In the United Kingdom, the National Secular Society has found itself gaining a good deal of attention through its sale of Certificates of Debaptism. The certificates read,
“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.”
It seems that churches in the UK are using baptismal statistics to prove their remaining cultural significance. However, many people were baptized as babies, but never made the choice themselves to be Christians. Their parents decided to have them listed as adherents of Christianity without their permission.
Why is debaptism important? If people don’t believe in the supernatural power of dunking babies under water, why should they need to take place in any act of removing baptism from themselves?
It seems that churches are refusing to remove people from lists of baptized people, even when people request that their own names be removed. So, people who had baptism imposed on them during their childhood are seeking a way to create a compensatory public statement of their own, that they can no longer be claimed by Christian churches as part of the “flock”.
Still, it seems that people have a quite easy way of entering the public record these days – by writing online and having their words archived by Google, Archive.org, and the other organizations that cache the Internet. Wouldn’t it be more significant for people to write of their nonChristianity in their own words, with their own explanations of their personal histories and motivations, rather than just filling their name in and signing a certificate someone else wrote for them?
Sure, but then the National Secular Society wouldn’t get to sell debaptism certificates for 3 pounds each.