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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Friday, 20 March 2009

A Sacrament of De-Baptism?

So I was listening to Radio 2 at lunch time and there was this chap called John Hunt who is seeking to get the Parish church at which he was baptized as a baby to remove reference to his baptism from the parish records.

Mr Hunt has become the pioneer in a rejuvenated campaign for a way of cancelling baptisms given to children too young to decide for themselves whether they wanted this formal initiation into Christianity.

The local Anglican diocese, Southwark, refused to amend the baptismal roll as Mr Hunt had wanted, on the grounds that it was a historical record.

"You can't remove from the record something that actually happened," said the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines.

Well, I am a credo-baptist so I don't advocate the baby baptism thing anyway. Obviously I have some sympathy with Mr Hunt.

And yet ...

And yet I cannot help but think that this is getting hung up about nothing. The Bishop is right - this is an historical record and should not be removed. When someone gets divorced we do not remove all record that they were married.

What exactly does John Hunt think the record of his baptism in the parish records signifies? That he is really a Christian even though he is an atheist? I don't think many Anglicans would seem him as a Christian.

Mr Hunt has his own certificate of de-baptism. OK - I don't mind that if it makes him feel better, but surely that is enough. That is the baptismal equivalent of a certificate of divorce.

And I think that I would even support the case for Parish records to be updated to record that so-and-so has been de-baptised (or some unobjectionable way of saying something like this). But striking out the original record is just pointless.

Which makes me suspect that this is actually just another of those tiresome publicity stunts of secular humanists that seem to crop up not infrequently whose aim is to give profile to their cause.

The feeling that I got was that what Mr Healy and co. were really after was a ban on infant baptism (on the grounds that it violates the human rights of babies). Now I am theologically uncomfortable with infant baptism but if I am right about the real end game then they are nuts!

The problem with some secular humanists is that they are simply not liberal enough or tolerant enough. (In this they have something in common with a fair few Christians)

I tentatively suggest that the best way to combat the intolerant politics of secular humanism is to provide a good Christian defence of Liberal Democracy.

4 comments:

The Pook said...

Agree. It's a silly stunt.

Forget Twitter, do you have a facebook account? I find 45 Robin Parrys none of whom look like you.

Jason Goroncy said...

Out-of-the-closet Wesleyan one day, credo-baptist the next. Blimey Parry ... I really think you're loosing the plot.

Andrew said...

...or we could take the Hauerwasian move and abandon the idea of liberal democracy altogether...

Robin Parry said...

Pook

I do have a facebook account. So I must the one of the 45. My current picture is of a Robin bird.

Jason - I know. Clearly not Reformed enough!

Andrew - I confess that I have not read Hauerwas' critique of Liberal Democracy (though I know he makes one) so it is hard to comment. I find myself with a lot of sympathy towards Liberal Democracy so what is Hauerwas' alternaive?