This Baby Was Aggressively Dunked During Baptism & Parents Are Calling It 'Violent'

baby's violent baptism
Miss_Patriciah/Twitter

Baptism is a common practice in Christian-based religions. People are anointed with or submerged in water as a symbol of their being washed clean of their past and born into their new faith. Whether you're religious or not, the concept behind the practice is understandable. But some people are outraged after seeing the method that one religious leader used to baptize a baby. 

  • In a viral tweet that's been viewed over 14 million times, a naked baby is forcefully thrust in and out of water three times.

    The video was first shared by @Miss_Patriciah. According to the Sun, it was filmed at a Greek Orthodox church in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, and shows a bishop performing a baptism -- but in a seemingly more forceful way. It's believed the ritual includes vigorous dunking as a way to help the faith's flagging birth rate. 

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  • People quickly expressed their concern over the tiny baby's welfare. 

    Watching this video with zero background of what's going on, it's easy to see why some many people are calling it "violent." The baby is naked, aggressively pushed underwater repeatedly, hoisted high in the air (let's hope it's warm water!), and has its legs flung out like it's on the world's worst water park ride. 

  • Some thought the video was grounds to get the authorities involved. 

    The baby's parents appears to be totally on board with the baptism -- no one cries out in shock, the man who steps forward to take the baby from the bishop doesn't seem angry or concerned (beyond making sure his shoes doesn't get soaked). But that didn't stop people from pointing out that religious leaders shouldn't get a free pass for their actions just because of their status. 

  • Although all the grown-ups in the room seemed calm during the baby's dunking, the children watching seemed to have a different reaction. 

    Some Twitter users thought the little girls watching the baby were trying to avoid the splash zone. Others wondered if seeing the baptism was causing them to have flashbacks of their own experiences. 

  • Time-honored tradition or not, there are real safety concerns when it comes to handling a baby correctly. 

    As funny as it is to joke that there are people who dunk their McNuggets in ketchup with less force than this bishop dunked this baby, the thought of an infant suffering permanent damage accidentally because their neck wasn't properly supported isn't funny. 

  • Those who are familiar with the practice jumped in to assure everyone that the baby would be just fine.

    If watching that baby getting tossed around like a doll had you cringing, fear not. Greek Orthodox chimed in to say the baptism ritual only looks scary if you're not familiar with it. They swore they had no memory of it, and are totally well-adjusted adults who seem to have no fears of jumping into the deep end of the pool. 

  • In fact, other videos of "violent" baptisms have started to emerge, proving this wasn't just one bishop who had gone rogue.

    This baby did spinning underwater headstands during their baptism while everyone watching smiles and cheers, which makes the dunk and fling method look tame by comparison. 

    Religious traditions can look unusual to the uninitiated. But so do a lot of cultural things we accept without thinking about it. Placing body parts under your pillow in exchange for money from a stranger? Sounds barbaric -- or like the Tooth Fairy is coming. A stranger who breaks in, steals your food, and leaves unmarked packages behind? Not a felony if he's wearing a red suit and driving a sleigh of reindeer. 

    This baptism ritual may look strange to those of us who aren't familiar with baptism, or who are used to a wading pool or a small cup that's poured over the head. But none of these ways, enthusiastic dunking video included, are right or wrong. As parents, we're lucky to have the choice to raise our kids as we see fit, including raising them in the path of the religion and traditions of our choosing. No matter how different those religious or traditions may look, that's a fundamental parenting right we can all understand. 

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