Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Father Loses Custody of Kids to Unfit Mother Because He’s Agnostic

An Indiana father has lost custody of his three young children because of his religious beliefs. Craig Scarberry, 29, of Anderson, is an agnostic. His doubts about the existence of ‘God’ were cited in an order to strip him of joint custody of the children written by Madison County Court Commissioner George P. Pancol, an order affirmed by Judge Thomas Newman.

The order states that “[Scarberry] did not participate in the same religious training that the mother exercised” and that the father “was agnostic.” This, despite the fact that the children attend a Christian church, a Christian school and their father has never interfered in their Christian upbringing.

Scarberry, a US Navy veteran, says his First Amendment right to religious freedom has been violated.

“I thought I lived in America, where you have the right to practice what you want to practice,” he told the Anderson Herald-Bulletin, his local newspaper. “I feel like I’ve suffered the highest persecution… I had everything taken away from me.”

Christine Porcaro, the mother, was awarded custody even though Commissioner Pancol’s order noted evidence that she was an unfit parent. Porcaro “had left minor children at home alone, did not feed them breakfast and did not at times buckle them in their car seats.”

Brandon Galbraith, her boyfriend, also assaulted Scarberry during a visit; he asked for and received a protective order against his attacker.

The worst evidence presented against Scarberry was that he used profane language in front of the children and sometimes “failed to control or manage his anger.”

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