Thursday, March 1, 2012

Actually, I Think Both Bernie and Jon Get the Mormons' Posthumous Baptism Thing Wrong

In the pages of the NatPo, Bernie Farber waxes lachrymose re Mormons baptizing dead Jews (such as Anne Frank):
Throughout the ages, Jews always have been targeted for conversion. Whether it be the oxy-moronic and deceptive "Jews for Jesus," using subterfuge and artifice to convert modern Jews, or the work of Spanish Inquisitors forcing Jews to convert centuries ago, all Jews have viscerally felt this denial of our faith and traditions. The effort of posthumous conversion stings our collective Jewish soul.
While there may be those who will wonder what all the fuss is about, in Judaism there can be no greater good than honouring our dead, especially those who were murdered by the Nazis sanctifying God's name (in the Hebrew faith tradition, al Kiddush ha-shem) many with the words of the sacred Jewish prayer Shma Yisroel - Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is One - as they were sent to their graves. LDS practices not only revictimize Holocaust victims, they dishonour their memory and disrespects our own holy tradition. They must stop.
Right below that lament, Jonathan Kay comments:
As for the notion that the practice comprises an "insult" to Jews, ask yourself the following question: What is more "insulting," the traditional Christian doctrine that one's failure to embrace Christ dooms Anne Frank and all the rest of us to a perpetuity in hell, or the Mormon notion that there is hope for everyone, even after death?
In fact, they're both wrong. Bernie, as per usual, is far too overwrought on the subject; Mormons posthumously converting Jews doesn't "sting" my soul--or anything else--because to me, a non-Mormon, it's a nutty and meaningless practice since the Jews in question are dead, and therefore un-convertable. And Jonathan, as per usual, doesn't really get religion. For Jews, Mormons baptizing their dead to give them access to heaven (because only Mormons get to go there) is not much different from other Christians damning us to hell for all eternity because in neither belief system are Jews allowed to enter heaven as Jews.

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