Tuesday 25 August 2009

Can atheists be parents?

I had other blogging plans this morning when I woke up and I will get to them later this afternoon hopefully. A friend posted a link to the following article on her twitter and I just had to share the whole article. I simply couldn't believe my eyes as I read this.

The following is from TIME Magazine and the link is at the bottom
After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark
decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency. Since the Burkes were young,
scandal-free and solvent, they had no trouble with the New Jersey Bureau of
Children's Services—until investigators came to the line on the application that
asked for the couple's religious affiliation.

John Burke, an atheist,
and his wife, a pantheist, had left the line blank. As a result, the bureau
denied the Burkes' application. After the couple began court action, however,
the bureau changed its regulations, and the couple was able to adopt a baby boy
from the Children's Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange.

Last year the Burkes presented their adopted son, David, now 3 1/2,
with a baby sister, Eleanor Katherine, now 17 months, whom they acquired from
the same East Orange agency. Since the agency endorsed the adoption, the
required final approval by a judge was expected to be pro forma. Instead,
Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue.

Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied
the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme
Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New
Jersey state constitution 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." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he
continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and
not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."

The Burkes are now living in Carterville, Ill., near Southern Illinois
University, where John Burke has worked for the past year as a speech
pathologist. Nevertheless, Judge Camarata ordered the parents to send David's
sister back to the New Jersey adoption agency. Two weeks ago, aided by the
American Civil Liberties Union, the Burkes appealed directly to the New Jersey
Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. If they fail in their appeal,
Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await
adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New

Source article -,9171,877155,00.html

Now I am not an American and I am not up on there laws perhaps as much as I should be but don't they have a little thing about the seperation of Church and State. Because this clearly crosses that line in a very very serious fashion. It is one thing to screw with the parents and that is bad enough. But to toy and play with the emotions of a small child like Eleanor is just monsterous. I'm was surprised as I read throught he article that the judge didn't try and remove both of the childern. Clearly David would fall under the same law that he is giving as his reason for taking her away.


So did I mention that the above article is from the year 1970?

Did you feel outraged reading it? I know that I did. I still believed that it could happen today, maybe that's because might just let it happen again if we are not watchful. Old news articles can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with the current reality we live in.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

If the religious "right" has their way it will happen. These people have no care about anything save their own rather twisted agenda.