Saturday, February 18, 2012

Proxy Baptisms Could Be Worse

Last week, I was reading the Washington Post when I stumbled upon this article about the Mormon Church issuing "proxy baptisms" to, among others, deceased Holocaust victims, as well as various non-Mormons, including many Christians. A "proxy baptism" is basically baptizing a non-Mormon posthumously in order to enter heaven.

Well, it isn't technically the Mormon Church, so they say, but rather someone acting outside the Church's authority. One might think this isn't much of a story right now, but because Mitt Romney is a Mormon, he was a lay leader, this can become a very sensitive topic to the Republican front runner.

Romney has admitted in a 2007 interview that he has participated in proxy baptisms in the past, but not recently. Exactly what is "recently," no one knows.

I can see how someone at first can find this unsettling. If you're Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, or whatever, it violates your very covenant. The whole ritual reeks of intolerance.

It even sounds downright weird. What doesn't help Romney or his church is the fact that they are so secretive about their rituals. Romney has downplayed his religious views, to which I'm okay, because I'm not a fan of mixing religion with politics (in that regard, this makes Romney superior to a Rick Santorum any day).

But I can't really get offended. If you actually think about it, this does nothing. Posthumously baptizing Elie Wiesel, his parents, other Holocaust victims, or other non-Mormons, only makes them members of the LDS in the eyes of LDS members, no one else. Elie Wiesel isn't no longer Jewish because some people in Provo, Utah decides he's ready for a baptism by proxy.

Because I am quite irreligious, I can't find this act that offensive. Only weird. If they did this to me, so what? It won't change anything about me. I'm not a Christian because I don't believe in the teachings of the Bible. Period.

It's comparable to insulting me after I'm dead. I'll never hear the insult!

So while the Helen Radkeys of the world think that they're revealing something so dark and hideous, they're not doing anything much more than causing a PR snafu for the Mormon Church.

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