In a YouTube video of the subsequent visit to church, Joseph Reyes says, "I am taking her to hear the teachings of perhaps the most prominent Jewish rabbi in the history of this great planet of ours."
Lake, Rebecca Reyes' attorney, said Joseph Reyes had never been a particularly devout Christian.
"This was just something that he knew was going to have a negative effect on [Rebecca Reyes], and I think that's why he did it," Lake said, speaking of Reyes' church visits with the little girl.
"I think he was just trying to exert some power," Lake said.
But Reyes, who is studying law, said he only wants to be a good father to his daughter and expose her to his faith. That's something the courts usually allow in divorce cases, experts say.
Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, said a parent who has visitation rights "usually has the right to expose the child to his religious beliefs, teach the child his religion, to take the child to religious services, unless there seems to be likely psychological or physical harm stemming from that exposure."
Family court law expert Lynne Gold-Bikin said Reyes should have followed the court order, but also said, "If this couple made an agreement about what religion to raise their child, then it's an inappropriate order."
Reyes said his faith is important to him.
Explaining his conversion, he said, "I did it because, one, my mother- and father-in-law would not accept me any other way and two, because they would not accept me, it was putting a lot of burden on the marriage."
While he acknowledged that his actions -- flouting the court order and involving the media -- didn't help to end the conflict, he said he has to take a stand.
"I've made every concession that I possibly can make for Rebecca, and I have to draw the line in the sand somewhere and this is where I choose to draw it," he said.