An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge’s unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.”

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple’s divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

“There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones’ lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages,” the bureau said in its report.

“This was done without either of us requesting it and at the judge’s whim,” said Jones.

Some people have preconceived notions about Wicca, which has some rituals involving nudity but mostly would be inoffensive to children, said Philip Goff, director of the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The fact that the judge took it upon himself to make this intervention is scary enough. I know that I certainly don’t want a judge deciding for himself then coming along to tell me that my religion has fallen out of favor with him.

(And I know that I have my share of rituals involving nudity.)

Nor does the judge define what a mainstream religion is. Last time I checked, the Constitution guaranteed the freedom of religion. That doesn’t just go for Christians or religions we like.

Then there’s this whole notion about how much confusion divergent view points will cause their child. I know that I don’t buy that kids are worse off when they have to live with two seemingly contradictory ideas. These are called paradoxes and working through paradoxes are how we grow as human beings. Secondly, I’m not sure that the ideas are all that divergent.

As Wiccans, the boy’s parents believe in nature-based deities and engage in worship rituals that include guided meditation that Jones says improved his son’s concentration. Wicca “is an understanding that we’re all connected, and respecting that,” said Jones, who is a computer Web designer.

Yeah, that sounds kooky. Let’s burn them.

No, I’m not a universalist, nor am I advocating the worship of nature-based deities. What I am saying is that guided meditation sounds a lot like prayer. What I am saying is that understanding that all things are connected, that we lead lives of overlapping stories, and respecting that, isn’t exactly antithetical to a Christian position.

There is an aspect to Christianity that has gone long unattended, something that I’ll refer to as creation spirituality. Thoreau said that “with a keen awareness of the natural world one could find truth”. God has created all things and declared them “good” (even “very good”). We’ve abandoned the a sense of “creation spirituality” from our spiritual walks, so it’s little wonder why people return to older religions in an effort to reclaim it.

One of the lessons from the Genesis account of creation is that we were created to be stewards of creation. Yet, we’ve lost our connection with creation, continuing to develop new ways to either insulate ourselves from it or encroach our brand of civilization into it. Our souls are starved for God’s creation; being an environmentalist could be considered spiritual work (and I’ll continue to point out that Environmentalism wasn’t made into a moral issue in this past election).

All spiritual people should enjoy God’s creation, embracing it the way God intended for us. We need to recover the mystical part of spirituality, learning to exist in harmony with God, others, and creation.