Monday, June 30, 2008

Texas Allows Christian Child Abuse to Stand

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday rejected a jury award over injuries a 17-year-old girl suffered in an exorcism conducted by members of the church she attended.

The justices ruled that the exorcism was a matter of church doctrine and subject to certain First Amendment religious protections, and thus the case would "unconstitutionally entangle the court in matters of church doctrine."

In its 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that a lower court erred when it said the Pleasant Glade Assembly of God's First Amendment rights regarding freedom of religion did not prevent the church from being held liable for mental distress brought on by a "hyper-spiritualistic environment."

Laura Schubert sued the Colleyville, Texas, church in 2002, claiming she was cut and bruised and later experienced hallucinations after the church members performed an exorcism on her in 1996, when she was 17.

Attorneys for the church said her psychological problems were triggered by traumatic events she witnessed with her missionary parents in Africa.

Another horrific case of children being abused in the name of god. This is a horrible decision by the Texas Supreme Court. Yes, the woman's claims may be dubious, but she should be permitted to air them in a court of law and have that decided legally.

Questions and thoughts that this particular "decision" raises for me:
  1. If an atheist did the same thing to this woman as these religious fucks did he or she would be arrested.
  2. How is polygamy, a religious practice, not protected under the first amendment, but child abuse during an exorcism protected?
  3. Perhaps the Catholic church should just make child rape a sacrament, then it could not be punished because those priests would be protected under the first amendment because they were just performing religious rites on those altar boys.
  4. What the fuck is a "hyper spiritualistic environment"?
  5. I wonder what this woman was doing to make the Pleasant Glade Assembly of God elders think she was possessed by demons? Was she spewing pea soup? Or just acting like a 17 year old who didn't buy their shit any more?
Your thoughts?


Ceroill said...

I suspect you are right, she was no longer exhibiting the properly obedient and nonquestioning mindset. She was showing individuality, and therefore was obviously possessed.

Another question it brings up, though tangential at best: What about sacred substances (peyote, etc)?

coreydbarbarian said...

i sure hope this goes to the us supreme court next. appalling. typical, but appalling nonetheless.

incidentally, i wonder how the opinions might differ under mccain appointees versus obama appointees in this case.

also, i wonder if they would allow her to sue her parents, since they claim her "damage" was from a missionary trip they took her on.

and what happened to this girls individual rights, her freedom of religion? if a 17-yr old girl doesn't want to be pinned down by a group of adults and "prayed" at, doesn't she have any say in the matter?

i think this ought to be a designated "raise questions, don't answer 'em" thread. ;-)

Ceroill said...

That brings up one of the (to me) most irritating apparent double standards of our system. A minor has no real legal rights as adults do, but we claim we value them so much and want to protect them so much that we (culturally) go into near hysterics at any mention of missing children and whatnot.

coreydbarbarian said...

it's hard to be funny about this stuff, but this comic strip tries anyways.


Sacred substances, mmmmmmmmm.


I personally think minors have only one basic individual right and that is the right not to be violated physically, mentally or emotionaly. As applied to this case, her rights have been violated and she is due some recompense from all responsible.

coreydbarbarian said...

from what i've gathered today, it seems the justices felt that the church cannot be held liable for emotional damages connected to their belief in demon-possession.

they can, however be held liable for physical damages from exorcisms.

at least, that's my take on their rulings. i would still like to see the scotus take this one up next term. this one, and one of those damn faith-healing deaths.

re: sacred substances
didn't the robert's court rule in favor of peyote last term? or was i hallucinatin' that too?


Are you sure you would like THIS court to take this case on?

Ceroill said...

corey, I guess you heard more recently than I did. I withdraw the comment then.

coreydbarbarian said...

oh no ya don't, bob! you let me off the hook too easy. after digging around, i realize i was mistaken. this was the case i was thinking of, and it's on hallucinogenic tea, not peyote.

they do reference a restoration of religious freedom act passed in 1993 that may have restored the right to ingest peyote after the 1990 case (employment division vs. smith) that outlawed its ingestion, but i'm a little unclear on that point still. more research to do. and all because you were thoughtful enough to bring it up. :)

bawdy, you make a great point. given the unanimous decision on the tea case, the robert's court might be considered very pro- freedom of religion, even in cases of "exorcism". or, they might surprise me.

i'm curious how they'll rule next term on the fox broadcasting vs. the fcc, too. i mean, it's fox, right? don't right wingers just love fox? ;)

Ceroill said...

corey, I guess I was thinking of the 1990 case. Let us know what else you find out.

coreydbarbarian said...

hey guys, tell me if you think
this link is supposed to be real or humorous. i can't tell anymore...

Ceroill said...

I say it's humorous. The name of the blogger is a key:Hatfield-McCoy, as well as other bits. Somewhat reminiscent of the Landover Baptist site in some ways.

csm said...

Not sure if it is supposed to be humorous, but I found it laugh-out-loud fucking hilarious!

csm said...

Did you click to Rev Moonjava's page? I think that clinches it that that site was supposed to be humorous.

Highview Episcopal

I mean, if not, Ol' Rev. Moonjava is one scary piece of work!