on God). The dad was continuing the despicable Christian practice of forced conversion, in this case against the wishes of the person who should have at least a 50% say in such matters. Libertarians may be above all this, but as a born Jew who had this done to him, I can assure you it is not “just a splash of water”. This kind of thing is central to identity formation and to have one of your parents fuck you around like this to score post-divorce points against an ex is revolting. The judge is right. This dad is an asshole who is on-form to other stupid shit to his kid.

        1. “The Jews have the prior claim on this one”

          “despicable Christian practice of forced conversion”

          Does not compute.

        2. I know one Jew I’m willing to line up against…

    2. Having been a child in a custody case, I understand what’s going on here. I blame the dad and side with the mom.

      Allow me to translate: I don’t know shit about this case, but I, as almost every “family” court (should be “fuck Dad over” court) judge, you assume it’s the Dad’s fault and that the mother should be given full custody and a full paycheck for the privilege.

      If her Dad is Catholic (or wants to pretend to be Catholic), then (when she is in his custody) he has the right to take her to mass and have her baptised. Period. End of discussion. No court orders needed (or warranted).

      I’m also guessing he wasn’t consulted about whether she’ll be having a Bat Mitzvah (sp?…if her mom’s congregation isn’t too orthodox for that).

      1. OK, so I switched pronouns mid-sentence. It should read “I…I assume”, etc. in the first paragraph.

  7. Dawkins rants about how absurd and horrible it is to declare a child to be a member of any particular religion. This case seems to be a perfect opportunity (which will not be explored) for us to declare that kids don’t have any religion, and parents shouldn’t be inflicting any religion on them until they’re old enough to exercise some degree of critical thinking.

    Naturally, this will never happen; indoctrinating kids into your particular flavor of invisible sky man is Traditional.

    1. Do any of you folks remember gaius marius? That person was always good for a little not-angry-but-sorrowful thunder in support of traditionalism. I think his/her reaction here might be that this is what comes of a society so contemptuous of the past that it encourages fools in their tradition-smashing follies, all in the name of a false personal liberation.

      And I was never sure gaius marius was wrong…

      1. gaius marius was one of the better commenters of ages past. Let’s all pour out our 40s in memory of him.

          1. Jesus High Commander Christ, don’t mention him, he might return.

            1. homeslice turned me onto the adjective “barzunian” and for that i am honestly forever grateful.

              1. Does Barzunian refer to Jaques Barzun?

        1. You can still read him here.

      2. I wish music was as good now as in the sixties, American made cars were the gold standard and people didn’t go out in their p.j., or spit on the ground. But to stand abreast to the changes that time has inexorably wrought is an exercise in futility.

        The couple in the article though, are some of the worst examples of humanity I have had the displeasure of reading about here, outside of a Balko post.

        That’s right,without someone manning the light at the end of the tunnel, atheists are the amoral ones.

      3. And I was never sure gaius marius was wrong…

        Me neither. I thought gaius had a pretty good handle on the need for a deep and cohesive civil society as a bulwark against the state. The lack of such a civil society creates a void which the state will fill.

        Historical examples abound – totalitarian states which consciously destroy civil society, and the growth of the state as civil societies decay from within.

    2. Dawkins is an ass.

      1. No, he is a biologist.

        1. Dawkins is an ass who happens to work as a biologist.

          1. I find it appropriate (considering the article) that besides being an ass and biologist, he also hosts a kickass game show.

            Time to play the Feud!

            1. He must have been the Guinness World Record Holder for having kissed the most women on television. I wonder if Richard Dawkins would be less pissed at God if he had spent more time kissing women or men.

    3. This is a great idea! Here is another one: no child is born with an attitude toward the police, therefore it is child abuse to assume that he or she is not a violent anarchist. (I happen to be a violent anarchist, but that’s totally beside the point!) I am going to wait until my child is 18, and let her decide (on her own!) whether or not it is a good idea to provoke a police officer. (Of course, she’ll probably pick up on the fact that I personally think that it is). I’m so glad that I’m not “indoctrinating” her, with my “opinion” about these supposed Magic Law Men On The Ground.

      1. Guy Smiley, I promise you this: she’ll grow up and marry a cop.

  8. Wwhy isn’t Underzog here? BY THE NAME OF ERNST RHOEM I HEREBY SUMMON UNDERZOG

    1. BY THE POWER OF THE PINK SWASTIKA WE COMMAND THEE!

      1. I think you have to use the accent of the aussie villain from Venture Bros. for that to work.

    2. Forget Undie, I’m waiting for Rockatansky.

    3. They’re American, not Israeli. Why should Underschmuck care?

  9. That is some pretty cool stuff dude, I like it.

    Jess
    http://www.privacy-tools.de.tc

    1. Warty summoned the anonymity bot.

      Summon fail!

  10. Kids need to feel they belong and religion is a big part of that process. I don’t think it matters which religion they choose but the husband picked judaism by converting and should keep the agreement. Btw, Catholics do not receive a cracker but If jews get crackers and coffee I’m converting.

    1. How about punch and pie?

      1. I want coffee but if they serve a Margarita Martini with 3 olives…

  11. Perhaps that show was bad, but I just watched the whole pilot, and it was pretty funny.

  12. I just can’t fathom how grown, supposedly sane people can fight in court over figments of their imaginations and the voodoo rituals that are supposed to fix them into a child’s psyche. Grimacing.

    1. Yeah, it’s gross. Also, what about these “right” and “wrong” superstitions that they seem to believe in? (These clearly are not to be found in my biology textbook.)

      1. Yeah, because it’s only bad to kill, steal, and commit adultery because the Book says so. What would we do without it?

        1. If God does not exist, then I don’t see how any of those things could be objectively “wrong”. (The best you can say about them is, that you don’t like them, and there happen to be a lot of people that agree with you.) However, we both know that they are all objectively wrong. Therefore, God exists. Isn’t that a relief?

          1. No one would be stupid enough to say that shared cultural values prove the existence of god and still be able to use a keyboard.
            1. We agree that we shouldn’t do things to others that we wouldn’t want done to us.
            2.???
            3. God exists
            You’re either a bad troll or an underpants gnome.

  13. “Whether attempting to inflict Catholicism can be considered bad for the child’s welfare is another matter.”

    Um, yeah, I’d say this would be like letting your kid on a ride that scared them at the amusement park–I suppose anything could be detrimental to a child*…

    I’d say that ‘cept this right’s pretty well enshrined in the Constitution. Our forefathers, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to make it so that people can bring their children up in the traditions of their ancestors**.

    …no really, even if a judge thinks those traditions are stupid.

    *Not that baptism is harmful.

    **No really. There are two aspects to the First Amendment, establishment (the one most libertarians are aware of) and free exercise. But don’t take my word for it…

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    See? Right there. “free exercise”. That means you can baptism your kids among other things. Deal with it.

    1. This has nothing to do with the 1st Ammendment and you know it. It’s Daddy wants the kid to eat a pepperoni Pizza but Mommy wants the kid to eat only cheese pizzas.

    2. This isn’t about the first amendment for the same reasons mentioned by Kolohe — but just for further reference, it is substantive due process that gives parents the right to raise their kids how they please(including teaching them whatever religion they so choose), not actually the first amendment.

  14. “This case seems to be a perfect opportunity (which will not be explored) for us to declare that kids don’t have any religion, and parents shouldn’t be inflicting any religion on them until they’re old enough to exercise some degree of critical thinking.”

    My fellow libertarians seem to be quite clueless about what motivates most Christians–nevermind the First Amendment–it’s astounding!

    Do you have any idea why fundamentalists want public schools to teach creationism? Do you have any idea why fundamentalists want parental notification laws?

    They have this crazy idea that there’s religious freedom in this country, and they don’t think the government should teach their children things that contradict their religious beliefs–no really.

    These parents don’t want doctors performing abortions on their children without their knowledge (much less consent).

    No really!

    Now you want the government to take away a parent’s right to teach their children in the religion of their choice? …or any religion at all! If you thought the abortion debate was bad, if you thought the intelligent design debate was bad…this would be so much worse than either of those!

    It’s become painfully clear to me that Dawkins doesn’t know a thing about Christians or how they think, what their concerns are…

    Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster the framers understood the balance between establishment and free exercise better than most of the people in this thread seem to…

    It’s like some of you don’t know anything about religious freedom. …either that or you don’t care. …a lot like fanatics that way.

    1. Who advocated having the government taking away a parent’s rights to raise their children in the religion they choose?

      1. “This case seems to be a perfect opportunity (which will not be explored) for us to declare that kids don’t have any religion, and parents shouldn’t be inflicting any religion on them until they’re old enough to exercise some degree of critical thinking.”

        Am I missing something?

        1. I don’t pretend to know the author’s intended meaning in that quote, but I took it more to mean he thought his idea should be more societal convention than government imposed coercion. You obviously look at this statement in a different light. The only way to know would be to have the author of the post expound on the definition of declare he was implying.

          This, though would beg the question; Is societal convention as coercive as written law?

    2. Talk to whatever invisible sky man you want. My point is that children aren’t capable, especially at age 3, of making an informed decision about invisible sky men. So the assertion that a child is Jewish, or Catholic, or Muslim, is ridiculous.

      Exposing children to religion is important for the religious, because religion is so absurd that only indoctrination starting at an early age can successfully turn a normal human into an invisible sky man believer. But being of critical importance to the religious doesn’t make it anything other than what it is: brainwashing bordering on child abuse.

      This case just happens to feature (as a sideline to what’s really just a guy being a douchebag to his ex-wife) a perfect illustration of the problem: is the child Jewish or Christian? The right answer, of course, is ‘neither’, and the hilarity of a court *ordering* the child to follow one religion over another just underlines that fact.

      No, I have no practical suggestions. Purely as a thought exercise: I’d check ID at the church doors, and keep minors out. Religion is significantly more likely to lead to permanent harm, mental and physical, than any cigarette or alcohol purchase.

      1. …children aren’t capable… of making an informed decision about invisible sky men.

        They aren’t capable of making an “informed decision” about anything! So, it’s their parent’s job to “indoctrinate” them about topics such as, “don’t touch a hot stove”, and “don’t deny the Creator Of The Universe because some biologists, and other self-important dorks, are mad at him”. When they get older they are free to touch hot stoves all they want. And suffer the consequences.

      2. isildur,”No, I have no practical suggestions”. then STFU.

        1. Oh, sorry about that. I forgot that comment threads at H&R are part of the great H&R Think Tank where we don’t have discussions unless we come up with a bullet point plan of action.

          1. So you can be funny.

      3. “Exposing children to religion is important for the religious, because religion is so absurd that only indoctrination starting at an early age can successfully turn a normal human into an invisible sky man believer.”

        Exposing children to things like religion has been part of the socialization process in every society for 6,000 years of recorded history and beyond.

        It’s part of how parents teach their children about things like what’s socially acceptable, it’s part of the process that teaches children not to pick their noses at the dinner table…

        Pretending religion isn’t part of the socialization process amounts to willful ignorance. Sometimes I wonder if Dawkins has ever studied anything that didn’t fit under a microscope… I’d guess he knows nothing of developmental psychology, but then why write a book for children?

        I guess it’s just that his social assumptions are better than everyone else’s? …and that’s ’cause they’re based on what can be seen under a microscope?

        That’s just bias. Pushing your own non-religion on other people’s children is no better than other people pushing their religion on yours. His assumptions aren’t any better than anyone else’s–unless they presuppose that atheists know what’s best for other people’s children because they’re atheists, in which case they’re probably worse than anyone else’s.

        It is funny that the only people I’ve ever met who were as sure they were right as Dawkinsbots (and I mean right for everybody) were Christian fundamentalists.

        …they have an awful lot in common actually. It reinforces my theory that people strive to become the cartoonish characterizations their opponents make them out to be, but that’s another thread.

  15. I might take some of that last part back…

    Maybe it’s not that you don’t know anything about religious freedom (although I’d bet most libertarians think only about First Amendment religious freedom in terms of establishment)…

    But I think there are a lot of libertarians who are extremely hostile to religious freedom.

    I blame the utility crowd.

    1. But I think there are a lot of libertarians who are extremely hostile to religious freedom.

      The Reason subset skews your sample.

    2. I am hostile to religion, not religious freedom.

      1. Isn’t that a distinction without a difference?

        1. No, not really.

          He doesn’t care if you practice it, he just doesn’t want it forced down his (or anybody elses’) throat.

          1. So if your religion requires you to baptize your children, where’s the difference?

            1. ‘requires’???? ‘freedom’????

              Does not compute

            2. ‘requires’???? ‘freedom’????

              Does not compute

  16. Mommy is one of the Chosen People and Daddy thinks that Jesus Is Magic.

  17. This has nothing to do with the relative merits of Catholicism and Judaism or much about religion at all. It is about the kid’s parents putting their differences ahead their child’s mental health. Like it or not, the father conceded the religion issue when he conveniently converted to Judaism. The mother, on the other hand, is hyperventilating when she says that being baptized was an assault on the child. It was an attack the ex-wife.

  18. I’m guessing 70% of kids in custody cases line up with the mother. Anybody keep figures on this?

    I’m guessing that my kids, who were teenagers and given a free choice, are part of the 30%.

  19. “Like it or not, the father conceded the religion issue when he conveniently converted to Judaism.”

    Why?

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”…

    …unless you convert?

    Because you said so?

    1. Because it was a tacit concession to his kid’s mother as to what tradition they were going to raise her in.

      The judge is not enforcing a law so much as the marriage agreement between the parents. This is why divorce sucks as decisions on how to raise the child are used as way to hurt the other parent.

    2. And this sort of situation is also why the Catholic Church discourages marriages between a cuple with a difference in cult. To be married in with the blessings of the Church requires both parents to promise to raise any children as Catholics. By his insincere conversion to Judaism, the father turned his back on Catholic tradition. For him to renege on his decision now, largely motivated by a desire to hurt his ex-wife, is not something to be taken seriously.

      1. A lot of people become genuinely more religious after they have kids. In fact, that’s probably the standard rule, isn’t it?

        Regardless, you don’t know what his motivations are. And the whole point is that it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

        There’s nothing in the First Amendment that says you give up your right to convert after you have children. In fact, that right’s pretty much the dead center of “free exercise”, isn’t it?

        1. This is not a 1st Amendment issue. The judge is refereeing a dispute between two parties to a previously made agreement on how to raise their child.

          Joseph Reyes is free to practise whatever religion he feels suits him best. He is not free to unilaterally break an agreement with Rebecca he freely entered into without good reason.

          The Judge is not establishing Judaism as the state religion by expecting Joseph to live up to his word.

  20. This is not abusing the child, it is an abuse of the court system, that tax payers have to pay this judge’s salary to spend time on crap like this.

  21. First issue here.

    Why should anyone be surprised?

    This is one reason why the conversion to Judaism is such a contentious issue among Jews. Conversion to Judaism isn’t and shouldn’t be like (some) other religious conversions, it should be sincere; involve more than just a ceremony and incomplete learning; and require lifetime commitment to Jewish Law and observances (i.e. traditional or Orthodox Judaism).

    I know there are those who question why Rabbinal Courts (Beis Din) place so many restrictions on sincere converts, when those born Jewish can thumb their nose at Jewish traditions and still be considered Jews?
    I cannot answer this completely, but I do agree with Orthodox viewpoints on the subject.

    FInal point: There are those who wonder why Jews seek non-Jewish partners. Again, I do not have all the correct answers, but I believe two reasons stick out in my mind.
    One, there is a larger pool of non-Jews and two, many Jews work, live, or play in very secular environments. Judaism just isn’t important to many of these individuals when seeking a partner.

    Moreover, Judaism and I, as a Jew, don’t say that other religions are bad or not capable of producing menschlekeit (good, decent) individuals. That would be a lie and very unmenschlekeit.

    I am far from perfect, but my Judaism is very important to me. I wish I was a role model for my step-kids and other Jews, but I am not.

    I, for one, am glad my wife and I are both Jewish, as are my kids. My hope is that they too will find their ideal match in a Jewish partner too.

    1. This is one reason why the conversion to Judaism is such a contentious issue among Jews. Conversion to Judaism isn’t and shouldn’t be like (some) other religious conversions,…

      Whoah! Hold up there, mensch. You know all about “(some) other religious conversions” how? Have you converted to other religions?

      If you have any stats to back up your anti-goy rant (whether you realise it’s anti-goy or not, it is), I’m guessing that they’re very skewed by the very sorts of facts relevant to this case — many Jewish converts stay converted, because they don’t want to be alienated from their children and relatives by marriage.

    2. Really, your kids are Jewish? How old were they when they made an informed decision that of all the world’s invisible sky men, YHWH was the invisible sky man for them? Did they read the whole Torah before deciding that? Did they read the religious texts of any other major world faith?

      Or are you, like most of the religious, assuming that your lifelong indoctrination of your children without their consent or choice was successful?

      Judaism, being at least as much cultural as invisible sky man focused, often gets a pass in this kind of discussion; if your kids are eating kosher that makes them Jews, right? But I think it’s important to remember that despite being a rich culture with a long history, at its heart Judaism is an invisible sky man belief system.

      1. To expand: My kid, at 2.5 years old, is grappling with the big cosmological issues of ‘how did those glow in the dark stars get on my ceiling?’ and ‘why are dogs so awesome to pet?’

        He certainly isn’t thinking about invisible sky men. Or if he is, it’s probably in the context of those glow in the dark stars, only some of which he saw his dad put up there.

        If, as a teenager, he comes to me and tells me he’s a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or whatever, I’ll shrug and say ‘Okay.’ Because, regardless of whether I think he’s wrong for believing in an invisible sky man, that’s the *right* way to arrive at religious belief. Go out and look at faith, see it in action, think about what they’re saying about their particular system of belief, and decide for yourself.

        But the religious aren’t really fans of that approach, because they’re well aware that a child not raised from a very young age to unquestioningly accept the often arbitrary and bizarre strictures of their particular sky man will generally end up an atheist. Unhampered critical thinking faculties tend to call out things like ‘God doesn’t like pigs’ and ‘God will be very sad if you don’t face Mecca 5 times a day’ as the absurdities they are.

        Again, I have no practical solution that doesn’t directly conflict with individual liberty. But I do believe there’s a starting point, philosophically, in the assertion that a parent’s control over his or her child is not absolute, and there are some things a parent is forbidden from doing to a child.

        1. Your thought experiments demonstrate exactly how ideologies which are officially atheist end up being effectively totalitarian.

          1. Truth is so absolute. I hate truth.

            Luckily I have perception, so I can believe that the truth is whatever I want it to be.

        2. Are you teaching your child that there may be a God but that we can’t prove it either way? Because, if not, then you’re an atheist raising your child to be an atheist, which to me is no different than a Christian raising their child to be a Christian.

          1. No. I’m not teaching my child anything about religion. When he’s old enough to ask what this religious stuff is all about, then I’ll happily tell him ‘Some people believe X; others believe Y.’

    3. Mark,…_________isn’t and shouldn’t be like (some) other religious conversions, it should be sincere; involve more than just a ceremony and incomplete learning; and require lifetime commitment to ________ doctrines and observances. Your whole rant can be applied to any religion. The most unfortunate part: “There are those who wonder why Jews seek non-Jewish partners.” I think you your answer is hidden in the tone of your message.

    4. Beit Din not “Beis” Din.

  22. You know what it kind of reminds me of?

    The Drug War.

    A bunch of people sitting around thinking how great it would be if only no one did any drugs…

    Who was it that called religion “the opiate of the masses”?

    It wasn’t a libertarian.

    1. I think his name was Karl something or other. 😉

      1. Karl Rove said that? 😉

    2. Just because someone is wrong a lot, doesn’t mean they are never right.

  23. Hmm.

    I’m inclined to side with the father. Marginally.

    Parents use kids of all sorts of dick shit in messy divorces. Such as spoiling the kids rotten with expensive gifts just to piss off the ex.

    Having a kid baptized and taking them to church is arguably less harmful, even if the dad really was being a dick by taking photos and taunting the mother with them.

    He could have taken her to Disneyland and had her shake hands with Mickey Mouse and sent photos to the mom just to piss her off. No difference, really.

    1. Amen, sister! (I’m assuming you’re a chick by your moniker.)

  24. -1 for anyone who discussed the “welfare” of the child. The kid is 3 years old. Who here thinks the kid had any concept of the ritual? She got to put on a pretty dress, a man mumbled some shit and wet her forehead, and then she got ice cream.

    1. It’s that these people hide acrimony with piety, and use the child as a pawn in their bitter, petty, little war against each other.

      I am not advocating state intervention, merely pointing out that if you want to screw with someone, religion is a good blind to use.

  25. I am very disappointed that Underzog did not show.
    What the hell is the point of this without Underzog?

  26. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster the framers understood the balance between establishment and free exercise better than most of the people in this thread seem to…

    I count like, 40-some unique posters, and none of them are *really* disagreeing with you. I agree with you (as do most, I presume), so we don’t need the lecture.

  27. One of the things I don’t get about these kind of disputes is that the while the kid may be baptized and Catholic in that church, according to the mom’s religion, that means jack & shit. You’re jewish based on mom’s blood.

    I also don’t understand why jews get all upset when Mormons baptize the dead. It really doesn’t mean anything to a faithful Jew, unless Joseph Smith was right, in which case all us non-LDS-ers are fucked.

    1. It’s just creepy and condescending. That it’s organized only makes it an easy target.

    2. “One of the things I don’t get about these kind of disputes is that the while the kid may be baptized and Catholic in that church, according to the mom’s religion, that means jack & shit. You’re jewish based on mom’s blood.”

      I think the main problem comes from the idea that Jews are only supposed to worship the one God. Any kind of religious activity associated with Jesus could be seen as a breach of the first commandment.

      “I also don’t understand why jews get all upset when Mormons baptize the dead. It really doesn’t mean anything to a faithful Jew…”

      The problem here stems from the Jewish belief that the body should be buried as it was brought into the world. This is why Jews do not embalm their dead.

  28. What the hell is wrong with family court judges? If I were the judge in this case and the mom came whining to me about him taking the kid to church, I would tell her tough shit. It is not the place of the court to get involved in religious disputes. If that woman didn’t want her kid to maybe some day be taken to church, she shouldn’t have married a Christian, even a converted Jewish one. Each party gets to keep the kid at the designated time and what they do with the kid, short of abuse, is their business. If the other party doesn’t like it, too fucking bad. You should have mad a better choice of a spouse. And I am not just being biased towards Christian. If this woman had married a Muslim and were bitching about her kid going to the mosque, I would support the same answer. Parents should have the freedom to teach their kids what they want and the courts have no business getting involved. If they can’t agree about it, that is their problem, not the courts.

  29. When I told my parents I was an atheist, they responded, “You can’t be! You were baptized!” Evidently the ceremony didn’t take. If the kid in question has a brain, it will decide for itself later on.

    1. Pretty much. And moreover, I doubt sending daddy to jail is going to make her have much use Judaism in the future.

  30. Well, the husband’s conversion was “involuntary” to about the same extent as the kid’s baptism was an “assault.” Can we take it as read that both parents are immature drama queens.

    Now, why on earth is court inserting itself into this mess? Do we really want to say that a court can rule that being raised in a mixed household is bad for the kid’s welfare, and the state should take action?

  31. If that woman didn’t want her kid to maybe some day be taken to church, she shouldn’t have married a Christian, even a converted Jewish one.

    So if a Jewish woman wants to marry and have a Jewish child, she should only marry a man born into Judaism and otherwise has no right to complain? Conversely, if anyone raised in one religion converts to another, the default assumption should be “Nah, he doesn’t really mean it?”

    I’d sympathize with the Dad if I thought he were really a devout Catholic; if I believed “My daughter will burn in hellfire eternal unless I splash water on her head” then damn right she’s getting splashed, no matter what any judge says. But since the guy was willing to give up his religion to get laid, it doesn’t sound like he was particularly devout until the exact moment he realized “devotion to the Holy Mother Church” carried the fringe benefit of “royally pissing off the ex.”

    And if he really believed this was about the kid’s immortal soul, he could’ve just done the baptism without flaunting photographic evidence in mom’s face. This has nothing to do with religion or religious freedom; this is about a man spiteful enough to use his own daughter solely as a means to piss off his ex-wife. If the woman’s Jewish enough to keep kosher, I’d not be surprised to find the man sending the ex photographic evidence of their little girl eating bacon cheeseburgers smothered in oysters.

    1. Jennifer,”I’d sympathize with the Dad if I thought he were really a devout Catholic…believed “My daughter will burn in hellfire eternal unless I splash water on her head” then damn right she’s getting splashed”. Catholics do not hold this belief (The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican).

      1. Better yet, then: if baptizing the kid confers no hellproofing benefits, then what motivation remains for the dad? Pissing off the mom, and nothing more.

        And this done in violation of what the parents agreed upon before the kid was even born. If he’s willing to violate that aspect of the child-rearing agreement, what other aspects is he willing to violate? The man has shown himself to be untrustworthy, and furthermore insists his untrustworthiness is actually religious virtue rather than spite.

        1. Jennifer, the man shows himself to be a liar. You cannot just show up to a Catholic Church and order a baptism fast food style. You are required to take a course, be registered as a Catholic yourself, fill in forms that state your intent and then schedule the rite. He must have lied about his ex-wife in order to have had this baptism. The church takes this rite very seriously and they have actually removed the names of children who were the subject of custodial disputes.

          1. That’s only for adult converts.

            Children are different. And the Church has long held that in emergency situations (e.g., your newborn is likely to die in the delivery room), any Catholic can conduct a baptism, remove the origianl sin, and essentially “hellproof” the kid.

            1. Abdul, a child can be baptized in an emergency but it is not official till it is entered into the church record. All subsequent religious records are kept in the original diocese that held your baptism. Catholics no longer believe in purgatory and as a consequence many churches hold a special mass for children loss through miscarriage and abortion.

            2. Anyone can perform a baptism, they don’t need to be Catholic, or even christian.

              1. We are talking about Catholic baptism.

                1. So was I.

                  The Catholic Church does not require the person performing a baptism to be a believer themselves, though that is not the preference.

    2. Jennifer,

      I don’t know who is right or who really believes or not. And I don’t care. It is not the court’s business what religion this child gets raised. And it is not solely the mother’s decision. The father has just as much right to raise the kid Catholic or Wicken as the mother does to raise her Jewish or Buddhist. It is their problem to work out, not the courts. If she is so upset the girl is being taken to church when the father has her, that is just too damn bad. The father has rights to.

    3. Oh, I agree he did it solely to royally piss off the ex, but functionally, that’s no different from giving the child a trip to Disneyland or buying her better Xmas presents so she’ll like daddy more.

      Unless you honestly believe that exposing someone to a different religion is harmful. Personally, I can only think it to be to the child’s benefit to be exposed to the religions of both parents.

      Wouldn’t it be somewhat wrong for the mom to prevent the father from teaching the child his own religion – just because she’s the mom?

      1. Again, my beef here is not with the religion, but with the fact that the father broke the terms he agreed to before the kid was even born. Had he been Catholic all along and the mom just now decided “No, not around my kid,” that would be a different matter.

        1. Yeah, well, people change their minds about all sorts of things all the time. There’s no legally binding agreement to that effect, and I really can’t see making those kind of informal agreements legally binding either. It would be a fucking nightmare if you tried. Unless there is a prenupital agreement to that effect, the mom is SOL.

          It would be more unjust to let the mother completely determine the child’s religious upbringing, than to let the dad take her to church on the days he has custody. I think it’s more just to let both parents have some control over the child’s religious upbringing.

          And the dad’s being a cunt by being all in-your-face about it, but that’s par for the course as messy divorces go.

        2. I think your beef is more with something in *your* divorce that this case reminds you of, no? Or am I reading your irrational rants wrong?

          Anyhow, Hazel Meade has it right. It’s perhaps (PERHAPS) a shitty thing for the dad to do, but he has every right to do it. The fact that he converted to Judaism means jack, shit, diddley and squat. If the family court judge tried to build religion into the divorce settlement, then, well, I think there’s a violation or two of the 1st amendment at play here. I expect (hope?) the ACLU or the IJ will get involved pretty soon (the IJ, since they litigate 1st amendment stuff quite a lot).

  32. this is about a man spiteful enough to use his own daughter solely as a means to piss off his ex-wife.

    This is also about a woman vicious enough to try to get her husband jailed and stripped of parental rights for taking their (not her, their) daughter to a Catholic Church.

    1. RC, it really is about the immaturity of both adults. I have a feeling that if you asked a priest that he would tell the father that he made his choice at conversion and to expose the child to Catholicism through his example.

  33. This is also about a woman vicious enough to try to get her husband jailed and stripped of parental rights for taking their (not her, their) daughter to a Catholic Church.

    That’s one way of looking at it; it could also be “a woman trying to get her husband stripped of parental rights because of his obvious unwillingness to abide by the child-rearing rules they both agreed upon before the kid was even conceived.” And not only did he violate those rules, he went out of his way to rub this in mom’s face solely because he knew it would piss her off. Anyone so spitefully immature shouldn’t be trusted with authority over any life form more advanced than toilet-bowl mold.

    1. What makes the agreement binding? So what the father said he would raise the kid Jewish. He lied or he changed his mind. He has a right to do that. The court has no business enforcing a personal promise made between two spouses.

      1. If the two parents can’t agree on how the kid should be raised, that’s definitely a situation where the courts need to settle the dispute.

        Though I am curious about the implications of your earlier statement regarding how the mother should’ve known better than to marry a convert; do you really think the default assumption should be “Anyone who converts to a new religion is just faking it?” I never thought you of all people, John, would have that much in common with the fundamentalist Muslims who insist that a child born into Islam is Islam’s property for life.

        1. No. I do not think that all people who convert are faking. My point was that whatever the religion, the father and mother get equal input.

          But you can’t seriously think the court should decide how a child should be raised if the parents can’t agree? Where would this end. What if he wanted to buy her a pony and the mother said no, should the court decide that? Further, aren’t you at least somewhat bothered by the site of a court telling someone what religion their child can practice?

          This is a private dispute. And if the father wants to take his daughter to church one Sunday and the mother wants to take her daughter to Temple the next Saturday, there is nothing either one should be able to do to stop the other.

    2. Happens all the time. Parents agree before divorce that child will get no allowance and will only get one moderately price present from each parent at Christmas. After divorce, Dad showers baby with gifts and gives her money so she’ll love him more than money.

      1. Er money = mommy.

  34. Basically, the dad wins because he’s getting so much mileage out of this. Yeah, he’s a giant turd, but he wins this battle in the humiliation war.

  35. Can anyone tell me why divorce doesn’t go to trial by jury if the parties can’t come to terms? It clearly involves something of value greater than $20.

    1. In Texas it can, provided one party requests it.

  36. Butts, I don’t see any winners, except the therapist who will make a bundle off that child.

  37. If he gets murdered in jail then he’ll be a martyr for the catholic church so that would be a good thing? Wouldn’t it?

  38. Just to be clear…it’s OK to force a particular religion on a kid as long as both parents agree on which religion that should be.

    1. It is the job of a child to be coerced (nonabusively) by his or her parents, for the child’s own good!

      The Atheist wait-until-they’re-18 principle would preclude all parenting!

      The only way the atheist can make this silly suggestion about parents being parents when it comes to all beliefs but religious ones, is made possible by the implicit assumption, on the Atheist’s part, that religious beliefs just aren’t really serious beliefs, like beliefs.

      1. Please define ‘nonabusively’ in a rigorous way.

        Or, to rephrase, ‘The don’t-beat-your-children principle would preclude all parenting!’.

        After all, hitting your kid with a cane was totally ok until relatively recently.

        Is insisting that parents aren’t permitted to beat their children a violation of fundamental parenting rights? If not, we agree that parents should be restricted in what they can and cannot do to their children. Everything else just hinges on the definition of ‘nonabusively’.

  39. The plural form of goy is goyim, Tim.

  40. I think SERIOUSLY all the Jews of the World should embrace Christianity, ASAP as Jesus was born Jewish & introduced Christianity to the World.
    I want Jews to tell me WHAT IS WRONG WITH CHRISTIANITY ???????
    JEWS BE PRACTICAL in religion as you are in Politics and Business.

    1. Heller, you take this one;-)

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