The life of Brayden King, an Alabama toddler just shy of his second birthday, was cut short on Friday at the Pentecostal House of Prayer in Decatur. The child was found submerged in 33 inches of baptismal water, and was declared dead after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
On Monday, a coroner ruled that he died of accidental drowning. The child somehow wandered into the unprotected baptismal pool while his parents were in a prayer service. While no information on who was responsible for Brayden at the time is available, one must question the practice of churches negligently leaving giant, almost three-foot deep pools of water unprotected and ungated.
The baptismal is located up a flight of stairs, but is otherwise unprotected.
While many may consider the church to be at fault for its failure to protect against such circumstances, the pastor has named a primary suspect in this unnecessary and completely avoidable death: God, who took away the son for whom his mother had prayed for years.
“Twenty-two months ago he gave her a son,” pastor TD Strong said. “And 22 months later he was taken away. I’ve been preaching 30 years and pastoring for 20 years, this is the first time in my ministry I’ve been speechless.”
And he should be speechless — at any time, he could have said, “You know, we have nearly three feet of water here. Why don’t we put a gate around it?” Unfortunately, his sister Carol has completely absolved him of any guilt.
“I see it in my sleep, when I wake up, when I go in the church,” Carol Strong said. “But God’s got his little angel and I know we did everything we possibly could do.” She said that, in the future, they will keep the baptismal locked to prevent any further “accidents.”
Unfortunately, the pastor — and the church’s — lack of forethought and irresponsibility led to the loss of a young life. We’d like to know who was supposedly watching the child while his parents engaged in ritualistic practices. There is nothing “accidental” about murder through neglect.