This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
I know I promised I’d write this post at the beginning of the week, but I have been crazy busy with work lately. That’s actually a good thing because I’ve had some absolutely kick ass stories in which the state of Massachusetts is trying to decertify one of the largest general contractors in the state all because of questions I asked! But that’s beside the point.
The issue at hand is Will’s immediate spiritual future. Namely, his baptism and all the things that go along with it. And since we’ve gotten some new readers since I last broached this subject, I’ll start from the beginning…
I am not religious nor do I believe in God. Therefore, if it were up to me, I would not have Will baptized. My wife is Catholic and not only does she want him baptized, she demands that it be in a Catholic church. Which is funny because I’m willing to compromise with her about getting him baptized, but my only stipulation is that it NOT be in a Catholic church. But more specifically, she wants him to be baptized at a local church in the area that has a monument outside on the lawn that reads “To all the innocent unborn babies who have been murdered by abortion.”
OK, this is not a political blog but for reference sake, I am a democrat. I am a pro choice, anti death penalty, pro gay marriage democrat. And while I do not believe in religion at all, I do believe that one should associate himself with a church that shares similar beliefs and core values. And for me, the Catholic church represents the polar opposite of how I feel about most of the big issues.
I believe (very strongly) in a woman’s right to choose. The Catholic church is decidedly against it, even in cases of rape or medical necessity. I believe in equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation. The Catholic church is decidedly against allowing homosexuals to marry. I believe in not molesting innocent children. The Catholic church…well, we all know how that one goes don’t we?
But the fight MJ and I are having revolves around her inability to compromise. I feel very strongly that Will should not be baptized because I think religion is dangerous and is nothing more than a crutch. She feels very strongly that Will is born with her sins on his soul and if he died right now (a horrible thought!) he wouldn’t go to heaven. Therefore she not only feels he should be baptized, but that it MUST be done in a Catholic church. So basically, I’m willing to give in a bit. I’m willing to acknowledge that Will’s baptism is important to her, and therefore I’d be willing to find another church (Episcopalian, Unitarian, etc) where I feel a little more comfortable. But she adamantly refuses to bend and says it must be done in a Catholic church.
I think it’s unfair. It’s unfair because parents have to be able to meet each other halfway when they disagree. And I VERY MUCH disagree with everything about Catholicism and I do not want to subject my son to it. And the funny thing is, MJ doesn’t even believe in most of the tenets of the Catholic church. She’s pro choice and she’s for gay marriage and for women’s rights.
In fact, when she had to go back recently to get confirmed by the church when she was 8 months pregnant (long story), she complained for weeks because she had to take a class beforehand. And in that class she had things like creationism preached at her non-stop. As if evolution is simply some kind of silly theory. And this is the same church that won’t let women be ordained as priests, because a woman’s place is supposedly in the home. And MJ is a feminist at heart!!
It makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE that she demands a Catholic baptism yet she believes in virtually none of the practices of the church. And the fact that she believes my son has ANY amount of “sin” on him is ludicrous. He’s a frickin baby! He’s not even 4-months-old. He can’t talk and he can’t walk. What kind of sins could he have committed? I guess you could make a case for boob and formula gluttony, but that’s about it!
And what sucks is she wants to raise him in the Catholic church. And if that comes to pass, there is going to be an entire portion of his life that I am not involved in. And that stings. Now if he grew up and sampled different religions and then chose Catholicism, I’d have much less of a problem. When he’s older and can gain a better understanding of different religions then more power to him. But for MJ to demand a Catholic baptism really pisses me off, especially when I’m willing to meet her halfway and she won’t budge.
I understand this is a personal issue for everyone and it’s tough to discuss. And I also know I’m going to lose this argument. If she really wants him baptized Catholic then I’m sure she’s going to get her way. But how can I be a part of that when I won’t believe in anything they say during the ceremony? I asked MJ that question and her response was “Well you won’t be a part of it.” Oh great, so now I’m supposed to sit in the pews and not be part of my child’s baptism? It’s just a lose-lose for me and it’s not fair at all.
And I recently had an argument with someone, who asked me how I could possibly remain pro-choice after witnessing the birth of my son. And to that I say it’s very easy. I stand by my beliefs with the white hot passion of 1,000 suns and I think Roe vs. Wade was a landmark decision that — if overturned — will be extremely detrimental to society. I do not believe that life begins when the sperm first fertilizes the egg. Yes, it’s alive at that point. But so is a plant. Abortion is a horrible thing, but I also believe in many cases it is the right thing. Especially when talking about rape or a woman who may die if she tries to carry to term. Are there some people who have had 10 abortions? Probably. And that’s sick and unfortunate. But you can’t outlaw it just because of extreme circumstances. The results of banning it would bring about back alley, coathanger nightmares and besides, once the government starts telling you what you can and can’t do with your own body, you’ve started up a very slippery slope.
But I digress. It’s useless to start a pro-choice vs. pro-life debate because no one on either side is going to change his/her mind. So I’ll end with what is probably the most important reason for my son not be baptized…
MJ wants to put him in a dress. No-f#cking way will my son ever wear a dress!!!!!!!!