I Don't Know ... and Neither Do You! | No Gnosis (PsiCop original)If anyone thinks non-believers can’t be legally discriminated against in the US, guess again. An Indiana father recently lost custody of his children, apparently because he’s an Agnostic. WRTV-6 reports on this decision (WebCite cached article):

An Anderson father is upset after he claims he lost custody of his three children due to his religious beliefs.

Madison County Superior Court, Division 3 Commissioner George G. Pancol Sr. gave Craig Scarberry’s ex-wife, Christine Porcaro, full custody of the couple’s children in a Nov. 1 ruling.

“Further evidence indicated that the Petitioner/Father did not participate in the same religious training that the Respondent/Mother exercises and that the Petitioner/Father was agnostic,” the ruling said.

An apologist for Commissioner Pancol … his own son … claims this is necessitated by Indiana state law:

Judge G. George Pancol, Commissioner Pancol’s son, told 6News he could not comment on any specifics of the case, but did say that according to Indiana statute, religion is an issue that should be considered by the court in custody cases.

“The court is required, under Indiana code 31-9-2-67, when considering joint legal custody, to consider whether or not the parties can share authority for major decisions concerning education, health care and religious training, so religious training is one of the things we are required to consider,” he said.

This doesn’t mean it’s right to deny custody to non-believing parents, or even permissible; not all state laws that relate to religion are enforceable. Take for example a North Carolina state constitutional provision forbidding atheists from holding office. While some North Carolinians have agitated that it be obeyed, it’s not likely any court in the country — except maybe a state court in the Bible Belt — would dare enforce this provision (for reasons I describe in my blog post on NC’s anti-atheism). Let’s hope Scarberry appeals, that his appeal isn’t heard by Christofascist judges, and that this decision is overturned.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith blog.

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