In a type of mock Atheistic ceremony that’s now been performed in at least four states, a robed “priest” uses a hairdryer marked “reason” in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all from those who once believed in religion, but now reject it. Several dozen participants then feed on a “de-sacrament” (crackers with peanut butter) and receive certificates assuring they have “freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition.”
Within the past year, “de-baptism” ceremonies have attracted as many as 250 participants at atheist conventions in Ohio, Texas, Florida and Georgia. More have taken place on college campuses in recent years, according to Hemant Mehta, chair of the board of directors for the Secular Student Alliance, a group that promotes atheism among high school and college students.
“It was very therapeutic.” said participant Jennifer Gray. “It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs.”