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Pushing faith cost grandparents' free access to grandchild

There are certain things that shouldn't be discussed in polite company, according to etiquette experts. One of those things is politics. The other thing is religion. You can pick any reason you like as to why. The one we think most people in Texas would probably gravitate towards, however, is that limiting such talk to appropriate settings maintains cordial relations.

This can be of particular importance where sustaining family relations are concerned, as a recent case out of Canada displays. As a result of a clash among adults over religion, the courts have had to step in to set some boundaries for a little girl's grandparents around their visitation rights.

This little girl is now four years old. Her paternal grandparents used to have unsupervised visits with her. A court took them away because the Jehovah's Witnesses couple continued to take the child to their Kingdom Hall services, even though her custodial mother objected. The mom also objected to the fact that the grandparents insisted on the child calling them Momma and Poppa.

It should be noted that the father of the child, the grandparents' son, has no role in her life and pays no support. Despite that lack of involvement, the mother felt it would be right to allow the grandparents to be part of the girl's life.

After repeatedly ignoring her objections about taking the girl to services, the mother restricted the grandparents' visits to supervised ones at her home. But the faith witness reportedly continued even in there. The issue reached court with the grandparents arguing that their right to practice their religion was being violated.

In court, the mother testified that she had made clear her intention to let the girl make up her own mind about religious involvement -- after she has gotten older.

In the end, the judge sided with the mother saying that letting the conflict continue would not be in the child's best interest. The grandparents still see the girl, but until they show they can keep quiet about religion, it is under supervised conditions.

The best interests of the child is the basis on which courts throughout the U.S. use to determine custody and visitation issues. This case reflects that religious witness can sometimes be seen as contrary to those interests.

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