A judge and a court appointed counselor determined that a New Hampshire homeschooled Christian girl was too narrow in her religious beliefs and needed to attend public school in order to receive a more pluralistic view. The court order stated:
“According to the guardian ad litem’s further report and testimony, the counselor found Amanda to lack some youthful characteristics. She appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith.”
“it would be remarkable if a ten-year-old child who spends her school time with her mother and the vast majority of all her other time with her mother would seriously consider adopting any other religious point of view.”
The case involves divorced couple Martin Kurowski and Brenda Voydatch and their 10-year-old daughter, Amanda. The couple split in 1999 when they were living in Massachusetts, and the proceedings moved to New Hampshire after Voydatch relocated to that state with her daughter in 2002.
The court appointed a moderator between the parents who had differences over the plan of education for their daughter. The father wanted her to attend public school while the mother who had physical custody had been homeschooling her instead since first grade. The moderator/guardian concluded that Amanda’s:
“interests, and particularly her intellectual and emotional 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…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.”
Alliance Defense Fund is coming into the case on the side of the mother and allied attorney John Anthony Simmons has filed a motion to reconsider. He says this ruling is dangerous to home schoolers because it will set a precedent for other cases and in this case the sole reason given for the decision is the religious beliefs of the 10 year old girl.
ADF attorneys contend that the child’s religion should not play a role in the decision that the court should focus solely on the academic merits of Amanda’s education which has proved to be excellent according to the required standardized testing.
Response: This is a case where the court appointed counselor/guardian and the judge both have a prevailing secular anti-Christian bias. All the reports from the supplemental classes that Amanda already does take in public school indicate that she is a well-liked and well adjusted child that gets along well with everyone.
This will be an interesting case to follow since it does involve a parents right to raise a child in the religion of their choice without governmental interference. Most believe that the Constitution backs this right.
There is an increasing view among many in this country that children should not be indoctrinated by their parents in a particular religion. In fact a recent UN document on the rights of children reflects this view and many progressives believe that this should be the case in the USA also. The judge in this case seems to be reflecting that view.
This secularist view should not be allowed to gain legal precedent in the USA which is why this case is important from a Christian point of view. It is a major part of the Christian lifestyle and responsibility to raise and train ones children in the faith. If the government infers in this process than the freedom to practice ones religion has in reality been curtailed in a major way in this country.