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Apr 03 2008

Edwin Kagin on Atheist Rights in Kentucky

Atheist Goes To Court To Keep Son Out Of Catholic School

POSTED: 5:48 pm EDT April 2, 2008

UPDATED: 9:28 pm EDT April 2, 2008

LaGRANGE, Ky. — A father and mother took their battle to court Wednesday, asking a judge to decide whether their child should attend a religious school.

The father is an atheist and doesn’t want his son to attend a religious high school. But the child’s mother said there are several reasons their son should — including it’s what he wants.

“Instead of educating the child, they become indoctrinated,” said David Ryan, who argued this is one reason his son should not attend a Catholic high school.

Ryan has battled with his ex-wife over the matter previously, and without resolution, the case is now in front of a family court judge.

Ryan said as an atheist, for his son to attend a religious school would be a violation of his constitutional rights. He wants his son to attend a secular private school.

But the child’s mother, Susan Bisig, said she doesn’t believe Ryan is an athiest at all.

“I feel this is a last-ditch effort on his part to keep it from happening,” she said.

Bisig said the main reason her son should be allowed to attend a Catholic high school is because it’s what he wants.

“It’s important we do take that into consideration because it’s important to him and it’s what’s in his heart,” she said.

Ryan said since his son is still in eighth grade, it’s not just his opinion that should influence the judge’s ruling.

“There should be input from the child, but not decision-making authority with the child,” he said. “That’s what custodians are for.”

The judge didn’t make an immediate decision, saying he will now have to do his research.

“That’s part of the mandate of family court, is to protect those who truly can’t protect themselves,” said Judge Timothy Feeley. “This is a different situation. It’s not protection; it’s choosing among excellent options.”

http://www.wlky.com/news/15776331/detail.html

(Previous Story)

Atheist Sues To Prevent Son From Attending Catholic School

POSTED: 4:09 pm EST January 4, 2008

UPDATED: 5:40 pm EST January 4, 2008

LA GRANGE, Ky. — A father is in a courtroom battle, trying to keep his son from attending a Catholic high school.

The parents involved in this case are divorced. David Ryan, the father, is an atheist. The mother is a Roman Catholic. Their son, who is in the eighth grade, attends a Catholic school in Oldham County.

“This is something where it can’t be both ways,” said Ryan’s attorney, Edwin Kagin. “We think the constitution wins.”

According to Kagin, when Ryan and his wife got divorced, a judge ordered their son continue attending a Catholic school.

But Ryan is an atheist and wants his son to attend a public high school next year, so Friday, he took the issue in front of a judge in an Oldham County courtroom.

“David feels the orientation and the indoctrination of the church school is harmful to his child,” Kagin said.

According to court documents, Ryan believes if his son continues to attend a religious school, it will attempt to indoctrinate his son into a belief system that he as a parent rejects.

“A view that the world operates in conformity with supernatural forces and not with natural laws,” Kagin said.

Ryan’s attorney said this case may just be about one kid and where he goes to school, but there’s a much bigger issue at hand.

“The issue really does become one of what does church-state separation mean?” he asked.

Kagin said part of Kentucky’s constitution reads, “Nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed.”

Kagin said going by the law, the judge’s decision should be easy, but he doesn’t know how much the judge will consider Ryan’s son’s wishes on the matter.

“My client strongly feels that the best interest of the child is served by teaching the child the courts, as well as all citizens, must obey the law and the constitution under which we live,” he said.

Copyright 2008 by WLKY.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.wlky.com/news/14981101/detail.html

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