The Grouch

I would hope that misogynist beliefs would be a factor against allowing someone to parent a girl.

I don't think it's necessarily true that one must, in order to be consistent, allow states to deny custody based on atheism if one allows states to deny custody based on Nazism.


I wish I was as cute as they were. Too bad they're Neo-Nazis.


Happy, maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that when a court is being asked to determine where the best interests of the child lie it's not obvious that one parent's far-out social views shouldn't be considered. It's not a question of taking kids away from a parent based on what the parent is teaching the kids, it's a question of which parent the kids would be best off living with, and that's inherently a very intrusive question.



I think the argument that the lawyers here are making is that courts have been moving away from being arbitors of social mores, which is why a divorce judge doesn't care if one spouse set out to sleep with the whole bowling league and how wronged the other spouse was by such action. If courts start weighing parental philosophies then that opens the door to legions of aggrieved parents to re-open custody arrangements with the hopes of convincing a judge that their parental philosophy is better than that of the custodial parent.

The Happy Feminist

I am not actually relying on any special legal expertise here, since this is very much outside my practice area. I just get nervous because I can imagine a scenario where my own views might be considered far-out or damaging to a child.

hafidha sofia

But HF - your views are far-out and damaging! ;)


>>> We can't start depriving parents of child custody based on the values they are teaching their children-- even if these are socially unacceptable values.

That's such a broad statement. When most courts look to the "best interests of the child" they're looking for factors present that will encourage development of the child toward a well-adjusted adulthood, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Isn't it making a farce of the best interests standard to say we can't take into account the photos of Adolph above the living room mantel, the Mein Kampf bedtime stories, the Prussian Blue concert tickets for the kids, and the "How do you like your Jew done?" magnant on the kitchen frig? I mean really? Isn't the judge obligated to say, "Hey, I see serious risks here to well-adjusted social and intellectual development." I think so. Just because you want to protect your feminist views from court scutiny in custody matters isn't a very bright reason to sentence Tiny Tim be raised by the Arian Nation, now is it?

The Happy Feminist

Well, it's not "just because" I want to protect my feminist views from court scrutiny. I use my own views merely as an example.

Tell me, where you would draw the line? Nazism bad, atheism okay? How would you make that distinction as to which ideologies/belief systems are acceptable and which aren't?

Certainly as an individual, I am capable of condemning Nazism and saying unequivocally that it is a terrible thing. But how does the court system decide what value systems are contrary to the best interests of the child? Is mere unpopularity enough? Immorality? Again, if that were the case, atheist parents might have a tough time. What about Communist parents or parents with other weird philosophies?


ok then. How about this for moral tests:

Should a stripper lose custody of her kids because she dances naked for money? What if she also gives sex for money?

What about the woman or man who has an extramarital affair?

Relevant or should the courts avoid casting moral judgments?

The Happy Feminist

I don't what the courts actually do in these cases or what the rationale might be but I would say no, no, and no.

Of course, it's a different story if some of these actions place the child in danger in some way. If the mother's prostitution means that strange men are coming to the house all the time or other crimes are occurring near the child, that could actually endanger the child.

A court could perhaps distinguish the affair and the prostitution, however, because those are actually criminal behaviors.

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