A court order prohibiting a Marion County father and his ex-wife from exposing their son to "non-mainstream religious beliefs" is likely to be reversed, legal experts said Thursday.
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Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in Thomas E. Jones Jr. and Tammie U. Bristol's divorce decree last year over their protests, court records show. The parents are practicing Wiccans, and their divorce decree does not define a mainstream religion.
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Debate swirled in pagan religious circles locally and nationally after The Indianapolis Star reported on the case Thursday. Jones, 37, said he posted messages on two Web sites Thursday in an attempt to keep pagans from sending e-mail and letters of protest to Bradford.
I'm not terribly surprised that this is generating outrage. I'm heartened that even the American Family Association disagrees with the decision:
The head of a conservative Christian group in Indianapolis sided with the Wiccans.
“The parents have the right to raise their child in that faith, just as I have the right to raise my child in the Christian faith,” said Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana.
As a member of a Unitarian congregation, one other point from today's Indianapolis Star story grabbed my attention (emphasis mine):
Jones said he is not trying to force religious beliefs on his 9-year-old son, who attends a local Catholic elementary school and a Unitarian church.