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New Mexico Court Forced a Mother To Take Religious Classes Or Face Losing Her Kids

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posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:23 AM
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Alright. Here's a story that might get some a little ticked off. Holly Salzman, went to court to get help co-parenting with her ex. She, was ordered by the court to take 10 counselling classes for parents. Salzman, Was ordered to see Mary Pepper, who bills herself as an educator, mentor and teacher. Salzman thought she was going to counselling classes. Little did she know, the counselling amounted to classes on religion. Okay, the first thing Pepper said to Salzman for their first session was that, she begins every counselling session with a prayer. Salzman told Pepper she doesn’t pray. Pepper responded to Salzman’s concerns saying “well it’s what I do” and proceeded with the prayer.



When Kim Davis was sent to jail because she defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, Republicans seized the moment to claim Davis was a victim of judicial tyranny by a court that violated her right to freedom of religion. If Davis and her defenders want to know what a violation religious freedom looks like, they should look at what happened to Holly Salzman, a single mother in New Mexico. Holly Salzman went to a New Mexico District court for help co-parenting her children with her ex-husband. The court ordered Salzman to attend 10 counselling classes for parents. The order included a referral to Mary Pepper, who describes herself as an educator, mentor and teacher. Salzman thought she was going to counselling sessions. Little did she know that the counselling really amounted to classes on religion. The first thing Pepper said to Salzman when they met for their first session is that she begins every counselling session with a prayer. Salzman told Pepper she doesn’t pray. Pepper responded to Salzman’s concerns saying “well it’s what I do” and proceeded with the prayer.


What would you do? Continue? Walk out? Salzman, complained about the religious undertones of classes with Pepper, The Court did not respond to her concerns. Pepper opened the second session with another prayer. More of the article:


Salzman went back to court and expressed her concerns about the religious overtones in her counselling sessions with Pepper. According to Salzman, the court said they hadn’t heard any problems regarding Mary Pepper with religion. Offended and disgusted, Salzman stopped going to the court-ordered sessions. The court took Salzman’s kids away. The only way Salzman could get her kids back was to finish the classes. In other words, Holly Salzman was ordered to attended counselling sessions. Based on the available facts, the Court ignored Salzman’s objections to the religious undertones of the counselling sessions. The court presumably found her in contempt when Salzman refused to complete the ordered sessions. That was when she lost custody of her children. Getting them back meant attending court ordered religion classes – in violation of Holly Salzman’s first amendment rights. KRQE went undercover to video and audio tape the final three classes between Salzman and Pepper. There were several references to religion.


Here's a link to that video.

Pepper told Salzman,“The meaning in my life is to know and serve God. If you want to explore how God was in your past, how God was in your life and not in your life …. I know you don’t believe in God which is fine but I know at some points he was in your life in some way.”Pepper gave Salzman handouts with religious quotes. As a homework assignment Salzman had to write an essay titled “who is God to me?”

Now Salzman has since got her children back. But still what a ride. I don't agree with the court or Pepper. Violation of Church & State? When Salzman defied the order, the court took her kids which means Holly Salzman was punished for her religious beliefs? The only way Salzman could get her kids back was to comply. Pepper, also wants paid in cash!
Source




posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:31 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I
We live in a sick world.
F them all.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:33 AM
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a reply to: NowWhat

haha yah it's getting crazier out there!



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:43 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

If everything went how it was reported... of course that's majorly screwed up.

Then again, I have heard and read about how absolutely horrible "the system" is when inserting itself into the child/parent relationship.

Also, not necessarily letting the parent in this story off the hook entirely. It's sad when it comes to the point that parents have to go to court to get help co-parenting. Not knowing anything about her though I can't form an opinion.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:48 AM
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If it really happend as she said, then it is disgusting.


+5 more 
posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

The government ordered a US citizen to attend religious counseling and held her children hostage... I'd say it's a pretty clear case of violation of church and state.

Not only that, the "counselor" is illegally conducting her sessions in the library. She's shady all around.

I'm glad the woman has her kids back, but this definitely needs to be followed... If this judge continues to order people to take religious counseling, it will catch up with him.

Why must some religious people push their religion on everyone???



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:50 AM
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a reply to: eluryh22

Unfortunately, I myself have a bit of experience with this type of matter. Without going to deep. I too, had to deal with a divorce and court was involved. I myself initiated this process because my ex was miserably drunk all the time. What started it, was she, went to get my sons from school one day. She's passed out on the front lawn of the school and her friends came by there to pick her up. They just threw her in the bed of the truck and they left, without my son's.

The school called me and that's where the separation and court battle begun. In short, the court had me! Take parenting and drug screening for 6 months. I have full custody of my son's but it was a battle. NOT against my ex, I had her beat. But my battle, was proving myself to the court. For no reason, other than I was with my ex. So, needless to say I don't want to go through that again. I can relate not with the religious aspect. But dealing's with child court.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:50 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

Salzman was punished for defaulting on the court order. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:51 AM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
a reply to: C21H30O2I

The government ordered a US citizen to attend religious counseling and held her children hostage... I'd say it's a pretty clear case of violation of church and state.

Not only that, the "counselor" is illegally conducting her sessions in the library. She's shady all around.

I'm glad the woman has her kids back, but this definitely needs to be followed... If this judge continues to order people to take religious counseling, it will catch up with him.

Why must some religious people push their religion on everyone???


Because misery loves company.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:56 AM
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a reply to: Tindalos2013

You know I thought that angle over too. I thought just like you. The court said, take counseling she didn't, cut and dry? No, The court should have at least listened to her and followed accordingly. Not say "I never had a religious complaint about Pepper. The court should have gotten another counselor for her!



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:00 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

Religion™ is like a penis. It is okay to have one and even okay to be proud of it, but by all means don't pull 'it' out in Public..

The Great Sioux Nation has a saying, and it probably arose after The Sioux got their lands stolen and replaced by Bibles™ and that saying is: "Religion is for folks afraid of Hell, Spirituality is for folks that have already been..."

It seems Ms. Pepper threw out the Matthew chapters that cover praying in public??

Perhaps Ms. Pepper is a 'cherry picker'?

Anyone preying on prayers is doing it 'wrong'



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:05 AM
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a reply to: JimNasium

lol well said! thanks! She's may be a cherry picker. She definitely knows what she is doing.
Cash payment's and religious homework? lol



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

All I know is that if the counselor had been a Muslim, Benevolent Heretic and her ilk would be in here calling the mother a bigot or Islamaphobe.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: TheBulk

If that's all you "know", then I feel sorry for you, because all you "know" is not true.

Do you have anything to say about the OP? Or did you just come in here to insult me?
edit on 9/16/2015 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

It also wasn't religious counseling, it was marriage, co-parenting counseling. It just happens that the counseler was very religious and decided to insert her religious beliefs into her style of counseling, which is the actual story here. The counceler should not be able to force her "patient" into taking on her religious beliefs in order to fulfill the courts requirements. By making the mother write an "essay" on "what god means to me" she is forcing her to out herself as a non believer to the state. Which could put her in danger of being discriminated against by any of the people her paperwork has to go through to get approved. The court is guilty of not following up on her complaints. They are privy to these recorded meetings and they have access to the paperwork that the "patient" is made to fill out. They have allowed this counseler to operate in this fashion for some time. I would say there is plenty of evidence to bring a lawsuit onto the state. I hope she wins.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: Tindalos2013

The court order was forcing her to take religious classes to attain her kids.... please try to explain to me how that has nothing to do with religious beliefs...



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:42 AM
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originally posted by: TheBulk
a reply to: C21H30O2I

All I know is that if the counselor had been a Muslim, Benevolent Heretic and her ilk would be in here calling the mother a bigot or Islamaphobe.


What a load of nonsense.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:45 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

I agree with you. And if a person just came to see Pepper on their own, they could get up and walk out. Pepper has the right to be a religious counselor.

I have been trying to find the judge's name... I shall keep looking.

I hope the ACLU finds out more about it and and brings a suit.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:48 AM
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The court never got complaints because most people are religious.

We live in a world where if you don't believe that an invisible being in the sky created us, then your not trustworthy. It's sad that athiests will continue being looked down on.

But when it comes to your kids, just do the ten or so classes to keep custody of them. Who cares if your "teacher" prays. There is nothing saying you have to pray. Just be respectful, let her pray and you get to keep your kids.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: C21H30O2I

From the counsellor's LinkedIn:


Mary Pepper, MA

Marriage, Relationship & Parent Educator, www.HealthyRelationships101.com; Chair - N.M. Coalition for Healthy Families
Albuquerque, New Mexico Area
Health, Wellness and Fitness

...

Elementary School Teacher
Annunciation Catholic School
August 1989 – May 2003 (13 years 10 months)Albuquerque, New Mexico Area

I taught children at Annunciation School for many years. I also informally taught the parents of my students many aspects about life, parenting & marriage.


She's credentialed and it seems as though she has a good deal of experience. If the counseling sessions had been secular, there wouldn't be a problem. When the counselor oversteps bounds and brings religion into the mix, they are going beyond the needs of the situation.

I was raised catholic, but I got over it.

I am spiritual rather than religious and I can see the need to keep this topic to oneself in most instances. If one is asked about one's beliefs or one is with others for the specific purpose of discussing such matters, then by all means expound to your heart's content.

As Woodcarver said, the state knew what kind of materials and content these sessions would contain. If they didn't then they are at fault for not verifying that the programs fall within it's own guidelines for these circumstances.



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