Divorce is hard enough on kids when you don't have a culty raving loon of a parent.
I read in the news that Tom Cruise has been granted "special permission" to see his daughter, Suri. Since she has left the Church of Scientology, he is no longer allowed to associate with her (nevermind that a six year old doesn't make her own decisions about leaving churches). But because of his "A-list status" (in the form of an XL donation to the Church, I am sure), he has been given "exclusive visitation rights," which has in turn pissed off other members of his congregation who have been forbidden to see loved ones & family members who've decided Scientology is not for them.
You can guess what I would say if any church told me that I was not allowed to have contact with a member of my immediate family.
I have great respect for religion. I believe in God, and I double majored in English and Religious Studies in college because I'm fascinated by religion. I am so glad that there are so many different paths to God/enlightenment/spiritual connection so that billions of diverse people from all over the planet can find peace and calm and love and something cosmic.
But that said, I am baffled by people who accept their religion's extremist views and policies without an ounce of critical thinking. What makes people blindly go along with whatever their church/temple/mosque/etc. decrees, regardless of whether or not it makes sense or feels true? And don't tell me it's "faith," cause 99% of the time, this is not about God. It's about the people in charge of the religion, who are just as human and wrought with imperfection as you and me.
There's a form of bullying that exists within a lot of churches: you're going to hell if you don't ________; you won't be accepted if you wear __________. I remember being about 12 years old and attending a Wednesday night youth group at a Methodist church with my friend (this friend, in fact). Both she and I caused a scene a couple times when we challenged what was told to us: by fellow youth in the group and by its leaders.
Back in the early 90's, fairy and wizard decor was all the rage (remember?) and I had both plastered on my walls. One of the youth group leaders told me that this was not acceptable--that it veered too far into the "occult" and was, essentially, anti-God.
WHO WOULD'VE THOUGHT?!
I debated with this youth leader on several different occasions over stuff like this, ultimately deciding that the group was not for me. To be clear: I don't fault anyone else for staying, and I don't even fault people who have thought deeply on the issue, investigated thoroughly, and come to their own conclusion that depictions of fairies are, indeed, blasphemous to Christianity. My problem is with the people who don't even think about it and just take what their religion/religious leaders say without any sort of healthy questioning.
Great things come from people who challenge the powers that be. After all, blind acceptance can lead you straight to Jonestown.