There are times when when difficult situations arise but the court should just stay the heck out of it.
Joseph Reyes has been charged with contempt of a court order NOT to bring his daughter to church.
CHICAGO – A case that may test the separation of church and state will play out in a courtroom today.
Joseph Reyes’ attorney will ask a judge to dismiss the charges against him. His estranged wife Rebecca says he violated a restraining order barring him from exposing their 3-year-old daughter to any religion other than Judaism.
The couple agreed to raise their daughter in the Jewish faith but when they split, Reyes had his daughter baptized in a Catholic church.
She claims Reyes subjected their daughter to irreparable harm.
His lawyer will argue today that a court cannot determine what religion a parent can teach their child.
Joseph Reyes’ attorney has filed a motion to dismiss arguing the “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine” His lawyer says,
“Does taking the child shopping for Christmas presents qualify? What about taking the child to an Easter egg hunt,” argues Brodsky. He also cites in his motion the “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine,” which maintains a judge cannot rule on a religious matter.
“Courts cannot determine matters of religion and say what is Jewish, what is Christian, what is Islam, what is Buddhist,” Brodsky writes in the motion, which he plans to file today.
Rebecca Reyes’ attorney goes the other way calling the baptism of the girl “an assault”.
HuffPo“Number one, it wasn’t just a religious thing per se, it was the idea that he would suddenly, out of nowhere without any discussion … have the girl baptized,” Stephen Lake, Rebecca Reyes’ attorney told GMA. “She looked at it as basically an assault on her little girl.”
This is a nasty custody battle and a terribly unfortunate situation that highlights the dangers and drawbacks of mixed marriages. The courts, however, should stay the out if it. No good can come from their involvement. Any decision that they hand down will be viewed as an assault on the freedom of religion.
Drop the charges and stay out of it.
March 5, 2010 at 3:19 am
Elf just piped up how shocked–shocked– he is that a part of the gov't would want to get involved in religion.
March 5, 2010 at 3:24 am
I agree, the courts have no business in this. However, Joseph calling the media so they could come and film him taking her to church after the ruling was asking for trouble. That makes it all look a little shady to me…
March 5, 2010 at 5:50 am
The courts have no business in this?
Parents don't have the legal right to determine what religion their own children will be brought up in while they are minors?
That's news to me.
This guy is just being spiteful. He converted to Judaism wile they were married and agreed their kids would be raised as Jews.
After the divorce and after she is awarded custody, he supposedly rediscovers Catholicism and emails the mother pics of baptising THEIR child.
Yeah, he really has his kid's best interests at heart.
Seems to me like he's just using his kid to get his 15 minutes of fame. One can only hope that 14.99 of those minutes have been used up.
March 5, 2010 at 6:04 am
I agree that it appears that he is being spiteful and getting publicity. But obviously the "parents" plural don't get to decide or this would be a non issue.
March 5, 2010 at 6:38 am
TAJ – agreed on both fronts. This guy turned his back on his church and I'm guessing never got permission to marry from his bishop. In fact, technically, under canon law he was probably unable to baptize his daughter in his current state (unfortunately most priests are unfamiliar with canon law these days…certainly in Chicago). But the fact is he has every right to raise his daughter in his faith (assuming he actually has faith; his motives are between him and God) and take his own daughter to church.
The fact that he called the media is actually a good thing, as it shows the judge (who is also Jewish…surprise!) the nation is watching him and he can't use the law to disguise his anti-catholicism anymore.
March 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm
I agree that there is a high degree of likelihood that the father is acting liking a disingenuous creep, but not everything should be decided by the government.
March 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm
I suppose the good piece of news to be found here is the tacit admission that there is something to baptism beyond the fact of pouring water on someone.
March 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm
Assuming the father isn't wealthy, then going to the media was his best bet at fighting an unlawful court order. Appeals are costly both in time and in money. So far, the original judge removed himself from this case, prompted no doubt because of the media notoriety.
March 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm
Old saying: "sunlight is a great disinfectant."
March 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm
The only solution is that each parent takes child to his own church. "Your mother is Jewish, and that means Jews will consider you Jewish, and when you are with your mother you will go to synagogue. But I am Catholic, and you are my daughter too, and when you are with me, you will come to church with me and learn about what I believe. "
Baptizing a three year old is one thing, but I don't think the child should be pushed into first communion and confession. She should be told that she will be prepared for these sacraments only if she wants to. It isn't ideal to tell a child he or she will decide when he grows up, but there is no moral alternative in this situation. It would also be right for the parents, if they were decent, to stress the many things the two faiths have in common, the Old Testament, the fact that the Jews expect a messiah but don't believe that Jesus was the one, but Catholics believe He was the messiah the Jews were expecting…all that sort of thing.
The absolutely predictable outcome of the parents fighting like cats and dogs about whether the child will be Jewish or Catholic, is that she will grow up hating all religion!
March 6, 2010 at 6:33 am
Eulogos – I couldn't disagree more. 1. Judaism and Catholicism are NOT equal. 2. Most children who recieve first communion do not understand the sacrament- but we don't need to understand it to gain grace from it (just like baptism) so we should not deny her this sacrament in the name of being PC 3. in a perfect world each parent would extoll the virtues of each other's religion to the child, but the way the mother is acting, it is severely doubtful this will happen. She seems to be rabidly anti-Catholic (as are most orthodox Jews, FYI) so most likely the good about Catholicism will only ever come from the father.
I don't know if you are Catholic, but if you are, would you trade your eternal soul for life in paradise just so you could be seen as doing the most PC thing for the child?
March 8, 2010 at 9:55 am
I am based in Europe and am always amazed at the American need to insist so strongly on the separation of state and church. We expect the state to protect all its members through a legal system and that should include those who are dealing with religious issues. There was an example a few months back of the UK supreme court dealing with the admission policy of a Jewish school. My feeling is that the daughter in this case can find religious fullfillment in this world and the next, whether she us brought up as a Catholic or as a Jew. However, since at the time she was born, the parents agreed to bring her up Jewish and the court ruled to support that, then that is what should be done. I think at the next court hearing there will be a new non-Jewish judge.
March 8, 2010 at 9:25 pm
I am Catholic, and I stand by what I said.
I didn't say the two religions were equal.
But the two parents are equally parents of the child. The right thing to do is to treat the other parent with respect, which means speaking with respect of the other person's religion. If the mother does nothing but bad mouth Catholicism and Christianity, and the father speaks of Judaeism with respect as Catholics should in any case, (remember Our Lord and His mother were Jews, and we Christians are grafted into the tree of Israel) the child is much more likely to decide to be Catholic. The child is going to be deciding in this kind of situation. All out war between the parents will mean a child who says "A plague on both your houses!" and wants nothing to do with religion of any kind.
As for the sacraments, if the child is made to feel disloyal to her mother by receiving communion, the internal conflict involved will drive her away from Catholicism. Really, the important thing to do here is to back off the pressure on this kid.
March 9, 2010 at 6:15 am
Eulogos – you say, "As for the sacraments, if the child is made to feel disloyal to her mother by receiving communion, the internal conflict involved will drive her away from Catholicism." Are you a mind-reader? Do you have some mystical knowledge about the sacraments that saints and doctors of the church don't? Are you actually saying, "don't give her communion if her Mom will make her feel bad for it."
Seriously, I think you're way out of your league here. You don't know what will or will not happen. You can speculate what MAY happen, and that's all it is; speculation.
Time for you to go back to Catholicism 101 here.