Indiana Father Says Court Stripped Him of Child Custody Because of His Agnosticism

November 30, 2010


Craig Scarberry of Anderson, Indiana says that a state court judge has stripped him of joint custody of his three children because he dropped his Christian beliefs in favor of agnosticism. 

According to an article in Anderson’s The Herald Online , an order written by Madison County Superior Court Commissioner George C. Pancol and affirmed by Judge Thomas Newman listed the evidence heard in the case upon which Pancol based his ruling.  The order states that Scarberry “did not participate in the same religious training that the [mother] exercised and that [Scarberry] was agnostic.” The ruling reduced his custody to visitation with his children to four hours per week and on alternating weekends.

Scarberry says he is devastated by the ruling. He told the Herald that he “wasn’t interfering in their right to be brought up in a Christian environment,” and that his children still attend church services and Christian school as they have done since he was granted joint custody.

Scarberry will hold a demonstration in support of fathers’ rights on Dec. 16 at the Madison County Courthouse.  CFI-Indiana plans to participate in the rally.

Pancol’s order cited additional evidence heard in the case.  It is unclear from the court papers what role Mr. Scarberry’s religious views played in the court’s decision to strip him of joint custody of his children.  At a minimum, however, it was improper for Pancol to reference his religious beliefs in his order.  Scarberry has until tomorrow to file an appeal.