Essex, England – UK Court Rules Conversion of 10-Year-Old Jewish Girl is Permissible

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    Essex, England – After a contentious legal battle, a judge in the UK has ruled that a 10-year-old Jewish girl can be baptized as a Christian in keeping with her father’s wishes.

    The Telegraph reports (http://bit.ly/ONOBht) that the girl, unidentified for legal reasons, was born in late 2001 to both Jewish parents and grandparents. Her parents divorced in 2010, at which time, her father opted to convert to Christianity. Unbeknownst to anyone, last November, the girl’s mother requested a court order preventing her ex-husband from baptizing or converting their daughter into Christianity. The legal battle arose in response to the mother’s application, and the court considered the evidence presented prior to making its ruling.

    The girl’s father contended that the family had never been exacting in their religious observance, and that neither his daughter nor his son was raised with strong religious convictions. The father alleged that his daughter told him she had “experienced an encounter with God” after attending an evangelical Christian festival, while the mother claimed that her ex-husband “brainwashed” their daughter and prevented her from practicing Judaism. The girl’s mother said she preferred that her daughter wait until the age of 16 before becoming baptized.

    The girl’s grandparents also accused their former son-in-law of forcing their granddaughter to give up her Jewish birthright, and the family’s rabbi stated that it would be “unnatural to their soul” to compel a child to choose a different religion.

    In his ruling, Judge John Platt said it was “wholly wrong” for the girl’s mother to bring this matter before the court without consulting the girl’s father or the father’s priest. He also reprimanded the girl’s mother and grandparents for failing to make “any real effort” to reflect on what was in the girl’s best interests, and said the rabbi’s comments were spoken in “inflammatory terms without any supporting evidence.”

    In a personal letter to the girl, Judge Platt wrote in part, “My job is to decide simply what is best for you and I have decided that the best thing for you is that you are allowed to start your baptism classes as soon as they can be arranged and that you are baptized as a Christian as soon as your minister feels you are ready.” The judge ultimately concluded that while he could not decree that the girl be baptized, he did reject the mother’s application to prevent the baptism from occurring.

    Currently, the girl and her younger brother live a week at a time with each parent according to the shared custody agreement.


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