Federal government now requiring churches to get permits for Baptisms

Baptism 2

Pastor Jim Privett of Gladden Baptist Church performs a baptism in a Missouri creek. Photo credit: Fox News

As if it wasn’t involved in people’s private lives enough, the federal government wants to regulate baptisms, requiring a special-use permit for ceremonies in public waters.

The policy was recently enforced by the National Park Service, which — spontaneity be damned — requires a 48-hour advance notice of baptisms, according to Todd Starnes at Fox News.

“If the Holy Spirit is working on Sunday morning, you’re going to baptize Sunday afternoon,” Dennis Purcell told The Salem News, according to Starnes. “You may not know ahead of time.”

But while the government cracks down on public expressions of the Christian faith, it seems to embrace public expressions of the Islamic faith – and often at taxpayer expense, like these instances cited by Starnes:

Universities across the nation are spending thousands of dollars to install foot baths so Muslim students can wash their feet before their five-times-a-day prayers.

The New York Times reported that the University of Michigan-Dearborn spent $25,000 to install the foot-washing stations in restrooms. The university defended the expenditure, claiming it was for health and safety measures, not religion.

A number of airports have spent public tax dollars to provide foot-washing basins for Muslim taxi drivers. One Arizona airport went so far as to provide prayer rugs.

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., sent an Aug. 21 letter to the Park Service demanding answers, saying:

“I am very troubled by any federal rule that requires churches to apply for a permit for the purpose of baptism, especially when these traditional activities have been done in the rivers and streams of this nation since its founding.

“One would hope that the answer is not ‘because the National Park Service wants to limit the number of baptisms performed on the river.”

Public outrage caused the Park Service to backtrack on its stance.

“As of today, the park’s policy has been clarified to state that no permit will be required for baptisms within the riverways,” Superintendent William Black wrote to the congressman. “I can assure you the National Park Service has no intention of limiting the number of baptisms performed within the park.”

Starnes said he was reminded of this John Adams quote: “Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.”

Read Starnes’ entire report here.

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek has been a political consultant handling public affairs, political campaigns and PAC management for nearly 20 years.
Cheryl Carpenter Klimek


54 thoughts on “Federal government now requiring churches to get permits for Baptisms

  1. Corey says:

    I love quotes too:

    John Adams, the country’s second president, was drawn to the study of law but faced pressure from his father to become a clergyman. He wrote that he found among the lawyers ‘noble and gallant achievments” but among the clergy, the “pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces”. Late in life he wrote:

    “Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!”

    It was during Adam’s administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,

    “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

    “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
    ~James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

    “No religious doctrine shall be established by law.”
    ~Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731

    “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
    ~James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical

    “The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion.”
    ~Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention, 1787

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
    -Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

    “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
    ~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

  2. Joanne Styslinger says:

    please don’t pee in those foot baths. How in the world can one rectify that a foot bath is a health and safety issue? So everyone go out, take your shoes off and find some very wet mud and dig deep with your toes then go find a foot bath and bath your feet.

  3. linda says:

    Let Me make a comment. If we were out there skinney. dipping ,I would say that would be alright. They would not say a thing .Let me tell ya , you will not stop God .He is there no matter if your in chains.Believe in the almight.It doesn’t matter whatyou think It is what God wants.

  4. linda says:

    Yes stupid your name fits you

  5. Donna Bird says:

    So it was not the Federal govrrnment. It was the National Park. National Parks funds are provided by the government and admissions are paid again by the tax payer. So was it the US Government or was it the park. It s the was the park not the government. Look it up.

  6. Grandma Go says:

    Growing up in Louisiana, we went to the rivers all the time to swim and have fun. I also remember watching pastors baptize in the rivers. Rivers are free-flowing and NOT owned by any government entity. We used to take picnic lunches and go to the river with our inner tubes all the time. What is happening to our country? Look at the four pictures just above the comment area. Read the captions. Tells us a lot about this administration! I will end on a funny note: Pastor preaches a sermon about alcohol and demon rum – says it should all be thrown in the river! Final hymn: Shall we gather at the river!

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