Author Topic: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism  (Read 9513 times)

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jedikaiti

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #60 on: January 20, 2013, 01:05:38 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!!!!
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twiggy

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #61 on: January 20, 2013, 01:24:53 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.
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Virg

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #62 on: January 20, 2013, 08:35:33 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

PeterM

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #63 on: January 20, 2013, 02:17:25 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.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #64 on: January 20, 2013, 03:31:54 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.

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #65 on: January 20, 2013, 03:35:19 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.

hyzenthlay

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #66 on: January 20, 2013, 03:47:59 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.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 04:00:10 PM by hyzenthlay »

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #67 on: January 20, 2013, 03:51:47 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.

auntmeegs

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #68 on: January 20, 2013, 06:21:07 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.

Jocelyn

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #69 on: January 20, 2013, 06:21:11 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.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #70 on: January 20, 2013, 06:35:45 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.

Amara

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #71 on: January 20, 2013, 08:24:27 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.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #72 on: January 20, 2013, 09:26:12 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #73 on: January 20, 2013, 09:47:00 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.

Lynnv

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2013, 09:48:53 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.

Lynn

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