Letter: Many alternatives to the baptism service

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The Independent Online
Sir: Humanists throughout Britain will welcome Lord Young of Dartington's initiative in launching a non-religious alternative to the baptism service ('Birth celebration without religion offered', 23 July). We particularly approve of the emphasis on parental responsibility, which is central to the naming ceremonies we Humanists have been providing for some years.

A great number of parents choose to mark the occasion of a new baby in the family with a ceremony that includes undertakings of commitment by the parents and other supporting adults. At present we sell about 1,000 copies of our book, New Arrivals - a Guide to Non-religious Naming Ceremonies, each year, the number increasing as parents become aware that such ceremonies exist.

There is general agreement over the importance of family values, based on responsible parenthood. This initiative is a welcome move towards a wider recognition of the needs of the many families for whom religion is not relevant.

Yours etc,


Publications Committee

British Humanist Association

London, WC1

23 July