Wednesday, May 20, 2009

De-baptism

The UK National Secular Society has produced a de-baptism certificate for atheists - however it's not really suitable for Pagans or other liberal religious traditions, as it denounces "superstition" (under which heading they would probably include Pagan beliefs).
I ________ having been subjected to the Rite of Christian Baptism in infancy (before reaching an age of consent), hereby publicly revoke any implications of that Rite and renounce the Church that carried it out. In the name of human reason, I reject all its Creeds and all other such superstition in particular, the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed by Baptism of alleged ORIGINAL SIN, and the evil power of supposed demons. I wish to be excluded henceforth from enhanced claims of church membership numbers based on past baptismal statistics used, for example, for the purpose of securing legislative privilege.
The main reason for doing this, as far as I can see, is that the number of bishops in the House of Lords is based on the number of adherents to the Church of England, and that number is apparently based on the number of people baptised in a Church of England church.

So here's my suggested wording for Pagans and Unitarians:
I ________ having been subjected to the rite of Christian baptism in infancy (before reaching an age of consent), hereby publicly revoke any implications of that Rite and renounce the Church that carried it out. By all that I hold sacred, I reject all its Creeds, in particular, the erroneous belief that any baby needs to be cleansed by baptism of alleged original sin. I wish to be excluded henceforth from enhanced claims of church membership numbers based on past baptismal statistics used, for example, for the purpose of securing legislative privilege.

5 comments:

Yvonne Rathbone said...

I like it. Especially the part of the age of consent. I managed to never get sprinkled with water. My family was Presbyterian. You had to ask three times or something. My sister did it and I was really jealous because she got all this attention. We had a fight the next day. At one point I screamed, "You were babtized. You're supposed to be nice now!!" She said, "You don't understand the first thing about it!" What can I say? She was right.

Yewtree said...

I wasn't baptised C of E - my dad dunked me in a bath (as a baby).

Syren said...

What a great idea. And about time too, although they need two versions - theirs and yours.

Karen said...

I was baptised RC and confirmed CofE. Both churches were very understanding of my wish to be officially taken off their books, so to speak, not because I am the least bit bothered by having been part of those communities as a child, but because I am now an adult and trying to behave with integrity.

In the CofE, confirmation is not considered a "binding contract", but a confirmation of baptism, a communal recognition that you've continued to be a member of the community.

However, in either case, it is a simple matter of contacting the diocese in which you were baptised, providing your name, your parents' name, the year of your baptism, and your reasons for wishing to make an official renunciation of your baptism. The church then notes in the official records that you have renounced your baptism, and the parish priest adjusts the parish books to show this, too. The baptisms aren't "taken back", but the public record of your renunciation is made.

I'm really not clear what the point is of the certificate. It doesn't change anything.

I found that being polite to the diocese and straight forward with them got a really friendly, respectful response. But, then, that's not as dramatic as a bit of paper.

Yewtree said...

That's interesting - perhaps it depends which diocese you approach? The bloke in the article had a lot of difficulty. Anyway the main point of officially removing your name from a C of E baptismal register is that if you don't, you are (allegedly) contributing to the numbers of adherents used to justify bishops in the House of Lords (i.e. they can have one bishop for a certain number of baptised).