Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Man faces contempt charges for taking daughter to church

Following up on an earlier story, the Chicago Tribune reports:

Rebecca Reyes opened an e-mail from her estranged husband last November to learn to her shock that he had their three-year-old daughter baptized in the Catholic Church even though she said the couple, in happier times, had agreed to raise her in the Jewish faith.

What happened over the next few months brought the couple's private battles into the open and raises questions about how far the court system can -- or should -- go in dictating what faith separated parents teach their children.

Following the unannounced baptism, a Cook County Circuit Court judge took the unusual step of temporarily barring Reyes' husband, Joseph, from exposing their child to any religion other than Judaism. But Joseph Reyes then allegedly defied the order by taking his daughter to mass at Holy Name Cathedral -- with a television news crew in tow.

The wife's lawyers blasted Joseph Reyes' defiance and demanded he be held in criminal contempt - a charge that carries a maximum punishment of 6 months in prison if convicted.

A new judge brought into the case Tuesday at the father's request said she will set a date later for a trial on the contempt allegations.
The judge who ordered the Jewish upbringing was Jewish himself.

The newspaper quotes a lawyer reciting the usual fiction:
Carlton R. Marcyan, a senior partner with the divorce specialty firm Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck, said that courts don't normally "like to get immersed in religious issues, but the ultimate test is what's in the best interest of the child."
It is completely ridiculous to claim that the court is deciding the best interest of the child. The judge was just applying his personal religious prejudices.

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