Exclusive: Chicago Father Faces Jail for Bringing Daughter to Church

Private Battle Erupts Into Public Religious Debate

Rebecca and Joseph's private divorce battle has attracted national media attention and a very vocal public response. She said strangers have contacted her on Facebook, saying she should raise her daughter Catholic, and some even showed up at Ela's preschool, asking about her little girl. She blamed Joseph for putting Ela in this "dangerous position."

Joseph believes Rebecca is exaggerating, and said that the real harm is courts' intrusion into private parenting decisions.

"There are dads all over this country whose rights to be a parent are being infringed upon," he told Cuomo. "Noncustodial parents, overwhelmingly dads, get the short end of the stick."

How and when he worships with his daughter should not be up to a judge or his soon to be ex-wife, he maintained.

Chance for Reconciliation?

As they prepare to head back to court next week, both Joseph and Rebecca say almost the same thing: that they are open to exposing their child to both faiths, and that if the other would just reach out, as a parent, this might all be resolved.

Joseph, through his attorney, has proposed a settlement: Ela would be raised Jewish but "Joseph will be able to take Ela with him to church on Sundays, and to other major Christian religious observances when those days fall during his visitation periods."

Rebecca said she too would like an amicable ending. "I hope that, if nothing else, he can just see me as Ela's mom," she told Cuomo. "That he will help me protect her, going forward....like parents do?this perfect, amazing little girl, who deserves the very best in both of us."

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