Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why I refused to baptize my child

It's not a big deal, so I have been told. Just a sprinkle of water on your babies head, no harm done.

Or is there? My husband and I are both pagans but his parents are Roman Catholic As pagans we try to mix ancient tradition while creating new traditions. Which is why we celebrated our child's birth with a naming ceremony from the Unitarian Universalist church.

To my in-laws baptism is essential, a strongly held tradition which we were the first to break. I have been asked why I didn't just have the ceremony to make his family happy and have them off our back. To keep the tradition and the image of being Catholic. 

Yet there are many reasons why I'm against this action being done to children. Although I can't prevent people from baptizing their children, I'm able to protect my child from this ceremony and concept. I personally don't believe children should be committed to a religion, when they themselves are not able to understand what that religion is. I feel it is wrong to assume that the child is going to practice the faith of their parents and take away choices that should be the individual's to make. To join a church, a religion or to rid one self of original sin are all decisions I feel should be made by an informed and willing adult.

With that alone, is enough for me, but some people may still feel tempted to give in to traditions and family pressures. However this isn't respecting the Christian tradition. The Catholic church takes educating children into their tradition very seriously. To have a baptism of my child, my husband and I would be required to flat out lie to a priest. I know I wasn't converting or my husband returning to Catholicism, something we  would be 
expected when raising a "Catholic" child. We would have to assure the priest we would see to it that our child attend their religious education programs and have our child receive the sacrament of communion and confirmation. We however knew this was not an option for our family. So in order to have a priest preform the ceremony, we would have to lie. I ask myself, what would this teach my child about Catholicism? That it's okay to lie to their clergy, for a short ceremony to appease family. 

It isn't just the forced religious commitment and lying to the Catholic clergy, but the very concept of baptism I find personally offensive. As pagans my husband and I reject the Christian notion of original sin. Original sin is the sexual act of conception, which the church believe can and should be washed away though the sacrament of baptism. The idea that sex is sinful, is negative and unhealthy. My husband and I at the time of our child's conception, welcomed each other of our own free will. The idea of trying to disassociate a child from the concept at the extreme baptism does, is more appropriate in cases of rape.

Our child was not a product of rape. We felt no need to wash away the idea of how she was conceived. We do not agree with the churches ideals regarding sex. We don't believe sex, masturbation, homosexuality, birth control, etc... are sinful, shameful or wrong. We don't feel this is ethical to raise our child with. 

As an adult our child/ren will know of many forms of Christianity, including Catholicism. What our child/ren will do with the broad education and exposure to multiple beliefs and ideas remains to be seen. Regardless of the belief system they may choose, it will be chosen of their own free will. 

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