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Debaptism is the act of renouncing one's baptism either by signing a document of renunciation or by participating in a baptism renunciation ceremony.
The word 'baptism' is derived from the Greek word for wash or immerse. Baptism is a Christian sacrament signifying different things to different groups of Christians. For some, baptism "cleanses and purifies" one for entrance into the Christian community. For some, baptism "washes away" original sin and is necessary for salvation.
Baptism is considered irrevocable by Christian churches, however, so debaptism is a secular act undertaken by adults who wish to renounce an act imposed on them as infants or children.
The term and practice of debaptism was the idea of the National Secular Society (NSS) and was introduced in 2004 "to mock the practice of baptizing infants too young to consent to religious rites."* A Certificate of Debaptism can be purchased from NSS.
The Certificate of Debaptism 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.
More than 100,000 debaptism certificates have been downloaded in the past five years.*
The NSS is based in London, England, but the debaptism movement has spread to other European countries and has become popular in some parts of the United States. "In a type of mock ceremony that's now been performed in at least four states, a robed "priest" used a hairdryer marked "reason" in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all."* The Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti, UAAR) says that about 1,000 Italians requested debaptism certificates for Italy's "DeBaptism Day" last October.
'Debaptism' certificate gaining popularity among nonreligious "They're just flying out the door," said Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. "They're very, very popular. We've had groups that get together and pass them out en masse and then sign them together."
U.S. Atheists Reportedly Using Hair Dryers to 'De-Baptize' Leading atheist Edwin Kagin blasted his fellow non-believers with the hair dryer to symbolically dry up the holy water sprinkled on their heads in days past. The styling tool was emblazoned with a label reading "Reason and Truth."
Kagin believes parents are wrong to baptize their children before they are able to make their own choices, even slamming some religious education as "child abuse." He said the blast of hot air was a way for adults to undo what their parents had done.