A 10-year-old Jewish girl caught in a religious battle between her divorced parents can be baptised against her mother’s wishes, a judge has ruled.
The Essex-based youngster, whose father converted to Christianity after the breakdown of his marriage, attends both Jewish synagogue and Church. The parents have joint custody of her and her younger brother.
The case of the girl, who cannot be named, went to the judge after her mother applied for a court order which would prevent her being baptised.
In a landmark ruling a judge said while he accepted the baptism of the girl, referred to as C, could be seen as “demonstrating a rejection of her Jewish faith" he ruled that she could be baptised.
Judge John Platt said in a letter to the girl: “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 baptised as a Christian as soon as your minister feels you are ready.”
He added that the baptism did not mean she had to "give up" her Jewish heritage.
"That will always be part of you and I hope that you will continue to learn more about that heritage and about your mother's faith. Even after you are baptised you are still free to change your mind about your faith later when you are older."
He also noted C's father had been accused of brainwashing his daughter by his parents and parents in law.
Rabbi Odom Brandman, who gave evidence to the court saying the case was “disturbing” told The Huffington Post UK he was disappointed with the judgement.
"I think she's being pressured into something and she's not being given a choice. She's very young, her parents are now divorced and her mother still strongly feels she wants her daughter to be Jewish and her father believes he wants his daughter to be Christian, his new found religion.
“In divorce cases like this when the parents feel differently the natural thing to do is to let the child decide when they're older. In this particular case they have joint custody and have had quite an amicable agreement, letting the girl go to Church and Synagogue, without forcing her to make a decision when she's only 10 years old. The girl is still spending time with both of her parents and the mother will not be comfortable.”
The result of the case does not mean the child will be baptised now.