Argentina gets debaptism campaign

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Atheists and feminists in Argentina are spearheading a campaign for people to formally quit the Catholic Church in order to reduce its influence in the country. The "Not in my Name" Internet campaign, also called Collective Apostasy, encourages people who are Catholic in name only to write to the bishops where they were baptised to officially register that they have left the church.

Latin America is home to about half of the world’s claimed Roman Catholics but many people who were baptised Catholic never go to church. "The church counts all those who’ve been baptised as Catholic and lobbies for legislation based on that number, so we’re trying to convey the importance of people expressing that they no longer belong to the church," said campaigner Ariel Bellino, a member of an atheist group and a former Catholic.

He said a similar drive was waged in Spain, where leftist movements have a historical anti-clerical streak, and in Chile. Apostasy in the Roman Catholic Church is defined as the total and obstinate repudiation of the faith.

The country’s relatively liberal social mores clash with Catholic doctrine on birth control, abstinence before marriage and homosexuality. The capital, Buenos Aires, was the first Latin American city to allow gay civil unions, back in 2003. A constitutional requirement that presidents be Catholic was stripped out of the country’s charter in the mid-1990s.

From NSS Newsline - March 6, 2009