Monday, April 9, 2012

Should Both Parents Have to Consent to a Child's Religious Upbringing?

A Mother Baptizes Her Two Children Against A Father's Wishes

I saw this story a week ago and thought it was worth sharing. This story brings up a few burning questions and forced me to question, at what point should the courts get involved in disagreements between parents regarding the upbringing of a child? I've actually played this scenario out in my head using various scenarios. Some people might want to disregard this fathers request because both parents are Christians. Some may even side with the mother, simply because mothers know best. 

What if the father was a Christian and the mother practiced a religion that society tends to frown upon? This story would probably have gotten more attention and caused a nationwide frenzy about religious freedom and father's rights. Either way, let's talk about this. Which parent is right? Which parent is wrong? Should we even declare a winner in a case like this?

From CBS NEWS Charlotte:

A Shelby County mother is facing contempt-of-court charges and possible jail time for baptizing her two children without the knowledge or consent of her ex-husband.
This week the Tennessee Court of Appeals said Lauren Jarrell must face a criminal contempt hearing for violating a court order that said major decisions regarding the religious upbringing of her two children should be made jointly with her-ex-husband.
The mother and her ex-husband, Blake Jarrell, are both Christian — he’s a Methodist and she’s a Presbyterian.
Court records say the father thought the children should be baptized once they are older. He has asked that his ex-wife be found in criminal contempt for baptizing the children without his knowledge or permission.
If convicted, she could face 20 days in jail and a $100 fine.
I understand and feel sympathetic to both parents. However, I have a few questions.
1. Is this a matter that the courts should be involved in?
2. Do you agree with the mother or father in this situation?
3. Should this mother serve jail time?
4. Should any parent need consent from the other parent to make decisions for a child?

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