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Children's religious/spiritual rights in SA

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Faerie
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« on: July 04, 2012, 07:24:06 AM »

Further to the Tom Cruise/Scientology divorce saga currently playing out in the US, where Katie Holmes put her foot down and subsequently filed for divorce because Tom wanted to send their 6 year old daughter to a Scientology "boot camp".

This article is certainly enlightening and heartening to read:

http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2012/07/divorce-can-parents-dictate-what-religion-a-child-should-adopt/

Quote
In 2003 in the case of Kotze v Kotze the court refused to incorporate into a settlement agreement a provision which stated that both parties undertook to educate the child in the Apostolic Faith Church. The court, being the upper guardian in matters involving the best interests of a child, has extremely wide powers in establishing what such interests are. It was held that the clause was not in the best interest of the child as it did not afford him the freedom of religion that he was entitled to.


and this one tweaked my interest as it reminded of my own troubled teenage years:

Quote
In a ground-breaking case not so long ago the Western Cape High Court was requested for the first time to use its discretion to interfere in the parent-child relationship, due to the “traditional socio-cultural beliefs” of the parents. In what has been described as “every parent’s nightmare; the fancy of many teenagers”, a 16 year-old schoolgirl from the Western Cape asked to be “freed” from her parents to live semi-independently from them because of her unhappiness with the conservative manner in which her parents treated her. According to reports her parents came from a very conservative sector of South African society and kept her under constant supervision, barred her from talking to boys, communicating with friends on her cellular phone, reading what she likes (her parents find Harry Potter inappropriate) or even going out with friends after school.
The court granted her request to live semi-independently with a school friend and her family (referred to by the judge the host family) until she reaches the age of 18 (her majority). It was further ordered that the parents could have contact with her for two to three hours a week at a neutral venue and could phone her between 8:00 and 8:30 pm on a Tuesday and Friday. Holidays were shared between the host family and her parents. Despite the fact that the child no longer resided with her parents, the parents retained their responsibility to contribute to the maintenance of their child.


So basically, if a teenager decides that the parental religion does not suit him/her, the parents have no powers to force the issue as such within the constitution. I rather like that notion, although reality is never easy and it is doubtful that many teens would approach the courts for assistance.
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