I have been invited to a relative’s Roman Catholic Christening as the ‘aunt’ in Kent.
The father is an athiest but the mother is a Roman Catholic. The baby is being forced to be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. The athiest father is reluctant for the child to be brought up as a Christian, but in order ‘to keep the peace’ with his wife and her traditional Roman Catholic parents, and Church pressure, he feels he has to. How many athiests get to lose this deal?
As a close relative of the child, we ourselves can make a stand against forced religion (and also circumcision and forced genital mutilation), while we are at it).
For example, we can show our presence, as ‘a gap’, by not attending the Christening, though this may or may not risk cultural problems in the family. There will, of course, be photos of the day, and the child may ask questions years later, as to why the aunt is missing, and that is a ‘good thing’. My other relatives will only be there because ‘it is their duty’. They are not Roman Catholic but Church of England, and generally only turn up for events like weddings and funerals (mostly funerals), a bit like Prince William.
Many of us were brought up in forced religion. I was literally forced to go to church and faith schools against my will and sometimes being spiritually abused for my differing beliefs, feel that children should choose their own religion, and that’s if they want one or not. I am a ‘Survivor’ of a family who rammed Christianity down my neck, well, my mother mostly. We even had services in my home. My father was an athiest.
The child is being made to support a religion, just because one or two parents support it, and this is wrong. In some families, people have different religions anyway, so how is it that sometimes the whole household has to ‘support’ one religion at least, for sixteen years?
Furthermore, finding Roman Catholic godparents is also a challenge these days too. And few of them, if found, are nothing more than present and W H Smith voucher givers and often don’t even see the child anyway. Priests don’t seem to be bothered that the child has no consent, this is also wrong. They want money for their church and robes. And the Church the child will be christened, has experienced sexual abuse and one of the Priests is in jail!
I for one will be turning down the invitation, but ‘graciously’ and I will state that I believe that children should decide for themselves, which is perfectly reasonable. I am tempted to even go to the Catholic Church and voice my objection, and have it written in the notes. As an Aunt, I will make it clear that I fought for my nephew’s rights to choose.