Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I just want to add one additional criticism to Rick's thoughtful dissection of the court ruling barring parents from exposing their child to Wicca given his attendance at a Catholic school. If a child's "confusion" arising from the conflict between the messages expressed in the home and school environments becomes a proper ground on which to define the child's best interests, religious folks of all stripes are in for a rough ride. I haven't read the opinion itself, but it seems that the logic could apply equally to Catholic parents sending their child to public school (or to a secular private school, if the voluntariness of the attendance decision undergirds the court's reasoning). A court could reason that exposure to Catholicism creates too much confusion for a child exposed to public school values, particularly in the areas of homosexuality and gender equality. Another reason to defend government neutrality as an (admittedly elusive) guiding ideal in this area.