The right to see your siblings, or other family.


I find the Westboro Baptist Church interesting. I have always been interested in religion, and the wierder the better, and Westboro takes the proverbial cake for strangeness.

Most of the people at Westboro are related to each other and decendents of the pastor, Fred Phelps. There are however other parishioners who are not related to the family.

One guy who isn’t is an asshat named Steve Drain. Drain did a documentary on the church, liked their philospophy, and moved his whole family from Florida to Kansas to join the church and do all the goofy stuff they do.

Drain has three kids, an adult daughter of about 21, a son about 7 and a little daughter who is about 4. The oldest daughter was kicked out of the church and was told to leave the family. Fortunately for her, she is a nurse and has a job etc.

Since she has been kicked out of that church and shunned from her family, she is not allowed contact with her two younger siblings. The parents are telling the children that the daughter is a whore and is going straight to hell. Those children will grow up hating the older sister because that is what that evil church and their yes, evil fking parents have told them.

Question: Is there anyway for a sibling to sue the parents to be able to see her younger brother and sister? The girl is not dangerous or a criminal. She just wants to live a normal life. I think the parents barring the older daughter to see her young brother and sister is an offense. The 7 year old is already a Westboro Nazi, parroting all that nasty shit they say, and both kids are out “picketing” funerals, events, etc. This to me is child abuse and is dangerous.

More than likely Drain has beaten his wife and children. This is an allowed and accepted practice within the cult. If I was the older daughter, I would be at the child welfare office.

Problem is that almost all the adult Phelps members are lawyers and knows the laws inside and out. This is why they have gotten away with what they have all these years. It would be an interesting court case.

If she can prove that the siblings are being abused, the state can step in, but no, there’s not generally the right to see one’s siblings, and, if the siblings are under the age of majority, it is up to the parents or guardians as to who gets to see them.

It’s sad what happened to Miss Drain, but I don’t think she has a legal case.

If by “interesting” you mean “short,” then yes, it probably would be “interesting.”

I’m not aware of any law granting siblings any kind of right to visit with their minor siblings in opposition to the minor children’s guardian’s wishes.

This happens with other “churches” too. If a Jehovah’s Witnesses gets tossed out (disfellowship they can it), other church memebers cannot hve any contact with them.

It has long been held by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 14th Amendment’s due process clause has a substantive component protecting parents’ fundamental rights to decide the care, custody, control of their children along with the educational and religious instruction their kids are to receive. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390. Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510. Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205. West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57.

I am not aware of any case which has held or found a third party (the sister is a third party) has any liberty interest, fundamental right, or a right of visitation in regards to her siblings living at home. Indeed, in Troxel v. Granville, the U.S. Supreme Court was confronted with a Washington state statute allowing “any person” to petition at "any time"for visitation rights and for the courts to grant such rights when rendered to be in the child’s best interest. The Court, in a plurality opinion by Judge O’Connor, found the statute unconstitutional as it interefered with the parents fundamental rights to decide the care, custody, and control of their children. The Court reached this outcome by concluding the statute was too broad.

So, no, she probably does not have any legal recourse.

maybe possibly libel or slander, they are calling her a whore, which is pretty serious … is there a newsletter or website they are publishing it upon, or anybody that can testify under oath that they are calling her a whore?

Pity it isn’t Britain, they apparently have some pretty draconian libel/slander laws

I think parents have certain rights and the right to control who their children associate with is one of them. Certainly a father or mother should not be able to stop the other parent from seeing his/her children, (except for cases of abuse), but I think a parent should be able to limit or forbid the association with grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, relgious co-horts and such.

I read this as “One guy who isn’t an asshat…”

After reading the rest of the post, I was wondering, “If this guy isn’t an asshat, who is?” Then I reread the above sentence and figured it out.

I can’t decide if it’s good or bad that we don’t have laws defining mental and emotional abuse that apply to that kind of crap. At some point I’d consider severe religious indoctrination to be abuse but I doubt we could ever define it for legal purposes.

Can you even define it for non-legal purposes?

I love to write on message boards, but sometimes I come across as the Yogi Berra of the written word.

Pff. Britain’s libel & slander laws are so broad, the fact that neither she nor her parents reside there is barely an impediment. Someone should suggest to her that she sue them in British court.