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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: Anastasios on June 02, 2004, 02:49:03 PM

Title: Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Anastasios on June 02, 2004, 02:49:03 PM
I don't think this violates our politics ban because it is not partisan, but reflects an alarming trend in our society:
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CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/06/02/baptism.ban.ap/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/06/02/baptism.ban.ap/index.html)
Public baptism sparks controversy
Wednesday, June 2, 2004 Posted: 8:31 AM EDT (1231 GMT)

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- The Rev. Todd Pyle thought it was the perfect spot to baptize 12 new members of his church. The river was calm and shallow, and there was a shaded area offshore for people to stand.

"It was a very serene place," he said. "It was special."

But officials at the Falmouth Waterfront Park, a public park just outside Fredericksburg, weren't pleased. They tried to break up the ceremony, claiming it might be offensive to nearby swimmers or other people using the park. Pyle was able to finish the baptism, but then he was asked to leave.

The incident has outraged free-speech advocates.

"These people are being discriminated against because of the content of their speech," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who heads the Christian Defense Coalition. "It's one of the most egregious violations of the First Amendment I have ever seen."

Mahoney's group has threatened to file a lawsuit if the park refuses to allow future gatherings by religious groups, something for which the park admits it has no written policy.

Pyle said he chose to hold an outdoor baptism, still common in parts of the South, because his Cornerstone Baptist Church in Stafford lacks an indoor baptismal pool. He said few people seemed to notice the small congregation during the 30-minute ceremony May 23.

But park officials said religious groups seeking to perform a service in the park still need to apply for a permit or else gather under a shelter or inside.

"We don't want to tread on anybody's First Amendment or constitutional rights," said Brian Robinson, director of the Fredericksburg-Stafford Park Authority. "What we try to discourage is anything not formally permitted that just sort of occurs spontaneously."

John Whitehead, director of The Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based civil liberties organization, said that's a clear violation of the church members' constitutional rights.

"Could a church have a picnic in the park and sing hymns? Of course they could," he said. "Parks have been forums since time immemorial to do these types of things."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia also said in a statement: "If the park rules allow people to wade and swim in the river, then they must allow baptisms in the river."

Robinson said the park's board has formed a special committee to examine its policy and to put it in writing. If the church applies for the proper permit, he said it's "certainly possible" they would be allowed to use the river for another baptism.

Meanwhile, Pyle said he will find another place to hold outdoor baptisms.

"We're disappointed," he said. "Every single person that was baptized thanked me afterward, saying [the river] made their experience more meaningful."
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Elisha on June 02, 2004, 04:16:44 PM
And....the ACLU is doing something right for a change!
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Schultz on June 02, 2004, 04:21:19 PM
I can possibly understand the park saying, "Hey, if its this organized thing, you should probably get a permit next time," but other than that, it's ridiculous.

There's a saying in the military.  The question isn't "How was that allowed to happen?" but rather, "What can we do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

All the park had to do was say, "Wow, okay, they want to do this, we can schedule this thing like we do the pavillions."

That was hard, wasn't it?
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Nacho on June 03, 2004, 01:28:32 AM
Quote
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia also said in a statement: "If the park rules allow people to wade and swim in the river, then they must allow baptisms in the river."

WoW!!!! I am shocked!!!! There must be more than meets the eye to this statement. Is this a first for the ACLU to actually defend a christian's rights????
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: David on June 03, 2004, 01:41:13 AM
When it's an obviously 1st amendment violation the ACLU will usually step in, even if it is for Christians.  They are against us in general, but I think they are consistant enough that they will help when it is a clear 1st amendment violation.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: JoeZollars on June 03, 2004, 02:59:40 AM
The ACLU doesn't want to be clearly pinned as anti-Christian (thinking men know better).  Thus they will pretend to defend the first amendment rights of a Christian from time to time.

Joe Zollars
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Schultz on June 03, 2004, 09:55:06 AM
I think the ACLU acts alot like George Bernard Shaw, who was hated by the left and the right in his day because he was consistent in his criticisms of everything under the sun.

Of course, that sets up all sorts of other problems, as Chesterton points out in Heretics, but, as GK points out, at least he was consistent.

I've seen stories of the ACLU protecting Christians' rights before.  It's not often, but it happens.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Nacho on June 03, 2004, 12:24:32 PM
What I want to know is where was the ACLU with the Moslem Prayers being broadcast over loud speakers??? The same people that "approved" of this are the same that would have been opposed if this happened to be a case where a christian church tried doing this.

I bet the ACLU would have been first on the seen & would have flown in thier out of state agitators to boldly defend the "seperation of church & state" if this were christians doing this & not moslems.
I wish the boys & girls in the ACLU would try to be more consistant & fair. Instead, they go after the christians most of the time & sspend thier time defending groups like NAMBLA.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Schultz on June 03, 2004, 12:32:54 PM
I bet the ACLU would have been first on the seen & would have flown in thier out of state agitators to boldly defend the "seperation of church & state" if this were christians doing this & not moslems.

I bet that if some Christian group did the same, the ACLU would have no choice but to follow its own precedent.  

I'm not trying to defend the ACLU here, but the best way to make someone do something is to show them that they have no choice but to do it based upon their own words and actions, otherwise they lose credibility.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Ben on June 03, 2004, 04:55:00 PM
The ACLU doesn't want to be clearly pinned as anti-Christian (thinking men know better).  Thus they will pretend to defend the first amendment rights of a Christian from time to time.

Joe Zollars

Maybe Joe, just maybe, the ACLU is defending the rights of these Christians. I hate to break it to you, but there is a huge possibilty that this isn't some liberal conspiracy to trick conservative Christians into thinking the ACLU is on their side, when it really isn't.

There are times when the ACLU has done things that aren't exactly in line with the liberal agenda. For example defending the rights of KKK members to have a march on public property.

It is obvious that the ACLU is liberal, and the majority of what it does is totally contrary to Christian teachings and values, but I wouldn't waste my time creating some conspiracy theory to try to explain these rare occasions when the ACLU acutally does the right thing.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: JoeZollars on June 04, 2004, 12:25:31 AM
Ben, don't read so much into what I say.  The simple fact is, these peole hate Christianity. Their master inspires them to do so, whether they realize it or not.  The fact they defend Christians from time to time is simply a bluff, whether intentional or not.  These people don't care for the rights of Christians.  

You mention the Klan, one should wonder why the vast majority of us Southrons don't support them but the ACLU does.  HMMM.

Joe Zollars
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: JoeS on June 04, 2004, 09:21:29 AM
You are absolutely correct.  The ACLU needs to throw us a bone every once in a while to try to convince the public that it isnt totally anti-Christian.  But, we do know better.  Years ago the ACLU defended the Klu Klux Klan only to appear in their eyes as balancing the scales.  If one takes ALL of the cases the ACLU takes one could easily find a hard agenda against Christianity in general.

JoeS   8)

The ACLU doesn't want to be clearly pinned as anti-Christian (thinking men know better).  Thus they will pretend to defend the first amendment rights of a Christian from time to time.

Joe Zollars
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Keble on June 04, 2004, 10:10:24 AM
Come on, guys-- what the ACLU is against is expression of civic religion. It's a stretch to call this opposition to Christianity.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: TomS on June 04, 2004, 10:28:41 AM
Keble is right.

Althouh I may disagree with some of the causes the ACLU takes on, it is consistent in that it attempts to fairly avail its services to any person/organizatons whose rights it feels have been violated.

It DOES serve a very important purpose.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Brendan03 on June 04, 2004, 12:07:01 PM
I agree with Tom on this one as well.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Fr. David on June 04, 2004, 12:54:42 PM
Ditto Keble / TomĪ£ / Brendan03.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Nacho on June 04, 2004, 02:47:22 PM
So basically you guys don't think the ACLU would get involved if it were a christian church praying in the name of jesus over loud speakers forcing others to hear????
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: TomS on June 04, 2004, 02:56:24 PM
Not necessarily -- but only because Christianity is the major religion in the US.

That is one of the weakness of the ACLU - they tend to worry more about the rights of minorities or the disenfranchised.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Schultz on June 04, 2004, 03:33:47 PM
Nacho,

There's a difference between being "anti-Christianity" and "anti-everything".

The ACLU seems to fall into the latter, especially if recognized minorities are involved.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Nacho on June 04, 2004, 03:41:16 PM
Quote
There's a difference between being "anti-Christianity" and "anti-everything".

I agree for the most part. The problem though is that the ACLU has an extreme secular/athiestic approach to everything, so naturally they are going to have many inside the organization with a tendancy to assault christianity the most. I think this has been very appearant with the kind of cases they choose to take & those they ignore.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: Keble on June 04, 2004, 03:43:53 PM
So basically you guys don't think the ACLU would get involved if it were a christian church praying in the name of jesus over loud speakers forcing others to hear????

This is such an old issue. First off, it isn't prayers; it calling people to come pray, just like church bells (except Muhammed didn't like bells). Second, the church bell version of this has been going on for decades. The north side of the National Cathedral bell chambers is sealed because of Drew Pearson complaining about the noise back in the '60s. I have no idea if the ACLU got involved in these controversies on the side of the churches, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did.
Title: Re:Public baptism sparks controversy
Post by: TomS on June 04, 2004, 03:48:37 PM
This is such an old issue.

Well, maybe to us Keble.

But that's why our aged wisdom is so appreciated 'round here  ;D