Archie- The Reluctant Baptist

Archie- The Reluctant Baptist December 8, 2022

It was a singular moment in television history, one etched in people’s minds for the unexpected poignancy of the simple scene.

Archie Bunker had become one of America’s interests- if not some part of its very heart.

The crusty but affable blue-collar character, with the seemingly myopic closed mind – suddenly drew millions that one night in February of 1976.

Archie and Edith were beside themselves, as their children, Mike and Gloria had refused to let “religion” into their son’s life.  The Bunkers were heartbroken.  And their children remained steadfast in their positions.

Archie and Edith reluctantly decided to clandestinely bring the baby to the local church anyway, to be baptized.   The pastor, however, refuses to do the baptism without the parents present.

And then in one flickering moment that transcends time, space (and TV ratings), Archie Bunker, the closed minded man from Queens, quietly picks up his baby grandson and slips into the quiet of the tiny nearby baptistery.

He looks up to God, says a prayer and quietly utters that he hopes he is “doing it right”,  then gently lowers the baby and pours water over his grandson’s forehead saying “Joseph Michael Stivic,  I baptize you in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost…”

I truly felt America quiet itself for that tender moment.  Unexpected, maybe radical, but it was surely a pure and simple act.

And in that tender moment, Archie Bunker may have just redeemed some of his soul, if not for himself, but perhaps for some of America.

That scene was one of the highest rated television moments in history, one to even make Saint John the Baptist proud.

By: Michael Angelo Massa for Pathos


(“All in the Family” is property of
CBS ViaCom)





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