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The Courts

Submission + - Atheists not allowed to adopt children (time.com) 4

gollum123 writes: "From Time, After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency ( http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,877155,00.html ) . John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, left the line for religious affiliation blank on the forms. Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue. Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being." Two weeks ago, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Burkes appealed directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. If they fail in their appeal, Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New Jersey."

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