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

REYES: There was no religious decision made in terms of Ela will be raised in this religion. Basically my wife and I had both practiced openly. For example, we would celebrate Christmas together, we would celebrate Easter together, we would also celebrate Rosh Hashanah together, we would celebrate Hanukkah together. So, it wasn't a matter of, you know, one or the other, it was a matter of celebrating both.

CUOMO: You converted to Judaism, yes?

REYES: Under pressure, yes.

CUOMO: But it was your decision, there wasn't a gun to your head.

REYES: There wasn't a gun to my head, but there certainly was a right choice or a wrong choice to be made at that point in time.

CUOMO: But you made the choice.

REYES: Under duress, yes.

CUOMO: Why under duress? Why not just say 'yes, I converted to Judaism'?

REYES: Because that would be disingenuous of me to say--

CUOMO: How so?

REYES: Because it wasn't a voluntary decision, 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.

CUOMO: But you were already married when you converted, right? So they accepted you.

REYES: They never accepted me.

CUOMO: But they did let you marry their daughter.

REYES: I don't think there was a whole lot that they could do to prevent Rebecca from marrying me. Rebecca makes her own decisions.

CUOMO: So then why convert? If you already married her, what do you care what they think about you?

REYES: Not that I care what they thought about me, it's that the way they were behaving toward Rebecca and toward me was putting a major strain on the marriage. And obviously the strain had some effect, because we are in divorce court.

CUOMO: Now, if religion is so important to you, why would you have converted to a different faith?

REYES: I didn't change the way I practice religion, I went through the motions, but I still pray to Jesus at night, I still go to church, I still did all of the same things I did.

CUOMO: She says you didn't go to church, she never knew you to go to church.

REYES: That's a lie.

CUOMO: She's lying?

REYES: If she said that, yes.

CUOMO: Did you take your kid to church?

REYES: Did I take Ela? Well, of course it's all over the news.

CUOMO: No, no. (laughs) Thank you, thank you very much. Before all this, when she was first born and you were going to church, as you say, did you take her with you?

REYES: Ela had been to church. Now, because of our schedules, we didn't go to shoal or we did not go to church regularly. We pretty much limited it to the high holy days. But, we weren't able to observe one religion or the other with any regularity.

CUOMO: You didn't go to temple every week.

REYES: No, absolutely not.

CUOMO: And you say you guys were basically just pretty much open to religion, in general.

REYES: Yes.

CUOMO: Some type of deism, you believe in God and you just—your practice both faiths.

REYES: Well, Rebecca practiced her faith, I practiced mine and we exposed Ela to each.

CUOMO: Do you think this would have happened—the baptism, bringing her to church—if you guys had stayed together?

REYES: Yes.

CUOMO: Then why is your wife so surprised by this?

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