It could be quite a big deal in the Catholic Church, at least. Baptism, confirmation, and matrimony are all official acts within the church which are documented with the Diocese, if not the Vatican itself. Once you're in, that record is kept forever. To officially renounce that membership can be enough positive reinforcement for former Catholics and to get that official record changed would be an incentive as well.
I found it very interesting that they focused on protesting disagreeable actions of churches, rather than the lack of belief in the tenets of the religion they have left. It's a subtle difference, but it means that these people might still follow the religious beliefs, just not support the institution. It coincides with both the increasingly personal nature of religion (including the "what can god do for me?" prosperity gospel) and the increasingly political behavior of churches.
"follow the beliefs, but not support the institution..."
I think that is how the majority of agnostic/spiritualists feel.
I mean, I've got no problem with the concept of a supreme being if it was addressed to me with a shred of evidence. It's just the believe-because-I-said-so while they try to shove creationism, wrestling angels and a whole load of other crap down your throat. The same book that tells me about god also claims that some old guy built a boat and saved at least a pair of every animal on earth.....
There are two fundamentals to my atheism, and one is to go where the proof leads me; the other is to turn my back on bigotry.
Show me a religion that can reconcile each of these with even a little bit of realism and I'll give it an honest, open minded look.
It's surprising that the article calls Pope Benedict XVI's comment that "condoms could worsen the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa" a 'public gaffe'!
I think that it was more of a catastrophically wrong statement, that could cause the deaths of thousands of uneducated, but devout Catholic africans. He deserves to be put in prison for that statement.
That is a difficult decision for any parent, I think. I know men who have had it done at 18 and really blamed their parents for not having it as an infant. Since I'm lacking the plumbing and never having kids, I can't really comment, but I'm sure if you were born in the US it was a tough decision..
My parents had it done to me, no religious reason. I had it done to my sons. As you said, I know of men as well that aren't & blame their parents. I'll never know if there's any less feeling to it but after watchin' Hitchens debate the ritual with a rabbi, I sort of regret havin' it don't on my kids.