RELIGIOUS HOSTILITY IN THE FAMILY COURT
The attorneys at Pecos Law Group took a stand for religious freedom last week.
In Arcella v. Arcella, Clark County Family Court Judge Brown disallowed a child’s enrollment at Faith Lutheran Middle School solely because the mother objected to the school’s religious affiliation. But as the United States Supreme Court has held, “the First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.”
So, on behalf of the father, the Pecos Law Group appealed.
At oral argument before the Nevada Supreme Court, en banc, last week, the Pecos Law Group lawyers argued that, in preventing the father from enrolling the child at parochial private school, Judge Brown showed open hostility to religion. Failing to remain religiously neutral, Judge Brown violated the father’s right to participate in the child’s educational and religious upbringing and, at the same time, violated the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
It is not the place of family court judges to choose between spiritualism, atheism, or secularism because the judges have neither the mandate nor the expertise to determine, from among these options, which generally provides the most suitable education.
As in all things in the family courts, the child’s best interests, not the court’s attitude toward religion, is the polestar for resolving parental disputes.
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