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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.
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.
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???
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.