Friday, February 26, 2010

TV show on family court forcing religion

I have posted before (here and here) about the Chicago family court judge that tried to force his religion on a child.

The dad has gotten some publicity, and now the mom is going to tell her side of the
story on ABC TV 20/20 tonight. It is at 10pm in my time zone.
The Chicago mother who took legal action to keep her estranged husband from taking their 3-year-old daughter to church speaks out in an exclusive "20/20" interview with ABC News' Chris Cuomo airing Friday.

Last week, ABC News spoke exclusively with Joseph Reyes, the husband in a bitter divorce battle who faces up to six months in jail for marching his toddler into a Catholic Church, cameras in tow, in defiance of a temporary court order that forbade him from exposing his daughter to "any other religion other than the Jewish religion." ...

"This is about parenting, this is not about religion," Rebecca told Cuomo.

Rebecca said that Joseph is entitled to be Catholic and Ela can choose Catholicism when she is older, but they "had pledged in the marriage contract to raise Jewish children, and so we had a Jewish home." Joseph had converted to Judaism, complete with a ritualized circumcision.
I think that it is great that this case is getting publicity. It illustrates so clearly what is wrong with the Best Interest Of The CHild (BIOTCH) doctrine. It should be obvious that no good can come from a court order telling a dad not to take his daughter to church. It is just wrong -- morally, legally, constitutionally, religiously, psychologically, and any other way you want to look at it.

Of course I believe that nearly all family court interventions into parental child-rearing are harmful for similar reasons. A court order choosing a religion just happens to be particularly egregious because everyone agrees that there is no, and can be no, consensus on the best religion. There is no consensus in most other child-rearing practices either, but the legal issue is clearest in the case of religion as everyone realizes that their religious views are not necessarily shared by others.

Some of the comments are outstanding:
Obviously this was a guy who was willing to do quite a lot to make things work. What compromise did this women offer? For God's sake, the man is not even married to her and she's trying to control him!

This is just disgusting. If you can't choose what religious to practice in your own home without fear of jail then what is the meaning of liberty? People change religions. All the time. I don't think a contract forcing someone to maintain a certain religion would even be remotely legal. That poor kid. And what a selfish mother.

This issue shows the discrimination of fathers within the family court system. A mother would never be brought to court for showing her child a different religious view, but fathers, unfortunately, are still considered secondary parents to mothers. When court systems discriminate in any way against either parent, the child is the one who is directly discriminated against. Family courts across this country need to look at both parents as equals - not view parents based on old, outdated societal rules. Many child custody and child support laws were developed years ago, and based on views of a traditional family situation. These antiquated laws no longer apply in a society that puts much emphasis on equality. The courts words "In the best interest of the child" is a feigned attempt at keeping their system from looking at both parents as equals. A child is not conceived without both sperm and egg - one as important as the other. Family courts need to recognize the incredible damage they do by discriminatory practices against fathers. Once again, it is the child who suffers most from the continued discrimination of fathers within court systems, from lawyers, and from judges.

I read in the article where Ms. Reyes is relying on an agreement made in the marriage that the child would be raised Jewish. However, since that agreement was dissolved (divorce), I would think that under contractual law she would have no recourse (since again this is her "angle" for her side of this argument). I think that the judge acted inappropriately in siding with this lunatic and I am in agreement with the majority of the people posting here, this woman is a control freak that needs to get taken down a peg or two. Men in these situations definitely get the fuzzy end of the popsicle stick...
Wow. This mom might not really be getting the sympathy that she is expecting. I hope that the TV show includes some comments like the ones on its web site.

Update: I saw the show, and Ms. Reyes was a nightmare. Her argument was that she had gotten the upper hand in the court custody battle, and therefore her husband should be jailed for making religious choices without her approval.

I heard a radio talk show discuss this, and all the callers favored the dad, except for one or two that argued that an unlawful court order should be obeyed.

No comments: