I'm from the great Hoosier state and I can't say I was too proud to see earlier this year that a county judge from our largest city -- Indianapolis -- barred a couple of parents from exposing their children to "non-mainstream religion beliefs and rituals,â€ particularly Wicca. Well, an appeals court panel reversed the ruling yesterday and found the first judge out of bounds. Michele McNeil writes in The Indianapolis Star:
The Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld the rights of parents to expose their children to Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion.
In its unanimous ruling, the court declared that a Marion County judge was out of bounds in approving a divorce decree that also directed the parents to shelter their 10 year old son from non mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.
For more information on Wicca, go here, and you will see that the reporter's characterization is fairly accurate, at least according to the Wikipedia, despite the debate around its origins.
As Terry aptly stated earlier this year, this case is important because it deals with any religious parent's ability to teach and instruct religion values.
Religious liberty is only as strong as the rights of minorities. Take away the rights of parents to advocate their own faith to their children and the next thing you know youâ€™ll have evangelical kids forced to sit in school classes that openly attack the faith taught in their homes. Wait, thatâ€™s happening already, isnâ€™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.
All I really have to say about the first ruling is . . . Oh, Indiana, and let's be thankful for appeals courts.