Pagan baby's Christian grandma is asking for baptism - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-31-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I'm late to the thread but just wanted to to all the replies saying don't do it.

Your beliefs are yours, your right to raise your children is yours, and it's ok if MIL disagrees. This will be the first of many opportunities for Grandma to adjust to her role in your life...be patient with her, but firm.

Good luck!

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Old 10-31-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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We are not having our 5m.o. baptised because it would require DH to either a) make promises which he had no intention of keeping or b) be excluded from the ceremony. I am not happy about either of those things (I chose not to have her baptised, if it had been important to me then DH would have been ok with us doing it) (a) makes a mockery of the ceremony and (b) is just not right, he is her father.

Not having her baptised will not prevent me from taking her to church, teaching her about christianity and rasing her according to my beliefs. When she is old enough to decide for herself then we can arrange a baptism if that's what she would like.

I would be inclined to tell MIL no because you would be lying when you promised to raise her according to the faith and really, how does that benefit anyone
This is precisely the boat that I'm in. Glad to see I'm not the only one!

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Old 11-01-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Just chiming in here - I would be very surprised if your MIL could do it behind your backs. I would ask her what exactly she's trying to achieve, after all, even the Catholics got rid of the idea that unbaptized babies were going to Hell (or was it Purgatory?)

Either way, baptism is really a commitment from the parents to the child to raise them in that particular faith - I can't imagine a pastor agreeing to do it without that commitment. My cousins were not allowed to baptize their daughter Catholic until they had demonstrated a commitment to the Catholic church (both were Catholic but hadn't been to church in a long time, weren't married in the church, etc.)

But I think the bigger issue here is her willingness to go behind your back. That would be my sticking point - that is just NOT ok.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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I understand that in an emergency (ie. if the person is near death, and there is no priest handy) , any Catholic can perform a baptism. All that is needed is water and the intent to perform the sacrament, and if the person is a child over the age of 7, they have to have the desire to be baptized and the faith to make that commitment, as I understand it.

I googled Lutheran emergency baptism, and it seems that that is also true of (some?) Lutheran churches. Maybe this is what your MIL was imagining, not actually getting a Pastor to do it? I don't think it would be valid in your circumstances
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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anyone can perform a baptism. You do not need to be ordained.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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I am a Christian. I am all about infant baptism. My children's baptism was not about me promising anything. Still, no way in hell would I let my MIL/Mom/anyone baptize my children in their church no matter how important it was to them that they be properly baptized in a proper church (some think I am a member of a cult) blah blah blah. Some think I am doing everything wrong and going to hell so I might as well be pagan as far as they are concerned. but yeah, I get irritated if people talk to the children about religion or try to convert them, save them or have the repeat any magic words of salvation, hand out tracts. How much more baptism or communion!! These are holy things, not to be done lightly. I would be furious if anyone did either of those things behind my back (if I was refusing to baptize them or they decided it needed to be done "right" ).

Which brings up another point. Today your MIL wants to baptize the baby. Then whats next? It is better to nicely tell her you are confident in your decisions, you would love it if she would pray for your baby and ask if there are any other family traditions she would like to share with your baby and maybe see if there was some way to accommodate one of them. Maybe have some beautiful portraits done in the baptismal gown if wearing it is an event in and of itself. Explain to her you do not want to make light of her holy traditions and feel you would be doing that if you allowed your child to be baptized just to appease her. Maybe focus on this being a way you are respecting her beliefs. Would you be willing to allow your child to go to church with her on occasion? what if your child wanted to be baptized? would you let them? If the answer to either of these is yes you should tell her that. That way if the time comes grandma can be there for her and this will give grandma hope for the future. But I would be cautious what you open your child up to. this could be an invitation for gm to coerce your dd into religion. And while I think a REAL baptism is a reason to celebrate your dd shouldn't do it to please GM any more than you should.

i would not bother inviting her to any pagan or UU sorts of baby welcoming things. This WILL NOT be a good substitute for baptism and will likely make things worse. And it will just ruin what should be a very special day for you. (trust me. I invited family to the baptism thinking it would help them understand...it went horribly wrong. horribly horribly wrong.)

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Old 11-01-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it, because it is important to me that my family(though they are non-practicing christians) understands how important my religion is to me. we will probably go to family christmas parties, and easter parties, but i will not be bringing DS to church services(unless we turn it into a school-type lesson), or put his name in the christmas present pool, decorate easter eggs, etc....)

it would bother me that she would think she can go behind my back and baptize my child. not that it would mean anything to me, just shows me that I wouldn't be able to trust her judgement, not to mention her complete lack of respect for me as a parent!

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Old 11-02-2010, 02:34 AM
 
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What are the reasons you would?
What would it hurt if you did? If you didn't?

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Old 11-03-2010, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Sol_y_Paz View Post
What are the reasons you would?
What would it hurt if you did? If you didn't?
These are great questions!

If I did baptize the baby, the only reason would be to make my mother in law happy.

It would bother me to baptize her because in my mind it's saying "You believe what you want, but you need to do this because your beliefs are wrong."

She's coming by tomorrow to watch the baby, so I'm going to talk about this with her. She's a good person, and I don't think her pastor would do this even if she tried to go behind my back.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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Something I forgot to mention in my first post. It might be good to go have a chat with her pastor. I doubt he would let the grandma baptize the baby without your consent but just in case....call him up and schedule a meeting. Explain to him the situation, that you do not share your mother in laws beliefs and do not want your baby baptized. You want to respect his beliefs and would like yours respected as well. Explain the MIL is very concerned about this and has mentioned doing it behind your back. Ask for his assurance that this will not happen under any circumstance.

She could still maybe go to another pastor but I doubt. I do not know many who would baptize a baby without at least consulting with the parents. I know if I sneaked someones baby into church there is no way would my priest baptize him.

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Old 11-03-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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If I did baptize the baby, the only reason would be to make my mother in law happy.

It would bother me to baptize her because in my mind it's saying "You believe what you want, but you need to do this because your beliefs are wrong."

She's coming by tomorrow to watch the baby, so I'm going to talk about this with her. She's a good person, and I don't think her pastor would do this even if she tried to go behind my back.
I admire your perspective and your thought process behind this. The relationship with your MIL who you say is a good person is important for you, your DH, and your baby. A good person will love and accept you guys and your baby regardless.
It isn't so much your beliefs are wrong and hers are right as far as the impression I have gotten from what I know here, as much as this is a small thing that is important to her. Just like you have things that are important to you.
A infant baptism is a one small event that usually is pretty quick in terms of time and commitment. Personally I don't see the big deal of letting the baby be baptized, provided her pastor would do it even though you do not believe and the pastor knows that. I don't see any harm for anyone involved with the details that I know.

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Old 11-03-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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So, I haven't read every post all that closely, but here's my .

I an agnostic, but my mom's family is Lutheran. My Great Grandfather was a founding minister in the Lutheran church in the homesteading states, and we traveled on a train when I was young halfway across the country so we could visit. While there, I was baptized (or so I'm told). I am also told that some of the words spoken, were that the nature of my beliefs as an adult did not matter as much as if I turned out to be a good person. My mother is clearly devout, but made sure I was aware of this.

Nobody in my family has asked that I get my kids baptized, so I'm not sure how I'd feel in your shoes, but the harm of the act itself is minimal and I look back at mine as a positive thing (though I was a baby so I really don't remember it). I would never take a religious role in a baptism and promise to do things I would never do, but as long as that is understood I would probably be OK with a baptism for tradition's sake. Not wanting your religion to be put "on the back burner" is a valid concern, but unless she'd also protesting your pagan traditions I don't feel like that's what is going on. Wanting her grandchild to be included in her beliefs might not even strike her as something that is perceived as exclusionary or disrespectful to your beliefs.

I'm pretty open to my kids experiencing the traditions of our family even if they have religious overtones though, and my child will take part in the Jewish traditions of my step-family, the Christian traditions of my mom's family, and the secular or other religious traditions as we see fit. A Baptism isn't like a secret enslavement that attaches your child to the church for the rest of their life...plenty of people switch sects or religions after a baptism.

In the end it's all about what works for you guys though, and choosing to go along with it or not is only up to you and your husband. I just wanted to offer my own perspective since I'm a little more relaxed about these types of things.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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This is soooo interesting.

My dd is NOT baptized. My mother begged me and I ultimately refused for all the reasons mentioned here... mostly that she is MY daughter and I say what goes. I did let my mother put the 'handed down' christening outfit on her and take photographs... this seemed to pacify her and in the moment I couldn't see what it would hurt.

In hindsight I wish I hadn't done that either as everytime I look through her photo album I see these ridiculous photos and just can hardly wait for the day I can destroy them.

Also, my two cents in regard to this
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And I'm going to tell MIL that going behind my back is a betrayal that would make us reevaluate our relationship with her. I may even call her church and talk to her pastor about this.
This seems a little over the top to me. I mean, really does it matter if the woman dribbles holy water on the baby's head? I don't mean to... make light of your convictions, but if it will pacify your MIL, can't you just let her 'have' that. Not overtly give her permission, but rather be more passive in this regard. Like let her know you don't want her to do that, but maybe don't take it any further than that. If she were to baptize the baby in quiet for her own sake... so what? It would be totally different if she made it clear she was going against you and involved other family members and such...

KWIM?

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Old 11-05-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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I am Pagan and my DH is also Pagan but more involved with Thelema/OTO, which does a Gnostic mass, baptisms (must be older than 11) and confirmations. The ceremonies are very pagan!

We would never baptize our baby in any church. That is a personal decision for him to make. In your case conceding to what your MIL wants only sets you up for more demands later. From my experience people have a lot of opinions on parenting to share

You might consider an Elemental Blessing for your new baby. This just acknowledges the elements of earth, fire, water and air and asks for their blessings to the child. Sprinkling of water on the child would be a great way to bless with water. No deities need to be invoked or promised to.

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Old 11-05-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread yet, so i don't know if this has already been said, but:

Any Catholic church worth its salt WILL NOT baptise the baby unless there is a *strong* possibility that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. Also, she cannot get the baby baptised against the will of the parents. Maybe if she finds a rogue priest or something, but in normal Catholic churches she would not be able to do this.

I'm not sure if your MIL is Catholic or not, but just giving my two cents.

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Old 11-06-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Wellll....

I'm a devout Christian, but I don't believe in infant baptism. We believe when a child/adolescent is at an age of reason (which varies wildly lol) they can choose themselves, of their own free will, to accept Christ or not. Infant baptism is simply a preference to show the parents' dedication to raising their child in the Christian church...but has no bearing on salvation. One has to willfully and knowingly accept Christ as a free-will choice to be saved. I hope that doesn't read as proselytizing, I'm just communicating what most protestant Christians believe based on The Bible.My mom was raised Catholic, and although she is not practicing, she was so adamant (read: crazy dead set) about having our daughter baptized. We had a lot of discussions (read: arguments) about it.

I just simply do NOT at ALL believe God sends unbaptized babies to hell. I did NOT have my daughter baptized.

Personally, this is a situation where I stood my ground. I would tread very lightly and take her feelings and beliefs into consideration but I wouldn't baptize. I would ask MIL to search her heart and her scriptures (infant Baptism appears NOWHERE in The Bible) and tell her you believe that if there is an Almighty, you simply do not believe in a petty or legalistic one who damns innocent babies to hell.

I would have been furious if my mom did it 'behind my back'. Not so much because of the religious side of it, but because of the blatant disrespect of my communicated choice/belief on the matter.
ditto

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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My Lutheran mother once made a rather joking suggestion that she take DD to be baptized when I wasn't looking, and I cheerfully informed her that it would result in her no longer having a relationship with her grandchild. It was a friendly/jesting conversation but the serious issue underlying it was addressed.

 

No way is someone baptizing my kid against my wishes. Mom gets to be around her grandkid plenty and has her shot at modeling what a Christian is for DD. When DD spends summers at her place, DD goes to my sister's or my dad's (they're divorced) on Sundays, not to church. She isn't allowed to enroll her in VBS, either.

 

Boundaries have to be respected in parenting, and religion is one of them, imo. Ritual has meaning, and I am not about to promise to raise my child in a faith that isn't mine, nor is it a non-custodial grandparent's place to do so.


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Old 11-20-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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A friend of mine dealt with this issue. Her mom is Catholic and she and her husband are not. She asked her mom when she had her first baby, "Is it going to bother you that he isn't baptized?" and her om said, "if it's really tearing me up inside, I'll do it myself in the kitchen sink." 

 

Works for me. I wouldn't put a loving grandparent through the emotional torture of thinking that the baby was going to suffer eternal damnation, but I wouldn't participate in a hypocritical public display either. Whatever they choose to do in the sink or with the garden hose or at the kiddie pool, so long as they keep it to themselves, does nobody any harm. 

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