Posts Tagged “baptism”

A Youtube video shows a mass baptism at Villa Rica High School from August 17th. (Photo: YouTube, via WXIA-TV)Note: There’s been an update on this story; please see below.

America’s Christianists have a lot of trouble with separation of church and state. To be blunt, they don’t fucking want it. They despise court decisions like Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington S.D. v. Schempp (1963) which took religious instruction out of public schools … because, quite obviously, kids can’t get that kind of instruction at home, in church, or in Sunday school.

Oh wait, they can. Woops. I forgot. Christianists need to make sure their religion saturates everyone’s daily existence, because without it … well, I guess everything goes “poof.” Or something.

Anyway … Christianists aren’t about to let little things like the Supreme Court get in the way of doing their deity’s bidding. They consistently and repeatedly violate the law and act as though there’s nothing wrong with it. Because Jesus.

An egregious example of this, as WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports, happened a couple weeks ago in western Georgia (WebCite cached article):

A Georgia school district is investigating after video of a mass baptism was posted on YouTube.

The video, posted by First Baptist Villa Rica, was shot on school grounds just before football practice. “We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” the caption with the video reads.

By Tuesday evening, the video had been removed from YouTube.

Someone, apparently, thought better of having stuck evidence of this SOCAS violation on the Internet … but it wasn’t enough. The cat’s out of the bag.

Note the church’s language (i.e. “God is STILL in our schools!”). Thus, this baptism was an act of Christianist defiance. The church may have deleted it from Youtube, but others associated with Villa Rica High School football haven’t shied from their fierce public-school religionism; this post from the Villa Rica Touchdown Club’s Facebook page makes that evident (locally-cached version).

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked the school district to investigate and remedy the situation. It’s possible the school district will do the right thing, firing any staff who may have arranged this baptism, and prevent them from happening again. But then, this is the Bible Belt Bobble Bay-elt, and for all we know, the school district doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Who knows?

Update: It turns out the school district does see something wrong with this. They concede this baptism violated procedures (cached). As for whether anyone will be fired because they knew damned well something happened that shouldn’t have … well, I don’t plan to hold my breath waiting for that.

Photo credit: YouTube, via WXIA-TV.

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Another example of Christians doing things they shouldn’t … but refusing to stop, because they think they’re doing “the Lord’s work” and this gives them a “pass” to do whatever they want, no matter how wrong it is … was reported in the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal recently:

The head football coach at Breckinridge County High School took about 20 players on a school bus late last month to his church, where nearly half of them were baptized, school officials say.

The mother of one player said her 16-year-old son was baptized without her knowledge and consent, and she is upset that a public school bus was used to take players to a church service — and that the school district’s superintendent was there and did not object.

A public-school coach uses his position as the leader of an athletic team, to get members of his team to get baptized in his own church. It’s not clear to me how this is not crossing the line of separation of church and state, but the Christians involved have managed to come up with a sleazy legalistic evasion:

But Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of the church and witnessed the baptisms, said she thinks the trip was proper because attendance was not required, and another coach paid for the gas.

Meeks said parents weren’t given permission slips to sign but knew the event would include a church service, if not specifically a baptism. She said eight or nine players came forward and were baptized.

“None of the players were rewarded for going and none were punished for not going,” Meeks said.

Let’s be both honest and clear here. When you’re on a school team and there’s a team activity, it is never truly “voluntary” for members of the team. There is, at best, an unspoken expectation of attendance, and at worst, there can be implied coercion, peer pressure, and other forms of quiet retribution for those who may opt out.

As for who pays for the gas … is Ms Meeks really serious about? Does she really, honestly believe that payment for gasoline can obviate separation of church and state?

What’s more, who is this coach to take members of his team to any particular church? What if there were Jewish or Muslim kids on the team? What makes him think their parents would be happy about taking their kids to an evangelical Christian revival service?

Please, enough is enough. Christians like this need to be stopped — in their tracks — their legalistic bullshit excuses notwithstanding.

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