Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wingnut News Daily Distorts Parental Dispute

I hate to refer to World Net Daily at all because they are such a dishonest, extreme website and they distort the facts regularly. But I want to mention them today to give you an example of just how dishonest they can be.

Their headline, about a New Hampshire case, implies a girl is being forced to attend a public school because of her mother’s extreme fundamentalism. The article, however, quite carefully avoids giving readers any links to the decision or even giving them a hint as to the actual nature of the case. They quote the theocratic, anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund, which was involved in the case.

The ADF lawyer said: “Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children. Courts can settle disputes, but they cannot legitimately order a child into a government-run school on the basis that her religious views need to mixed with other views.” All of this is true, but the WND article is being dishonest, they are hiding facts from their normally rabid readers.

They mention the fundamentalist mother and the girl’s father are divorced. They mention the mother has “homeschooled” the girl in her fundamentalist faith. And they talked a lot about religion. What they left out was the actual nature of the dispute.

If you read the WND report you would think that the courts stepped in, said they didn’t like the mother’s religion, and then ordered the girl to go to government schools for no other reason. But the courts did not just step in. While ADF laments the destruction of a parent’s right to determine their child’s education they deceitfully hide the fact that this court upheld a parent’s right in this case: the father’s.

The court did not intervene against parental wishes. It got involved to settle a dispute between both parents. The father was worried that his daughter was not learning how to think, but merely being indoctrinated in the mother’s extreme beliefs. Now, whether or not the public school will teach thinking remains to be seen, but the case was a dispute between two parents with joint custodial rights over the child, with the mother having primary physical custody.

This blog reported about the case one year ago, listing it as one of the top ten lies that fundamentalist were telling about America. We reported then:

Brenda Voydatch and Martin Kurowski were divorced parents of a 10-year-old girl. Voydatch wanted the child home-schooled. Kurowski wanted her to attend a school saying her mother deprived her of socialization opportunities. In this dispute over child rearing by two parents, the court asked a guardian ad litem to investigate. That was done and this individual sided with the father in this case. The guardian ad litem mentioned the small girl’s rigidity of beliefs as reflecting the mother’s. That was enough for the Christianists to leap on it.

Kurowski’s attorney, Elizabeth Donovan, says the “the ruling was based on the girl’s isolated learning environment, and not on her mother’s religion.” Donovan also notes that Kurowski never complained about the mother taking the daughter to church. This was purely about education and socialization, not religion. Donovan said: “When two parents with joint decision-making responsibility disagree and they cannot come to any common ground, we submit it the court.” Once again the incident isn’t what it was portrayed to be. And this was the 4th worst incident against Christians—ah, if all persecuted groups only it had it that good.

In all their talk about parental rights, WND ignored the father's rights. Why? Perhaps because he is not a fundamentalist Christian.

When two parents have custody rights over a child and both are allowed to make decisions, they will sometimes disagree. If they cannot come to agreement the courts are asked to adjudicate. Only one parent’s will can be done since they do not agree. WND has every right to prefer the mother because she shares their far right Chistianist views. They have a right to their own opinions and conclusions, but they are claiming a right to their own facts as well, by refusing to tell the truth to their readers about the actual nature of the dispute.

They know the case was not about denying parental rights. It was about settling a dispute between two parents with conflicting wishes. In that sort of case, a court will always end up disappointing one parent while granting the parental rights of the other parent. WND pretended there was only one parent’s rights involved and ignored the other parent. This was the only way they could present their claims in the dishonest manner that did. An honest presentation of the facts would have undermined their political claims so they chose to be dishonest instead. But that is pretty standard with them.

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