Dad Asks Court Permission to Baptize Son

Boy, 3, caught in dueling religious preferences during parent's divorce.

By Natalie Martinez
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 PM CDT
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A Chicago father says he'll go to court if that's what it takes to get his son baptized in the Roman Catholic Church.

Having been a practicing Catholic his entire life, Victor Sarmiento said he's always wanted to have his 3-year-old son baptized, but the boy's mother, who is Pentecostal, vehemently opposes the sacrament.

In divorce court on Tuesday, the fight began for the boy to legally take part in the Holy ceremony.

"We believe the father has a Constitutional right to practice whatever religion he wants," said Sarmiento's attorney, Jeff Leving.

Court documents explain how, although Lizette Perez approves of her son attending the Catholic Church, she prefers to have the child baptized in her Pentecostal Christian Church.

"This divorce has been going on for two years now, so how long must one wait to baptize their child?" Leving said.

Recently, a similar case was decided in favor of a Catholic father whose Jewish ex-wife didn't want their daughter attending his church.

Sarmiento is hopeful that his case turns out the same way. His attorneys say they hope to settle the disagreement but will go to litigation if that's what it necessitates.

"There's always hope, no matter what," he said. "Whenever you're down and out, you can always know that there's hope somewhere."

Perez and her attorney were not in court on Tuesday. The case was continued to June 17 when all parties are expected to attend.
 

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