School district investigates mass baptism filmed at football practice

VILLA RICA, Ga. — A Georgia school district is investigating after video of a mass baptism was posted on YouTube.
The video, posted by First Baptist Villa Rica, was shot on school grounds just before football practice.
“We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” the caption with the video reads.
WXIA-TV reached out to church officials for comment, but were told the pastor was not available.
The video on YouTube has been removed by the user by Tuesday evening.

My question is: have these things been happening all along, and it’s only with the explosion of social media and cell phones that we’re finding out about it?

I hope the coach is sued for this, along with board members that knew this was going on. This kind of forced evanglicalism is bad for Christianity, bad for decency, and bad for society.

And what happens if a kid is already a baptized Catholic (or any other Christian faith…or Jewish)? He has essentially no control over this situation. Would he have sinned by getting dunked?

See, those dummies should have framed it altogether differently and they would have gotten away with it. If they did it as a team building initiation cold bath, where each kid got dunked after practice, all in fun for kicks and giggles, no one would have been the wiser. And, I submit, they would have built a whole lot more team unity to have done it that way. Personally, I don’t think God puts much credence behind antics like this one that happened.

Instead, they have a few flimsy “baptisms” and a whole lot of trouble that will hurt the team. :shrug:

I am somewhat at a loss here.
Are they saying that the football players and coach were baptized without their foreknowledge and consent?

If all involved did consent, what is the problem?

If they did not consent, who in their right mind would think that it is a valid baptism?

In a situation like this there may be a lot of peer pressure (especially for team unity) and a person’s consent might be murky.

Just plain stupidity and not worth the attention.

As someone who was involved in an evangelical non-denominational community in college, the phrase “valid baptism” probably isn’t even on their radar. I was baptized as an infant in the Presbyterian Church, but then again during college, in the same manner seen in this article; I really didn’t know what I was doing, my friends were doing it too, so I chose to as well. I was very passionate about my faith then, but ignorant of many historical and theological facts about Christianity.

I regret doing it, however, I had zero knowledge of the sacrament of baptism at the time, probably like many of these kids. The sacrament is so watered down (pun intended), that it really isn’t a sacrament in these people’s eyes; it’s just a public profession of faith. Which is interesting if you think about it…if it’s just a public profession, why are so many of them against the ritual of the “sign of the cross?”

Even if all these kids were Baptists, this shouldn’t have been done in and through a public school activiity. A public school teacher should not impose his beliefs on his students, especially not by baptizing them. :eek: It’s one thing to say to the students that his faith is an important part of his life, but to do this kind of thing is totally out of place no matter what the kids believe about it. The coach was the adult in this situation and should have known better. If it were one of my kids I’d be outraged. Let the kids celebrate such things within their churches not at public schools.

These are examples of why RC Archbishop John Hughes created private Catholic schools and urged all Catholics to pull their kids out of protestant-in-everything-but-name “public” schools.

That can’t be serious.

People & Ideas: John Hughes
John Hughes
Born in Ireland, John Hughes immigrated to the United States as a young man. Harassed by Protestants in his native country, he looked to the Unites States as a bastion of religious freedom. But he discovered that freedom had its limits.

Ordained into the priesthood in Philadelphia, Hughes rose swiftly through the ranks, and by 1850 he was appointed archbishop of New York. In the mid-1800s, Catholic immigrants were swelling the population of the city, and Catholic children were offered the option to attend the public schools of New York. These schools were nominally nondenominational, unaffiliated with any particular faith or denomination, but Hughes and his fellow Catholics recognized that they were, in fact, highly influenced by the prevailing Protestant ethos. Textbooks reflected a widespread prejudice against Catholics, portraying the Irish immigrants as “extremely needy, and in many cases drunken and depraved … subject for our grave and fearful reflection.”

Tension between Catholics and Protestants erupted over the traditional practice of daily Bible reading. Public schools used the King James Bible; Catholics argued that this Bible was Protestant and that the daily readings undermined their beliefs. They demanded that the schools offer students the Catholic version of the Bible, the Douay-Rheims approved by the Vatican. School officials declined.

Hughes assumed leadership of the Catholic cause and took on the Protestant establishment. In speeches, sermons and writings, he demanded that public funds be used to support Catholic schools in addition to the Protestant public schools. The state Legislature refused.

Hughes then set his sights on the creation of a separate Catholic school system where Catholic children could be educated according to the tenets of their faith. Spurned by Protestants, Catholics established a series of their own institutions – churches, hospitals and orphanages – that paralleled those of the Protestant establishment.

In 1858, in a ceremony that fulfilled his dream of announcing the arrival of Catholicism in America, Hughes laid the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which upon completion years later would become the crowning symbol of Catholic determination in the country. More than 60,000 people turned out for the ceremony. The New York Herald reported, “It was the largest assemblage our reporter ever saw in this city.” But construction of the cathedral came to a halt two years later, and the building remained unfinished, with walls only reaching 35 feet high, throughout the Civil War. His dream came to be known as “Hughes’ Folly.”

Known as “Dagger John,” Hughes could be aggressive, demanding and insistent. He made enemies but was beloved by the Catholic immigrant community. He also won the respect of William Seward, New York’s governor and later Lincoln’s secretary of state. Fearing that European nations might come to the aid of the Confederacy, Seward sent Hughes to Europe to bolster the Union cause. Returning to the States in 1862, Hughes preached a sermon in support of the Union at St. Patrick’s.

The following year, a violent riot broke out in New York protesting the institution of the draft for the Union Army. Many of the rioters were Irish laborers who worried that freed slaves would take their jobs. Rioters attacked and killed African Americans, even descending upon an orphanage for black children. The New York Times reported, “The rabble exhibit an abandonment of human feeling, that was hardly deemed possible in any portion of American society, even the foreign-born.”

Ailing and weak, Hughes addressed a crowd gathered outside the balcony of his home and called for an end to the violence: “I address you as your Father. … I am a minister of God, and a minister of peace, who in your troubles in years past as you know, never deserted you. With my tongue and my pen I have stood by you always, and so shall to the end of my life.” The crowd reacted with cheers and cries of “No, never.”

He continued: “I have been hurt by the reports that you are rioters. You cannot imagine that I could hear these things without being pained grievously. … If you are Irishmen, and the papers say the rioters are all Irishmen, then I also am an Irishmen, but not a rioter, for I am a man of peace.” His speech is credited with helping stem the violence.

Hughes died six months later. His body was exhumed and reburied under the altar of St. Patrick’s after the cathedral was dedicated in 1879.

I’m ok with having RCC schools, but seriously, schools are more secular than anything these days.

The behavior at Villa Rica High School doesn’t strike me as secular in the least, it sounds quite Baptist.

Interesting that corporate media is only now reporting this story, with their own spin of course.

Corporate or national media?

I live 784 miles from Vila Rica, Georgia. I reckon the Vila Ricans could have worked through their problems without my knowledge of input.

Are you under the impression that Lutheran parents are going to be any more pleased by than Catholic parents?
"WE acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sin."
The church was a Baptist church, not a church of the vague, nebulous, non-existent “protestant church”.
I teach in a public school. I can tell you for a fact that most public schools are not “protestant” (as if that’s something a school can be).


Of course - you teach in a public school … in this decade. The article was based on the 1850s, on the reason why private Catholic schools exist.

As to Lutheran parents, I don’t know. I’ll bet some would be upset, many would be amused, a few would be pleased and a couple irritated. None of the Lutherans I know in every day life (outside CAF) consider themselves closer to Catholicism than Baptists. In fact, in the southern US my protesant union church (Church of South India - the ‘nebulous protestant’) rooted relatives all attend evanglical and non-denominational churches without qualms or hesitation. But would not set foot in a Catholic one, except for my wedding.

Maybe, but when it comes to baptism, the confessions are unequivocal. One baptism for the remission of sin, and infants are to be baptized. Any Lutheran who would accept this, be amused by it, or worst of all pleased lack even basic catechesis. You would say the same about a Catholic who expressed these emotions about this event. In both cases, how close Lutherans and Catholics are together isn’t relevant.

Btw, my daughter teaches in a Lutheran parochial school. I would, too, if one were near by


This is the danger our kids face at public schools

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