Dad in Court for Taking Child to Church

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Dad in Court for Taking Child to Church
Wed, 02-17-2010 - 8:20pm

It sounds as if there might be more to this story than what is reported here.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 9:32am

I don't think divorce judges should be allowed to have any say about religion. PERIOD. They just need to tell the parents, "This is one aspect of the divorce that we can not rule on. " If the parents continue to use religion and their kids as a way to get to each other, then the judge can order MEDIATION between the two adults for the purpose of learning how handle their divorce IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Even the mediator should not be allowed to dictate which religion the parents can expose their child to. If the child ends up being exposed to both religions because both parents continue to raise their child in THEIR faith path on their visitation day, so be it. Children who are in intact interfaith marriages experience this, and no judge is allowed to interfere with the faith practices of an intact family, unless a family's faith practice is being used as an excuse to abuse children. (Such as polygamous families forcing 13 year old girls to breed with their old uncles)

A few years ago, a judge ordered a divorcing couple to not expose their child to "non-mainstream" religion. However, this case was a little different. BOTH parents were practicing Wiccans and they were BOTH in agreement with raising their child in that spiritual path. The judge and a busy body social worker took it upon themselves to interfere with this couples SHARED spiritual path, and FORBID them both from exposing their child to it. (Later it was overturned, but it took over 6 months for justice to prevail against this bigoted judge)

I really hope eventually someone says "enough" and takes this to the supreme court, where it can be settled once and for all that no judge can rule on a families religion, wheather the family is intact or not.

Edited 2/18/2010 9:36 am ET by gracehill2008
Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 2:38pm

From what I heard, it wasn't that he took the toddler to church, it was that he had her baptized in direct opposition of the agreement he and his wife had when they were married. Yes, that was then written into the divorce decree.

My personal opinion is (and in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a practicing Catholic) the guy is an a$$.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Thu, 04-15-2010 - 10:32am

The courts have sided with the father:

Judge rules with father in interfaith custody dispute

Joseph Reyes will be allowed to take his daughter, who is being raised Jewish, to Roman Catholic Mass and to have her on Christian holidays.

A judge has ruled that a father may take his 3-year-old daughter to Mass even though her mother is raising her Jewish.

Cook County Judge Renee Goldfarb said this week that Joseph Reyes may take his daughter to "church services during his visita- tion time if he so chooses" and that he have visitation rights every Christmas and Easter.

Likewise, the order stipulated that Rebecca Reyes always have their daughter on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Passover.

Goldfarb refused to bar Reyes from taking his daughter to church as long as no evidence exists that it would harm the child. Although Rebecca Reyes said that contrary religious teachings could confuse the preschooler, Goldfarb avoided doctrinal questions, saying it was not the court's place "to focus on or attempt to interpret or judge official religious doctrines."

"She is 3 years old and, according to Joseph, while at church, she waves at the other children, looks around and giggles," Goldfarb wrote. "This court found that testimony credible."

You can read the rest of the article at:,0,5021042.story

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Fri, 04-16-2010 - 9:54am

Actually, I don't think family courts should take "sides" in religious matters.

When couples are divorcing the judges should just say of religious matters, "Sorry, you guys have to work that out yourselves"

A couple of years ago, a judge and a meddling social worker ORDERED a divorcing couple to not expose their child their SHARED Wiccan path. The couple AGREED on their child's spiritual upbringing and did not ask the court to take "sides" in the matter. This couple sent their child to Catholic school, and raised the child in their Wiccan spiritual path. The meddlesome social worker didn't like that arrangement and convinced the judge to order the couple to not expose their child to Wicca.

The couple appealed and this rogue judges order was over turned.

AFAIC, this judge should have face severe disciplinary action.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. The courts should stay out of the dictating family religious life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Fri, 04-16-2010 - 2:13pm
ITA! Religion is not something a SECULAR court judge has any jurisdiction over. PERIOD! I remember that article about the prejudiced judge and the Wiccan divorced parents. Glad that idiotic ruling was overturned. He should face disciplinary charges also for overstepping his legal bounds into religous bigotry, for sure. Likely he won't, though. :\\

Parents should act like adults instead of using their children as ping pong balls to get at each other. And, in this instance, what if the parents *had* stayed together, no divorce? Would they have likely seen to it their child was exposed to both of their religions, being in a dual religion family? Or decided on only one, which is also sometimes the case in dual religion families, agreed upon by *both* parents? I agree, this just isn't something a secular court judge should be making decisions about. No matter *what* religions are involved. The child will likely make her own choices as an adult, as to any religion she may choose to practice. Until then, why shouldn't *both* her parents have the right to share their religious practices? It's just not our secular gov't's authority or within the laws, to force a child to be raised in a particular religion over any other.





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