Iceland: Atheist Group Seeks to Register All Newborns as Atheists

Iceland Newborn Atheists

In an attempt to mock the National Church’s practice of automatically registering babies if their mothers happen to be Lutherans, Vantru, an atheist group in Iceland, has said it would like to register all newborns as its members.

“In a satirical statement to highlight the flaws of the National Church, the atheist society revealed that everyone would be a member of the organization until they deregistered their membership,” Ice News reported. “Soon-to-be parents were told any babies born from 1 March onwards would not be left out of their 'lively community' as they would automatically be registered at birth — even if parental consent had not been given. It added that this was the 'best and fairest' way to go about things.”

The 2012 Global Index of Religion and Atheism survey revealed that 10 percent of Iceland’s population identify themselves as convicted atheists. Vantru’s decision is aimed at challenging the common practice of automatically registering newborns as members of the Church. This registration also translates into members paying taxes to the Church, once they have reached working age and in case they have not deregistered by that time. Additionally, any person below the age of 16 years must seek permission from their parents to leave the Church.

According to government statistics, 80 percent of Iceland’s population is at least nominally registered under Lutheran State Church, also referred to as the National Church. Membership to the National Church has dropped in recent times, with parents themselves deregistering children at the time of birth.

Earlier this year, atheist biologist Richard Dawkins said it is incorrect for parents to label their children based on their own views. He explained how labeling children Christian or Muslim is just as wrong as labeling them liberal or conservative.

“We wouldn't claim our young kids are liberals or Libertarian, so why are we saddling them with our religious labels?” he asked.

Recently, some other initiatives were taken by Iceland to restore the long lost traditions practiced within the Norse religion. For instance, construction of the first temple to Norse Gods since the Viking era is expected to begin this year.

Photo Credits: Camera Photography

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