I usually listen to NPR on my way home from work, but the sound of Diane Rehm's voice was grating on my nerves today so I dialed down one to HLN. The discussion was in regard to the above story, of a father in the middle of a divorce who had his daughter baptized in the Catholic Church despite a court order declaring the child to be raised in the Jewish faith.
All of the comments in the time I was listening were from callers appalled at the audacity of a judge to declare one religion over another. Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see this as a religious issue, nor do I see it as a Church vs State matter.
These parents entered into a LEGAL marriage contract, which they decided not to honor. They then petitioned the COURT for a LEGAL judgement of divorce. They were obviously unable to come to any amicable agreement, because when the mother was awarded custody she requested from the court (and was granted) permission to continue raising the child in the Jewish faith. By the way, during the course of the marriage the father converted to Judaism. He now says the conversion was not voluntary, which is ludicrous. It is my understanding that a Jewish conversion takes at minimum a year of instruction and interaction with a Rabbi. Did someone hold a gun to this man's head for an entire year to facilitate the conversion? Ridiculous.
What did these two talk about prior to marriage? He knew she was Jewish, she knew he was Catholic. It seems he was not practicing his Catholicism, which makes sense if he was willing to convert. It is all irrelevant to me, as I said, I do not believe this to be a religious issue. It's not as though the police busted in the door of a happy family and forcibly denied them the right to raise their child in the religion of their choice. The parents made the child's religion the court's decision by proving themselves incapable of reaching a peaceful resolution on their own. Religion is not a legal matter, divorce and child custody certainly are.
You don't get to pick and choose the issues in which the Court can direct your life, when you voluntarily put your life into the Court's hands. It's not OK to utilize the legal state of marriage when you want to be married, then tell the court to butt out when you want to break a legally binding contract. And another thing, Mr. Reyes (the father) apparently entered into a written contract with the mother when he signed a document agreeing that their daughter would continue to be raised in the Jewish faith. He was paying tuition for her Jewish pre-school, so it isn't as though he was unaware.
The issue, as I see it, is not that he baptized a Jewish daughter in the Catholic church. The crux of this matter is that he intentionally violated a Court Order. He also called in the media to watch him do it, which is not illegal, but is really stupid.
Can someone please explain to me how this is a religious matter? I really don't see it, but apparently am the only one in the country (or at least in the CNN listening audience) that holds such an opinion.