Scott Hardie | January 4, 2008
A New Jersey judge has ordered an atheist couple to return an adopted baby because state law 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," and a child raised by atheists would be denied the chance to worship God. (link)

There are so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to start. Am I the only one made sick by this?

Kris Weberg | January 4, 2008
If we interpret the last clause strictly, then no child ever really gets to worship "in a manner agreeable to the dictates of [his or her] conscience"; parents generally determine the mode of a child's worship or lack thereof.

If we don't interpret it strictly, I'm not sure what would violate the statute. Anyway, I expect this will run up against the Supreme Court's past decisions regarding the so-called "establishment clause" soon enough.

Eric Wallhagen | January 4, 2008
I would be shocked if the supreme court doesn't overturn this decision. I agree with you Scott, it does sicken me. I also don't believe this judge is interpreting the spirit of the law correctly. Just because the parents are atheists, doesn't mean they will deny the child right to worship. Religion is always forced on children until they're old enough to decide for themselves. There's nothing right or wrong about that, it's just something passed from parent to child. I agree with Kris, that you could easily argue a child in a Christian family isn't being allowed free worship, because what if say the child "wanted" to be Unitarian?

Ultimately the spirit of the law is to protect the freedom of religion. In this case I believe the judge's ruling, despite seemingly following the wording of the law, denied the adopting family's rights and thus ultimately clashed with the law's intent.

Amy Austin | January 4, 2008
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Erik Bates | January 4, 2008
Well, Amy, you are. But that's a different story altogether.

Tony Peters | January 4, 2008
wow....just wow this is the first bit hit that the freedom from religion folks have taken.....I'm not sure that I agree with the ruling though as stated above until you can decide what you want you only worship what your parents do/don't so IMHO a minor shouldn't be subject to this law...I know that I didn't decide my faith until I was in my 20's though my catholic upbringing has stained my moral code to some extent regardless. My problem with this is the same I have with the folks who want the cross to be torn down from Mt Soledad and as Kris said above with the "Free Exercise Clause"...freedom of religion should be to practice or not practice as you see fit .

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