Sometime between birth and Bible college, almost every fundamentalist youngster is dragged up before the church congregation and prayed over before they are eaten. Seriously though, the actual practice is that they are prayed over to “dedicate them to the Lord” and as a sign to the congregation that the community of the church has a responsibility to pray for this child to watch for their soul. It’s also a sign that the parents are going to maintain their sacred fundy trust by muting all the TV commercials during the evening news lest the child hear the rock music played therein and desire in his infant heart to dance which is the first step on the road to degradation.
There are a couple of different ways in which the dedication goes down. In larger churches there is often a designated Sunday or two per year where the kids are dressed up and paraded in front of the church to a chorus of “ooohs” and “aaaah” from the crowd. This is affectionately known as the “Baby Parade” and is used as a draw to get Catholic grandmas and reprobate uncles to darken the door of the fundy church in order to watch this totally symbolic action.
In smaller churches, however, baby dedications may be performed as needed on the first possible Sunday after the child is born. Unless, of course, the church has its own midwife station set up behind the church bookstore just for those people who never miss church for any reason. “It’s a boy! Quick, run him on down to the altar!” The father then crosses the goal line, high-fives the pastor, and spikes the baby in the end zone.
It’s worth noting that many paedo-baptist folks will readily recognize that this whole dedication business is in reality a “dry baptism.” There’s even a certificate. Shhhhh. Don’t tell the Baptists.