Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heard on NPR: Methodist Church in North Dakota Refuses to Baptize Infant Because He Has Two Moms

NPR is doing a series this week on LGBT rights within the state of North Dakota. "Morning Edition" interviewed a female couple about their experience as a same-sex couple and as parents within small town North Dakota. This part stuck with me:
Sixteen years ago, in the small town of Wahpeton, N.D., a United Methodist pastor refused to baptize a baby raised by lesbian parents. The pastor said because the child had lesbian parents, there was no way he could get a Christian upbringing. In response, the child's mothers, Valerie Nelson and Diane Gira, left the church.

Evergreen United Methodist Church, the place where the pastor refused to baptize the baby, still stands today. It's a one-story building made of tan brick that sits in a quiet cul-de-sac in Wahpeton. The current pastor of the church, Jen Tyler, would not say whether Nelson and Gira would have been able to baptize their son if they had tried today.

"For me as a pastor, my focus and my emphasis is on making sure I'm caring for folks the best that I can," Tyler says. "And there are times and places that as a pastor you have to make difficult decisions."
In other words, she would refuse to baptize Madison if Madison were an infant today.

The Methodist church usually baptizes infants. It makes you wonder what would happen if 16-year-old Madison came to the minister and requested to be baptized now? My guess is that he would be baptized.

In other words, that earlier decision was all about the moms -- not about Madison or about his baptism.

Last time I looked, the commenters were wasting a lot of bandwidth trying to figure out if Madison looked more like one more or the other. Because we have to figure out who's the "real" mom and that's the more important message to this story...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be fair: the pastor did say at the end of the article that she "absolutely would" baptize the baby of any couple, regardless of their sexuality. Makes me wonder if there wasn't more to the interview they cut out?