TRANSCRIPT: Joseph Reyes on Being Barred From Taking Child to Church

REYES: It's worth the risk if there's some good that comes out of it. It's worth the risk if there is some dialogue that'd had amongst people, it's worth the risk if there are changes to the system, it's worth the risk if my daughter grows up into a world where her constitutional freedoms are protected the way they ought to be.

CUOMO: Rebecca's lawyer says 'this is about control for Joseph, he's trying to get some control over his daughter because he's not doing well in the legal battle, and he's angry.' Fair?

REYES: No, it's not fair.

CUOMO: Why not?

REYES: Because it's not true.I-I -- If this is about control, it's about her wanting to exercise absolute control over the upbringing of my daughter, and using my daughter as a conduit to control me. That's just sick.

CUOMO: Bringing the media into it; why?

REYES: That's the only way I'm ever going to get any kind of fairness, it's the only way I'm ever going to keep the system honest, and hopefully, God willing, something changes. This situation is really ugly and it's having a negative effect on families and on this country. The media needs to take attention.

CUOMO: And what do you want them to see?

REYES: I want them to see that this system is broken. It's an ailing system.

CUOMO: And how do we see that it's broken in this situation?

REYES: The fact that this order was even issued speaks to the fact that judges are willing to encroach on fundamental rights simply to appease an unreasonable party in divorce hearings.

CUOMO: It's not unusual though for judges in family law situations to say, 'it seems that there was an arrangement here for one particular faith, now something different is being done, we're going to halt it with a temporary restraining order until we can figure out what's best here.' It's not unusual.

REYES: Having been in court that day, this order was not issued as a temporary restraining order. This order was issued as a preliminary injunction without hearing.

CUOMO: But you know that, as a part of process, judges doing what's going on here is not unusual, right?

REYES: And that's maybe a sad fact in this country.

CUOMO: That—but I'm saying, with respect to the subject matter, the idea of a judge in a family law case inserting themselves and saying hold on, it seems that there's being change to an arrangement with respect to the religion of a child. We're going to stop whatever's being done right now, so we can figure out what's best here. That's not unusual.

REYES: The legal test is, with regard to a harm to the child, that's the—that's the missing legal element here. There's no harm to Ela, that I took her to church, there's no harm to Ela that I had her baptized. The only time that you ever hear of baptism being spoken of as a harm is in intolerant circles.

CUOMO: True, to a point. But there's also the idea of harm through confusion. That you don't want the kid to be following mixed paths, conflicted paths between the parents. You want especially something important and central to somebody as their faith. You want accord, you want it clear, you want it considered. Fair point?

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