The Indianapolis Star | May 27
Judge Cale Bradford badly overstepped his authority in telling a
mother and father they may not expose their 9-year-old son to
their religious beliefs.
Bradford, chief judge of the Marion County Superior Court,
included the provision in last year's divorce decree for Thomas
Jones and Tammie Bristol. The fact that the parents practice the
pagan religion Wicca is legally irrelevant.
It's blatantly unconstitutional for government, including the
courts, to forbid parents from sharing their faith with their
children. The only exception is in extreme cases when specific
practices endanger a child's health. That is not the situation in
Thomas Jones has brought the case before the Indiana Court of
Appeals. The provision on religion in the divorce settlement
should be quickly and completely erased.
Accessed June 4, 2005; used with permission
Judge meddles in
Lansing State Journal
June 4, 2005
So now we have judges deciding which religions are right for
In Indiana, a county judge told a divorced couple that they must
not expose their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and
The parents are practitioners of Wicca, considered by some to be
witchcraft. It is true that Wicca is not in
the mainstream of religious belief. Neither are some faith-healing
Christian sects, for example. But they are all protected
under the First Amendment. Absent evidence of parental abuse or
neglect, parents have the right to raise their children with the
religious upbringing of the parents' choice.
Accessed June 6, 2005, used with permission
red highlights mine, cl, ed.
The GreenView response:
Lansing State Journal
Thank you for your June 4th editorial on the judge meddling with
parents' rights to raise their children in their own religion.
Hundreds of years of religious conflict in Europe and the American
colonies proved to our Founding Fathers that when a government
established an official church, both government and the church
And so, when the Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to
the Constitution, they agreed,
"Congress shall make NO LAW
respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free
Activist judges shouldn't either.
Rev. Christa Landon
Unitarian Universalist minister
in order to protect their rights as parents to raise their son
according to their faith, Thomas Jones and his ex-wife had to
appeal the case, which has put their 9 year old son.
We wish him the
luck and moxie of another Indiana Jones.
Indiana's Jones' parents free to share their religion with their
On August 17, 2005 the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously
upheld the rights of parents to expose their children to Wicca, a
contemporary pagan religion. According to the ruling written by
Patricia A. Riley, trial courts can only limit parentís
authority if itís necessary to prevent endangerment to a childís
physical health, or significant impairment of the childí emotional
health. Wiccan beliefs
center around the balance of nature and a
reverence for the earth. They do not worship Satan. Thus Marion
Superior Judge Cale Bradford had no legal right to direct parents
to withhold "exposure to their non-mainstream religious beliefs
While the parents won, and this is old news, we're retaining it
for the use of parents who may wish to cite precident. cl, ed.