Uh-oh. A New Hampshire court is ordering a girl to be taken out of homeschooling and put into the public school system because she might be too religious.

As is typical with these kinds of cases it seems to have started with a divorce where the mother, who homeschooled the child, is religious and the father doesn’t want the same things for their child. So a court case ensued. That’s all sadly typical but the strange thing is the judge’s ruling which should shock and worry homeschoolers everywhere.

The Alliance Defense Fund reports:

An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney filed motions with a New Hampshire court Monday asking it to reconsider and stay its decision to order a 10-year-old home-schooled girl into a government-run school in Meredith.

Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.” The court approved the order.

“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children. In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working,” said ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton. “The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews. This is a step too far for any court to take.”

The ruling can be found in its entirety http://www.dakotavoice.com/2009/08/judge-orders-homeschooler-into-public-school-for-being-too-religious/. But here’s some quotes for your perusal:

“The counselor found Amanda to lack some youthful characteristics. She appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith…

“The Guardian Ad Litem concluded that Amanda’s interests and particularly her intellectual and emotion development would be best served by exposure to a public school setting in which she would be challenged to solve problems presented by a group learning situation and by the social interactivity of children her age. She also concluded that Amanda would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select as a young adult which of those systems would best suit her needs…

The evidence support a finding that Amanda is generally likable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising and intellectually at or superior to grade level….

Amanda’s vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to the counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other points of view…

The Court has not considered the merits of Amanda’s religious beliefs but considered only the impact of those beliefs on her interaction with others both past and future…

This is a worrisome ruling and, I fear, a sign of things to come.

HT Culture War Notes