A press release from The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) dated April 13, 2011, asks, “Prefer 'original good' to 'original sin'? Think religion is all wet? Indignant that a congregation still claims you as a believer based on baptismal records? Wishing you could formally renounce a religion that was imposed on you as a helpless babe in swaddling clothes? The Freedom From Religion Foundation has the answer: a genuine ‘DeBaptismal Certificate.’”
The certificates can be purchased on their website for the low price of 2 for $5. Printed on parchment, embossed with a gold seal, each is hand-signed by The FFRF’s founder and co-president, Dan Barker. Just fill in your name in the space provided and “poof,” you are no longer to be counted among the faithful.
Barker, a former Christian minister turned atheist, told the TOLEDO BLADE that many purchase the two-for-one set, then frame one copy for themselves and mail the second to the church where they were baptized, asking to be permanently removed from their rolls.
"They're just flying out the door," told Annie Laurie Gaylor of the FFRF to the BLADE. "They're very, very popular.”
The certificate reads:
“I, having been subjected to a Christian baptism before reaching an age of consent, or having submitted to baptism before embracing free thought and reason, hereby officially renounce that primitive rite and the Church that imposed it. I categorically reject the creeds, dogmas, and superstitions of my former religion, particularly the pernicious doctrines of ‘Original Sin’ and damnation.
“I further denounce as an affront and defamation to humanity the false and demeaning belief that any baby is born with ‘Original Sin’ and must be cleansed of it by baptism. From this day forward, I wish to be excluded from any claims of religious affiliation or membership based on baptismal records.”
Stated Barker in the press release, “It's a way to undo the insult, to reject the idea that there is something wrong with us. Christianity has a pessimistic view of human nature. This is optimistic. With baptism,” he asserts, “I was unjustly accused. This is a way to proclaim I was innocent all along."
A budding atheist can order their signed certificate by mail, but FFRF is also making a free version of its certificate downloadable online at http://ffrf.org/news/timely-topics/debaptismal-certificate/.
Putting aside all consideration of the much debated practice of infant baptism, one cannot be but struck by the hard-heartedness of Mr. Barker who boldly proclaims that he was “unjustly accused” and “innocent all along.” Contrary to Mr. Barker's protests, the Scriptures proclaim that we have all “fallen short of the glory of God,” and no reasonable, free thinking person can really deny it.
Ironically, what genuine believers baptism declares isn't that we are "unjustly accused," but that we have been, so to speak, unjustly forgiven! It declares that we have a righteous standing before God, one that we have not earned or deserve.
Further, one does not need a certificate to prove one possesses it; and if one truly possesses it, no certificate or decree of man or angels could ever revoke it. They need only, in humility, receive it.
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).