Baptizing Dead Jews
PRODUCERS NOTE: This show will offend you. If you have strong religious views, you will be offended. I’m offended and Dave and I already ended up yelling at each other over it this morning. I understand what he is saying, but I think that he is missing the point of faith and free practice. You’ve been warned. Also, can you take a few minutes and answer a 5 question survey for me? – Producer Henri
So… I had written and prepped a show, titled “The 42 Allusion,” all about how the number 42 keeps popping up in California when it comes to fixing the roads. It was both a play on the Hitchhikers Guide and a serious look at how regressive taxes pushed by the left in the State never seem to end up doing what they claim the tax will do. Trust me it was brilliant. And boring.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to Frogstar B. I got dragged into an argument over the LDS Church practice of baptism for the dead and how that offends we Jews. Some of us argued that we should just ignore it, that it’s meaningless because “they are wrong.” Others argued that it was a despicable practice because it is both presumptive and offensive in that it disturbs the dead.
Now let me say this up front – THIS IS NOT A THEOLOGICAL DISCUSSION. I really don’t care what you chose to believe. I do care how you apply your beliefs, particularly as they apply to your behavior towards me. But I simply do not care about the theological debate over whether or not there is any efficacy or meaning in a particular action or doctrine that I personally do not accept. It you chose to believe it, good on ‘ya. So keep the theological discussion out of the eMail that you’re about to write me telling me that I am “wrong” and that obviously I am “of the devil.” Oh and that you’ll “be praying for me.”
Mormons have performed this rite of baptism for the dead for years, including, by the by, Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders and over that time have included deceased Jews. Many Jews around the globe were offended by this, and that Jews murdered in the Holocaust and other pogroms were being “baptized” by the LDS Church after their deaths. Now, maybe that does not offend you. Fine. Trust me, in the Jewish community, especially those who lean more conservative (not political, religiously) and into orthodoxy, the practice is HIGHLY offensive.
And so, we did what anybody should do. We asked the LDS Church to stop it.
As I have said, I grew up in Utah. Well… I graduated High School in Utah. But from a growing up standpoint, those years were the most influential upon my young life. I love Utah. My best friend lives in Utah and on occasion I make it a point to go back to Utah. It’s beautiful and friendly and relatively inexpensive. Plus it has dinosaurs.
But if you really want to understand me, and why I believe the things and the way that I believe them, you have to go back to late summer 1979 and begin the same journey I took. When you end up where I am, you begin to understand why the practice of baptism for the dead is not just offensive, it’s basically proof that people, regardless of how pious their faith, are just jerks.
And it’s why I adamantly oppose public prayers in schools.