Sorting out matters of child custody in a divorce can be a daunting task and attending court ordered co-parenting classes can make the process even tougher in some cases, as Holly Salzman found out.
The New Mexico mother of 11 year old twin boys claims she was made to undergo, against her will, 10 religious sessions ordered by the New Mexico District Court’s Family Court Division to learn co-parenting and communication skills, according to a krqe.com report. She had gone to court to resolve child custody issues with her ex-husband.
According to divorce lawyers, the Family Court Division offers services to reduce conflict in child custody cases. Salzman claims the religious angle given to the sessions was inappropriate but failure to attend the sessions could have her held in contempt of court. She started attending sessions so that she could get custody of her two children at the end of last year. The family court ordered her to attend counseling sessions with Mary Pepper who Salzman says claims to be an educator and mentor for couples.
Salzman does not believe in Jesus Christ, believes her life if fulfilled without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and has never heard of Pascal’s Wager apparently. Even House figured it out in the last part of that wonderful show called by the same name. These classes could not hurt her right?
Single mother claims she was forced to pray
Salzman alleges she was asked being each session by praying despite having told Pepper that she did not pray (perhaps that is why she was in this situation in the first place according to many people). However, the counselor proceeded by praying aloud and told her that this was the way she started each session. Following her first meeting with Pepper, Salzman complained about the religious tone to her session to the staff of the Family Court.
In a country that is now condoning and not stopping the sale of baby organs for profit via Planned Parenthood what is wrong with praying? This is what some people may want to know.
However, she claims to have never received a response while her second session opened the same way. When she complained to the court once more, Salzman was told they did not hear of any problem on religious grounds concerning Mary Pepper before. Many divorce attorneys believe the thought of losing your children should outweigh having to pray a few times.
The single mother’s failure to attend the next court-ordered session resulted in the kids being taken away from her. This forced her to complete the 10 sessions in order to get them back. KRQE went ahead and recorded the last three sessions between Salzman and Pepper undercover, and found out that there were religious overtones in many instances. Apart from handouts that contained verses from the book of Psalms in the Bible, Salzman was also given an assignment to complete on the subject of who God was to her.
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Counselor claims nothing wrong with prayer
For the most part, Holly Salzman believes her first amendment rights were violated. On the other hand, Pepper reportedly told KRQE that she believed it did not matter if religion was mentioned during a court-ordered program.
According to a Politics USA report, Pepper said she conducted a private business and that people had the sole discretion to attend sessions or not. She claimed that Salzman sought to analyze her belief system. Incidentally, the family court has refused to comment on the story.
According to Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who apparently has no problem with defending pedophiles and putting them back onto the street since this is what the ACLU does, no one should be forced to undergo therapy that is found to be in violation of their religious beliefs. But Salzman has no beliefs. What is wrong with gaining knowledge? He said there could be a problem since the court did not pay for or run the sessions but ordered them.
The power of prayer
Simonson and Salzman probably have never heard of these facts but the facts based on prayer are overwhelming. Miles McPherson, a pastor and former NFL player, says:
“Do you realize that since prayer was removed from your schools in 1962, teen pregnancy has increased by more than 500 percent? SAT scores have dropped 80 points, teen suicide has tripled, the divorce rate has tripled and violent crime has increased sixfold?”
Salzman has gone through a terrible divorce, what is wrong with learning some lessons from it? This may help her from not needing a divorce lawyer ever again.