The Case of the Creationist Mom
Our post about the child custody case in North Carolina (in which a judge ordered a home-schooling mother to put her kids in public school) was hotly debated, with more than 1400 comments; now there’s a written decision from the judge making it clear that the media’s reporting of the case was distorted and misleading. It turns out that the father was not the plaintiff in the case, and the mother’s creationist views were only part of the problem. It was the mother who sued to deprive the father of all authority over the children’s education and religion — and she did this because she belongs to a religious cult with some very unsavory practices.
Timothy Sandefur has a good post on this:
Most notably, this case is not one in which the father sought to deprive the mother of custody; on the contrary, the mother is the Plaintiff—she is the one asking the judge to deprive the father of “all decision making authority…related to education and religion,” as well as overnight visits, visits on Sundays, and other things. It is the mother, not the father, who is seeking to enlist the judiciary’s help in forcing an ideology on the children. The court has denied these requests in an eminently sensible ruling.
Moreover, that decision has virtually nothing to do with evolution or science education. As you can see from reading the order, the court received extensive evidence and individual testimony to the effect that the mother in the case has joined a cult which engages in some very disturbing practices. One former member of the cult testified that it “is not a healthy place for kids to grow up[;] it is run by fear and manipulation…. People are constantly beaten down mentally and live a miserable existence….” Other former members testified that the cult’s leader “made several inappropriate comments about girls as young as 4 years old” and “condoned a ‘boot camp style regimen’ that involved waking children as young as 4 up in the night screaming at them to do push-ups.” The mother’s own father testified that one of the children “exhibit[ed] signs of extreme strain.”
The cultish nature of this group is indicated by the fact that the mother asked the court to forbid the father from “allow[ing] the children to have contact with any ex-Sound Doctrine members or anyone hostile to the organization.”