Does churchgoing = good parenting?

A South Dakota court so ruled in a custody case. Appalling!

Eugene Volokh points to a case where the father was awarded physical custody of a child although the mother had been the primary caregiver since birth, at least in part because Dad took the kid to church and Mom didn’t.  I agree with Eugene; this is appalling.

In much of academic life, religiosity can be a social and career disadvantage.   But in the real world, the opposite is often true.  I regard the battle to make academia more religion-friendly and the battle to make the rest of the society less hostile to atheists as part of the same struggle.

“I have sworn,” said Jefferson, “upon the altar of Almighty God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of Man.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

5 thoughts on “Does churchgoing = good parenting?”

  1. This is indeed a very bad outcome. But its of a piece with the broader philosophy of awarding custody to the parent that will be the "best" parent rather than the one which the child is most comfortable with. Substitute high income for church going and this is a common phenomenon.

  2. BTW, the commenters on the site have the usual VC nastiness. They don't seem to mind religious discrimination. I'm surprised, because usually that'd push somebody's libertarian button.

  3. Isn't this fairly common, at least at the first level of courts? There was a big hoohah a couple years ago about a couple that was deemed unfit for observing wiccan rituals…

    I think that at least some of the people who don't mind religious discrimination, btw, do so from a conscious or unconscious thought that someone wishing to avoid discrimination could simply join the appropriate sect and mouth whatever words were required. If you're an atheist and don't believe in the words in question, is that still blasphemy?

  4. In reply to sd:

    The judge determined that, "Skyler is bonded to both parents. He is a little more bonded to Troy than to Jessica, and Jessica acknowledged this to Dr. Price." So the judge did, in fact, award custody to the parent that the child was most comfortable with.

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