Letter to Editor

Visitation rights for grandparents

Lake City Reporter/May 22, 2001

Parents may have the right to raise their children the way they choose, but why are the grandparents punished? A particular "religion" teaches the brethren to turn away from their families if they don't "believe."

In most Christian-based religions, this is a completely opposite belief. Christ did not turn his family away; He honored them with the highest esteem. The ones that are the losers in a situation like this are the children. The children do not get the opportunity to know that even though people don't believe the same way, that doesn't mean they are loved less.

Parents shouldn't be allowed to arbitrarily exclude the grandparents without showing just cause. Grandparents shouldn't be on trial for their lifestyles as the parents don't want to be for theirs. If the grandparent(s) are felons, drug abusers, etc., yes, that should come into play, but differences in beliefs shouldn't.

The judge could have ordered state-supervised visitation, or even ordered the grandparent to pay for an outside third-party supervisor, and then rule if the grandparent was an appropriate role model for his grandchildren.

We cannot hide behind religious rights to justify the denial of visitation. If that is the case, every parent angry with their own parent can hide behind the same cloak.

The parent has to remember that her father did the best he could for his own children and is an excellent grandparent to his other grandchildren. We don't always have to agree with our parents, but remember most have their children's best interest at heart.

I am not saying the grandfather is a saint, but to cast him aside borders on child abuse in my eyes. The parent also has to remember her children will come of age one day, and if they don't believe as she does, is it going to be as easy to cast her own away as she has her family? I hope she doesn't have to feel the anguish and heartache she has put her father and family members through.

As long as members of Meade Ministries hide behind the cloak of religious rights, untold families are suffering every day. Is that a Christian attribute? I also hope the judge never has to live with his excommunication from his family because of his children's beliefs.

Sherry E. Marceau
Via e-mail

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