“You, dear reader, will be a member of Vantrú, unless you specifically deregister yourself from membership,” reads a statement from the atheism society on their website. “Those who have children after March 1 do not need worry that they will miss out on this lively community, as we will automatically register children in Vantrú at birth, regardless of whether their parents have registered as members or not and without their knowledge or consent. That is obviously the best way to go about it. And also the fairest.”
They’re joking, of course. That’s ludicrous. But it’s exactly how the National Church works in their country. You’re considered a member, with your tax money going to the church, until you tell them otherwise.
If a person wishes to register as a member of another faith so that their taxes are directed to that religious institution instead or remove themselves from any religious affiliation at all, they must do so by filling out an official government form. If a person under the age of 16 wishes to leave the National Church, they must get their parent or guardian to submit the paperwork for them.
If that sounds like a lot of red tape to cut through… you’d be right.
I asked one Icelandic friend who is familiar with Vantrú what the reaction to the satirical article was, and he told me that “many Christians thought it was real and angrily responded at how unfair and wrong this was.”
Oh, the irony…
For what it’s worth, Vantrú can’t actually register people as atheists in any meaningful way.