Looks like, despite my railing against Joseph Reyes, the court has ruled in his favor. (Imagine that: not everyone is swayed by my opinions!)
Reyes is the Catholic Chicago dad who had his 3-year-old daughter baptized without his estranged Jewish wife’s permission.
Reyes, a law student, and Rebecca Shapiro Reyes, an attorney, were in the midst of a lengthy divorce process (which now appears complete) this fall when Joseph had Ela baptized and kindly e-mailed the photos to Rebecca, who has sole custody.
After Rebecca obtained a court order barring him from taking Ela to church during their visits until the divorce proceedings were complete, Joseph defiantly took their daughter (and a media crew) to Mass, leading to contempt charges that could land him in jail up to six months. According to the Chicago Tribune, a judge will rule later this month whether he should stand trial for contempt.
Yesterday, according to various press reports, Cook County Judge Renee Goldfarb ruled that Joseph is free to take Ela to church, but that Rebecca, as the custodial parent gets to decide on the little girl’s religious upbringing/education. Ela will spend Christmas and Easter with her dad and Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Passover with her mom ( let’s hope Passover and Easter never coincide).
Joseph converted to Judaism while married, but now says it was under duress and that he never agreed to raise Ela as a Jew. Rebecca has argued that exposure to two religions is harmful and confusing to Ela, who attends a Jewish nursery school.
As I’ve written before, I’m not a big fan of Joseph, and I found his approach and Web site disturbing, verging on anti-Semitic. Nonetheless, I don’t know if it’s appropriate or possible for the courts to mediate the couple’s religious disagreements. Since Rebecca is not raising Ela as Orthodox (in which case she might find it blasphemous to enter a church), I doubt the occasional Mass will pose a huge problem to her well-being. A far greater threat is the general discord between her parents.
Despite ruling in Joseph’s favor, Goldfarb clearly isn’t any more fond of the guy than I am. According to the Huffington Post, she wrote that "Joseph chose to make three-year-old Ela the center of his own media event, as seen on every local news channel, print media and national news channels during his visitation."
In addition, writes The Chicago Tribune, the judge said, “Joseph compared himself to Rosa Parks. Joseph Reyes is no Rosa Parks."