Coercing consent from children at a baptism. This made me feel very uncomfortable.

I was at a baptism recently. The vicar asked this 4 year old girl if she wanted to be baptised, and she just looked confused and intimidated. He knelt down close to her and nodded with a big smile, and so she copied him. Everyone else in the congregation was going “awwwwww, how sweet”, and I was thinking, “this is how brainwashing begins.”

I wanted to approach the vicar afterwards and say “do you really think that asking a small, scared girl to make a complex theological decision in front of an audience and then coaxing the answer you want out of her is a valid way of discerning her consent?”

But I didn’t 🙁

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3 Responses

  1. Narfi says:

    To be fair, priests tend to coerce “consent” from children for far worse things than sprinkling a bit of water on them, so this is saintly compared it.

  2. Ben Collier says:

    Dan, I just watched your Bioshock Infinite Rap, and I was wondering what your opinions were on computer games as propaganda, right before I saw this comment from you.

    I haven’t played BI, but I understand that’s one of the themes? I would be very interested to know whether you think your reaction was in any way effected by the game’s plot, and if you think that a generation of gamers could be learning their politics and morals from these sorts of sources.

    It would be interesting to group games publishers and/or developers by the political biases of their storylines.

  3. BRoberts says:

    To be fair, a lot of christians disagree with infant baptism too. I was brought up in a christian household and was never baptised as a child. In fact, most of the infant baptisms I’ve seen where purely “cultural”, i.e. the baptismal party would come to the church for the ceremony and where never seen at church again.

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