There is an interesting church-state case going on right now in the heart of Indiana, and prog-blogger Jason Pitzl-Waters of Wildhunt wants to know why more religion writers are not interested in it. Actually, this is a coven and state case, which is one of the reasons it is so interesting. First of all, let's look at the Indianapolis Star report that tells how two Wiccan parents ran into a judge who does not approve of their faith. Here is the key section of reporter Kevin Corcoran's news story:
Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.
Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy's outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall. . . . The parents' Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford's attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones' son attends a local Catholic school.
"There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones' lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages," the bureau said in its report.
This led to the following comment by Pitzl-Waters, which was echoed by folks over at The Revealer:
This is an outrage. An outrage that will most likely be ignored by all those God-bloggers and religion reporters who don't mind a little persecution so long as it isn't happening to them. How many dead canaries in the coal-mine do we need before there is a problem?
I don't know which God-bloggers he had in mind, as opposed to god-bloggers or gods-bloggers or whatever. But he is right. This is an important parents' rights case and is, in a strange way, very similar to the cases in which Muslims, Orthodox Jews and traditional Christians wrestle with public-school officials over the moral education of their children.
Religious liberty is only as strong as the rights of miniorities. Take away the rights of parents to advocate their own faith to their children and the next thing you know you'll have evangelical kids forced to sit in school classes that openly attack the faith taught in their homes. Wait, that's happening already, isn't it?
But the point remains the same. Parents have a right to pray with their kids and even preach to them. If Christians -- even very conservative ones -- want that right they should defend that right for others.
Meanwhile, note the strange twist that the Wiccan dad is sending his kid to a Catholic school. I wonder what the Catholic authorities think of this publicity?
That angle did, however, remind me of a great quote from a Beliefnet message board, sent to me by a friend. Someone wrote: "I am a werewolf . . . and also Catholic. . . . But too progressive for some Catholics."
Wait! Did he say "some" Catholics? Now there is a story.