Monday, May 11, 2015

Baptizing Baby Jack

An important and sometimes intense discussion between same-sex marriage supporters and Bible-believing Christians is whether this new direction of same-sex marriage success will result in limiting the religious and doctrinal practices of churches and ministers. For example, whether this will:

  • require ministers to solemnize marriages to which they object 
  • require churches to make facilities and services equally available 
  • expose churches and/or religious leaders to civil lawsuits for discrimination 

Supporters give a resounding "No" and then wonder why conservative and evangelical Christians don't believe them. The incident in Central Florida revolving around "baptizing Baby Jack" is a good example of why the skepticism.

According to the article Gay Dads Claim Church Agreed to Baptize Their Baby and Then Abruptly Backed Out the same-sex fathers of "Baby Jack" wanted to have their baby baptized. A lot of the reporting is from their standpoint. From that point of view it is reported that "just three days before [the baptism] was set to unfold, McCaffrey said that Clark called and informed him that there was an internal debate at the church and that some congregants opposed the baptism." Susan Russell at Huffington Post has written Baptism, Baby Jack and the Bishop of Central Florida suggesting that the Bishop may "be guilty in 2015 of singling out LGBT parents seeking the sacrament of baptism for their children." Now there is a petition at Faithful America to "Make sure that no priest in your diocese ever again denies the holy sacrament of baptism to a child on the basis of the parents' sexual orientation." Clearly the LGBT movement is not just concerned about what happens in bakeries and flower shops -- they want to influence the religious decisions of denominational bodies and local churches.

This is probably a little more complex for Episcopalians than it would be for Baptists and other free congregational type churches -- since they are not simply governed locally. Nevertheless, it is clear that at least some people want to come into our churches and tell us how to practice our faith -- despite continually stressing that they do not.

As a side issue, I laughed a little when the "Reverend" Russell asked WWJD. What would Jesus do? According to Russell, "He'd baptize Jack." This in spite of the fact  -- even if you believe in infant baptism -- that Jesus never baptized anyone. I suppose that doesn't matter, if you ignore the Bible and make up its meaning as you go. 

No comments: