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Do you talk to your kids about religion?

Posted by on Dec. 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM
  • 6 Replies

Court Bans Mom From Talking Religion With Her Kids & It's Probably for the Best


A Utah mom was was recently dealt a court order to stop talking about her religion to her children. Normally, I'm all over the First Amendment and would be rallying to this lady's defense, but I've been through some stuff in the last few years that has changed my outlook when it comes to religion and raising children -- especially in cases like this that involve a nasty divorce.

The woman in this case is in the midst of a custody battle for her children, and at this time is only allowed supervised visitation. Their father has sole custody of them, and religion is at the center of their divorce.

He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she is considering joining a Mormon sect known as the Apostolic United Brethren, which practices polygamy.

The mom, whose name was withheld to protect the children, said on Tuesday, December 9, "This court order is about religion ... and it's in place to prohibit me from discussing any religion with my children and it's anti-constitutional."

"I tried to make it very, very clear in my rulings that my problem is not with Ms. Brown’s religion. I don't care if her conduct is as a result of believing in the UAB (sic)," Commissioner Kim Luhn said. "I care that her conduct is creating chaos for these children and in essence, rising to the level of emotional abuse. I want focus here on conduct."

Luhn modified the total ban on Tuesday to "prohibit talk of religion or politics during the holidays," and insisted that all conversations between mom and kids remain "age appropriate."

So here's the question -- should a parent be allowed to speak freely with their own children in regard to religion?

Not always.

I have no idea what the mom said to upset the children so much, other than that the ex-husband said, "She would say things about the court case in front of the children. She would talk about what was going on with the court case, as far as her version of the truth."

I was in a similar position myself at one point, so I can appreciate that this is about more than freedom of religion -- it's about the best interest of the children. Any time one parent will be slandered in front of the children, by the co-parent, or with the co-parent's consent, it's a bad thing. Kids are already going through enough when their parents split, the last thing they need is to be told that one of their parents is "bad," or, in my case, and quite possibly in this one too, that the other parent is deliberately being selfish and disobeying God.

Yup, that happened. The pastor and ex-close friend of the church I attended for seven years stood in the pulpit and preached to a congregation of over 200 people that I was guilty of the sin of filing for divorce, was ex-communicated, and my personal favorite line, "caught in the snare of the Devil." Members of the congregation would pray for my salvation, and who knows what they would've told my kids if my lawyer hadn't made it perfectly clear that I would sue for slander if they didn't cease and desist harassing me, "in the name of Jesus."

My ex-husband is still good friends with many of the people there, and that's fine. It's his life. But over my dead body will my children be exposed to that sort of misogyny and misrepresentation of God's word, not to mention the slander of their mother. Do you know what kids hear when they are told their other parent is bad? They hear that they themselves are bad, because they are half that parent.

Like I said, I'm not aware of the particular details of this case, but from personal experience, I can attest that sometimes talking to children about religion is a lot more than what it looks like on the surface.

Do you think the dad had a right in this case to keep his ex-wife from talking to their kids about her religious beliefs?

by on Dec. 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM
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Replies (1-6):
wise.toes
by on Dec. 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

well we really don't know the details of the situation. it sounds like it's a lot more than just religion and perhaps that she was trying to alienate her children from their father.

but yes, my children know about christianity. they attend church services if they want, with my mom. 

wendythewriter
by on Dec. 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I do talk to my kids about religion, but I am open to them choosing their own religion, as I chose mine. I will discuss any religion with them, and explain what I see as the pros and cons of each one. 

Without knowing exactly what was said in this case, I can't say with absolute certainty that the father was right. But assuming that he is a reasonable man and truly felt that this was necessary and not just an attempt to hurt and irritate the mother, then I'd say he did the right thing. If you feel that someone is saying something harmful to your kids, whether it's their other parent or a friend or a total stranger, you have to step in and put a stop to it. 

brieri
by on Dec. 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

I don't think any parent has any rights to keeping a child from any religious beliefs or anything else.  But that's the way the courts are going, sad but true.  Jacob's time - Simeon and Levi..

cjsmom1
by Group Admin on Dec. 12, 2014 at 6:46 PM

We talk to ds about different religions when he asks questions since neither his dad or I are religious. I think she must have been doing something extreme for a court to decide this. The fact that she has supervised visitation says a lot.

Oliviasmom72
by Gold Member on Dec. 13, 2014 at 12:13 AM

If you do not approve of your partners religion then dont have kids with them. It all great until you get divorced and suddenly you dont like it.

IMy kids are Catholic. I am christian. I kind of wish I would not have agreed to raise the kids Catholic but too late. But the kids go to a non demominational church when they are with me. My decree says I'm allowed too.

LifeCafe42
by on Dec. 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM
I think there is more to this but I think what's in the best interest of the child. Education not pushing one over the other
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