Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Not Her Faith, It's Child Abuse

amanda voydatch, home schooling, public, schools, bible, religion, hell,
A lot, and I do mean a lot, has been made of the case of Amanda Voydatch, a 10-year-old homeschooler ordered by the Court in New Hampshire to attend public school this year. The general Christian consensus can be summed up by the mother's lawyer, John Simmons.

Although there is no dispute that Amanda is excelling academically and is generally interactive with her peers, her religious beliefs were seen as being held a bit too sincerely, Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney John Anthony Simmons explained to The Christian Post.

"What this has become is an assault on the child’s faith," Simmons said.

Except that it's not. What this case revolves around is an assault on the child herself.

The court order* stated: "According to the guardian ad litem's further report and testimony, the counselor found Amanda to lack some youthful characteristics. She appeard to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith." The guardian noted that during a counseling session, Amanda tried to witness to the counselor and appeared "visibly upset" when the counselor purposefully did not pay attention.

The guardian also noted that Amanda's relationship with her father suffered because she did not think he loved her as much as he said he did due to the fact that he refused to "adopt her religious beliefs."

That's typical divorced parent child abuse bullshit and it has nothing to do with religion. "Daddy doesn't love you as much as I do." "If mommy really loved you, she'd blahblahblah."

Daddy doesn't love you as much as I do because he doesn't love Jesus the right way.

That's abusive, plain and simple. I'll bet mommy followed that up with "Daddy's going to hell!" Oh, wait, I just read the Court Order in its entirety, and yes, she did.

Can you imagine being 10 years old and believing that (a) Daddy doesn't love you and (b) Daddy's going to hell? Frankly, I think the mother is lucky the Judge didn't change custody on her.

*Properly spelled "Court Order" and it is fascinating reading.


  1. There is a reason why I believe that children shouldn't be taught religion until they are older. My ex and I are currently fighting about this, what to teach the kiddo and when. So this doesn't happen to the poor kid. It is sick that this poor child is so obviously terrified by her mother and probably church that she is unable to interact with people without "witnessing". Terrible.

  2. Now hold up...as much as I disagree with the Christians let's take a minute to realize something...all children end up repeating what their parents say and teach them. This is normal. While I agree the things this child is picking up are things I don't agree with, there is no crime in this.

    If the evidence shows the child is perfectly fine in all other social regards with the exception of her witnessing to people, then I agree the court has zero business interfering.

  3. Except that she believes her father doesn't love her as much as he says he does because he doesn't ascribe to her particular faith. that's the kind of thing that will mess a kid up.

  4. The child became visibly upset when the counciler did not respond to her witnessing. That isn't right. No child at 10 should be so rigid in any belief that they become visibly upset when someone refuses to respond to it. If this were any other belief structure, social or religious, people would be screaming indoctornation at this point. The fact that it is Christian gives it an automatic pass no matter what happens to the child.

  5. Let this be a demonstration of why wingnuts love homeschooling so much; it gives them the power to keep kids as ignorant and closed-minded as them.

  6. PS: and to keep them from the dangerous idea of thinking for themselves!

  7. I really think the Judge is hoping that exposure to lots of different types of people will loosen the girl up a bit, because he can't really mandate that the mother deprogram her daughter from believing that daddy doesn't love her enough.

    oh, and giving an assignment to the counselor? she's ten, the counselor was an adult. totally inappropriate interaction. if i had tried to get that way with an adult at the age of 10, my mother would have slapped me.

  8. Again, hold up a sec. I am *NOT* giving the Christians a free pass. I am an ex-Christian myself and know only too well how they work. I agree that the issue of the child not having assurance of her father's love is disturbing. But as PF pointed out, that is typical of a divorce situation whether the mother was Christian or not.

    And also, the fact the child is witnessing to people is just showing that a child imitates it's parents. I don't think there is any crime being committed here.

    However, I would agree she probably does need more interaction with other kids. But, I don't support the government mandating that. Do atheists want their kids mandated to hang out with believers? I don't think so. Do I as a Pagan want any future children of mine mandated to hang out with whoever the government decides they need to hang out with? Certainly not.

    Think about what you want mandated for Christians; and then think about it if that were done to you. Just food for thought. (:

  9. My daughter's father and I are separated, and never once in her life have I ever told her that her father doesn't love her, doesn't love her enough, will go to hell, or anything else negative. A parent that cares about their kid's well being keeps their own personal feelings about what the other parent does or thinks out of the conversaton with a child that age.
    Also, I am a pagn, and my kid will go to public school just ike this little girl will. We live in a pretty fundie area, so she will hang out with believers. I can't stop that anyway. And considering that the government has been known to take away pagan and atheist parents kids and give those kids to the Christian parent regardless of well being, I think that what is happening to this child in the system is far better than what happens to children of non-Christians.

  10. "and never once in her life have I ever told her that her father doesn't love her,"

    I was never "told" that either by my parents, yet I still thought it. I still felt it. Messages aren't always words. You know?

    Yes, I too have heard of non-Christian adults having their children snatched away. IMO, what's happening here is just one step away from that. It's wrong when it happens to atheists and pagans, it's wrong when it happens to Christians.

    I mean folks, it's not like the mother is hiding her in a closet or forcing her to watch fundie videos with her eyes taped open and subjecting her to sensory deprivation so she is programmed like a Manchurian candidate.

  11. My opinion:

    There are two parents involved. It's against the mothers wishes, but the father is pushing for it. The mother has quite clearly indoctrinated Amanda into believing that her father is going to hell to be eternally tortured, and this has also quite clearly hurt their relationship, but perhaps this can be overlooked as a religous issue.

    If she was going to public school, and the mother wanted to homeschool... I wouldn't support that order.

    So I have the difficulty of sounding like a hypocrite if I support the order, even though I think it was the right decision. I'd prefer something which wasn't mandatory, but with two parents who seem incapable of agreeing on anything, an order may be necessary...

    Interesting point: the mother is giving Amanda chiropractic treatment. This makes me think the decision to get the kid away from her gullible fundy mother for 6 hours a day is a bloody great idea...

  12. But this woman is telling her child that her father is going to hell. That is a lot worse that a child feeling that the other parent doesn't love them.
    I agree with Quasar, It will do that girl good to get out of the house and away from mom for a few hours every day. It's not the end of the world for her to go to public school. I think the court is doing her a favor.


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