Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A solution for those who were baptized before they could walk or talk ... (in Britain)

One of the worst things about religion in my mind, particularly with ones like Christianity or Islam or whatever, is how religious parents raise their children from birth to be in that religion, without ever really letting the kid(s) decide for themselves if they want to be associated to a deity-worshiping cult or not. For Christians, this "initiation" is of course done through the ritual of baptism.

Well, those ever-secular Brits are experiencing a phenomenon aimed at countering just that. So far, it's estimated that over 100,000 Brits are now ex-Christians after having downloaded "Certificates of Debaptism" to publicly renounce the Church, according to London's center of secularism, the National Secular Society (NSS).

Terry Sanderson, the society's president, says the group started the online de-baptism initiative five years ago to mock the practice of baptizing infants too young to consent to religious rites. Their web site invites visitors to "Liberate yourself from the Original Mumbo-Jumbo that liberated you from the Original Sin you never had" and allows them to print out a paper certificate that uses quasi-formal language to "reject baptism's creeds and other such superstitions." But in recent months, as tens of thousands began to download the certificate, organizers realized that they had struck a chord with atheists and once-devout church members who are leaving churches they see as increasingly out-of-tune with modern life. "Churches have become so reactionary, so politically active that people actually want to make a protest against them now," Sanderson says. "They're not just indifferent anymore. They're actively hostile." (See pictures at a drive-in church.)

The campaign has become so popular — with nearly 1,000 certificates downloaded each week — that the NSS has started taking orders for certificates printed on parchment, at $4.50 each; they've sold nearly 2,000 in just three weeks. "Every time the Pope says something outrageous we get another rush on the certificate," Sanderson says, noting that traffic to the site skyrocketed last month following Pope Benedict XVI's comment that condoms could worsen the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.

So, to any British Christians currently bored enough to be reading this, how 'bout it? For just $4.50, you download your own throwing-away of the shackles of religion. Sounds like a heck of a fair price to me – imagine those bygone days where Christians were killed in public just for speaking their discontent with the Church. Now with a few bucks you can pretty much rub your ass in the Church's face and they can't do a damn thing about it.

Oooh, I love secularism. :P


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