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Religious Discrimination in America: Father's Custody Reduced Because He Is Agnostic

justiceCraig Scarberry, a father of three, shared 50-50 custody with his ex-wife until last week, when he learned that time with his kids would be cut to just four hours a week and every other weekend.

According to Indianapolis' Fox 59,

Searching to find out why, he found Judge George Pancol wrote, "the father did not participate in the same religious training as the mother, and noted that the father was agnostic. It goes on to say that when the father considered himself a Christian, the parties were able to communicate relatively effectively.

Scarberry is appealing.

Related InterestJohn & Cynthia Burke case, where the Burkes were denied adoption rights because they did not believe in a Supreme Being. On appeal, the Burkes won.

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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  • Birdie

    This is absolutely horrible. Yeah he should appeal. He should win too.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      I can see a religious based custody decision in the case of an abusive religion. Let's say that one of the parents is in a religion that forces "faith based healing" vs. seeing a traditional doctor. But lack of faith? Terrible.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Birdie.

      Deborah

  • COinMS

    Do ya think the judge was a Christian? In many cases, the less religious parent would probably be a better choice. And I am a believer, but I also see how many believers do not practice what they preach.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      I like how your mind works, COinMS. Yup, he probably was a Christian judge … :)

      Deborah

  • Shepardson

    You guys sound so arogant no one loses their custody because of religion. How stupid can you people be? How about you get the facts straight this man has never paid for anything dealing with the children the records show that. He only was in the Navy due to dealing drugs and he was discharged from the Navy for anger. He has a domestic violence record in Illinois. Has stalking, harrassament, death threats, etc. the list goes on and on. This man is out of his mind and you guys need to open up your eyes. You claim you want to know the truth well here it is, I have the evidence to back up everything.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Please give us links to the evidence. You could very well be right and we will be happy to post the links that dispute the Fox News Report.

    • CraigS

      There is no evidence to this because it is simply not true. I am more than willing to back up and substantiate anything needed to prove my case.

      • Maggie

        So do you have a criminal record or not? It should be public record so no one will find it – right?
        Also About taking the HIGH ROAD when fearing for you childens lives is about "Odd" – what kinda father does that?
        The same kind that Sues the Chicago police department protesting gay rights as a christian- or the father that bitches about his rights the minute he has to pay for his kids?

        • Deb

          How is having 50/50 child custody for the last 4 years not supporting your kids?

          Did he not feed them or put them up in a tent? To say he doesn't contribute to his children's support is ridiculous.

    • Knowswhatsup

      I've known Craig all my life- He is one of the most stand-up individuals I have ever met.

      Judge Pancol is well known in our community for mixing his religious views with the law he is sworn to uphold.

      I am a Christian, but our country was setup to protect EVERYONE from persecution. People like the mother and judge give Christians a bad name.

      • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

        I'm glad to hear this. As you have seen, there are a couple of comments that speak ill of Craig, claiming that they have evidence. But so far, we haven't been provided any evidence.

        Thanks for posting,
        Deborah

      • Shepardson

        you say you are a christian yet you judge the mother and the judge who are you? When did you become God? Craig you can say whatever you need to say or believe to make yourself feel better, but the fact of the matter is you are only hurting your children. I would be embarrassed to have you as my father going around and making such an ass of myself in the newspaper and on television. How hard did you have to suck to get that article published? I applaud the mother and the judge and her lawyer for not commenting. Just shows they have class. You are pathetic along with that where were you stationed when you faught? You don't deserve to call yourself a vet. because only real men and women that fight and risk their lives should be able to call themselves that. Not someone that sat here in the U.S. and did nothing.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/themanofearth themanofearth

          "you say you are a christian yet you judge the mother and the judge who are you? When did you become God?"

          Well, Knowswhatsup isn't judging the judge and mother in a Biblical fassion he/she is simply stating what they think about the situation just as you are. And I find it kinda funny that you would say that a in the same post as saying, "You don't deserve to call yourself a vet." When did you become a soldier? I've not met any fighting soldier worth talking to who would denigrate any other for what they do in service to this country.

          Aside: Being a "soldier" in some form of Christian army (e.g. The Army of God) doesn't count.

          "You don't deserve to call yourself a vet. because only real men and women that fight and risk their lives should be able to call themselves that."

          So then anyone in the military who spends his/her days supporting the men and women in the field so they can do their jobs can't call themselves veterans?

          That seems to be a rather ignorant statement being that (at least the last I heard from a few of my friends in the military) it takes between 10 & 14 soldiers running support operations to field one fighting man/woman. That would mean that only 7.14%-10% of people in the military could say they were soldiers and are veterans. That seems kinda spurious to me.

          "I would be embarrassed to have you as my father…"
          When did you become a father? I only ask because if you are a father I fear for your children's mental development. Mainly because that you're coming on here and making completely unfounded and uneducated statements and accusations about everyone who you seem to think disagrees with you. That seem to me to be an example of… How did you put it? Oh yeah, going around making such an ass out of yourself. In my experience (not to mention several scientific studies I can bring up) that can be contagious behavior when an adult (especially a parent) behaves that way around children.
          If you are a father, you should really watch yourself your children; otherwise they might end up being the same as you instead of better than you.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/themanofearth themanofearth

      I second admin's call for a link posting for this evidence.
      Also if you are unaware of how to do this you should be able to obtain copies of relevant military, financial, and police reports. I imagine you can probably do that through Craig's ex-wife if you are in contact with her. Just make sure you black out any tracking numbers or names of people besides Craig so you don't needlessly expose anyone else or an organization to fire from this story.

      After that it's simply a matter of scanning them (you can go to Staples for that) and posting them to a file sharing website. There a several free services that you can find through Google.

      Keep in mind though, using a 3rd party source for posting the relevant data will be better do to obvious impartiality issues. If you post documents yourself, what's to keep Craig from claiming and subsequently being able to prove that you posted altered documentation and suing you for defamation of character?

  • Shepardson

    Whats up with the last part of the article it has nothing pertaining to the story. Who would just start a fight over someone saying goodbye to their children? I went to the police station and found out that Craig has had two protective orders against him. Has had the cops called multiple times on him. Is banned from his childrens day care for threatening co-workers. He sounds like the all american dad to me.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      The last part of the article has to do with legal precedents in family law.

      I am curious why you are so angry about this story.

      Deborah

      • CraigS

        He is upset because he is brandon, the man who assaulted me and knows nothing. Thank you for running a fair website where all allegations must be proven. I have everything i need to back upmy claims. These are the people i have to deal with.

        • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

          I feel for you, Craig. It seems to me, based on all of the religious reporting that I do here, that there is a growing and an unjustified anger towards anything that comes close to criticism of religion. When people make allegations and say that they have evidence that contradicts a news report, but fail to provide that evidence, my red flags go up.

          Deborah

          • CraigS

            indeed. the news was fair and offered all parties a chance to respond. i provided court paperwork and legal reports to the people i have spoken to. regardless of what side you stand on, the simple point is, it is about my children. i love them with all my heart and always have. i am not perfect, but i am an american. veteran or not, i am entitled to live my life with the same freedoms as anyone else (including religous freedom). There was no place for the judge to even consider my religion as a reason to ruin my children and i's relationship in the capcity it was in. especially when i am overly willing to accomodate to their mothers christian faith. this is a complete travesty for me, my children, and our first amendment rights. i could sling mud at the mother and how she allows violent men around my children and how i fear for their safety, or how she leaves a 3 and 4 year old, one with special needs… home alone. instead, i choose to try the higher road and fight for my children to be reunited with me in the time we all want back and correct a system that is long overdue to be corrected. thanks again.

  • James M

    I served with Craig in the Navy. We went to Navy Hospital Corpsman School together and were stationed together for four years. All these allegations and attacks on Craigs service is disgusting and an all out lie. Craig was a great father, great husband and great friend. Infact to this day me and Craig are still friends goin on 7 years. It's funny that Shepardson seems to know so much but can't produce one shred of evidence. Shepardson has no right to attack Craigs service to our country when Sheparson was apparently to cowardly to serve himself. Shepardson is a COWARD and LIAR and attacks a man with no evidence. Know why the mother doesnt repsond to all this, it isn't due to her having class, which she has none, it is because her and the judge know they are wrong. At least Craig is fighting to get his rights back as a father that was wrongly taken from him. He is doing what all good fathers do, fighting for his kids, UNLIKE the mother. Shepardson you are a COWARD, LIAR and a LOW LIFE.

    • CraigS

      wow shipmate, how do you really feel? haha

      Thanks for the stand up. It never fails to amaze me, when I start feeling weighted, how those around me help carry the load. I hope we can reunite in person soon. I miss you bro! :)

      • Paul

        The vet remark really pisses me off. I am a vet and I will be at the rally. Fighting to be a father never makes you look bad.

  • Deb

    Wow, this guy just can't seem to catch a break.

    http://bcchildadvocates.blogspot.com/2010/12/anderson-indiana-police-department.html

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010
    Anderson Indiana Police Department threatens to arrest Craig Scarberry
    Around noontime on Wednesday 01 December 2010 officer Calhoun of the Anderson Police Department called Craig Scarberry and threatened to arrest him if he made further attempts to exercise additional parenting time this afternoon.

    Christine Porcaro, the mother of the children, went to the police department today complaining that Scarberry had sent her a text message seeking to discuss parenting time this evening. Currently there is no order in place forbidding Scarberry from having contact with his children, exercising parenting time pursuant to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines nor discussing such with Porcaro.

    When confronted officer Calhoun indicated that he was siding with the mother and that Scarberry would be charged with Invasion of Privacy. The recording of that conversation will be available in a future posting.

    As of this time there has been no arrest nor date set for the jury trial on the charge.

    Stuart Showalter's Political FaceBook page

    Subscribe

    Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

    ©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.
    Posted by Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates at 10:59 AM

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Unbelievable — Craig is going to be on our God Discussion show tomorrow night. Thanks so much for this tip, Deb.

      • Deb

        Of all the Christians I know, none of them would act this way. I have asked several of them what the church thinks about living together without being married. It's a sin was the reply.

        Seem like this ex is only Christian when it suits her. Nothing quite like a hypocrite.

    • Mike S.

      I believe if he is appealing this isn't it considered an ongoing trial? So in stating that isn't all this information and stuff he is saying against the law? I really liked the comment about courtroom games, and that the judge is making this about religion. Umm if I'm not mistaken wasn't Craig the one that went crying to the public to gain sympathy due to the judge finding him unfit to provide for the children. I hope when the trial is over and the truth comes out and Craig is shown for his true colors that Stuart is unable to find a job. Not looking into anything and just going by what this "portrayed victim" says Stuart and the rest of Craig's followers are put out on their asses.

      • Deb

        Most things he has said is a matter of public record. I have yet to see any proof from the "haters". He has been by far more considerate than the posters from the other side that have yet to provide any proof.

        The bottom line,she picked him and had three children. That will always be a fact and like it or not fathers do have rights.

        • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

          The order is pretty clear about the alleged offenses by both parties, but out of 7 parenting issues, 2 talk about his faith (the other points that lead up to this are simply recitals of case history). I can't understand why the court couldn't just focus on factual issues instead of pulling in questions of faith.

          Craig was on the God Discussion show the other night … it was pretty interesting and I had the impression that this is a man who loves his kids and respects his ex-wife's desire to have the children in a Christian educational environment. His advocate joined in and shed some light on where the accusations about Craig's character are really coming from …

          The bottom line here is that government authorities should not be dictating that parents subscribe to a particular faith.

      • Joint Custody Dad

        I currently have joint custody of my two children. Although I have them about 70% of the time I still pay all their medical and child support to the mother. Reason, I make more money.

        Nothing actually states their income situation, but I have not seen any documents saying he was unfit to provide for the children.

        If this was the case, lots of parents would lose custody because they are receiving government aid or food stamps to support their children. So I have a hard time believing a judge would say that. Please show some proof.

        As far as talking about a case you plan to appeal, it's not against the law unless their is a gag order in place.

  • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

    Craig will be on our live show on Thursday, December 2, plus I am working on having some constitutional lawyers weigh in. Link:

    http://www.goddiscussion.com/36429/craig-scarberry-agnostic-father-in-custody-battle-and-joe-zamecki-american-atheists-to-be-on-god-discussion-show-thursday-december-2/

  • http://www.incra.info Stuart Showalter

    Here is my examination of the ORDER.
    http://bcchildadvocates.blogspot.com/2010/12/examination-of-order-in-scarberry-v.html

    It contains a link to my posting from yesterday that clearly demonstrates why Pancol is wrong in his interpretation of the Indiana laws related to joint legal custody.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristianMission Christian

    This just sounds like atheist paranoia. Nothing in the judge's statements does it state or imply Scarberry lost custody due to his agnosticism. However, atheists are quote mining Judge Pancol's words to feed their own political agenda and paranoid delusions. Further, religious considerations are allowed in custody cases where the parents have competing considerations. It has nothing to do with the First Amendment. Parents have been denied the right to expose their children to one religion in favor of another, McLagan v Klein, 1996, for example. Atheists speak of needing evidence before believing something; that, of course, does not apply to their anti religious zealotry.

  • Pingback: Craig Scarberry, Agnostic Father in Custody Battle, and a Look at Christmas Mythology with Joe Zamecki, Acharya S on God Discussion Show, Thursday, December 2 | God Discussion

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