This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


We have a couple child custody cases at the office involving a particular local family. My paralegal was telling me about Crazy Granny's testimony at the custody hearing, wherein she started talking about "the demons." I'm not sure how "the demons" actually fit into the custody matter, but even in an area of the country known for some crazy backwoods religions, ranting about demons in court is pretty nutters. Sadly, I know nutters. Boy, do I know nutters.

While reading through the Domestic Relations volumes of [Mediocre State] Practice this past week, I noticed several cases involving a particular nutters religion with which I am sadly intimately familiar -- a certain fundamentalist, evangelical apocalyptic cult that annoys the shit out of people by knocking on their doors Saturday mornings to pass out their cult pamphlets. One of the cases I read involved a child custody dispute, where the non-nutters parent wanted custody over the nutters parent because the nutters parent was a member of that particular cult. The argument was that the religion was harmful to the child because of the aspects of the religious canon that limits contact with "outsiders" of the religion, among other ridiculous stupidity, like letting your kid die instead of giving him a blood transfusion. The court sided with the nutters parent, because she testified that she didn't so stringently follow all of the tenets of the faith to be harmful to the child. Which is a gigantic load of crap. Take it from someone whose parents barely even attended the cult meetings throughout my childhood and did little to no evangelizing, the brainwashing runs very deep regardless of one's level of involvement.

Mornings like today, when those brainwashed whack-jobs show up at my door, wanting me to start drinking the kool-aid again, I'm reminded how damaged I still am from 18 years of that insanity. I spent years reformulating my beliefs and reinventing myself. It was all I could do to politely say "No, thank-you," and quickly close the door before I exploded into an emotional rant about how they stole my childhood, destroyed my family and I barely made it to adulthood with my sanity, my health and my life in tact. I remind my mother every so often that if she even makes mention of her crazy cult teachings to my child, it will be the last time she ever sees her, and she would have no legal grounds upon which to seek visitation. I'm honestly not even at a point where I can think fondly of my late grandmother -- frankly, I just hope she's in some sort of afterlife, realizing that there's not only 144,000 going to heaven, there's no restored paradise on earth with death and destruction for everyone not sitting in her church and her pew, and that shunning her children who left the cult, and finally refusing me a place to live after I left the cult, when I was essentially homeless right before my freshman year of college, was hateful and wrong.

I might be raising my child Catholic, but she will never be taught that she has no mind of her own in which to question, and at least in the Catholic church, you don't get kicked out and publicly shunned for disagreeing. She will not be taught to hate, to discriminate or to judge. She will make her own decisions, and I will support her, whether I agree with those decisions or not. I want her to look back on her childhood with fondness, not regret and shame. She won't carry the same demons I do.


Portia said...

This sounds just like me (different cult, same story). I feel you, and I applaud your commitment to raising Cora to be a compassionate, productive member of society!

five tomatoes said...

That is the biggest thing I love about being Catholic. We might be nutters in our own way, but at least you can disagree and question things.