Judge orders father to take his children to church

Jan 21, 2015

Photo: GEOFF PUGH

By David Barrett

A judge has ordered a father to take his children to Roman Catholic mass as part of a divorce settlement, even though he is not Catholic.

The man, who can only be identified as “Steve” because of reporting restrictions on the case, faces possible contempt of court and a jail sentence if he fails to go to church when he has custody of the children.

The church attendance requirement was imposed by Judge James Orrell during a hearing at an undisclosed county court in the Midlands.

The judge has previously faced criticism for a hearing at Derby county court in which he ordered three children to be taken away from their parents after a hearing lasting just 15 minutes.

Court transcripts seen by The Telegraph show that Judge Orrell discussed his own Catholic faith during the course of the hearing into contact arrangements for Steve’s two sons.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

37 comments on “Judge orders father to take his children to church

  • 1
    Miserablegit says:

    Now I know british judges are famous for being out of touch, but a judge insisting that a child be forced to go to a Catholic Church like himself sets new standards for judicial stupidity.



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  • @OP Court transcripts seen by The Telegraph show that Judge Orrell discussed his own Catholic faith during the course of the hearing into contact arrangements for Steve’s two sons.

    In that case, a formal complaint should be made of the judge’s failure to declare a personal bias/interest, and withdraw from the case!



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  • The father should not go to church and get the jail sentence. The outrage would be enough to have the judge investigated and removed, and give his kids free lives and free choice. My father was a Protestant chaplain and I was forced to go every Sunday until, at 16, I had enough and told him to FUCK OFF; I’m not going anymore. He basically did not speak to me for two years. It was great and it was freedom. If Dave does as he is ‘ordered’, he’s just another meaningless sheep in the system. If he takes a stand he can make a unique difference in the fight against abusive authority. And he’ll have kids that respect him and become free men in their own lives. Isn’t that what any father wants for his children?



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  • Roedy Jan 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    What has to happen for a judge to be taken off the bench?

    I’m not sure about judges, but earlier in the judge’s career as a law student, he would have been taught:-

    Section 15″ of the (Regulatory) Law Society’s Guide to the Professional conduct of Solicitors (“lawyers” for those in the US)

    “A solicitor must not act where his or her own interests conflict with the interests of a client or potential client.”



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  • This is one of the big contentions in custody issues. What if any church and who gets to decide. In most states of the US, the parent that has “legal” custody gets to decide what, if any, religious exposure the child receives. However, one cannot “require” the noncustodial parent to take the children to church but the parent with legal custody can “prevent” religious exposure of a particular nature. This, of course, is contentious and often ends up back in court–over and over. I have always had “legal” custody of my daughter and when her biological father and his girlfriend (at the time) wanted to take her to church– I said “no.” Then I got a job 3,000 miles away and the debate was over. No religious indoctrination for her. It’s a bit more difficult in Great Britain I fear…. very difficult issue.



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  • What is it about Brits and Solicitors?? A Solicitor “solicits” opinions, defined as to beg, ask, plead, accost, or obtain something, to offer to have sex.

    The person begging at the street corner could also be referred to was a Solicitor, as would the “Door to door Salesman”. What does any of this have to do with a person engaged in the practice of law?

    Nothing.

    So please enlighten me.

    As for the case at hand, the father should appeal to a higher court, since this “Judge” seems to have lost all understanding of the concept of prejudice. jcw



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  • I think indoctrination of young, vulnerable minds into a goofy belief system is CHILD ABUSE. Yes, child abuse because I’ve seen so many people, including my own family members who have had severe problems later in life when they see real facts contradict with the fantasy which they were ordered to believe. If he complies with the judges orders, the father has a huge burden now to teach his children how messed up the brains of the priest and congregations are, all at the same time while being in that same church.



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  • 12
    Lorenzo says:

    Is it just me or this is a glaring violation of personal freedom? And is it just me or the atheist sentenced to three years in jail, in Egypt, springs immediately to mind? And is it just me or we were urging caution with all religions, not only islam, because they are really not that different from one another?

    If you stumble in a religious nut and that nut happens to have some power to inflict you a punishment, it will, if you don’t subscribe to its faith.



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  • All depends if it has a capital or lower case “S.” Proper names do not have meaning only reference, otherwise “Honest Joe’s Car Sales” would be in legal trouble for misrepresentation.

    A solicitor performs routine legal functions such as property conveyancing, gives legal advice, represents people in lower courts and does all the leg work in preparing cases for the higher courts. Many of them now work for large companies on a full time basis.

    Barristers represent clients in higher courts and they are given the brief by solicitors. The distinction goes back in time but was finally formalised in the early 19th century, though in most systems deriving from the UK it has considerably weakened in latter times. Some US jurisdictions maintain the distinction.



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  • It is exceedingly dangerous to form hard judgements just based on a media report. As one who has witnessed events, then read about them or watched TV reporting of the same events, and wondering if I had been at the same location, I am a bit reticent in the comment that I am about to type.

    In Family Law matters, when separations occur, and cannot be mutually agreed upon between husband and wife, a Judge at times is required to give directions as to the joint management and custody arrangements for the children. As an aside, it is sad that we as a species need a judge to intervene but I digress. It may be in this case, that there are circumstance pertinent to the custody arrangements for the children, and the Judge has seen fit to include a provision that the children, while in the custody of the father, are required to maintain a previously established routine. This is merely my speculation. As much as I abhor the concept of ordering children to attend the RCC, or any church, it may be that the Judge in his wisdom found that this outcome was the best in the full circumstances, that are never reported in detail by the media.



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  • kaiserkriss Jan 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    What is it about Brits and Solicitors?? A Solicitor “solicits” opinions, defined as to beg, ask, plead, accost, or obtain something, to offer to have sex.

    The person begging at the street corner could also be referred to was a Solicitor, as would the “Door to door Salesman”. What does any of this have to do with a person engaged in the practice of law?

    Hi kaiserkriss,

    That definition applies to various activities, but:-

    In the UK a solicitor is the term used for an attorney or lawyer, giving legal advice and representing clients in some courts.

    It is usual for judges to have an earlier legal career as barristers or solicitors on their way to becoming judges.

    so·lic·i·tor
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/solicitor

    . 2. An attorney holding a public office that handles cases involving a city, state, or other jurisdiction.
    . 3. Chiefly British An attorney who advises clients on legal matters, represents clients in certain lower courts, and prepares cases for barristers to present in the higher courts.



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  • David R Allen Jan 22, 2015 at 5:06 am

    It is exceedingly dangerous to form hard judgements just based on a media report. As one who has witnessed events, then read about them or watched TV reporting of the same events, and wondering if I had been at the same location, I am a bit reticent in the comment that I am about to type.

    I too have had similar experiences, and am sceptical about media reports.

    As much as I abhor the concept of ordering children to attend the RCC, or any church, it may be that the Judge in his wisdom found that this outcome was the best in the full circumstances, that are never reported in detail by the media.

    If as stated, they are quoting from court transcripts, then the judge seems to be engaged in the sort of faith-head-wish-thinking, which puts RCC cannon law above state law.

    IMO:- Such a bias should have been declared, and he should have handed the case to another judge who had no religious affiliation to either party.



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  • Lorenzo Jan 22, 2015 at 4:08 am

    If you stumble in a religious nut and that nut happens to have some power to inflict you a punishment, it will, if you don’t subscribe to its faith.

    There are plenty of examples of those with such power, or those seeking such power – as i linked here: –

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/pope-francis-about-your-mother/#li-comment-166501
    The monk is a leader of the 969 movement, which says Myanmar should remain a Buddhist country and calls for restrictions and boycotts on Muslims.



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  • The solution is to defy the judge by not taking the kids to the ritual, get sentenced to jail, get “secularly martyred” and have the International Court hear the appeal. The jail sentence would show the real difference between whiplash justice in Saudi and Western democracy’s methods of preserving religious ritualistic bollox



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  • Take the children to the local Removed Cerebrum Church and heckle the sermon, laugh loudly at the pompous ceremonies, cough and choke when the thurible passes and take a whoopie cushion to compete with the tiny mystical bells. Tell the children exactly why and warn them never to get within the reach of a priest.

    Take along some entertainment to keep them occupied usefully.



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  • Thanks Alan.

    My comment was a little tongue in cheek. 😉

    It’s just a bit strange that “the prostitute was brought up on charges for soliciting, and represented in court by a Solicitor”. Not an elegant or unambiguous way, of expressing something. Referring to a Solicitor as an Attorney or Lawyer, or even Council would be so much simpler.

    This is probably one of the few cases where British english has fallen into a german language trap of overcomplicating a simple concept. jcw



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  • I wonder what the comments on this thread would have been had the situation been reversed and a non-believing /non church-going mother had taking action against the father for taking the child to church whilst in his custody.



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  • Lancshoop Jan 23, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I wonder what the comments on this thread would have been had the
    situation been reversed and a non-believing /non church-going mother
    had taking action against the father for taking the child to church
    whilst in his custody.

    Have you read the article?

    The Judge ordered him to take the children to church during his custody of them. Thus
    contradicting his discretion as a parent whilst they are in his care. The guy was not
    saying their mother could not expose them to indoctrination but that he should not be
    forced to do that.



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  • I was told, whether true or not…..

    Since lawyers in yea olde days weren’t allowed to advertise or ambulance chance. That the only way to get work was to Solicit people at the courts.

    If anyone knows different, let us all know



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  • Wouldn’t happen. It is believers who are afraid of their children being exposed to other ideas; they know that experience and knowledge are the death knell of religion.

    I am not divorced, nor is my wife religious, but if both these things were to somehow come to pass, I am confident I could undo the damage that was inflicted on my children through education.



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  • Solicitors , it’s an English thing from way back before you were born. Oh, wait a minute, before your nation was born. You may want to look us up.

    ‘At both the federal and state levels, the law of the United States is largely derived from the common law system of English law, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War.’

    We are the guys that provided the basis for the law in your country and pretty much half of the planet. You just changed a few of the words to make it seem like it was your idea. 🙂



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  • I’m not a believer but I nearly married a Roman Catholic girl once ( well she was cute!) In marriage preparation I was told that I would have to bring my children up in the Roman Catholic faith. Now my partner believed and I was happy with that. I was also happy that after an upbringing that involved the church (Anglican) myself I was able to walk away once I was old enough to make my own mind up. I felt that my kids could always do the same. Their choice. However if I had made that promise and undertaken to do this then I would have seen it through even in divorce. This guy probably promised the same thing and therefore should keep that promise. The kids will have the opportunity to make their own mind up in the future.



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  • 31
    Cairsley says:

    I appreciate your point about keeping promises, Scott, but I wonder how binding a promise is that can be shown to be harmful. If taking one’s child to church, being part of religious indoctrination, is harmful to the child, perhaps a promise to ensure the child’s attendance at church is one that should be disregarded as having been made in error concerning the child’s welfare.

    In the case referred to in the article, I agree with Alan4D that the judge, being himself a Roman Catholic and discussing his own beliefs in the case, was in breach of his trust as a judge. He had no business to hear the case and should have withdrawn on account of a conflict of interests.



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  • Scott Jan 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I’m not a believer but I nearly married a Roman Catholic girl once ( well she was cute!) In marriage preparation I was told that I would have to bring my children up in the Roman Catholic faith.

    That is how the RCC forces its nonsensical beliefs on children, has them indoctrinated in Sunday Schools, and RCC faith-schools.

    It uses the mind-slaves it has already captured as a lever to manipulate people who love them, into compromising their own beliefs and integrity.

    It also uses politician and legal mind-slaves to further its cause. – Openly when dominant and clandestinely by stealth in tolerant societies. (Look at the history of Southern Ireland, Italy, Spain and South America.)
    It is worth noting that Catholics were historically banned from inheriting the British crown!



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  • The greatest damage is done early. Cultural input from 18 months through to 7 years does more to wire brains and form modes of thinking than at all later times together. Fully two thirds of neural connections are pruned away in this period to mostly define our characters and preferred cognitive modes/heuristics. Primate studies show us unlike chimp children, human children take instruction from adults against the evidence of their own eyes and reason. Our unique vulnerability and dependence when very young means the young have evolved to be uniquely trainable for their own survival. Whilst gifting us the capacity for adaptive cultures exploiting niches this trainability has opened a flap in the back of every child’s head for ill as well as good.

    The single most self poisoning image for our species I can imagine is that of a five or six year old kneeling by the side of their bed, hands together eyes closed. Talking to and thanking a non-existent wish-giver is wiring that will be a miserable and mostly impossible heartache to undo, when later discovering the deception. Not having been reasoned into modes of thought make them mostly intractable later.

    Children should not be so abused. Left until post puberty, when educated in the facts…well features… of all religions, parents should expect no more than that they have aquitted themselves as exemplars of their own.

    But what about morality and bedtime prayers when we think of others? No problem. After the bedtime story (always a story) spend some time with your five year old to think about the day and notice that grandma seemed a little sad and wouldn’t it be nice to do her a card and phone her and tell her about school tomorrow. That big sis is grumpy because she has lost a friend and needs a hug not a kick like you gave her earlier. This is the perfect time to imagine what it is like to be another and how we would feel in their stead. Then hugs, cards and kind words, deeds not prayers.



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  • I forgot the moral of this….

    Never, ever promise your spouse-to-be that you would ever be so abusive to another, and especially of a young other, who had exactly no say in all this and least of all as a means to “clinch the romantic deal”. Children should not be taken as a right of parents only an obligation upon them.



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  • This is what I thought immediately! I think I would relish the opportunity to do it (except I might fear for the well-being of my children if violent Catholic types were angered). But I would TOTALLY do this. What fun! Too bad we can’t know who “Steve” is. We could send him suggestions.



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  • The judges here seem to be arguing among themselves – some apparently using “faith-thinking”!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31295962
    Judges in some counties in Alabama have begun issuing marriage licences to gay couples, despite the state’s top judge ordering them not to.

    Chief Justice Roy Moore said judges were not bound by a federal ruling lifting the state’s gay marriage ban.

    But at least three counties have begun issuing licences after the US Supreme Court refused to put marriages on hold.

    Other counties have said they will not marry any couple, according to local media.

    Judge Moore has been one of the state’s most outspoken critics of gay marriage. He called homosexuality an “inherent evil” in a 2002 custody ruling against a lesbian mother.

    But on Monday morning, he was powerless to stop the state becoming the 37th to issue marriage licences.

    In Birmingham, one of the first licenses went to Dee and Laura Bush, who have been together for seven years and have five children between them.



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