Must. Control. Fist. Of Death.

Can Atheists Be Parents?

“In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to [adopt] the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”

Um. Wait. Fucking. WHAT?

Actually speechless. I’ve typed and backspaced a couple of sentences about four times now and I just don’t have words. Here’s a picture instead.

Can’t wait to see what muerk has to say about this one.

[EDIT: Okay, fist of death totally under control – this Time article is from 1970! I wasn’t even born then! And I’m old! Apprently, this was reversed in 1971 and the adoption was allowed to proceed. This story is ALL OVER the internerds today – I think I got the original story from fark.com, so I suspect they’re carrier zero on this one. No idea why they’re frontin’ wit nearly 40 year old news. But anyway, on this occasion .. Jebus Emergengy Defcon 5! Stand down! Stand down!]

26 thoughts on “Must. Control. Fist. Of Death.

  1. I’m not sure if I want to cry or spew but that is APPALLING! My children absolutely have the right to worship “as they see fit”. I’d venture to say that they have that right to a greater extent than children raised in *some* religious homes do.

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  2. ………..

    Just because they don’t believe in God doesn’t mean they’d stop her doing so if she chose, surely… (Although she may also choose not to, presented with all the pros and cons)

    The mind just boggles

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  3. OMG. There is no swear word appropriate to this situation, I’ve just checked. Mostly I’m just appalled that someone this retarded can become a judge.

    the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.

    Um… I’d have thought she’d be MORE likely to be allowed to choose her own religion if raised by atheists than if she was forced to go to church/temple/mosque/pagan rituals in the dark forest in the dead of night.

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  4. Surely this can be overturned on appeal??
    Using the judges reasoning, it could be said that no couple of *any* faith should be permitted to adopt a child, because the child will be influenced by their beliefs.

    Stupid people make me angry.

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  5. When my husband and I married, we applied to have him formally adopt my eldest child. Seeing as there is no current recognition of Step-parent adoption, we BOTH had to apply and go through the same process to adopt my son (odd but true).
    I am pleased to say that even though niether my husband nor I practise any formal religon and so also left this part of the form blank, we had n problems in having our application approved.
    So this appears to be a typical case of the grand ol’ US of A showing itself to be the true father of loony, forever full of the best kind of nut bags.

    It is scary to think that the sorts of people that we allow to be Judges, are the same sorts of people who would support religous descrimination and let people off for taking part in the gang rape of ten year old girls.

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  6. There are several issues here.

    1. Can atheists be excellent parents?

    Yes. Absolutely.

    2. Should atheism exclude adoptive parents?

    No. Not at all.

    Adopting children isn’t a right though, and the State has a duty to make sure that adoptive parents are not just good parents, but the best choice for the child involved. I think allowing the little girl to be with the only mum and dad she has ever known, who are already judged to be people with high moral and ethical standards, who have already been good parents, is what is best for her.

    I hope the appeal is successful.

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  7. fwiw, it has been pointed out that the article dates from 1970. As far as I can tell from this, the original ruling was overruled and they did adopt the child..

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      1. I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t check the date etc before commenting but I’ve heard so many stories of (usually right-wing fundie) American judges making this sort of weird-ass proclamations that it really triggered no wrning bells what-so-ever.

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      2. Also occurs to me that the question of whether religious beliefs (or lack there of) should play a part in deciding who gets to adopt is still relevant today – perhaps even more so in this age of international adoption where children are quite frequently adopted into different cultures and religious traditions than those they were born into.

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      3. I cannot tell[1] you the number of parents I’ve met in the US with sproglets they’ve adopted from China or Russia who actualy say things like, “We wanted to save [a child] from atheist Communists”.

        Americans get *really* upset when you burst out laughing at anyone talking about godless communists with a straight face. Who knew?

        1. Okay: five couples. Yay, representative sample 🙂

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  8. This thread raises an important question, but it isn’t one of religious zealots.

    Given that the article dates from 1970, and given the response seen here, is there such a thing as an atheist zealot?

    In other words, despite not believing in a “thing”, does their belief that believing in a “thing” is rubbish sometimes get so intense it takes them to the equivalent point of religious zealotry, as ironic as that is?

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    1. If there is such a thing I don’t believe this proves it – I would have been equally upset if the people were being denied adoption because they were Catholic or socialist or bisexual because these are not the things that determine “moral character” or fitness to raise children.

      Maybe an atheist will notice discrimination against other atheists a little more than they might notice discrimination against another group simply because of the “that could have been me” thing – just as any member of any group would.

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