This story just in: A New Hampshire judge has ordered a 10-year-old girl to be sent to public school because she seems too committed to her mother's religious views and hasn't learned to be critical enough of them. As she gets older, she needs to learn to explore new ideas, etc. This quotation from the court order is especially telling:
. . .[I]t would be remarkable if a ten year old child who spends her school time with her mother and the vast majority of all her other time with her mother would seriously consider adopting any other religious point of view. Amanda’s vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to the counselors suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other points of view.
So is the court's expansive concept of education:
the Court is guided by the premise that education is by its nature an exploration and examination of new things,...
All of this sort of is straight out of the liberal playbook. See this important article from First Things, 2004, to which I have referred before. See also this little bit of pseudo-academic nonsense, which argues (like some of the "intellectuals" quoted in the FT article) that the state should control home schoolers to make sure that children are getting a sufficiently "pluralistic" education, learning to think sufficiently critically about their religious background, etc.
It is absolutely obvious to anyone who reads the ADF's motions that the court has ordered the child into public school so that she will be in an environment more hostile to her faith and hence more challenging to it. It's notable that the mother testified that she has taught her daughter information about many other religious traditions and their origins, but it isn't the information the court wants her exposed to--it's submersion in a different world-view. The ADF also shrewdly notes that, as public schools are to be non-religious, it is hard to see how public schooling will most effectively expose her to different religious views, so the court seems to want her to be exposed to secularism.
It's ironic, too, that the divorced father, who is hostile not only to home schooling but to Christianity, has used the word "socialization" as an umbrella term for the girl's being in a public school environment. Yet after the mother added many clubs and activities to the girl's schedule, it became evident that the father would not always take her to these activities when she spent weekends with him and that for a variety of reasons she was receiving far more socialization with her own age group when spending time with her mother than with her father. The anti-Christian agenda in all of this is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see.
Unfortunately, the HSLDA will not represent in divorce proceedings. I don't know if the mother is an HSLDA member, but even if she is, that policy would explain the fact that there is no mention of the HSLDA in the ADF news release. Still, I would like to see them submit an amicus brief, because this outrageous judicial decision runs contrary to everything HSLDA stands for. At a minimum, HSLDA should put up something about the case at their own web site, which I'm sorry to say they have not yet done.
God preserve us all from custody courts.
HT Jeff Culbreath