‘It was truly terrifying,’ said traumatised parent, Michelle Sampson of Surrey. ‘The vicar snatched three-month-old Ruth out of my hands and started pouring water over her head and demanding that she let God into her life. What choice did the poor little thing have? She was struggling for air and probably thought she was going to drown.’
Ruth’s father was also disturbed by the episode. ‘The vicar had this crazy look in his eye throughout,’ said Jason Sampson. ‘When he started chanting in Latin, crossing himself and offering praise to Almighty God, we all assumed he was a fundamentalist and had a bomb vest under his surplice and was about to blow himself up.’
The practice of waterboarding children, euphemistically referred to as ‘baptism’ or ‘christening’, is understood to be rife within the Christian church. ‘We think there could be millions of victims,’ said a spokesman for the Met Police. ‘The number of unwitting families who have footage of their children being subjected to such degrading abuse is truly shocking.’
It is not the first time the Christian church has been accused of using torture on its subjects. Catholics have often reported being shut into a dark booth and interrogated by a priest until they finally confess to something, while church services are known to alternate congregations between the stress positions of standing, kneeling and perching on hard wooden seats before ruthlessly extorting money from them using collection trays. Prolonged aural bombardment from tuneless, half-hearted singing is also common.
But for now some parents are just grateful to have had a lucky escape. ‘My four-year-old son was submerged for so long during his baptism he lost consciousness, so it’s little wonder that after we resuscitated him he immediately confessed to planning a terrorist attack. He must have thought it was an extraordinary rendition! Still, he’s a young boy and it was a Catholic church, so his mother and I were just grateful the priest didn’t suggest a wet T-shirt competition.’