Netizens are raging in a recent discussion on Facebook about a disturbing way of child baptism in an orthodox church in Georgia.
Facebook page ‘euronews’ uploaded a video showing eager parents in Georgia lining up to have their children baptized at the city's Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.
What caught the attention of the netizens is the disturbing manner of baptizing the children. The priest held the infants in his arms and repeatedly dunked them upside down in a metal basin of water. In the video, it can be seen that the children are struggling for air as they were dipped into the water. It seemed like the children were forcibly performing in an impromptu acrobatic show.
According to the Facebook page, the controversial baptismal was invented by one of Georgia's most influential religious leaders, Patriarch IIya II. The priest proposed this type of baptism as a solution to the country's problem with low birth rates. It was reported that IIya II baptized 780 infants in the ceremony.
While the parents willingly allowed this horrifying thing to be performed on their children for the sake of religion, many netizens do not agree that religious beliefs are enough to consider this ritual as suitable for children. Many of them deem this practice as a clear case of child abuse.
Facebook user Karen Kh expressed frustration over the practice by writing:
"Religious ceremony for kids is child abuse . Let them be 18 and choose their religion if they want to have any . Instead this non-sense we can teach a child how to be useful human being without fear of our kind god ."
Another Facebook user, Leslie Caverson, expressed concern over the possible effects of the practice to the child's health condition. She said:
" I've no issues with infant baptism but that could easily cause those babies brainstems to detach. It's the flinging around that's dangerous. Not to mention dunking their heads under water, that looked pretty traumatic to me."
One netizen, Ville Karsamanoja, could not contain his rage and threatened the priest if he would ever perform the ritual on his child.
"Religion – the only acceptable reason to shake a baby and dunk it in water. Don't care if it's tradition or religion. If some bearded douchebag priest did this to my kid, I'd do that to the priest. In freezing water. Until he'd look like a holy popsicle."
The debate on whether the ritual is a clear manifestation of child abuse or an expression of religious faith continues.
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