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Tennessee Mom May Get Jail Time for Baptizing Her Children

Jail TIme for a Baptism?

This seems like something that would only occur in a country where there isn’t religious freedom. But this is something that can happen right here in the United States. A Tennessee mom is looking at contempt of court charges and possible jail time because she had her two children baptized. Why did this happen? Well, it turns out it’s not really about the religious aspect of the situation but rather a conflict in opinion between the mother and father of their five and almost seven-year-old children. According to reports, Lauren Jarrell took her two kids to get baptized without the knowledge or the consent of her ex husband.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals said — according to Fox News that the Jarrell “must face a criminal contempt hearing for violating a court order that said major decisions regarding the religious upbringing of her two children should be made jointly with the children’s father.” Both parties are Christians (dad is a Methodist and mom is a Presbyterian) but the two had different opinions about when their kids should be baptized. The father had argued that the children should go through the ceremony when they could better understand the significance of what was going on.  But the mother went against his wishes and had them baptized anyways. The father asked the court to convict her because she went against the order that they would make those kind of decisions jointly and that a baptism isn’t something that can be un-done.

Although it does seem odd that the state has gotten involved in what is a very personal and religious decisions it was noted that, “the courts are only following state law, which says the courts have to consider religious upbringing when it comes to parental decision making.”

If the Jarrell is convicted she could possibly face 20 days in jail and a $100 fine.

Do you think that the state should get involved in matters like this?

Image: iStockPhoto.com

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