Kent Greenwalt


This article asks to what extent considerations relating to religion should figure in custody disputes. One inquiry is whether the kind of religious life that a parent plans for his or her child should figure in the decision whether to grant custody to that parent. The article focuses on a religious life that involves very substantial deprivation no after-school activities, no television, no pets, no reading except schoolwork and the Bible-from an ordinary secular perspective. A second inquiry is whether one parent of a divorced couple should be able to prevent the other parent from exposing a child to various religious activities that may conflict with the child's dominant religious upbringing. A subquestion is whether courts should enforce earlier agreements about how children should be raised. The overall perspective of the article is that courts should accord parents significant freedom of religious exercise, but should intervene if they think serious mental or emotional harm to a child is likely