Despite a noticeable lack of religious fervor, Dan Savage bulldozes his partner into baptizing their child into a church that denies the sanctity of their relationship [September 3]. He is then shocked and indignant that the family priest does not welcome two agnostic gay men with open arms. What the hell did he expect?
Dan, have you thought about how insulting your behavior is to Catholics and gays alike? Sure, the priest was probably a homophobe, but hey, the Catholic Church is a homophobic institution! Why baptize your child into a church that is on record as condemning you to hell? Why force a partner you love to participate in such a farce?
Your principled outrage at the rebuff would be laughable were it not so arrogant. You've rejected church teachings, you've never participated in the parish, and your love life is considered a mortal sin, yet since your relatives "helped build his stinking church" the priest should fall all over himself to baptize your kid? Sorry, Dan, the church isn't the Republican Party; campaign contributions don't give you a say in the party platform.
Why satisfy your emotional needs with the trappings of a religion you don't respect? I can empathize with wanting to relive a childhood experience, but baptism is a sacrament, not just a chance to party with the folks. There are sincere Catholics out there (your relatives come to mind) who deserve to have their faith taken seriously. Is a baptism, described by the participants as a "small thing," with a reluctant father denying his vows throughout, a meaningful tribute to your family traditions?
It's great that you wanted to satisfy everyone's expectations. They probably expected you to marry a woman too, yet I'm willing to bet you didn't dress Terry up in a wig and falsies at the commitment ceremony. And yes, they were accepting of your sexual orientation--but they didn't pretend to be gay. Why should you and your partner pretend to be Catholic? Sounds to me like trading one closet for another.
You were honest with your loved ones about your sexual orientation; be honest about your religious one. There are plenty of meaningful ceremonies that welcome infants into the family circle without trivializing sincere beliefs. As the incomparable Judith Martin once wrote, "Hopelessly irreligious people should have the courage of their lack of convictions."