One of the common complaints among Atheists comes from that age old practice by religious parents of Baptizing children and babies, and making said children members of the church before they are even old enough to walk. Is it right for parents to baptize children before the age of consent and before they have acquired the knowledge necessary to make an informed personal choice? And what of that childhood baptism? Is it permanent? Will they always be considered baptized and a church member, even though they are now Atheists and have nothing to do with the church? Could this be why church estimates of membership seem much higher than the religious self identification surveys suggest? Once in, are you counted forever.
At the 2011 Hyde Park Fair, we touched on this issue. It was decided in the beginning to offer De-baptism Certificates for free. Just a blank certificate that the visitor could take with them. Then it was suggested that we have some sort of ceremony to go with the certificates. What started out as just a little fun, quickly turned into a big hit at the Hyde Park Fair. It turns out that an awful lot of people carry resentment about those childhood baptisms. The De-Baptism ceremonies drew attention to our booth, which in turn resulted in more ceremonies requested. As a result, I have decided to add the Debaptism Ceremony as a regular service of my position as Humanist Celebrant. While the ceremony has no authoritative meaning, it seems to give some sense of relief and comfort to those who have felt anger over being baptized without their consent and at an age too young to make an informed choice.
Below are some photos of De-Baptisms at the Fair:
President D G Van Curen and Vice President Candace Toop