Except that Reyes did so in violation of a judge's order that he not expose his daughter to anything but Judaism. For taking her to church (after previously having her baptized there) Joseph Reyes is now possibly in "contempt".
Joseph Reyes knew he could be accused of defying a court order barring him from taking his daughter to church. But he did it anyway and now he is facing contempt of court charges and jail.The judge is clearly respecting one establishment of religion over another in this matter, and is thus a most wild violation of the Constitution.
The 35 year old, holding his 3 year old in his arms, walked into Holy Name Cathedral on January 17. A news crew videotaped the act of defiance.
"I have been ordered by a judge not to expose my daughter to anything non-Judaism," Reyes told a news reporter. "But I am taking her to hear the teachings of perhaps the most prominent Jewish Rabbi in the history of this great planet of ours. I can't think of anything more Jewish than that."
The prominent Jewish Rabbi that Reyes referenced was Jesus Christ.
Just before Christmas, a judge issued a temporary restraining order specifically barring Reyes from exposing his daughter to any religion other than Judaism after Reyes had his daughter Baptized without the knowledge of his estranged Jewish wife.
Now the lawyer representing Rebecca Reyes (formerly Rebecca Shapiro) has filed a Motion for Criminal Contempt, asking that Joseph Reyes face criminal charges for defying the judge's order.
The hearing date is set for February 16 and Reyes has launched a new Web site www.christianfatherdefensefund.com to raise money for his defense.
He hopes that he will receive contributions from sympathetic fathers and other individuals who find it unconscionable that a judge would tread into the area that seems to violate the constitutional right guaranteeing Freedom of Religion.
"My daughter is half Jewish," says Reyes. "Just because my marriage is ending should not mean that I can't go to church to worship with my daughter.
"I'm a Christian, and I was Christian when Rebecca and I got married. No judge should have the right to force me to attend a synagogue to be able to pray with my daughter and no judge should have the right to stop me from going to church with my daughter."
His attorney, Joel Brodsky, says they will fight.
"My client should be allowed to take his daughter to church," says Brodsky, who happens to be Jewish. "In every way this is wrong. Freedom of religion is absolute and no judge should be able to interfere with that freedom."
That said, the religious life of the child is something that should be the jurisdiction of the parents, regardless of the legal status between them. And it should be between the BOTH of them to resolve this out of mutual love for their daughter.