A New DeBaptismal Certificate April 14, 2011

A New DeBaptismal Certificate

If you’re wondering what to get your atheist friend for her next birthday (or whatever), here’s an idea: the Freedom From Religion Foundation is now offering fancy, frameable, embossed DeBaptismal certificates!

The certificate reads:

“I, having been subjected to a Christian baptism before reaching an age of consent, or having submitted to baptism before embracing freethought 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.”

“Although our DeBaptismal Certificate has some light touches, we think it’s time to spur some serious public debate over the meaning of baptism,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor added. “We would like to remind the public that people have been killed, schisms fostered and ‘holy’ wars sparked over debates on when to baptize and how to ‘sprinkle’ babies. Childhoods and peace of mind are still being blighted today by ignorant and vicious sermons promising hell and damnation as a punishment for not being baptized.

“It should be utterly repugnant to people of conscience to tarnish newborns with the idea of ‘original sin’ or to subject any child or young person to this primitive ritual.”

You can purchase your certificate by going here.

I wonder if the certificate applies to people like me… can you be debaptizes if you were never baptized in the first place…?

If you don’t want to spend money on this, you can always take the easier route and debaptize yourself with a hair dryer!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Oh yes. I want one.

  • Very cool! My (now grownup) kids don’t need it, but it reminds me of how I quarreled with my relatives over the issue of baptism. Whew, it was ugly! I got a lot of pressure about it, ostensibly for the sake of my grandparents, who were said to be upset that we hadn’t had the kids baptized. My sister had her kids baptized, saying it would please the old folks, but my spouse and I weren’t about to do such a thing to please our relatives. Good times, good times …

  • OverlapingMagisteria

    My wife will want our kids baptized once we get some since she is religious (but not overly so.) Eh… whatever. I see it as a “welcome the baby” party with a weird traditional ceremony thrown in.
    Maybe the kids will be needing one of these certificates years from now… or maybe not. I’ll love ’em either way.

  • Brian

    A kind of a fun thing, eh?

  • Douglas Kirk

    I would love one!

    My girlfriend and I had the conversation about baptizing our (future) kids a while ago. She wanted to because our families were catholic and will raise hell (she’s agnostic/apatheist) and I didn’t.

    It’s still not entirely resolved (I suspect she’ll still want to cave into the pressure from both our families) but I managed to win her over to the non-baptism side by saying that when I tell my kids that I don’t believe in any gods, I don’t want to have to explain to them why they were baptised.

    “Well… it’s because mommy and daddy didn’t want to listen to grandma and grandpa bitch for 10 years….”

  • attic

    my view on “debaptism” certificates: not all atheists are former christians. where the hell are the de-bar-mitzvah certificates and the de-being-born-in-a-muslim-family certificates?

  • fett101

    I wonder if the certificate applies to people like me

    Sure, it only has whatever meaning you attach to it, nothing more or less.

    I’ve no need to get one. The letter from the local diocese confirming my defection from the church is much better.

  • Anonymous
  • Drew M.


    my view on “debaptism” certificates: not all atheists are former christians. where the hell are the de-bar-mitzvah certificates and the de-being-born-in-a-muslim-family certificates?

    I think something like this might be more appropriate for Judaism.

  • mousefeathers

    Ha! I don’t need one! I was born to Christians; my parents were the not-very-churchy type themselves, but we lived with my dad’s parents, who were life-long church-goers that didn’t believe in infant baptism. I just never quite got around to doing it before I quit believing that it had any relevance.

    Hey, I’m in my sixties and still have tonsils, too! My brothers (and the majority of my age-mates) lost theirs, but my throat is as intact as my “soul.” Hee.

  • kat

    i had an interesting reaction to this. i found it funny but realized i could never possibly get one of these for myself. it took me a bit to formulate why that is…
    i was baptized when i was six by my father (chairman of the deacons at a baptist church), which is a young age, but i volunteered to be baptized. i was taught that it wasn’t the physical act of baptism that saved me — baptism was just a ritualistic symbol we performed at church to declare our beliefs to the congregation, basically. i knew baptism was a serious subject — we weren’t supposed to pretend to baptize people, just like we weren’t supposed to play at taking communion, which was also explained as another ritual symbol that didn’t have meaning beyond what we gave to it. nevertheless, baptism was a serious act of faith, and you weren’t supposed to take it lightly. my dad wouldn’t baptize me until he really thought i had a grasp of what it meant. (and six-year-olds certainly have more faith than older people, most of the time, for obvious reasons.)
    in my mind, the baptism was a special moment between father and daughter, and not something sick that was forced on me or held up as being supernatural beyond the belief that was behind the symbol. since i no longer have that belief, the symbol has lost its meaning without me needing to declare it, although the moment of baptism still holds special meaning for my relationship with my father, and i wouldn’t want to demean that point by “debaptizing” myself.
    however, i still like the certificate and the idea behind it.

  • Raised Godless

    It’s a lot easier to procure than this official one

    Are you bluepojo? I just read that reddit thread. Wow. What parents do to their children in the name of religion makes the mind boggle.

  • Annie


    How do you go about getting a letter of defection? And wouldn’t it be fun to get all the ex-Catholics to ask for one…at the same time?

  • Anonymous

    Are you bluepojo?

    Nope. Just had the same reaction as you.

    kat, you realized you couldn’t get a debaptism certificate because you love your dad? I (*humbly*) suggest that you’re minimizing the power it holds over you.

  • Randallphobia

    This year, easter is on my birthday (NOT the other way around, MY day doesn’t shift according to an ancient lunar calendar), so this would be an awesome gift!

  • fett101


    Pretty much did like http://www.countmeout.ie said. Mailed a letter to the diocese (registered mail) stating my intent, and got a reply about two weeks later.

    Just visited that site and it seems the church has modified canon law so it may be more difficult or no longer be possible. http://www.countmeout.ie/suspension/

  • Dhes of Yuggoth

    All this stuff about debaptism ceremonies makes me kinda wish I had been baptized. Kinda feel left out otherwise. Well, briefly I wish that from time to time, because, unfortunately, that water carries an awful lot of baggage with it.

  • Peter Mahoney

    I think it would be kinda cool to get myself “excommunicated” from the Roman Catholic Church.

    I’m a peace-loving, mild-mannered guy, and I would just like the idea of being able to say that the RCC excommunicated me, but not Hitler.

    Maybe I can settle for a debaptism….

  • The Beagle

    This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I find these silly. I was baptized Catholic, but what they did to me has no bearing on my life as an atheist now. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need my non belief validated with a document or a hair dryer.

    For me, this would have been something I’d have bought ten years ago when I was trying to freak out my parents.

  • Douglas Kirk

    @Peter Mahoney

    This link can help you. I haven’t done it yet but I will soon.


  • Danny

    Hmm. If my atheism caused a strained relationship between my parents who had me baptized, I would get one of these. However, this kind of reads like a harsh accusation and buying one for myself would feel like taking a jab at my mom who really has no problem with my atheism.

    Though I think this would be the very best gift a parent can give to their atheist son or daughter who they had baptized. The ultimate show of support.

  • mjp

    My ex’s catholic family really wanted our daughter baptized. We were already split at that point, and I wasn’t having any of it. Finally I took her to the kitchen sink in front of him, sprinkled her, and “baptized” her in the name of “the goddess.” Twenty-nine years later, she’s a nontheist, too. He’s become whatever his wife du jour is.

  • I’m not even sure if I was baptized. My parents were a lapsed Presbyterian (mom) and a lapsed Baptist (dad). Not sure if they ever sprinkled me or not. I know I never got baptized as a child, but not sure if I got baptized as an infant.

  • Godless Lawyer

    I’ve often thought about swearing an affidavit or commissioned statement to the same effect as this certificate.

  • Natalie Sera

    My dearest friend, who was married to a Catholic, agreed to have her son baptized for the sake of his family. When I asked her why, she said it was just water, and if you didn’t assign any meaning to it, it didn’t have any. I like that attitude toward religion in general!

  • Noodly1

    I agreed to become baptized when I was seven. The adults in my life thought that it was because I had finally accepted Jebus Crist as my personal lawd and savior. But the real impetus was that I really wanted to check out the baptismal pool behind the .

    It was a ridiculous act for a ridiculous reason, yet I feel no compulsion to obtain a de-baptismal certificate. Why? Maybe because I feel it somehow legitimizes the initial act?

  • Here’s fun to watch video of a de-baptism a few years ago. 23 Freethinkers de-baptized in 3 minutes. :o)


  • prayforrain

    I think this is a great idea for those who feel that their non-consensual baptism has some sort of hold over them.
    Also I am a bit non-plussed that it is signed by a person and authorised by an organisation. I thought avoiding religion meant not having such limitations??

  • AxeGrrl

    prayforrain wrote:

    Also I am a bit non-plussed that it is signed by a person and authorised by an organisation. I thought avoiding religion meant not having such limitations??

    Someone who used the word ‘nonplussed’ correctly! hallelujah 🙂

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