Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: weeblewobble on January 17, 2013, 05:47:23 PM

Title: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: weeblewobble on January 17, 2013, 05:47:23 PM
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2013/01/dear_prudence_my_brother_and_i_kiss_and_cuddle.single.html

The third letter discusses the LW's mother who decided that LW's brother and SIL baptizing their daughter in the wife's denomination wasn't good enough and did an "emergency baptism" in a sink while she was babysitting "just in case."    When the mom came home and told the rest of the family what she had done, the rest of the family was horrified.  She told them they were overreacting, and then made the family promise not to tell the parents what she'd done. The baby's parents never found out.

Now, the LW and his wife of another faith are having a son.  He wants to prevent something like this happening to his child, so he is thinking of preventing his mother from ever being alone with his son and asking family members not to leave his mom alone with the son, either.

Prudie spent most of her answer assuring the LW that emergency baptism doesn't "count" with a sort of "no harm, no foul" attitude and then told the LW that it seemed unnecessarily mean to patrol his mom's access to the child.

I think Prudie is WAAAAAAY off.  Not that "emergency baptisms" count, in my opinion, but that it's mean to prevent a woman who thinks so little of the parents' decision that she's willing to commit a fraudulent religious ceremony to make herself feel better.  I wouldn't leave my kids with her either.  What happens when she doesn't agree with their discipline decisions?  TV policies?  Dietary decisions?  She got away with it once, I think a second time around will only empower her to push her agenda further.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Jaelle on January 17, 2013, 06:07:40 PM
I agree with you.

For me, it's not about the "emergency baptism" (that wouldn't faze me much), but about the trust issue. As you say, what happens the next time she disagrees with a parenting decision?

And for many people, that baptism would be a big deal.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 06:08:52 PM
I wanted to thump Prudie's head when I read that today! She obviously has a poor grasp of boundaries if she sees nothing wrong with this woman trying to force her beliefs onto this family.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Yankeegal77 on January 17, 2013, 06:15:13 PM
I agree with all of you. The "baptism" is a moot issue; the real problem here is Grandma violating some serious boundaries.

I would be very open about not trusting her and why, setting boundaries very early on and enforcing them. Whether she agrees or not with the parents' decision, it's theirs to make, not hers.

Prudie was way off and didn't answer the real question.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Auntie Mame on January 17, 2013, 06:17:35 PM
Agreed, the baptism is a red herring.  This about how the Mother of the LW can not be trusted to respect boundaries.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: MrTango on January 17, 2013, 06:40:12 PM
Agreed, the baptism is a red herring.  This about how the Mother of the LW can not be trusted to respect boundaries.

I completely agree.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 17, 2013, 06:43:51 PM
I agree that it isn't about baptism. I wouldn't trust her alone either. I might speak to her clergy person and ask him/her to explain the intended purpose of emergency baptism (I know that while the Catholic and Lutheran church gives instructions for emergency baptism neither church intends it the way she did it)
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: scansons on January 17, 2013, 06:59:31 PM
I will say this about it.  Prudie has the theological point correct.  Christians pretty much recognize Christian baptism, no matter what denomination the church who preforms the baptism happens to be.  There are exceptions.  But mostly.  Likewise baptisms done by lay people in cases of emergency are acceptable, but not the general order of the day.  And they are certainly not encouraged by most denominations outside of life and death situations. 

I'll also say this.  It's probably one of the top ten theological points most people get wrong.  I would probably cut Grandma some slack on this one.  Unless she's shown some other disrespectful tendencies, I think keeping her from her grandson is over reacting.  My first reaction would be to pull her in with her pastor, or bishop, and have a sit down.  She's obviously not clear on her own religious practices.  Which is the first thing her pastor should be worried about.  Plus, once the pastor impresses on her how out of line she was, one would hope she wouldn't be repeating this again with her grandson against his parents wishes. 

But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife.  But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot. 
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 17, 2013, 07:09:38 PM
My concern wouldn't actually be that she would batize my kid "the right way".  it would be that she would feed/medicate/whatever my kid "the right way" in secret. I can see other family members taking this as an indicator that she feels grandma's have the authority to overrule parents on major issue.  I do think I might encourage her minister/priest/pastor to talk to her baout the baptism thing but even if they correct her on that I don't see that fixing her perception that she has the right to make decisions to take matters into her own hands if she deems it for the best.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 07:11:51 PM
I will say this about it.  Prudie has the theological point correct.  Christians pretty much recognize Christian baptism, no matter what denomination the church who preforms the baptism happens to be.  There are exceptions.  But mostly.  Likewise baptisms done by lay people in cases of emergency are acceptable, but not the general order of the day.  And they are certainly not encouraged by most denominations outside of life and death situations. 

I'll also say this.  It's probably one of the top ten theological points most people get wrong.  I would probably cut Grandma some slack on this one.  Unless she's shown some other disrespectful tendencies, I think keeping her from her grandson is over reacting.  My first reaction would be to pull her in with her pastor, or bishop, and have a sit down.  She's obviously not clear on her own religious practices.  Which is the first thing her pastor should be worried about.  Plus, once the pastor impresses on her how out of line she was, one would hope she wouldn't be repeating this again with her grandson against his parents wishes. 

But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife. But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot.

Yes, it does make her a disrespectful grandparent. She substituted her beliefs for those of the child's parents.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: scansons on January 17, 2013, 07:20:01 PM
I will say this about it.  Prudie has the theological point correct.  Christians pretty much recognize Christian baptism, no matter what denomination the church who preforms the baptism happens to be.  There are exceptions.  But mostly.  Likewise baptisms done by lay people in cases of emergency are acceptable, but not the general order of the day.  And they are certainly not encouraged by most denominations outside of life and death situations. 

I'll also say this.  It's probably one of the top ten theological points most people get wrong.  I would probably cut Grandma some slack on this one.  Unless she's shown some other disrespectful tendencies, I think keeping her from her grandson is over reacting.  My first reaction would be to pull her in with her pastor, or bishop, and have a sit down.  She's obviously not clear on her own religious practices.  Which is the first thing her pastor should be worried about.  Plus, once the pastor impresses on her how out of line she was, one would hope she wouldn't be repeating this again with her grandson against his parents wishes. 

But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife. But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot.

Yes, it does make her a disrespectful grandparent. She substituted her beliefs for those of the child's parents.

I guess I consider spiritual matters a thing unto themselves.  It's the only example we're given in the letter.  Surely, if there is a pattern of her disrespecting her grandchildren's parents, beyond this.  I can see the constant monitoring.  However, many people consider spiritual matters the most important thing.  I know grandparents who would never consider deviating from a child's feeding schedule but who would absolutely (and wrongly) baptizes that same child in secret. 

For many people the spiritual issue is about a thousand times bigger than any other issue.  So it depends.  If this is part of a larger pattern.  Sure, monitor grandma.  But I consider it just as big a chance that this is grandma's one issue.  Sadly the LW dosen't say.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 17, 2013, 07:31:28 PM
I guess I always sort of expect some boundary pushing with grand parents or siblings and as long as it is no long term harm and only happens occasionally, I'm not going to get too bent out if shape about it.  I laughed when I read this and I thought the GM did it as a joke so was a little suprised that it was taken seriously by the family because a GM putting a babys head under a tap ismabout as effective as me declaring my DD US president and performing a swearing in ceremony. But since the sons concerns are because of a completely different faith, it made since that he was so concerned by her actions.

I think in my case if this was out of the norm and the GM usually doesn't try to manage everyone's lives, I'd just have a strong discussion with her about respecting their chosen faith.  But if this is a pattern, then I might restrict her access until the child is verbal and can tattle on GM.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 17, 2013, 07:35:04 PM
I guess I always sort of expect some boundary pushing with grand parents or siblings and as long as it is no long term harm and only happens occasionally, I'm not going to get too bent out if shape about it.  I laughed when I read this and I thought the GM did it as a joke so was a little suprised that it was taken seriously by the family because a GM putting a babys head under a tap ismabout as effective as me declaring my DD US president and performing a swearing in ceremony. But since the sons concerns are because of a completely different faith, it made since that he was so concerned by her actions.

I think in my case if this was out of the norm and the GM usually doesn't try to manage everyone's lives, I'd just have a strong discussion with her about respecting their chosen faith.  But if this is a pattern, then I might restrict her access until the child is verbal and can tattle on GM.

There are churches that give instructions for emergency baptisms, though they are for those who are unbaptized and in life and death situations.  In those cases putting somebody's head under a tap or using tap water would be considered valid, as would baptism by a lay person.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: briarrose on January 17, 2013, 07:44:31 PM
This is actually the joke in my family. I am Jewish. Raised Jewish. My father converted from Catholicism to Judaism before my parents got married. My mother always said that my aunt (his sister) secretly baptized me while she was baby-sitting. I don't know if it made my mom mad or not, but she always said at least all the bases were covered, so at least she had a sense of humor about this.

Should someone baptize another person's child? No, of course not. It's rude. But, if it's the only "out there" thing that the person pulls and the person doesn't put down the chosen religion or talk about how one religion is "better" than the other (whatever the religion -- not stating a preference here), probably not worth a cut off.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 17, 2013, 07:47:26 PM
I guess I always sort of expect some boundary pushing with grand parents or siblings and as long as it is no long term harm and only happens occasionally, I'm not going to get too bent out if shape about it.  I laughed when I read this and I thought the GM did it as a joke so was a little suprised that it was taken seriously by the family because a GM putting a babys head under a tap ismabout as effective as me declaring my DD US president and performing a swearing in ceremony. But since the sons concerns are because of a completely different faith, it made since that he was so concerned by her actions.

I think in my case if this was out of the norm and the GM usually doesn't try to manage everyone's lives, I'd just have a strong discussion with her about respecting their chosen faith.  But if this is a pattern, then I might restrict her access until the child is verbal and can tattle on GM.

There are churches that give instructions for emergency baptisms, though they are for those who are unbaptized and in life and death situations.  In those cases putting somebody's head under a tap or using tap water would be considered valid, as would baptism by a lay person.

Exactly, her actions were a pseudo baptism, no different then a re-enactment as part of a play.  Just because crazy GM thought it was valid didn't make it valid.  I would be laughing at her asking when she had become ordained.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: scansons on January 17, 2013, 07:48:06 PM
Although, the whole discussion does beg the question:  If you're doing it in secret what the heck are you telling everyone for?   
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: doodlemor on January 17, 2013, 08:01:35 PM
I guess I always sort of expect some boundary pushing with grand parents or siblings and as long as it is no long term harm and only happens occasionally, I'm not going to get too bent out if shape about it.  I laughed when I read this and I thought the GM did it as a joke so was a little suprised that it was taken seriously by the family because a GM putting a babys head under a tap ismabout as effective as me declaring my DD US president and performing a swearing in ceremony. But since the sons concerns are because of a completely different faith, it made since that he was so concerned by her actions.

I think in my case if this was out of the norm and the GM usually doesn't try to manage everyone's lives, I'd just have a strong discussion with her about respecting their chosen faith.  But if this is a pattern, then I might restrict her access until the child is verbal and can tattle on GM.

I chuckled when I first read this, too.  I pictured a harried, daft woman hastily gabbling some religious words while holding a very unhappy baby under a faucet.  The picture in my mind was quite incongruous compared to a holy, solemn baptism in church.

I think that the couple who is expecting should keep close track of their baby when grandma is around, in case she would usurp other boundaries as well. 

Grandma sounds rather naive or small minded.  They should definitely have the discussion with her about respecting their faith.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 17, 2013, 08:07:45 PM
Just to clarify - those churches don't require odination for an emerhency baptism. Grandma would be qualified to perform one. It is just that baptism in another denomination does not qualify as an emergency.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: dawbs on January 17, 2013, 08:52:21 PM
I will say this about it.  Prudie has the theological point correct.  Christians pretty much recognize Christian baptism, no matter what denomination the church who preforms the baptism happens to be.  There are exceptions.  But mostly.  Likewise baptisms done by lay people in cases of emergency are acceptable, but not the general order of the day.  And they are certainly not encouraged by most denominations outside of life and death situations. 

I'll also say this.  It's probably one of the top ten theological points most people get wrong.  I would probably cut Grandma some slack on this one.  Unless she's shown some other disrespectful tendencies, I think keeping her from her grandson is over reacting.  My first reaction would be to pull her in with her pastor, or bishop, and have a sit down.  She's obviously not clear on her own religious practices.  Which is the first thing her pastor should be worried about.  Plus, once the pastor impresses on her how out of line she was, one would hope she wouldn't be repeating this again with her grandson against his parents wishes. 

But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife. But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot.

Yes, it does make her a disrespectful grandparent. She substituted her beliefs for those of the child's parents.

I guess I consider spiritual matters a thing unto themselves.  It's the only example we're given in the letter.  Surely, if there is a pattern of her disrespecting her grandchildren's parents, beyond this.  I can see the constant monitoring.  However, many people consider spiritual matters the most important thing.  I know grandparents who would never consider deviating from a child's feeding schedule but who would absolutely (and wrongly) baptizes that same child in secret. 

For many people the spiritual issue is about a thousand times bigger than any other issue.  So it depends.  If this is part of a larger pattern.  Sure, monitor grandma.  But I consider it just as big a chance that this is grandma's one issue.  Sadly the LW dosen't say.

I think the religion(s) in question may actually make it a much  more touchy subject.

Not to delve to far into religious particulars, but there were cases in not-all-that-recent-history where Jewish children were baptized, then considered Christian, and taken from parents.

While it doesn't have that practical implication in this country, in this day and age the 'cultural memory' (I want to use a better phrase but I"m failing to come up with one) it is possible to be reasonably hyperaware of such absurd disrespect of beliefs--because of the previous persecution and abuse that is associated with such disregard for boundries..
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 09:01:46 PM
Many consider their religious beliefs/spirtuality to be the very core of their beings. For someone to impose another belief on their child would be a profound violation, no matter if others consider such a sacrement to be null and void. to be no big deal.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: gramma dishes on January 17, 2013, 09:16:55 PM
I think the fact that she wanted other family members to keep it a secret is an indication that she knows that what she did stepped well over the boundaries of grandparenting.

However, I find it most interesting that the letter writer in this case was very concerned that the grandmother might NOW try to do the same thing to his own son.  I think that's interesting because he apparently takes it as a very serious offense (and I agree that I believe it is), yet he kept the secret from the other couple about their baby's second unauthorized baptism.

I personally think the family not telling the original parents about the baptism in Grandma's kitchen sink is almost as much a betrayal to them as parents (and family members) as what the grandmother herself did.  If I somehow found out about it later, I don't think I'd much trust any of them.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 09:25:58 PM
I think the fact that she wanted other family members to keep it a secret is an indication that she knows that what she did stepped well over the boundaries of grandparenting.

However, I find it most interesting that the letter writer in this case was very concerned that the grandmother might NOW try to do the same thing to his own son.  I think that's interesting because he apparently takes it as a very serious offense (and I agree that I believe it is), yet he kept the secret from the other couple about their baby's second unauthorized baptism.

I personally think the family not telling the original parents about the baptism in Grandma's kitchen sink is almost as much a betrayal to them as parents (and family members) as what the grandmother herself did.
  If I somehow found out about it later, I don't think I'd much trust any of them.

Good point about not trusting those who kept this secret. I'm not defending them--well, yes I am--they might scared witless of this woman. She sounds as if she lacks the most fundamental boundaries so who knows what else they have seen her do in the past and fear she will do in the future?
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: violinp on January 17, 2013, 09:42:32 PM
Just to clarify - those churches don't require odination for an emerhency baptism. Grandma would be qualified to perform one. It is just that baptism in another denomination does not qualify as an emergency.

This. My denomination allows for that, and there is no ordination necessary, because it's assumed that one would use clergy if available, but they are not. However, they also are recommended to come and have their baptism recognized so that they may publicly declare their faith.

This rather reminds me of a case in a town near mine where people of a certain church rounded up poor kids, took them back to their church and promised these hungry kids pizza if they would undergo baptism, which they all did. To the surprise, I imagine, of no Ehellion, the parents were furious. The only difference is that the person forcing the baptism knows the child better than this church knew the poor kids.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 10:04:18 PM
Just to clarify - those churches don't require odination for an emerhency baptism. Grandma would be qualified to perform one. It is just that baptism in another denomination does not qualify as an emergency.

This. My denomination allows for that, and there is no ordination necessary, because it's assumed that one would use clergy if available, but they are not. However, they also are recommended to come and have their baptism recognized so that they may publicly declare their faith.

This rather reminds me of a case in a town near mine where people of a certain church rounded up poor kids, took them back to their church and promised these hungry kids pizza if they would undergo baptism, which they all did. To the surprise, I imagine, of no Ehellion, the parents were furious. The only difference is that the person forcing the baptism knows the child better than this church knew the poor kids.

Whoa. A case could be made for charges along the lines of custodial interference and battery. But, I'll shut up right now lest it go into legal territory.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: violinp on January 17, 2013, 10:11:15 PM
Just to clarify - those churches don't require odination for an emerhency baptism. Grandma would be qualified to perform one. It is just that baptism in another denomination does not qualify as an emergency.

This. My denomination allows for that, and there is no ordination necessary, because it's assumed that one would use clergy if available, but they are not. However, they also are recommended to come and have their baptism recognized so that they may publicly declare their faith.

This rather reminds me of a case in a town near mine where people of a certain church rounded up poor kids, took them back to their church and promised these hungry kids pizza if they would undergo baptism, which they all did. To the surprise, I imagine, of no Ehellion, the parents were furious. The only difference is that the person forcing the baptism knows the child better than this church knew the poor kids.

Whoa. A case could be made for charges along the lines of custodial interference and battery. But, I'll shut up right now lest it go into legal territory.

The appropriate channels dealt with it, thankfully.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 17, 2013, 10:13:10 PM
The appropriate channels dealt with it, thankfully.

Good deal!
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 18, 2013, 02:22:27 AM
I would be hopping mad about this.  I think there is a key difference between re-baptizing in a second denomination and baptizing into a different faith.  The issue with the first is that it's silly and theologically inappropriate - it's bad because the grandma disregarded the parents' wishes, but presumably they wouldn't be offended by the baptism itself because their chirch would consider a baptism in her faith to be equally valid.  The issue with baptizing into a different faith entirely is that baptism is a promise to god that you're going to raise that child as Christian (with more or less specificity for denomination depending on how you interpret that).  The parents have already made it clear they will NOT raise the kid Christian - so not only is the grandmother going behind their backs, she'd be going behind their backs on an extremely important issue and she'd be making the promise to continue to do so.  Not cool.

(A friend of mine from college had parents from two different faiths, but grew up in her father's tradition.  Her mother's family had her baptized in absentia, against her will, when she was a teenager.  She never really forgave them for it.  She has no intention of practicing their beliefs, but they feel they "won" because she can't un-baptize herself and thus they believe she'll have the afterlife their faith believes in, no matter how she feels about it.  They felt this was important enough that they were willing to ruin their earthly relationship with her to save her soul.  Yeah, definitely not cool.)
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Geekychick1984 on January 18, 2013, 05:52:25 AM
I think it shows a lack of respect for the parents' decisions, as others have said.  Personally, I'd have a hard time trusting the grandma to respect any other parental decision.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: magician5 on January 18, 2013, 07:21:51 AM
I think the theological issue is really not the main issue here. My heart grieves, hearing something like this, because of the disrespect the grandmother is showing. The same disrespect may very well rear its ugly head in the future - if she "blew through that roadblock doing 60mph", she won't stop at the next one or the one after that.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Virg on January 18, 2013, 07:24:33 AM
scansons wrote:

"But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife. But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot."

The baptism doesn't matter at all, because it's a red herring.  My take on the whole thing is that she knows that it was overstepping to do it, she did it anyway, and then she's put continued effort into hiding it.  That's the start and the end of it.  To illustrate my point, simply imagine telling her to admit to what she did.  Why doesn't she?  The reason is that she knows that the real issue is that she knowingly and purposefully breached their trust because she decided that she knew better than they did what was best for their child.  That does indeed make her a disrespectful grandparent, as evidenced by her continued action to hide what she did.  Seeing as she's made no effort toward correcting that breach of trust nor showing any remorse for doing it in the first place, I have to say she's untrustworthy and that is quite enough reason never to trust her alone with the child.

"I know grandparents who would never consider deviating from a child's feeding schedule but who would absolutely (and wrongly) baptizes that same child in secret."

This strikes to the heart of the matter.  She did something that she knew the child's parents didn't want and wouldn't allow if given the chance, and so she did it in secret and has hidden it from them ever since.  That means that she can't be trusted not to do it regarding any given parenting decision, and it's not reasonable to dump that on the LW to try to figure out, especially since he's got hard evidence that she'll do it if she decides that she's right about something and then bury it so he'll never find out.  The very existence of the letter shows that the breach of trust doesn't just involve the other family, as the LW himself feels that she's untrustworthy.

Virg
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: camlan on January 18, 2013, 07:31:34 AM
I think Prudie got the theology right. For Episcopalians and Catholics, once you are baptized, that's it. You aren't baptized into the specific religion, you are baptized to become a Christian. Converts to Catholicism who have been baptized in any Christian faith cannot be baptized again. Instead, they are confirmed into the Catholic Church. This is somewhat different from the way some other faiths view baptism.

But I'd see the grandmother's behavior as a huge, huge red flag that she won't respect other parental boundaries and I would deal cautiously with her, until she can prove that she will respect the parents' wishes about how they want their children to be brought up. And if she can't prove that, she'd never be left alone with the kids--not because of the threat of baptism, but because of what other boundaries she might cross.

As for emergency baptisms--in WWI, my grandfather performed a battlefield baptism. He and his buddy had been shot and were lying in the mud, waiting for rescue. His buddy was very badly injured. They had had many talks about Grandpa's Catholic faith. So Grandpa knew that his buddy had an interest in becoming Catholic. Grandpa asked him if he would want to be baptized and his buddy said yes. Grandpa used the last of the water in his canteen to baptize him. He died shortly afterwards.

That's an emergency baptism. When my nephew was born and the doctors thought he wouldn't survive more than 24 hours, one of the nurses in the delivery room, a friend of my SIL's who attended their church, baptized him right away. Then they were able to get a priest to come and baptize him a few hours later. Fortunately, Nephew defied the doctors' and survived. But again, that's an emergency baptism. Holding an already baptized baby under a faucet does nothing but get the baby wet.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 18, 2013, 07:44:06 AM
I think Prudie got the theology right. For Episcopalians and Catholics, once you are baptized, that's it. You aren't baptized into the specific religion, you are baptized to become a Christian. Converts to Catholicism who have been baptized in any Christian faith cannot be baptized again. Instead, they are confirmed into the Catholic Church. This is somewhat different from the way some other faiths view baptism.

But I'd see the grandmother's behavior as a huge, huge red flag that she won't respect other parental boundaries and I would deal cautiously with her, until she can prove that she will respect the parents' wishes about how they want their children to be brought up. And if she can't prove that, she'd never be left alone with the kids--not because of the threat of baptism, but because of what other boundaries she might cross.

As for emergency baptisms--in WWI, my grandfather performed a battlefield baptism. He and his buddy had been shot and were lying in the mud, waiting for rescue. His buddy was very badly injured. They had had many talks about Grandpa's Catholic faith. So Grandpa knew that his buddy had an interest in becoming Catholic. Grandpa asked him if he would want to be baptized and his buddy said yes. Grandpa used the last of the water in his canteen to baptize him. He died shortly afterwards.

That's an emergency baptism. When my nephew was born and the doctors thought he wouldn't survive more than 24 hours, one of the nurses in the delivery room, a friend of my SIL's who attended their church, baptized him right away. Then they were able to get a priest to come and baptize him a few hours later. Fortunately, Nephew defied the doctors' and survived. But again, that's an emergency baptism. Holding an already baptized baby under a faucet does nothing but get the baby wet.

I agree. It even says in the creed "We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" so if you're baptized once, you're good to go as far as the Episcopal church goes.  The Catholic church wanted my older two to convert (they were baptized Methodist) to receive eucharist but that didn't happen since we went over the Episcopal church.

So if it's a matter of grandma not liking that her children baptized the child in a denomination other than hers, most churches will just wave it off so I agree the true issue is the total bulldozing of boundaries!
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: joraemi on January 18, 2013, 08:31:45 AM
 >:DEvil Jo started wondering if it could be considered a life or death situation because she probably nearly drowned the kid with his/her head under the tap. >:D
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Redneck Gravy on January 18, 2013, 09:44:12 AM
This is actually the joke in my family. I am Jewish. Raised Jewish. My father converted from Catholicism to Judaism before my parents got married. My mother always said that my aunt (his sister) secretly baptized me while she was baby-sitting. I don't know if it made my mom mad or not, but she always said at least all the bases were covered, so at least she had a sense of humor about this.

Should someone baptize another person's child? No, of course not. It's rude. But, if it's the only "out there" thing that the person pulls and the person doesn't put down the chosen religion or talk about how one religion is "better" than the other (whatever the religion -- not stating a preference here), probably not worth a cut off.

Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go.

Didn't Archie Bunker do this on All in the Family  30 plus years ago? 
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: VorFemme on January 18, 2013, 09:59:12 AM
This "Prudie" isn't nearly as good as a couple of the previous ones...sadly, people don't always realize that there is a new employee taking over the desk from a previous employee who was just better at the job.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Virg on January 18, 2013, 09:59:50 AM
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go."

Her "only flaw" is being untrustworthy.  She continues covering up her misdeed to this day, which shows that she feels no remorse about trampling the boundary and no compunction about being deceitful to protect her own interests.  That's what makes me say not to trust her with any other boundary.

Virg
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Venus193 on January 18, 2013, 10:13:11 AM
Quote
Didn't Archie Bunker do this on All in the Family  30 plus years ago?

Yes.  He dipped his fingers into the holy water just outside the chapel.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Daffydilly on January 18, 2013, 10:37:17 AM
My main concern is grandma deliberately asked other family members to hide what she did from the parents. It would make me wonder what else is she capable of doing? It means the family is willing to lie to the childs parents. And that they will enable any unhealthy behaviors of grandmas.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 18, 2013, 10:49:29 AM
Honestly? Being an Episcopalian myself as the LW's family was, I'm just kind of shocked at her mentality because at least the church I attend is very open minded, not only towards other Christian denominations, but towards other religions as well.   And I'm a recent convert and I know that sort of thing is not approved by the church, and from the impression I get the LW's mother is a long time Episcopalian.

I'm rather disappointed that her other children didn't stand up to her and correct her pov and make her realize that not only were her actions pointless, but harmful to the relationship with her children and grandchildren, with the threat that they would tell their siblings if she didn't confess and apologize.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Winterlight on January 18, 2013, 11:02:49 AM
My concern wouldn't actually be that she would batize my kid "the right way".  it would be that she would feed/medicate/whatever my kid "the right way" in secret. I can see other family members taking this as an indicator that she feels grandma's have the authority to overrule parents on major issue.  I do think I might encourage her minister/priest/pastor to talk to her baout the baptism thing but even if they correct her on that I don't see that fixing her perception that she has the right to make decisions to take matters into her own hands if she deems it for the best.

Agreed. I'd have told my brother, as well. I think he should know.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Tea Drinker on January 18, 2013, 11:03:43 AM
I agree with everyone who says that the real issue is that this grandmother is prepared to override a parent's wishes, and then push other people to keep what she has done a secret. In the religious case: the phrase "courage of her convictions" comes to mind. If someone sincerely believes that it's that important that a child be baptized in a specific way, to the extent of doing so against the parents' wishes. she should be prepared to say what she has done and take the consequences in terms of those relationships.

"Don't tell anyone" may seem harmless in the previous case, depending on your religious beliefs or lack thereof (I agree that effects of secret baptism are beyond the scope of this board), but it suggests that the grandmother might decide her medical judgment was enough better that she should give a child medicine and not tell the parents, or withhold a dose of medicine if she was babysitting in an emergency. Or turn out to be the sort of person who "doesn't believe in" allergies, and then the parents are trying to figure out why their kid is sick, because Grandma snuck something that the child is allergic to into a pan of lasagna.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Redneck Gravy on January 18, 2013, 11:14:12 AM
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go."

Her "only flaw" is being untrustworthy.  She continues covering up her misdeed to this day, which shows that she feels no remorse about trampling the boundary and no compunction about being deceitful to protect her own interests.  That's what makes me say not to trust her with any other boundary.

Virg

Well we can agree to disagree - if this is the ONLY untrustworthy thing she has done I would still let it go.  If she has shown a history of disrespecting boundaries that is a different matter entirely. 

What if she had some recent major upheaval in her life that caused her to panic and baptize the baby - I would take that into consideration also.

As usual these letters don't give us eHellions the opportunity to ask the original poster about the issues involved.   

Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Eden on January 18, 2013, 11:19:07 AM
Agreeing with all of those who say this is not about the baptism but about boundaries.

I know someone in a similar situation where it's not that the act was harmful necessarily, but that it was behind the parents' backs. Their (latest) boundary issue is a grandma who volunteered at her grandkids' school without first checking with/giving a mention to the parents. The kids came home and reported seeing Grandma at school. After taking the school to task for allowing this (you never know what kind of troubled family dynamics there are), the parents called Grandma and told her they were going to cover her volunteer times and she would not be volunteering unless they asked her, not because there's anything wrong with volunteering but because she was sneaky about it. She of course can't understand what is wrong with a grandma wanting to spend time with her grandkids. I don't think they would have been quite as confrontational with Grandma if it was her first violation, but it was the latest in years of overstepping and undermining.

I think baptisms are symbolic so Grandma's baptism doesn't "count" in any real sense in my opinion, but it is still wrong and a violation of trust.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Virg on January 18, 2013, 11:49:10 AM
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Well we can agree to disagree - if this is the ONLY untrustworthy thing she has done I would still let it go.  If she has shown a history of disrespecting boundaries that is a different matter entirely."

You're doubling back on the baptism itself, and that's not my problem with trusting her.  The coverup continues, and so in the place of the LW I'd always have to wonder if it's the only thing she did.  How would you know if it was a one-time thing if she's content to continue hiding from it?  She may have done many things and just covered them up too, so until and unless she 'fessed up and showed some remorse for the deceit I would never be able to trust her not to do it to me.

"What if she had some recent major upheaval in her life that caused her to panic and baptize the baby - I would take that into consideration also."

What major upheaval prevents her from admitting what she did?  What upheaval excuses her continued deceit?  He's got proof positive that she's an unrepentant liar when it suits her and even involved him in carrying it forward, and no way to know that she hasn't done it or won't do it to him just like she did to her other son.  His letter shows that she's damaged his trust badly enough to ask for advice, and without any action on her part to try to restore that trust I'd advise him not to trust her.

Virg
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Pioneer on January 18, 2013, 12:54:16 PM
Okay, E-Hellions.  This topic is personally a hot-button for me because one of my offspring experienced an "emergency baptism."  This isn't the <hugs> folder and you aren't my therapists, but for what it is worth . . .

First, my vote is that Grandma did exceed boundaries, and ESPECIALLY since the sacrement of Holy Baptism is so important to Grandma that she uses a kitchen faucet to perform one in a non-emergency situation . . . this is important to her, so she doubly disrespects the wishes of the parents.

I'm pretty private on E-Hell and on all electronic formats, but this time I'm going to share.  My bright beautiful 3-day old child was life-flighted to a major hospital an hour away from where she was born.  We were frightened, almost panicky.  Phone calls to our parents and grandparents were immediately made.  I was discharged a day early, and our entire family, including toddler daughter, scurried to the larger hospital to find out what was wrong.  Gathered in a small conference-sized room awaiting a consultation and hopefully a diagnosis, a nurse blithely waltzed into the room where our entire family was assembled, waved a piece of paper, and exclaimed, "I just baptized your daughter!"  Terrified, I screamed, "My baby!  She's dying!"  Nurse, "No, she's not."  Me:  "Why did you baptize our daughter if she isn't dying?"  Nurse:  "Because it says on her chart that you are Christian."  Me:  "If I had wanted our daughter baptized in a hospital by a nurse while we sat in a closed room 8-feet away, we would at the very least want to be PRESENT."

I do believe hospital or battlefield baptisms are at times appropriate, meaningful, and still a sacrament even though offered by a layperson.  It's not because she was "merely" a nurse (please take that comment in the spirit intended.)  It was because I was THERE, my ENTIRE FAMILY was there, but we have absolutely no idea what was done or what was said in that closed room between the woman and a 3-day old child.  Fast forward 13 years, it's time for her to celebrate her Affirmation of Baptism, but we still don't know.  WAS she baptized?  As Piratelvr said, we believe in ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sin, not 67 if that is more convenient.  Yes, this is etiquette but it is also Theology and Faith and a Sacrament.

Happy Ending.  Fast forward to today.  Daugher is fine, in college, and engaged to be married.  Apparently, however, I'm still angry.


Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Kari on January 18, 2013, 01:59:37 PM
Oh my gosh, Pioneer, that is appalling! Did the nurse get in trouble for it? Or was that par for the course at that particular hospital?
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 18, 2013, 02:10:37 PM
I'd be livid too, honestly.  I knew a woman who was a retired nurse who would do that sort of thing, baptizing babies that didn't survive for one reason or another.  I once asked her "You made sure the parents were okay with it, right?" She said "It doesn't matter. It will save their souls."  This woman wasn't even related to these little children or these parents.  What if the parents were Jewish, Hindu? Muslim? Atheist? Agnostic?

Even if it doesn't hold water, the baptism, if my parents had done this I would have been livid.  Ironically, for as much as they liked to tromp boundaries, religion was one they didn't fuss about too much cause they just weren't all that religious anyway.

This thread makes me miss my own dear grandmother, who was a devout Catholic but when her second youngest married a Jewish woman in a Jewish wedding and made the decision to raise their children Jewish, Grandma supported them fully. :)
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Shea on January 18, 2013, 02:24:08 PM

I think the religion(s) in question may actually make it a much  more touchy subject.

Not to delve to far into religious particulars, but there were cases in not-all-that-recent-history where Jewish children were baptized, then considered Christian, and taken from parents.

While it doesn't have that practical implication in this country, in this day and age the 'cultural memory' (I want to use a better phrase but I"m failing to come up with one) it is possible to be reasonably hyperaware of such absurd disrespect of beliefs--because of the previous persecution and abuse that is associated with such disregard for boundries..

That's the first thing I thought of, dawbs. There's some really nasty history of Jewish children being "secretly" baptized and then taken from their families. Obviously that's no longer a practical issue, but I think the religions involved make the issue thornier and more likely to evoke a strong negative reaction in the parents.

That said, I think that the parents should know that Grandma is apparently happy to stomp all over their parenting boundaries. Maybe she hasn't done anything else, but the fact that she'd blithely disregard the parents' wishes regarding their child's religious upbringing (sure, the baptism is theologically invalid, but obviously Grandma didn't know that or didn't care) makes me worry about what other parenting decisions she'd be happy to ignore if she thought she knew better. I don't think the parents should deny her the right to see the baby for this, but were I the kid's parent, I wouldn't leave him/her alone with Grandma for a long time.

And I think that getting Grandma to sit down with her pastor might be good. The pastor would, hopefully, understand why the parents aren't thrilled about the pseudo-baptism, and might be able to impress upon Grandma that it's both religiously invalid and disrespectful to the parents. Maybe she'd listen if it came from a respected religious figure, rather than her family.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: auntmeegs on January 18, 2013, 02:37:49 PM
Okay, E-Hellions.  This topic is personally a hot-button for me because one of my offspring experienced an "emergency baptism."  This isn't the <hugs> folder and you aren't my therapists, but for what it is worth . . .

First, my vote is that Grandma did exceed boundaries, and ESPECIALLY since the sacrement of Holy Baptism is so important to Grandma that she uses a kitchen faucet to perform one in a non-emergency situation . . . this is important to her, so she doubly disrespects the wishes of the parents.

I'm pretty private on E-Hell and on all electronic formats, but this time I'm going to share.  My bright beautiful 3-day old child was life-flighted to a major hospital an hour away from where she was born.  We were frightened, almost panicky.  Phone calls to our parents and grandparents were immediately made.  I was discharged a day early, and our entire family, including toddler daughter, scurried to the larger hospital to find out what was wrong.  Gathered in a small conference-sized room awaiting a consultation and hopefully a diagnosis, a nurse blithely waltzed into the room where our entire family was assembled, waved a piece of paper, and exclaimed, "I just baptized your daughter!"  Terrified, I screamed, "My baby!  She's dying!"  Nurse, "No, she's not."  Me:  "Why did you baptize our daughter if she isn't dying?"  Nurse:  "Because it says on her chart that you are Christian."  Me:  "If I had wanted our daughter baptized in a hospital by a nurse while we sat in a closed room 8-feet away, we would at the very least want to be PRESENT."

I do believe hospital or battlefield baptisms are at times appropriate, meaningful, and still a sacrament even though offered by a layperson.  It's not because she was "merely" a nurse (please take that comment in the spirit intended.)  It was because I was THERE, my ENTIRE FAMILY was there, but we have absolutely no idea what was done or what was said in that closed room between the woman and a 3-day old child.  Fast forward 13 years, it's time for her to celebrate her Affirmation of Baptism, but we still don't know.  WAS she baptized?  As Piratelvr said, we believe in ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sin, not 67 if that is more convenient.  Yes, this is etiquette but it is also Theology and Faith and a Sacrament.

Happy Ending.  Fast forward to today.  Daugher is fine, in college, and engaged to be married.  Apparently, however, I'm still angry.

I know this is not really the point of the story, but you took this woman's baptism as real and did not have your daughter officially baptized in your church? 
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: EMuir on January 18, 2013, 02:43:42 PM
I think this is one of those areas that proves that politics and religion really just shouldn't be discussed.  I can see both sides: If I had a child I'd want it baptized in my faith.  But if a relative really believed that the baby would be going to eternal damnation unless they baptized it themselves, then they are acting under the "safety is more important than etiquette" purview. Of course I would be angry at them, but I would understand why they did it (and make sure they weren't alone with my child again).
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 18, 2013, 02:47:53 PM
I know this is not really the point of the story, but you took this woman's baptism as real and did not have your daughter officially baptized in your church?

Many Christians believe you get exactly one baptism.  There's no "first" baptism, or re-baptism, or "I didn't mean it last time but now I totally do" baptism, or "my parents were speaking for me before but now I speak for myself" baptism.  You get one, and if some selfish person does it without your consent or your presence, then you miss it and there's nothing you can do about that, just like if a couple has a "first wedding" at the courthouse and then wants a big re-do at the church.  Nothing's stopping them from having the party, but most eHellions agree that the second one wouldn't be a wedding, not really.

I'm actually not able to join the church I'm currently attending because of this.  I was baptized as an infant according to the denomination I grew up in, but the denomination I attend now requires adult (or at least teen) baptism.  I can't join the church unless I'm re-baptized, but since the first one "took" I don't feel like I can do that.  Result is I attend but can't join.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: MrTango on January 18, 2013, 02:58:07 PM
I know this is not really the point of the story, but you took this woman's baptism as real and did not have your daughter officially baptized in your church?

Many Christians believe you get exactly one baptism.  There's no "first" baptism, or re-baptism, or "I didn't mean it last time but now I totally do" baptism, or "my parents were speaking for me before but now I speak for myself" baptism.  You get one, and if some selfish person does it without your consent or your presence, then you miss it and there's nothing you can do about that, just like if a couple has a "first wedding" at the courthouse and then wants a big re-do at the church.  Nothing's stopping them from having the party, but most eHellions agree that the second one wouldn't be a wedding, not really.

I'm actually not able to join the church I'm currently attending because of this.  I was baptized as an infant according to the denomination I grew up in, but the denomination I attend now requires adult (or at least teen) baptism.  I can't join the church unless I'm re-baptized, but since the first one "took" I don't feel like I can do that.  Result is I attend but can't join.

This is true for my denomination, however, there have been circumstances in which a person may not know if they were baptized as an infant, or there is doubt about the validity of the sacrament.  In those cases, I've seen a "Conditional" baptism.  The only difference between the regular ceremony and the "conditional" ceremony is that the priest/deacon adds "If you have not already been baptized" before the actual baptism.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: ClaireC79 on January 18, 2013, 03:12:00 PM
I remember as a student doing a placement in NICU and one set of parents getting very upset that baptism was even suggested*, never mind performed without their consent

*baby did survive but they felt that a nurse asking them if they wanted to have the baby baptised (by a hospital chaplain) was the staff saying they were giving up on their child - if it had been done without their consent I could see them being far more upset
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: auntmeegs on January 18, 2013, 03:26:59 PM
I know this is not really the point of the story, but you took this woman's baptism as real and did not have your daughter officially baptized in your church?

Many Christians believe you get exactly one baptism.  There's no "first" baptism, or re-baptism, or "I didn't mean it last time but now I totally do" baptism, or "my parents were speaking for me before but now I speak for myself" baptism.  You get one, and if some selfish person does it without your consent or your presence, then you miss it and there's nothing you can do about that, just like if a couple has a "first wedding" at the courthouse and then wants a big re-do at the church.  Nothing's stopping them from having the party, but most eHellions agree that the second one wouldn't be a wedding, not really.

I'm actually not able to join the church I'm currently attending because of this.  I was baptized as an infant according to the denomination I grew up in, but the denomination I attend now requires adult (or at least teen) baptism.  I can't join the church unless I'm re-baptized, but since the first one "took" I don't feel like I can do that.  Result is I attend but can't join.

Right, I get that part (I am of one of those denominations), its just that I would never have taken this woman's "baptism" seriously, withouth having been there and hearing what she said and seeing what she did.  I personally don't think it works that way. 
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Pioneer on January 18, 2013, 04:19:11 PM
Thanks to Slartibartfast and MrTango.  You expressed it better than I can.

A part of Holy Baptism is eliciting a vow from the parents &/or sponsors to raise the child in the Christian faith, place the Holy Bible in the hands of the child, et cetera.  So in our individual situation, in a private ceremony, our reverend offered a blessing on our daughter, and then followed the rest of the baptismal ceremony.  Her Affirmation of Baptism was before the congregation with four other youths a few weeks later.

Slartibartfast, our particular denomination will concur membership upon either a Transfer, or by Affirmation of Faith. 

Okay, back to Etiquette!  Grandma acted in a manipulative fashion on a major topic, then tried to cover her tracks.  Hurtful.  Very hurtful.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: m2kbug on January 18, 2013, 04:23:23 PM
I have family that are a part of a religion I have issues with.  They subscribe to this faith, and that's fine, it's not for me or my children.  I respect them and their choices, I expect the same in return.  No matter how "fake" or "harmless" this emergency baptism was, I would be LIVID.   

Add to that, this grandparent completely undermining my choices as a parent and disrespecting our faith, and keeping it a secret, we've got a double whammy here. 

Trust=Gone. 

I can't add much more than what has already been said, but my children would not be left alone with her ever again until she has proven I can trust her, and certainly warn other siblings if their faith choices were other than gramma's.  If they think it's "no biggie," so be it.  Gramma overstepped her bounds big time.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: scansons on January 19, 2013, 05:31:24 PM
scansons wrote:

"But seriously, does it really matter?  Baptism is not magic.  It doesn't make you a Christian if you don't receive the education to go with it.   Which a child in Jewish home would not be getting.    It certainly is hurtful that Grandma doesn't respect the beliefs of her son and his wife. But that doesn't  make her automatically a disrespectful grandparent.  She could just be a grandparent with a blind spot."

The baptism doesn't matter at all, because it's a red herring.  My take on the whole thing is that she knows that it was overstepping to do it, she did it anyway, and then she's put continued effort into hiding it.  That's the start and the end of it.  To illustrate my point, simply imagine telling her to admit to what she did.  Why doesn't she?  The reason is that she knows that the real issue is that she knowingly and purposefully breached their trust because she decided that she knew better than they did what was best for their child.  That does indeed make her a disrespectful grandparent, as evidenced by her continued action to hide what she did.  Seeing as she's made no effort toward correcting that breach of trust nor showing any remorse for doing it in the first place, I have to say she's untrustworthy and that is quite enough reason never to trust her alone with the child.

"I know grandparents who would never consider deviating from a child's feeding schedule but who would absolutely (and wrongly) baptizes that same child in secret."

This strikes to the heart of the matter.  She did something that she knew the child's parents didn't want and wouldn't allow if given the chance, and so she did it in secret and has hidden it from them ever since.  That means that she can't be trusted not to do it regarding any given parenting decision, and it's not reasonable to dump that on the LW to try to figure out, especially since he's got hard evidence that she'll do it if she decides that she's right about something and then bury it so he'll never find out.  The very existence of the letter shows that the breach of trust doesn't just involve the other family, as the LW himself feels that she's untrustworthy.

Virg

Acting out of fear for someone you love is not the same thing as acting out of know-it-all-ism.  While it may seem silly or unrealistic to many, if Grandma is really acting because she's afraid her grandchild will burn in hell, that's pretty different, than acting because she simply knows best.   Which is to say, if she acted from a genuine, if misguided belief, I'd be inclined to give her a pass.  If it was me.  But then I have my own very defined beliefs, and I would find the fact that she felt the need to do this rather silly, and sad. 

If she acted because she just knows best, and I had reason to think she would be disregarding feeding schedules, and giving baby things baby should not have.  Well that's a different issue.  I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect LW to know his mother well enough to know the difference.  A tendency to be a know it all will show up in more than one area of Grandma's life.  As will a genuine fear of hell. 

Grandma didn't get how she is, whichever way she is, yesterday.  These are long term tendencies. 
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: RooRoo on January 19, 2013, 07:02:28 PM
It is precisely because religion is such a hot-button issue that Grandma's kitchen-sink baptism is such a huge boundary violation.

And that is what we should address - the boundary violation. Whether or not this act is, to anyone but the OP letter writer, a big deal or not is a non-issue, except as it relates to keeping the thread open...  ;)

No, I would not trust this woman to oversee my (fictional) children in any way, until the kids were old enough to take care of themselves. If Granny complains, my answer would be, "Mom, you demonstrated that you cannot be trusted to respect our decisions as the parents if you disagree with them. Since you lied about it, and we can't read your mind, we can't know what things you will disagree with in the future. Because of that, we cannot leave our children with you."
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: blarg314 on January 19, 2013, 08:05:09 PM
I would put Grandma's behaviour up as a serious red flag.

It's possible that the *only* thing she's nuts about is the baptism issue and its coverup, and that other than that she will be an exemplary grandmother who follows the parents' lead in how she deals with the child, and is open and honest about her interactions with the child.

But I wouldn't hold my breath. She's demonstrated that she will follow her own ideas about child rearing, against the parents' wishes and behind their backs, and then demand that people keep her secret. And she'll do it based on her own crazy ideas - as others have said, even from a strict theological perspective, what she did was bizarre, and her own minister would likely tell her that the previous baptism was recognized by her church.

So in the parents' place, if I knew about this, I would be angry, and I would be very carefully watching Grandma to how it progresses, but I would know that she was not someone I could automatically trust to 1) follow my wishes 2) respect my beliefs or 3) tell me the truth.

Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: jedikaiti on January 20, 2013, 12:05:38 AM
Okay, E-Hellions.  This topic is personally a hot-button for me because one of my offspring experienced an "emergency baptism."  This isn't the <hugs> folder and you aren't my therapists, but for what it is worth . . .

First, my vote is that Grandma did exceed boundaries, and ESPECIALLY since the sacrement of Holy Baptism is so important to Grandma that she uses a kitchen faucet to perform one in a non-emergency situation . . . this is important to her, so she doubly disrespects the wishes of the parents.

I'm pretty private on E-Hell and on all electronic formats, but this time I'm going to share.  My bright beautiful 3-day old child was life-flighted to a major hospital an hour away from where she was born.  We were frightened, almost panicky.  Phone calls to our parents and grandparents were immediately made.  I was discharged a day early, and our entire family, including toddler daughter, scurried to the larger hospital to find out what was wrong.  Gathered in a small conference-sized room awaiting a consultation and hopefully a diagnosis, a nurse blithely waltzed into the room where our entire family was assembled, waved a piece of paper, and exclaimed, "I just baptized your daughter!"  Terrified, I screamed, "My baby!  She's dying!"  Nurse, "No, she's not."  Me:  "Why did you baptize our daughter if she isn't dying?"  Nurse:  "Because it says on her chart that you are Christian."  Me:  "If I had wanted our daughter baptized in a hospital by a nurse while we sat in a closed room 8-feet away, we would at the very least want to be PRESENT."

I do believe hospital or battlefield baptisms are at times appropriate, meaningful, and still a sacrament even though offered by a layperson.  It's not because she was "merely" a nurse (please take that comment in the spirit intended.)  It was because I was THERE, my ENTIRE FAMILY was there, but we have absolutely no idea what was done or what was said in that closed room between the woman and a 3-day old child.  Fast forward 13 years, it's time for her to celebrate her Affirmation of Baptism, but we still don't know.  WAS she baptized?  As Piratelvr said, we believe in ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sin, not 67 if that is more convenient.  Yes, this is etiquette but it is also Theology and Faith and a Sacrament.

Happy Ending.  Fast forward to today.  Daugher is fine, in college, and engaged to be married.  Apparently, however, I'm still angry.

PLEASE tell me that "nurse" got her posterior handed to her on a plate for that!!!!
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: twiggy on January 20, 2013, 12:24:53 AM
I do think that what Grandma did is a BIG DEAL. Religion is a huge part of my life, and having someone decide that the way that I worship my God is not good enough, well, that would make me livid. In my family of origin, we were raised in X faith. As I grew, I decided that X faith didn't answer my questions and didn't make sense to me. I ended up converting to Y as an adult. When I told my mother that I was going to Y church, she was so upset she threw a shoe at me. It was a factor in the trouble that led to me and my mom not speaking for over 4 years. We are now on good terms, but if she ever did something like that you can bet your bottom dollar she wouldn't see my kids again.

Heck my sister is no longer worshiping in X faith. She doesn't go to any church. Niece has come to church with my family, but that has been cleared with Sister Every.Single.Time. I wouldn't bring Niece to church without her mother's expressed consent, much less have her secretly baptized. 

At the end of the day, no matter your personal feelings about religion, Grandma went out of her way to do something that would upset the parents. She then lied and instigated a cover up. Grandma knew that what she had done was wrong, otherwise she would have simply told the parents what happened. That makes her untrustworthy in my book. As in, I wouldn't trust her.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Virg on January 20, 2013, 07:35:33 AM
scansons wrote:

"Which is to say, if she acted from a genuine, if misguided belief, I'd be inclined to give her a pass."

Yet again, you're considering the baptism and not the real issue, which is the ongoing deceit.  If she was acting from a genuine belief in her religion, then she's a hypocrite for not telling them after the fact and taking the consequences because Christian religions have a prohibition against lying.  There is no pass to be taken from her keeping it a secret, no matter what drove her to do it in the first place.  I'll say it again because it really is the crux of the issue.  Grandma is an unrepentant liar, and the LW knows this for a fact, so there's no reason I can contemplate to tell him that he should trust her.

Virg
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: PeterM on January 20, 2013, 01:17:25 PM
scansons wrote:

"Which is to say, if she acted from a genuine, if misguided belief, I'd be inclined to give her a pass."

Yet again, you're considering the baptism and not the real issue, which is the ongoing deceit.  If she was acting from a genuine belief in her religion, then she's a hypocrite for not telling them after the fact and taking the consequences because Christian religions have a prohibition against lying.  There is no pass to be taken from her keeping it a secret, no matter what drove her to do it in the first place.  I'll say it again because it really is the crux of the issue.  Grandma is an unrepentant liar, and the LW knows this for a fact, so there's no reason I can contemplate to tell him that he should trust her.

Virg

This is pretty much the crux of the issue for me, too. Not to mention, once you give Grandma what amounts to a free pass to go against the parents' wishes when it comes to deeply held religious issues, you're on a road that never ends. If she thinks a baptism from another protestant denomination isn't good enough, what else will she think isn't good enough? I see absolutely no reason to believe grandma will never again go against the parents' religious wishes now that the baby has been secretly baptized.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Free Range Hippy Chick on January 20, 2013, 02:31:54 PM
So suppose this hadn't been a Christian grandma and a baptism. Suppose it had been a different religion. Suppose grandma, with only the best intentions regarding the state of her beloved grandson's religious integrity and immortal soul, had, while babysitting, had the baby circumcised. Would we even be having the argument about whether or not she had done something wrong?   Or would we be saying 'you don't get to decide unilaterally about someone else's religious observances and then to override them  - and then to lie about it and ask other people to lie for you.'

I'm with those who say keep to keep grandma at a distance and keep her hands in view at all times. She thinks  that when you're wrong and she's right, she gets the casting vote and she doesn't even have to tell you that she's exercising it. So it's religion this time. Next time it might be anything. And the parents can't really even trust the other siblings, can they? The whole family now has form at covering up something they know should never have happened. So I have to assume that if John and Mary and I hid this from Elizabeth, then if grandma does something to my baby to which I would object, John and Mary and Elizabeth would hide it from me.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: RingTailedLemur on January 20, 2013, 02:35:19 PM
So suppose this hadn't been a Christian grandma and a baptism. Suppose it had been a different religion. Suppose grandma, with only the best intentions regarding the state of her beloved grandson's religious integrity and immortal soul, had, while babysitting, had the baby circumcised. Would we even be having the argument about whether or not she had done something wrong?   Or would we be saying 'you don't get to decide unilaterally about someone else's religious observances and then to override them  - and then to lie about it and ask other people to lie for you.'

I'm with those who say keep to keep grandma at a distance and keep her hands in view at all times. She thinks  that when you're wrong and she's right, she gets the casting vote and she doesn't even have to tell you that she's exercising it. So it's religion this time. Next time it might be anything. And the parents can't really even trust the other siblings, can they? The whole family now has form at covering up something they know should never have happened. So I have to assume that if John and Mary and I hid this from Elizabeth, then if grandma does something to my baby to which I would object, John and Mary and Elizabeth would hide it from me.

I agree with most of what you have written, but I think you have chosen a bad example.  There is no comparison between putting water on the baby's head and giving it surgery.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: hyzenthlay on January 20, 2013, 02:47:59 PM
My sister once said she was going to baptise my kids in secret since we were not going to.
I kinda shrugged and if she ever did so, I don't particularly care. (I think she was joking, but it wouldn't entirely surprise me either.)

I would trust my sister to take excellent physical care of my kids and any religious or political dogma she might tell them them would be well reasoned and well supported and if I disagreed with them I would have plenty of time to explain my position at home.

I don't think a religious ceremony has to lead to a ban on all alone time, not does it, on it's own indicate a person you can't trust to take proper physical care of a child. BUT if the idea of a baptism is really anathema to this couple, if the idea of exposure to any 'non-approved' ideas is a serious matter, then nope no unsupervised visits with Grandma until age 13 or so. Only the couple has enough information to judge if Grandma is the type to perpetually run over boundaries.

ETA: I think Prudie's answer is reasonable given the stated religions involved. They seem to be worried from a spiritual standpoint, but the dogmas involved don't indicate a need to worry. Now if they keep kosher, and Grandma is bacon mad . . . that would be a serious future concern.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 20, 2013, 02:51:47 PM
I think in that story there i somebody who is upfront and says "I plan to _________." so that if the parents object they can take whatever action they need feel they need to.  IN the OP's story, the Grandma snuck out and did it and even after the fact took steps to hide what she had done.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: auntmeegs on January 20, 2013, 05:21:07 PM
My sister once said she was going to baptise my kids in secret since we were not going to.
I kinda shrugged and if she ever did so, I don't particularly care. (I think she was joking, but it wouldn't entirely surprise me either.)

I would trust my sister to take excellent physical care of my kids and any religious or political dogma she might tell them them would be well reasoned and well supported and if I disagreed with them I would have plenty of time to explain my position at home.

I don't think a religious ceremony has to lead to a ban on all alone time, not does it, on it's own indicate a person you can't trust to take proper physical care of a child. BUT if the idea of a baptism is really anathema to this couple, if the idea of exposure to any 'non-approved' ideas is a serious matter, then nope no unsupervised visits with Grandma until age 13 or so. Only the couple has enough information to judge if Grandma is the type to perpetually run over boundaries.

ETA: I think Prudie's answer is reasonable given the stated religions involved. They seem to be worried from a spiritual standpoint, but the dogmas involved don't indicate a need to worry. Now if they keep kosher, and Grandma is bacon mad . . . that would be a serious future concern.

This is exactly my felling on it, thank you for putting it so well.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Jocelyn on January 20, 2013, 05:21:11 PM
My concern here is not just the baptism occurring; it's that the GM finds it so very important that her granddaughter be baptized as an Episcopalian, and not as another Protestant denomination that baptizes infants. Being a Methodist or a Lutheran wasn't good enough for Grandma; it had to be HER religious beliefs. That's why I think that it's almost inevitable that she will be even more vigorously against a grandchild not being raised as a Christian, and it won't be a one-time 'emergency baptism', it'll be an ongoing effort to teach her grandchild the tenets of the Episcopal church. I don't think it's overreacting to try to prevent your Jewish child from being evangelized. I remember being horrified when I realized as a child that the church I was being raised in taught that only baptized people went to Heaven- and that meant ME. I was hysterical, afraid to go to sleep because I might die before I could be baptized. (yes, I'd been taught 'now I lay me down to sleep') If I were a Jewish parent, I would NOT want to take even the most remote chance of anyone putting that idea into my child's head.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Free Range Hippy Chick on January 20, 2013, 05:35:45 PM
So suppose this hadn't been a Christian grandma and a baptism. Suppose it had been a different religion. Suppose grandma, with only the best intentions regarding the state of her beloved grandson's religious integrity and immortal soul, had, while babysitting, had the baby circumcised. Would we even be having the argument about whether or not she had done something wrong?   Or would we be saying 'you don't get to decide unilaterally about someone else's religious observances and then to override them  - and then to lie about it and ask other people to lie for you.'

I'm with those who say keep to keep grandma at a distance and keep her hands in view at all times. She thinks  that when you're wrong and she's right, she gets the casting vote and she doesn't even have to tell you that she's exercising it. So it's religion this time. Next time it might be anything. And the parents can't really even trust the other siblings, can they? The whole family now has form at covering up something they know should never have happened. So I have to assume that if John and Mary and I hid this from Elizabeth, then if grandma does something to my baby to which I would object, John and Mary and Elizabeth would hide it from me.

I agree with most of what you have written, but I think you have chosen a bad example.  There is no comparison between putting water on the baby's head and giving it surgery.

There's no comparison for most people, but when it comes to religion? We may have to agree to disagree.. I would not be in the last surprised to find that someone who would do the former would also be capable of the latter. But then I am from a part of the world in which holding the 'wrong' religion can get you shot, which has coloured my views and probably explains my proselytising atheism.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Amara on January 20, 2013, 07:24:27 PM
If Grandma gets away with this, and if other family members like Grandpa see nothing wrong with it, I would count on Grandma further undermining the parents by instructing the child in her faith and taking her to Grandmas' church in secret. If she is so determined the child be raised in her faith, she is going to darn well raise her in her faith on an ongoing basis. If I was the parent Grandma (and whoever else agrees with her at this point) wouldn't get to spend alone time with the child until said child was eighteen.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 20, 2013, 08:26:12 PM
If Grandma gets away with this, and if other family members like Grandpa see nothing wrong with it, I would count on Grandma further undermining the parents by instructing the child in her faith and taking her to Grandmas' church in secret. If she is so determined the child be raised in her faith, she is going to darn well raise her in her faith on an ongoing basis. If I was the parent Grandma (and whoever else agrees with her at this point) wouldn't get to spend alone time with the child until said child was eighteen.

I'm still not seeing where Grandma has made a habit out of undermining the parents.  I agree this is a major infraction and she should be sternly reprimanded. And the rest of the family who knows what she did shouldn't keep quiet.  But I'm just not ready to hang Grandma based on this one incidence.

My oldest sister had the first grandchild when I was 12. This was in the early 80's and there was lots of changes around parenting occuring.  My sister's pediatrician had stated that the baby should have nothing but breast milk until 6 months of age.  No water, no cereal, nothing but breast milk. At around 5 months, sister and my neice come to visit for a week and neice is crying a lot.  My parents tell sis that the baby is hungry and thirsty but sister repeats pediatricians advice. My neice has no abnormalities. Normal weight, no feeding issues, and not medical issues. After 5 days, my Dad can't handle it anymore and gives neice a bottle with water and the next morning my mom feeds her some baby cereal. Neice is content for th rest of the day. They confess to sister what they did. Sister is furious at first and then realizes neice is back to feeding normally and sleeping normally.  Yes, my parents over stepped the bounds of grandparents, but everyone acknowledges it was in the best interest of the baby.  My parents never overstepped the bounds again.  But to them, watching their grandchild suffer fron hunger and thirst was more than they could tolerate.

While I do not in anyway condone the unauthorized and ineffective pseudo baptism, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that this instance could be a one off.  That her need to have her granchildren babtised in a way that assured salvation based on her personal beliefs over road her common since to not interfere with parenting. 

So I stand by my earlier statement.  If this is pattern, then all of the parents of her grandchildren should restrict access.  But if this is a one off, then a strong discussion with her about religious choice is in order before she is allowed unsupervised access to any of the children.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Sharnita on January 20, 2013, 08:47:00 PM
Honestly, I don't see that telling Granma she may see the grandkids only when others are around to supervise is all that harsh.  They haven't cut her out.  They aren't telling the kids grandma is bad/dangerous/the enemy.  There are a whole lot of delightful grandmothers who happen to see their grandkids only when there are also others around.
Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Lynnv on January 20, 2013, 08:48:53 PM
I would not allow my mother unsupervised access to my teddy bear, let alone my cats (which is as close as I will ever be to having children) if she had done that to my sister's kids.  This is NOT a safety trumps etiquette situation and the grandma was not doing anything even close to right.  She was convinced that her religion trumped the parent's decisions on religion-and that is a huge boundary to be crossing.  And if she was willing to go so far as to perform an emergency baptism, theologically sound or not, for a child who was baptized in a different sect of her religion, she can hardly be trusted with a child being raised in another faith altogether.

Personally, the emergency baptism would not mean much to me-but the huge breach in trust by trampling the boundaries of acceptable behavior by baptizing a child against the parent's wishes would indicate that the woman could never be trusted again-and certainly not without lots of discussions, apologies, and a true belief that she understood why it was such a breach.  And I don't think enforcing supervised visits is an overreaction at all.  I don't think cutting her off would be too harsh, though I would likely not do so myself.

Title: Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
Post by: Virg on January 21, 2013, 08:37:20 AM
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm still not seeing where Grandma has made a habit out of undermining the parents."

Not relevant.  She's made a habit out of lying to them.

"They confess to sister what they did."

This is the pivot around which my argument turns.  Your parents confessed and dealt with the consequences, which goes a long way toward restoring trust.  The LW's mother hasn't and shows no intention of ever doing so.

"So I stand by my earlier statement.  If this is pattern, then all of the parents of her grandchildren should restrict access.  But if this is a one off, then a strong discussion with her about religious choice is in order before she is allowed unsupervised access to any of the children."

She'll do something wrong and then lie to cover her tracks, and the LW knows it, so he'll never have any way of knowing if it's a one-off or a pattern.  That's how trust works.

Virg