The Mandaeans are Gnostics whose movement was connected with John the Baptist. They use multiple baptisms in flowing rivers as part of their ritual life. These rituals are not what Protestants think - only symbols. These rituals must be performed exactly as they always have been, because, as in the Catholic tradition, they actually affect the soul. So it saddens me to read in an Australian newspaper that a local community is hindering the Mandaeans who live there from baptizing in the Nepean River because 50 residents have complained about the color of a cloth they use.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
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A RARE and ancient religious culture is battling for survival because residents in Sydney's west do not fancy the group's chosen shade of white.
The followers of John the Baptist were all but wiped out after 2000 years of oppression that reached a genocidal crescendo during the Iraq war.
But it could be Wallacia locals who inadvertently finish what fanatics started, by objecting to a Mandaean baptismal pool for reasons such as the colour of shade cloths.