Sunday, March 15, 2009

alright heathens, you can now make it official

Posted by Christian  |  at  15.3.09

Well okay it's not really an official certificate, but still! This story is pretty amusing. John Hunt, baptized some 50 years ago in the parish church of St Jude has decided he wants his name off of the baptismal roll.

In fact, he wants the local Anglican diocese to extend the courtesy to all who were baptized too young to decide for themselves whether they wanted this formal initiation into Christianity.

But the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines says:

"You can't remove from the record something that actually happened," said the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines.

"Whether we agree whether it should have happened or not is a different matter.

"But it's a bit like trying to expunge Trotsky from the photos. Mr Hunt was baptised and that's a matter of public record."
? Is that really the comparison you want to make, Reverend? I mean, where does the church stand in this analogy?

Anyhow, Bishop Baines suggests Mr. Hunt renounce his baptism in the London Gazette, a journal of record with an ancestry going back to the 17th Century. Baines is willing to see such notices inserted into the baptismal roll to indicate decisions such as Mr Hunt’s, but the Church of England’s national headquarters made clear that such a concession was not official policy.

Now the Archbishops Council says the Church of England does not regard baptism as a sign of membership, so any amendment to the record would be unnecessary. Colour me skeptical.

In any event, the back and forth inspired the National Secular Society to launch a tongue in cheek, “Debaptise Yourself!” campaign.
The certificate reads:
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 society's president, Terry Sanderson, says the certificate is not designed to be taken too seriously, and he suggests displaying it in the loo.

"The debaptism certificate started out as a kind of satirical comment on the idea that you could be enrolled in a church before you could talk, but it seems to have taken off from there.
* The Roman Catholic Church is willing to place an amendment in the record.


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