An atheist doesn’t believe in a god,
So why should an atheist care?
So what if he’s put on some idiot’s list
For a heaven he knows isn’t there?
The church claims a place of authority
They tell us it’s written in stone
I will not assist their intrusion—
My name is not theirs; it’s my own.
I’ve seen it in a number of different contexts recently–the Cranston banner, “in god we trust” on money, and now in two unrelated stories about atheists and baptism. More, after the jump:
In France, Rene LeBouvier is fighting the church, asking to have his name removed from their baptismal records. Currently, his name is still there, with a note saying that he had chosen to leave the church. By church doctrine, though, baptism is permanent, and cannot be undone. The case went to court; LeBouvier won. The diocese has appealed.
In the comments at that story, a number of writers have asked “why would an atheist even care? He doesn’t believe in the church, so why would it bother him?”
These people have it wrong. It’s not a matter of whether he (or you, or I) believe in baptism. It’s a matter of whether we cede the control over our own name to an organization we are not part of. The default should be that they have no right to my name, no matter what their own belief system says.
And their belief systems can give them an incredible sense of privilege. How else would you explain the arrogance of posthumous baptism of a lifelong atheist? (Or of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust Jews?)
And again, we see “why should an atheist care?” among the comments. No belief, no foul, right? Again, these people are wrong. Enabling a religion’s delusions of authority is not harmless. Ceding any sort of power to a church just because their own belief system allows them some perceived authority over you, is not something I want any part of.