Sam sent me a link to an Andrew Sullivan post discussing alleged discrimination against parents who were atheist. Eugene Volokh wrote a law article that cited 70 recent cases in which atheistic parents faced tougher obstacles in child custody cases.
Sullivan points to this because he believes he has found an example of the hypocrisy of the Christian Right, with whom he has declared war on because of gay marriage.
He closes out his post with this:
Of course, this is an outrageous attack on religious liberty. Imagine if Christian parents were denied custody because of their faith. O’Reilly would have weeks of programming. But atheists? Naah. When Christianists declare that they are fighting for religious freedom, bring this issue up. It will determine whether they are in good faith, so to speak, or not.
If you agree with Sullivan, you are in "good faith." If not, you must be a hypocrite. I will not accept his premise because I both agree with and disagree with Sullivan.
I would hold that children who have the opportunity to nuture and grow the spiritual part of their nature would be more wholly educated. Countless studies show how much happier, healthier, etc. devout people are compared with the general population and the irreligious.
Ignoring one aspect of a person, be it their physical, mental, emotional or spiritual side, will hinder the overall growth of that person. It is better to encourage the entire person.
Now having said all that and enraged atheist parents, let me say that none of that should be enforced by the government. Courts should not be able to mandate a father go to church, in order to obtain joint custody of his child.
The decision to keep a child from church, may be detrimental to that child. Even if one ignores the spiritual side of life, in general, regular church attenders come out better in life. Just for the social aspect of it, church attendance is beneficial to an individual.
However, the government’s job is not to mandate that everyone act in the best possible way. Their job is to keep us safe from bad guys, be they criminals or terrorists.
Even in child custody cases, the judge’s job is not to deny custody because of what they think best (often times they are wrong). They should evaluate each parent and as long as the parent loves the child and wants what is best for them, the court should have no issues in granting some type of custody or visitation.
I do not want to go down the route of government using religion to determine who is a suitable parent. That is a dangerous road, one that Christians, especially, should be forcefully against.
Sorry, Sully. I won’t be caught in your "hypocrite trap." Just as gays are not some monolithic, uniform group, neither are Christians, even conservative, evangelical ones.