Author Topic: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism  (Read 10186 times)

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scansons

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 08:48:06 PM »
Although, the whole discussion does beg the question:  If you're doing it in secret what the heck are you telling everyone for?   

doodlemor

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 09:01:35 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 09:07:45 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.

dawbs

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 09:52:21 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..

LeveeWoman

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 10:01:46 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.

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 10:16:55 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.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 10:25:58 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?

violinp

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 10:42:32 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.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


LeveeWoman

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 11:04:18 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.

violinp

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2013, 11:11:15 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.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


LeveeWoman

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2013, 11:13:10 PM »
The appropriate channels dealt with it, thankfully.

Good deal!

Slartibartfast

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2013, 03:22:27 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.)

Geekychick1984

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2013, 06:52:25 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.

magician5

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2013, 08:21:51 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.
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Virg

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2013, 08:24:33 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