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Judge Limits Mom's Religious Freedom

Dr. Cheryl Clark is in the fight of her life for religious freedom and custody of her child. Denver County Circuit Judge John W. Coughlin has ordered Dr. Clark to "make sure that there is nothing in the religious upbringing or teaching that the minor child is exposed to that can be considered homophobic."

Dr. Clark committed her life to Christ and ended her lesbian relationship. Her previous partner, Elsey McLeod, sued for joint custody of Dr. Clark's daughter and won. The decision stands in direct conflict with precedent throughout the country that denies visitation to a third party based solely on that person's prior sexual relationship with the legal parent.

Dr. Clark currently attends a church which displays religious pamphlets by Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family based on the Bible. They are objected to by lesbian McLeod who apparently seeks to limit Dr. Clark's religious freedom. Because of Judge Coughlin's outrageous ruling, Dr. Clark would have to risk being in contempt of court should she attend her church.

An appeal has been filed which states, "The state cannot get into the business of approving which churches Dr. Clark may attend with her daughter, what theology or doctrine Dr. Clark and [her daughter] may study or believe, nor can it create a state-approved list of which churches are homophobic and which are not, nor which teachings are homophobic and which are not, nor can the state even prohibit churches from teachings which the state considers homophobic."

"This is the state coming into a home and telling a mother what she can do and say in her home," said Mathew Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel. "Forbidding the raising of children in the parent's Christian beliefs is an anathema to parental rights and religious freedom, must the mother rip out pages of the Bible that say homosexuality is against nature, or must she cover her child's ears if her pastor preaches about sexual purity?"

The Denver court gave McLeod joint custody of Clark's adopted daughter, Emma, even though McLeod had no legal relationship to the girl. It also, in conjunction with the ruling in favor of McLeod, said Clark cannot raise her child with any religious teaching or upbringing that is "homophobic."

Staver said courts cannot "give parents a no-win decision of either abandoning their Christian beliefs or abandoning their children."

The definition of "homophobic," Staver noted, is "all across the board," from being fearful of homosexuals to disagreeing with their lifestyle.

"It takes no stretch of the imagination to envision a judge finding the mother in contempt of court for merely teaching her daughter about the Biblical truths on homosexuality," he said.

Bill Maier, vice president of Focus on the Family, stated,  "The purpose of Focus on the Family is to strengthen the family in America. It is a sad commentary when a judge would consider a church homophobic because they display our materials."    

Washington Times