From Radio Leeds
2nd April 2002, at around 11.15am
(The presenter is in bold and John Hartley
in light type.
We have edited out the "umms, ahhs, you know's, like I
and made the article slightly more legible - but no words have
Beckham is back in the headlines this morning, when he revealed
that he wasn't sure which faith to dedicate his son into. He
revealed that he was unsure whether to have Brooklyn christened
and rather than follow convention he preferred to have a look at
other faiths before making his decision. His comments prompted a
Yorkshire priest to write to him urging him not to have his son
Brooklyn baptized just yet. In a moment we'll be speaking to the
Rev'd John Hartley about this, but first our reporter John
Millward has been out onto the streets of West Yorkshire to find
out whether people think it's right to baptize babies even if
their parents are not practising Christians.
depends on what you mean by "practise". I don't think
you need to go to church to be a Christian, so I suppose that's
what you mean by practising - so my answer is yes, I think he
should have the baby christened. It doesn't need to be going to
church every Sunday to be a Christian.
Not at all.
Because it's pointless if you don't believe in it yourself.
bothered. If you don't preach it, then what's the point?
believe in a god in some ways, and if he finds that this religion
is better then why not? Yeah!
know. It's down to the parents themselves. I don't know, it's a
difficult question for someone to answer. I don't have children,
so I don't know. Ultimately it's their decision, they're going to
get criticism probably one way or the other, so it's just up to
it's up to the parents to make a decision on that, and then the
child can make the decision when he grows up.
now speak to Rev'd John Hartley. Good morning to you.
prompted you to write to David Beckham about this?
I saw a quote
in a newspaper article which said "I definitely want Brooklyn
to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet,"
and I thought "that's a good quote for a parish magazine
article, isn't it?" So I wrote the article, and the article
came out in the form of a letter, and I thought - seeing as I'm
writing it like this I'd better send him a copy, so that's what I
Do you know
if he's definitely received it?
I don't, I'm
expect a reply?
It would be
nice to get a reply. Obviously the man is very busy, and he's got
other things on his mind just at the moment, but if he likes to
reply, that's fine. I did promise him confidentiality if he wanted
it be, though, that there's some confusion? Do you think maybe
David Beckham perhaps meant he didn't know which Christian
denomination to baptize Brooklyn into?
Yes, that is
possible. I did say, in the article, that "you have to be
certain enough which church is the one you're going to take
Brooklyn to week by week", because, as one of the people in
your clip said, what's the point if you're not going to practice
it by yourself? Obviously David has to decide what he's going to
do for the future of Brooklyn, and if he does want to bring
Brooklyn up as a Christian, then he's going to have to bring
Brooklyn up as a Christian in one of the churches, and that means
he's got to choose one.
parents who decide to go ahead and baptize - christen - their
child because they feel it will then help them later in life,
perhaps, because when it comes to teenagers perhaps confirming:
one of the things that sometimes holds teenagers back from
confirming when perhaps they'd liketo is maybe that they've still
got to go through the baptism process as well, haven't they? You
might say that if it's meant to be then they'll be prepared to go
through it, but I think perhaps it can be quite traumatic for
teenagers, can't it?
find it's the other way. A lot of people, seeing adult baptisms,
say "Oh, I wish I'd had that now, instead of having it as a
baby too young." One of the biggest problems we have in the
Church of England is people who come up to us and say "Can't
I be baptized?", and the vicar has to turn round and say
"I'm awfully sorry, but you already have been, and we believe
that baptism is once for all, so you can't be again." We lose
people like that to the Pentecostal and other churches who never
believed in infant baptism anyway. So it's in the child's best
interests to delay a baptism service until such time as a child
can make a decision for himself. But that's not really what I was
talking about as far as Brooklyn goes - what I was saying in the
article was: do come along to church, because there is a lovely
christening service which is called the Thanksgiving and Blessing.
It's based on what Jesus did when children were brought to him: he
took the children in his arms and he laid his hands on them and he
blessed them. It's a really nice service, and I recommend you have
seems fascinating. If you get a reply, we will never know, and
rightly so. I admire you for saying that to David, but it would be
interesting to know if you do or not, because we're nosey like
that. In the mean time thank you for joining us, it's nice
speaking to you this morning.
Right. Nice to
speak to you.
Rev'd John Hartley there - a very interesting line of