Friday, April 16, 2010

Father's Religious Freedom Trumped By State's Interest In Protection of His Children

In Thorne v. Arkansas Department of Human Services, (AR Ct. App., April 14, 2010), an Arkansas appellate court upheld the November 2008 removal of three children from the Tony Alamo Ministry compound in Fouke, Arkansas. The trial court had conditioned the return of the children to their father on his obtaining both housing and employment separate and apart from the Tony Alamo Ministries. The father argued that this condition violates his religious freedom by forcing him to choose between his religion and his children. The court disagreed, saying that the state's interest in preventing potential harm to the children outweighs their father's "conscientious choice to live on ministry property, work for the ministry, and depend on the ministry for his family’s every need." (See prior related posting.)