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To get DDs christened and not tell dad?

(205 Posts)
purpleframe Wed 04-Jan-17 22:33:37

We've been split since DD twins were babies. They're now 7. They see their dad twice a year and he lives hundreds of miles away. He is staunchly atheist and would never agree to a christening.
I've had a baby with my partner (been together for years) and we'd like to get all the kids christened together. DDs do a lot of religious education at school and would be keen.
Basically if I ask for exH permission, he'd definately say no. But frankly- he puts so little effort in (contact maybe once a month on skype between visits) that I'm inclined to do it anyway, even though I know it would be against his wishes. I know I'm probably BU (and ironically that this doesn't feel like a very 'Christian' thing to do!) But I'd really like to do it.

ClopySow Wed 04-Jan-17 22:38:34

Do it. What can he actually do about it? He's opted out of their lives, that's the risk he takes.

I say this as a staunch athiest.

TeenageCentaurMortificado Wed 04-Jan-17 22:38:54

Woah, ask your twins what they want.
I say this as I was an 8 year old unchristened when my baby sister came along and my parents decided that we would both be christened.

Now, I won't pretend for one second I understood all facts of life at age 8. But I DID have an over whelming feeling of it all being all kinds of wrong and I didn't want it. It happened and it's a belief I've carried all my life. I'm 36. I didn't quite understand the whys and wherefores but I clearly knew my own mind at that age.

Ask them. And if they say no - listen.
It's not for you to decide their religion or beliefs.

Milkand2sugarsplease Wed 04-Jan-17 22:39:25

I might be in the minority here but I'm inclined to agree with you. If he doesn't put in the effort of parenting he doesn't get a say in the decisions.

I also think that your daughters are old enough for you to talk to them about this and express their own opinions on it.

Cheby Wed 04-Jan-17 22:39:53

Personally I think that you should wait until your children are properly old enough to understand baptism/religion and let them make their own decision. But then I think that about all christenings tbh.

I'm unsure really. While their dad doesn't see them much it does sound like he has an ongoing relationship with them or sorts and does have parental responsibility for them? How much do you involve him in other decisions? E.g. School choices.

TeenageCentaurMortificado Wed 04-Jan-17 22:40:08

Sorry, meant to say at age 7, I would imagine they would have some views on the subject.

NewNNfor2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 22:40:11

If he has parental responsibility, then religion is one of the specific issues he has a legal right to have a say in.

He could apply to court for a prohibited steps order to prevent the christening in advance (if he finds out about it) or to prevent specific religious practice/ceremonies in future (less likely).

Depends if you're willing to take the risk, really? Is there any possibility that he'd find out in advance? Would you have to instruct your twins not to tell him your plans if they happen to speak to him? How would you cope if he DID get an emergency order and you were notified at the last minute that you were prohibited by a court from going ahead?

llangennith Wed 04-Jan-17 22:41:21

He's opted out of parenting so he doesn't get to say whether they're christened or not.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Wed 04-Jan-17 22:41:36

Well, if it's important to you (and your daughters are willing) you could always do it yourself by the kitchen/bathroom sink.

Doesn't have to be performed by a priest/minister.

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 04-Jan-17 22:42:39


How religious are you? You didn't have your twins baptised/christened but you want the baby baptised? Is that because your partner is religious? In any case, it's your ex's choice as well and I think it would be appalling to do against his wishes.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Wed 04-Jan-17 22:43:23

If he has parental responsibility, then religion is one of the specific issues he has a legal right to have a say in.

^ this

SuperRainbows Wed 04-Jan-17 22:44:30

Sadly, it doesn't sound like he is taking much of an interest in their lives, so I don't think he should have a big say on this matter. I think you should go ahead and do it.

Rosae Wed 04-Jan-17 22:44:35

Are you raising them Christian ie, going to church/believing in God then? do you think they'd like to be christened because they believe or because they'd like to wear a pretty dress etc? If they had a clear belief AND they were asking I'd say yes. If not then no. But I'm someone who wouldn't want to christen a baby. My husband went through the process when he was a teen and understood and was able to reason and make his own decision (I was blessed as a baby but not christened and have no wish to take it further as i have no belief). It's definitely not a 'Christian ' thing to do and what values are you wanting to teach your children? A blessing may be a reasonable compromise if THEY wish it. But not behind his back.

Minniemagoo Wed 04-Jan-17 22:45:56

Your priest may not baptise them if a parent with full legal rights objects. Thankfully the days of the church baptising children behind parents backs is gone and now parents have to attend a pre baptism course and also the Godparents will get some (minimal) instruction on their roles etc.
If the priest asks would you be comfortable outright lying and saying the Dad is no longer involved.
Will your children keep it a secret if they know it is happening, surely the will tell him after anyway.
I'd really look at your reasons for doing this.

TheCraicDealer Wed 04-Jan-17 22:46:25

You don't really say why you want to though? You don't mention attending church with the children and it seems like their only exposure to religion is RE classes at school.

If you and your DDs have a strong faith, they understand what it means and they're keen to do it, I would go for it. If the christening and the lead up to it is the first time you've been to church in several years with the exception of midnight service and your main motivation is "it would be nice", then no, I don't think that's right on several levels.

FishInAWetSuitAndFlippers Wed 04-Jan-17 22:48:03

Given how uninvolved he is I wouldn't take his views into account at all.

I would take your dcs views into account though, it doesn't sound like they attend church or have any understanding beyond what they learn at school. They need to be involved in the decision making process, they don't sound informed enough to make that choice from what you've said here.

IWantATardis Wed 04-Jan-17 22:50:41

now parents have to attend a pre baptism course

Depends on the denomination I think? My DC are baptised CoE and we didn't have to do anything other than turn up at church on the agreed Sunday. That was just 2 years ago.

Oswin Wed 04-Jan-17 22:51:27

Do you not think the father is appalling paul!?

Yes yes legality rights yada yada but morally he's a shit and not a parent.

PurpleDaisies Wed 04-Jan-17 22:52:03

Personally I think that you should wait until your children are properly old enough to understand baptism/religion and let them make their own decision. But then I think that about all christenings tbh.

I totally agree.

In many churches you can have service of thanksgiving which is a like a christening but without the water bit. Many of my Christian friends have opted for this instead so their children are able to be baptised if they choose to when they're old enough to make a decision.

Are you involved with a church?

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 04-Jan-17 22:53:50

Very true Minnie. If you want to go through with this without your ex's blessing OP, I hope you realise you'll more than likely be breaking one of Commandments of the faith your entering them in to. Within a religious building no less.

If this is more than 'get all the kids done at once' even though you don't have a religious bone in your body then really think about it.

HolidaySpiritsReinbeerAndWhine Wed 04-Jan-17 22:53:52

'Doing some RE' at school is not the same as being a Christian. It should be your children's choices (all of them), once they are fully informed of what they are being 'christened' into. If you're just doing it for a nice day for the family, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. I say this as someone who was baptised and fully immersed in church life until my teens. It should be a decision made after serious consideration by your children, and their father's input if they choose to seek it.

IWantATardis Wed 04-Jan-17 22:57:18

What do your DDs think about being baptised, OP? You mention religious education at school, but do you take them to church to worship as a family outside of school too?

My own DC were baptised as infants, but I wouldn't get an older child baptised unless they actively wanted it and had an understanding of what it meant. 7 yrs old is old enough that I wouldn't be comfortable making that decision on their behalf.

NewNNfor2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 22:58:53

Yes yes legality rights yada yada but morally he's a shit and not a parent.

The moral high ground is a grim place to be when a Prohibited Steps Order arrives on the doormat 2 days before the Ceremony.

Whether the law is right or not is irrelevant - what is relevant is whether the OP is willing to take the risk and deal with the fallout if it goes wrong.

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 04-Jan-17 23:02:01

But he is a parent. Very limited contact but still active in their lives. Dare I say flip it from mother to father asking this? The reactions would be monumentally different.

Somedays Wed 04-Jan-17 23:02:45

Will he care? Surely if he's an atheist it's only a bit of water and doesn't mean anything anyway...

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