Christian Judge Blows a Gasket: Woman Loses Child Custody Over Religious Performance Art

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SubGenius X-Day eventThis is an egregious example of encroachment on First Amendment rights no matter how you look at it (via Boing Boing & Bartholomew’s notes on religion:

On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.

The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a “dildo”.

Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a “pervert, “mentally ill,” “lying,” and a participant in “sex orgies.” The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect “severe mental illness”

Mock Christianity, lose your kid… yeesh.

Here’s a pop-quiz question for all the Christian apologists who are bound to flood into this discussion: If this had taken place before an Islamic judge in the Middle East and the photos had been an art performance mocking the prophet Muhammed; and the judge took custody away from the mother based on that alone… would you also defend that judge?

Update: MeFi’s first comment has a bunch of updates, most importantly links to some of the photos that apparently angered the judge so much. Am I the only one who thinks this is relatively tame considering the reaction of the judge?

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. This Christian also thinks the judge is full of shit.I may not like the performance, but don’t we have a secular government? We don’t need an Ayatollah Kho-Bushi.

  2. Being a Christian has nothing to do with following the edicts of Jesus. It’s about being a self-righteous brownshirt using and endorsing unlimited force of the State to impress your personal preferences upon other people.

    People who happen to follow the edicts of Jesus and not beleive in using the force of The State should no longer identify themselves under the shameful designation of Christian, but rather Jesusophile for clarity’s sake.

  3. well . . . this christian things that the Judge has full right to think whatever he wants, and has full right to feel she’s perverted and messed up, however that has no bearing on his decision in a court of law.

    She should not have lost her children, however requiring her to go to say 3 meetings with a shrink state paid, I could justify.

    As far as the question with Mohammad, Yes, I think that if the same happened with poking fun at Mohammad, the request to see a shrink would be appropiate also, but still not grounds for loss of a child. Appeal to a higher court, this one could be a case to go down in history.

    – Jon

  4. You didn’t REALLY expect a bunch of Christians (particularly the kind of Christians who read libertarian blogs) to DEFEND this guy, did you?

  5. It’s rather sad that in this day and age, the plutocrats are given more power from a post which is constitutionally restricted from such acts. It’s proof in action that most legal practicianers are anti-Constitutionalists. I think it’s high time that a little legal blood been spilt. Then again, what do I know, I’m a little serf, I should get back to work. LOL!

    — Bridget

  6. Once again the issue of child custody and the power of the state to take punitive action in a constitutional vacume is raised almost as an silly story.

    But this is real. For those of you who have children, imagine the tens of thousands of children taken from their parents because they were “at risk” but never actually harmed or threatened in any way.

    The Supreme Court has failed us all in allowing too much leway in the civil side of the law.


  7. If that was the basis of his ruling, he acted out of line. No doubt.

    But that said, Devious David, tell the idiot judge to change what he calls himself. Christians follow Christ. Good Christians shouldn’t have to change what we are because of the abuses of other idiots.

  8. She should not have lost her children, however requiring her to go to say 3 meetings with a shrink state paid, I could justify.

    And the reason for this “justifiable” psychotherapy? Would that be the nudity!? Or perhaps it is the green herb they are consuming in come of the photos!? State Paid!? eh??? Bah!

  9. This gets the blood boiling. I’m a Christian who often resents the closed-minded doings of my bretheren.

    Last time I checked, sexual deviance with other consenting adults was not a sign of mental illness. Kink, maybe, but not mental illness.

    What angers me is that I am an individual with severe mental illness. If I choose to have children, will the state take them away solely based on my diagnosis? Wouldn’t surprise me–they’ve already taken away my firearm rights and they’ve tried on more than one occassion to take away my right to refuse treatment. Once you’re slapped with the label “mentally ill”, you lose a lot of your rights.

    My heart goes out to this woman.

  10. The judge was not much of a judge was he….

    What if that judge had been an Atheist? How many Chrstians would have beenoutraged at his actions then? lol.

    Slightly off topic: Why is it that Christians think they own the market on being a person of high morals? Why is it that Atheists are considered amoral?