This is why the Libre Pensée has taken the initiative of a European Appeal for the protection of Apostates, of all Apostates, and for the respect of the strict Equality before the Law of Men between Churches and Civil Society organizations in Europe.

The European Freethought has taken the initiative of launching a call for signatures from secular associations in Europe on the question of the deletion of personal data from baptism registers for those who wish to do so.

This is a fundamental issue: freedom of conscience and absolute respect for it.

Forcing a child into a religion from birth, and then refusing to allow him or her to leave of his or her own free will, calls into question a principle that should be inviolable: no one can be forced into a religion, and no one can be forced to stay there. In theory, this principle is guaranteed by international texts, many of which refer to it as such Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, entitled ‘Freedom of thought, conscience and religion’, states that ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief’, and obliges States party to the Convention to respect and protect these freedoms, which also encompass all individual beliefs.

This is why the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been adopted and implemented, enabling individuals to have any trace of their membership of a civil society structure erased if they so wish.

Children are not cattle in the Wild West, branded for life.

You can have any data erased, in the name of the RGPD, in an Association, a Trade Union, a Party, a Masonic Obedience, but not in a Church?

Is there anything more important than fighting for human freedom and refusing to shackle humanity in religious fetters? Once you’ve been forced into a criminal organisation like the Catholic Church, you can’t get out in France because of the will of the CNIL and the Conseil d’Etat, which, after being asked to do so by a French citizen, rejected the principle of deletion and ruled in favour of the Church. Yes, CRIMINAL: 300,000 victims of sexual crimes by the Catholic clergy in France only and millions more worldwide.

And why: because it’s a ‘historical fact’. In what way is this fact more ‘historic’ than joining a civil society association, a trade union, a party, a Masonic lodge or the Libre Pensée?

It’s not a question of ‘thousand-year-old archives or historical documents’. Have you heard of the case of Thomas Borres, a French citizen living in Germany, who was asked by the German Church for his baptismal certificate and obtained it from the French Church in order to force him to pay Church Tax, even though he had long since renounced the Catholic faith?

Clearly, whether you believe or don’t believe, you still have to pay Church Tax.

In Germany, the Catholic Church owns one of the two largest private hospital networks (the other belongs to the Protestants), and employees of these hospitals who have denied their Catholic baptism are liable to be made redundant. This is why, among other things, the RGPD was created, to erase any trace of past membership of a structure when a person asks for it.

At a time when the far right could come to power in France, and has already done so in several European countries, supported by churches and religious currents whether fundamentalist or not, are these baptismal registers in which the names of apostates appear insignificant?

Looking back at history, the issue of registers and baptismal certificates was of some importance. Imagine what a totalitarian power, backed by religion, could do with registers in which the names of those who have renounced their religious affiliation appear – in black and white? It’s not just in Iran that this could have major, even dramatic, consequences.

No ‘revealed’ religion tolerates apostasy. All those who have the means to do so will be tempted to compile lists of Apostates. The Catholic Church feels strong enough to recognise this: in doing so, it sets a precedent that directly threatens Apostates from other religions. Conversely, if we obtain the obligation for the Church to erase the names of baptised persons from its registers, we will enshrine the Right to Apostasy in jurisprudence, to the benefit not only of ex-Catholics, but also of ex-Protestants, ex-Jews, ex-Muslims, etc. Their former co-religionists will be forbidden to use their names in the registers. Their former co-religionists will be forbidden to keep the names of people who have denied revealed dogmas.

There are words and there are deeds.

This European Appeal is in fact the only concrete and real action in defence of Apostates, of all Apostates, whatever their religion of origin. It aims to protect all people who have either changed their religion or renounced one, through an approach based on strict Equality between the people concerned and their convictions, without any dimension of discrimination or xenophobia towards individuals or a particular religion.

If we obtain this request, it will constitute de facto and de jure protection for all Europeans and Residents who wish to change or withdraw from their religious affiliation, which was often imposed on them as children.

Everyone must therefore face up to their responsibilities. What militant, what association of militant secularism or atheism could accept such an exorbitant religious privilege under common law, which calls into question the fundamental principle of equality and respect for freedom of conscience?


This Appeal is therefore very clearly in defence of secularism, which guarantees freedom of conscience and absolute respect for it. In just a few days, hundreds of signatures have been collected from several countries, including the following organisations:

  • Association nationale Giordano Bruno – Libre Pensée (Italie)
  • Association madrilène des Athées et des Libres Penseurs (Espagne)
  • Association internationale de la Libre Pensée (AILP)
  • Fédération humaniste autrichienne (Autriche)
  • Bureau européen de coordination de la Libre Pensée (BECLP)
  • Union des Athées et des Libres Penseurs de Catalogne (Espagne)
  • Fédération nationale la Libre Pensée (France)
  • Humanist Association (Irlande)
  • Association Humaniste (Norvège)
  • Ligue Humaniste de Chimay-Momignies (Belgique)
  • Libre Pensée (Luxembourg)
  • Les Amis d’Hypatie (Grèce)
  • Cercle de la Libre Pensée (Belgique)
  • Europa laica (Espagne)
  • Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (France)
  • L’Obédience Maçonnique Le Droit Humain (France)
  • L’Obédience maçonnique La Grande Loge Mixte de France (France)
  • Maison de la Laïcité de Mons (Belgique)
  • Conseil National des Association Familiales Laïques – CNAFAL (France)
  • Union des Libres Penseurs Humanistes du Brandebourg (Allemagne)
  • Fédération nationale laïque des Monuments (France)
  • Les Humanistes Évolutionnaires Berlin-Brandebourg (Allemagne)
  • Tendance intersyndicale Émancipation (France)
  • Association « Liberté de conscience » (Luxembourg)
  • Associação República e Laicidade (Portugal)
  • Association internationale des sans-confession et Athéistes – IBKA (Allemagne)
  • Institut de Recherches et d’Études de la Libre Pensée – IRELP (France)
  • Colectivo Republicano de euskal herria – Basque
  • The Union of Freethinkers (Finlande)
  • Organisation Internationaler Bund der Konfessionslosen und Atheisten (IBKA), Landesverband Berlin-Brandenburg (Allemagne)


The European Secular Network shares this fight for freedom of conscience and the protection of personal data of people who leave a religion. Its member associations are calling for religious organisations simply to be subject to ordinary law, and to respect the laws on the protection of personal data.

Link to the petition of the Fédération nationale de la Libre Pensée:

In at least four countries (France, Ireland, Spain and Belgium), legal proceedings on this issue are currently before the European courts.

We believe that such a representative Appeal by secular associations in Europe would be likely to move things forward in the area of respect for the freedom of conscience of the inhabitants of the various countries in Europe.

We call on all the associations in Europe, and not only in the member countries of the European Union (there are 27 countries in the EU and 46 under the Council of Europe), which claim to respect freedom of conscience, to countersign this Appeal. It can also be signed by individuals. To sign this petition:

We would like to thank all those who have joined or will join this action for freedom.

The European Coordination Bureau of the Libre Pensée

Strasbourg, 8 May 2024