When the mother was presumed the best place for children, divorce was simpler. It might not have been better. Children often lost the influence of their fathers which created daily tragedies. But it was simpler.
In today's multiculti world, who's to say there's a better way to raise a child? No one. And so, sensing polarized atmosphere, someone who is relatively religiously bland or a secular humanist can paint a spouse as a fanatic cultist to get custody or conversely, the religious parent can push whacked views and expect a judge to be flummoxed about, ironically, passing judgment.
A father can teach his prepubescent daughter about, say, polygamy and who's to condemn him?
Mr. Shepp petitioned for better-defined custody rights for his daughter, but Ms. Roberts objected because he had exposed the child to polygamist Mormon communities. The court upheld Mr. Shepp’s right to teach his daughter about polygamy, saying it could not find evidence that such teaching harmed her physical or mental health.And why not? Would the judge condemn homosexuality? How about bestiality? How about incest? How about a sado-masochistic lifestyle between consenting adults? How about female circumcision? Especially if any of the above lifestyles wrapped into a religious belief, why would any rational, secular judge prohibit the teaching of it to children?
Conversely, anyone who diligently sticks to religious tenets these days is branded a fundamentalist, an extremist. A conservative Christian is painted with the same brush as a radical Islamist in Rosie O'Donnell's America. So a judge inclined to view all religion as suspect will favor the more secular parent.
In the case cited in the New York Time's article, a fundamentalist family had primary custody taken from them on the basis of their religion. The child in question prefers the strict religious dogma. Her father and maternal grandparents don't. Both sides are at war over the child. The child testified against her father at the last custody hearing.
Barbaric. That's what I call this game playing. Eventually, this girl will grow up. She may still cling to her religious dogma, but she will doubt it, too. Will she feel used as a pawn between two selfish parents, because that is surely what she is. And her religious parent's posturing and insistence on making the other parent into a villain is anything but Christian.
Expect more custody messes over religion. As American society turns into the tossed salad the Leftists love so much, and morals degrade, there are few agreed upon norms. And while individuals flex their muscle, they actually empower the state via family court--a place that is already pregnant with unchecked power.
Who are the winners in this game? Lawyers and the government.