On the Baptisms at the Convoy Rally

On the Baptisms at the Convoy Rally February 4, 2024

They are performing baptisms, or ceremonies that look like them, at the “Take Our Border Back” convoy rally down in Texas.

The videos came across my social media: a white woman in a red T-shirt with an American flag printed on it, sits in a shiny new horse trough holding her nose. A man I presume is a minister in a black cowboy hat mutters a prayer over her while another man shouts invocations loudly; she gets dunked, and comes out looking triumphant.

The next video I saw was louder, and I could actually hear what the minister was saying.

The first man sits there in the trough, holding his nose for an uncomfortably long time, while the minister says “I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for the remission of sins I baptize you in the Name of Jesus,” and dunks him. Then the man comes out of the water rejoicing and somebody yells “the devil lost another one!”

The next man is dunked after the minister says ” “for the remission of all your sins in the Name of Jesus I baptize you now in Jesus’s name!”

The third man, whom I at first thought was a woman because all I could see was the ponytail, merely gets “I baptize you in Jesus’ name!” and then the dunk, and then they pray over him to confer the Holy Spirit.

These are not valid baptisms.

The first one came close because at least they mentioned the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but the others are gibberish. Not just according to the Catholic Church but according to most denominations of Christianity, you have to say “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” or in some Orthodox churches “So-and-so is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Christians are baptized in the name of the whole Trinity, not just the Son. Those words are important words. Whoever these men are, they’re not making new Christians. They’re soaking people in a horse trough, that’s all.

I don’t know why I’m harping on that, at this late a date. Of course they would do something so silly. We all know that this movement which I’ve sometimes called “American Christianity” has little to do with Christianity. They appropriate the name, the Bible and the cross, and then they commit blasphemy. They’ve been doing it for the longest time now. But seeing an invalid baptism in a horse trough brought it home in a different way.

These people came down to the Texas-Mexico border where there’s an influx of desperate human beings who need help. They did not come to help the desperate people but to mock them, to cheer for governor Abbot’s cruel razor wire and ridiculous publicity stunts which have killed people. They came with the “Christian flag,” a made up symbol of Christian dominion here on earth when Christ Himself said that His kingdom was not of this world. They carried signs not in praise of Christ, but in praise of a monstrous sinner who cheated on his taxes, cheated in his business transactions, cheated on all three of his marriages and sexually abused other women as well. They filled a metal basin with water and pretended to perform baptisms, but they didn’t.

I keep looking at that horse trough, and thinking of Jesus Christ who began His earthly life by lying in a trough, because there wasn’t room for Him at the inn. Shortly after that, He became a refugee and was carried across the border to save His life. And I think of those children who drowned in the Rio Grande last month, while trying to take refuge here.

Not everyone who says to Him, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven.

If we wave around the trappings of Christianity, the flags and the prayers and the Name of Jesus and the outward signs of a sacrament, but do it in the name of nationalism, we blaspheme.

It’s gutting to watch for the thousandth time, yet here we go again.

 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

 

 

 

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