But what if you decided that you not only rejected the church of your forefathers, but you also rejected the baptism you received and wanted it removed? Could you be "de-baptized"? That is just what is happening in France. NPR ran a story recently about an elderly man who was baptized in the French Roman Catholic Church has requested to be "un-baptized." A judges has ruled in his favor and the church has appealed. They do not think it is possible.
"One can't be de-baptized," says Rev. Robert Kaslyn, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America.
Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God."One could refuse the grace offered by God, the grace offered by the sacrament, refuse to participate," he says, "but we would believe the individual has still been marked for God through the sacrament, and that individual at any point could return to the church."
French law states that citizens have the right to leave organizations if they wish. Loup Desmond, who has followed the case for the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, says he thinks it could set a legal precedent and open the way for more demands for de-baptism.
"If the justice confirms that the name Rene LeBouvier has to disappear from the books, if it is confirmed, it can be a kind of jurisprudence in France," he says.
Up to now, observers say the de-baptism trend has been marginal, but it's growing. In neighboring Belgium, the Brussels Federation of Friends of Secular Morality reports that 2,000 people asked to be de-baptized in 2010. The newspaper Le Monde estimated that about 1,000 French people a year ask to have their baptisms annulled.
What do you think? Can you be "de-baptized" or should he just be happy to walk away form the church?
You can read the whole story and listen to the piece here.