Pious cruelty [RETRACTED]

A judge denies to ratify an adoption – after the cnild has already been living with the adoptive couple – because they don’t believe in God. No, I’m not making this up.

One reason I think atheists should avoid any tinge of religious bigotry is that we’re simply not as good at it as the other side. Even P.Z. Myers wouldn’t imagine separating a child from her adoptive parents because their beliefs differ from his. Bot some of the Godly are made of sterner stuff.

John Burke is an atheist and his wife Cynthia a pantheist. Having had to threaten a lawsuit to adopt their first child, they have now been ordered by a judge, who acknowledges their “high moral and ethical standards,” to return their second adoptee to the adoption agency. Judge William Camerata reasons (if you’ll allow me to stretch the meaning of that term) that since the New Jersey Constitution guarantees to each citizen “the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience,” seventeen-month-old Eleanor Katherine should be free “to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”

So far, the silence from the “pro-family” folks who propose adoption as an alternative to abortion has been deafening.

There are moments when I really want to believe in Hell.

My apologies. I’ve allowed myself to be hoaxed, and thereby to help hoax the RBC’s readers.

Someone I don’t know sent me the link. I read it, noticed that there was considerable blogging about it, and posted. What I didn’t notice, until a reader pointed it out, is that the story is from 1970. I’ll need to recalibrate my b.s. meter; I should have guessed this probably wasn’t recent, if only from the lack of other news stories, and of course I should have looked at the date before posting.

(Another reader sent a link to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision telling the bigoted judge to go play in traffic.)

This seems to be part of the same sort of viral email campaign the birthers and “death panel” vendors have been using. It’s cold comfort to know that I’m not alone; this 40-year-old story is #1 on the Time.com traffic list today.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com