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14 May 2009

Baptism or Molestation?

Holy shit, talk about creepy. I just came accross this story where some church crazies are luring children into a van to baptize them... Why do I imagine the van having "Free Candy" painted on the side. Yes, this isn't typical behaviour, but it is not in the slightest surprising... The forcing of a belief onto someone despite their wishes is what has over time caused me to not only be an atheist, but an anti-theism atheist. It's because of this type of despicable behaviour that I actively fight theism in all its guises.

The Story:
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, members of the Cornerstone Baptist Church have been aggressively proselytizing children at local public elementary schools. The proselytizing efforts took a decidedly disturbing turn a few days ago when they tried to lure a 7th grader off the school playground and into a waiting van — apparently where he could be baptized, even if against the will of his parents or his own wishes.

Remember, though, that it's all those vile atheists who are actually trying to force their "religion" on god-fearing Americans through underhanded behavior like announcing that they exist, or daring to tell others that there's nothing wrong with atheism. What America needs is fewer public atheists and more Christians driving around in seedy vans, ready to jump out and grab random kids for impromptu baptisms.

Students at nearby Keller and Fremont elementary schools also have been approached by church members, and church proselytizing has been escalating in recent weeks at Russell. Still, officials were unprepared for what happened Thursday, district spokeswoman Elaine Naleski said Friday.

"We have never had a problem like this before," she said. "We are shocked by their actions."

A few weeks ago, officials at the school met with the church's leader to complain about members coming on school property to preach the Bible, Naleski said. But rather than stop, church members started proselytizing from public sidewalks outside the school.

The school will seek a no-trespassing order if church members resume harassing children on school property, Naleski said. But it will be up to parents to take legal action against the church if their children are approached in public areas outside the school.

Source: Denver Post

As shocking as this incident is, I'm not surprised that it would happen in Colorado Springs, home base of the American Family Association and a disturbing array of far-right evangelical groups, churches, and activism.

I recognize of course that such behavior is not typical of Christians in America, but at the same time it can't be denied that it's entirely consistent with traditional, orthodox Christian doctrine. I can't think of any arguments against this behavior which are dependent on Christian doctrine — all the arguments against it depend on independent social codes, social expectations, pragmatism and prudence, or civil legal obligations. There are no Christian doctrinal prohibitions against proselytizing to kids, but there are plenty of traditions and doctrines which encourage proselytizing generally.

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