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Atheist wins right to have baptism revoked

PinkNews Staff Writer April 15, 2009
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An atheist who said he was too young to consent to being baptised has won the right to have his ceremony revoked.

John Hunt, a nurse, was baptised at the age of five months at the parish church of St Jude with St Aidin in Thornton Heath, south London.

Now aged 56, he has been campaigning for Southwark diocese to amend his baptism notice to state he did not consent to it.

Church officials had refused to delete or amend the entry, saying it was a historical record.

However, this week, they backed down and have agreed to “correct” it with a copy of a renouncement notice he had put in a local paper.

A representative of Southwark diocese told him: “I have spoken to the Archdeacon of Croydon and he has undertaken, in this particular case, to have it cross-referenced with the baptismal entry and pasted into the back fly-leaf of the relevant register at St Jude’s Church.”

Dr Hunt, a former software engineer who has a PhD, said he was “delighted” at the decision.

He said: “It’s about time that some of us stood up to be counted. I am hoping that others will follow my lead.

“It is important that we send a signal to the church and to the government that an increasing proportion of the population don’t place any faith in the various churches.”

Before the church agreed to change the record, Dr Hunt secured a “de-baptism” certificate from the National Secular Society (NSS) rejecting “superstitions” or the idea of original sin.

It reads: “I reject all its creeds and other such superstitions in particular the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed of original sin.”

The NSS estimates that around 100,000 people have downloaded the certificate, which was originally meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

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