Kamri Mclendon and Tristan Mcphail, Christians who practice their religion devoutly, wanted their baby girl Presleigh to be baptized in. However, when they went to Hickory Grove United Methodist Church in Mississippi the reverend refused because her parents were not married even though they are practicing Christians that believe strongly in baptism. The reverend also deemed the relationship of the infant’s grandmother as non-Christian since she too is unmarried.

Kamri and her boyfriend, Tristan, have been together for two years. Kamri is just eighteen years old, while Tristan’s age is undisclosed. Their baby girl Presleigh was born in May 2022. And now that she is of the age that Christian parents want their children to be baptized, they are ready to introduce her into a world of Jesus Christ.

Kamri had attended Hickory Grove United Methodist Church for years, since she was a young girl. She wanted her daughter to be baptized in the church because she wanted the child to follow Christ’s love just like Kamri’s parents did.

Reverend Dewayne Warren wrote a letter to Kamri explaining that he refused to baptize the baby girl because her parents were living together out of wedlock. Warren would not even address the father of the baby by name but referred to him as “the baby’s father” and explained that the unmarried pair was living in sin and, therefore, could not have a Christian baptism for their love child.

Reverend Dwayne Warren said, “I am writing to inform you that we will not be able to do the ‘baby dedication’ on Sunday, September 25, 2022. The following reasons are why I have made this decision. I am informed that you and the baby’s father are living together in sin; the baby was conceived before the parents were married. The grandmother is living with a man in sin. You and the father have not been in regular, faithful attendance at our church.”

The reverend continued, “The ceremony that you want performed is a Christian ceremony. It is a covenant between the parents and God. You promise to raise your child in the Christian faith with all that entails. That means that you attend church on a regular basis with your child. It means that your life shows that you are living the Christian faith. I do not see that in your life at this time. In this ceremony, the church pledges that they will help raise your child in the Christian faith. In the ceremony, the parents and grandparents, if present, have to say that they have repented of their sins. I don’t believe you, as the parents or your mother, can honestly say that if you are living with someone outside of marriage.”

“Also, in the United Methodist Church, we don’t do ‘baby dedications.’ We do infant baptisms. You christen ships. We baptize babies,” the reverend conclued.

Should unmarried couples be allowed to baptize their babies?