Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quid Provo Quo: Circumsizing Up Proxy Baptism

Once again, Mormons have “baptized” Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish girl whose diary chronicling her years in hiding from the Nazis stands as a testament both to human spirit and the cruelty and degradation that necessitated it. This baptism took place in the Dominican Republic, although the rite has been performed, in one form or another, many times since the late 1980s. And, in fact, an agreement had to be reached (in 1995) between Jewish and Mormon leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop permitting the practice of baptizing Holocaust victims.

Mormons also recently baptized the late Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal’s deceased parents, and they seem geared to do the same for still-living Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel (whose name was entered into the Mormons’ database of proxy-baptism candidates).

Wiesel, himself, recently called on Republican presidential candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney to denounce these proxy baptisms, but Romney has refused comment, so infer what you will about his beliefs and/or his spine. (In turn, Romney can infer that he won’t be getting my vote should he win the nomination.)

Proxy baptism isn’t merely a disgusting affront to Jews—it’s a mandate of our “unworthiness” and the “need” to save Jewish souls. This is really dangerous stuff—tantamount to cultural identity theft and a concrete example of how heretical at least some Mormons regard Judaism. And as history has proved over and over, such attitudes eventually flare into violence and blood.

The Mormon Church has “apologized” for each of these proxy baptisms but has, in practicality, done nothing to stop it. Yet even if it’s just a fringe element of the Mormon Church, a fringe element often represents the tip of an iceberg—just as anti-Semitism or racial prejudice run far deeper into the populace than just bigots uninhibited enough to “go on record.”

So I say dig up the corpses of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and give them a ceremonial bris, the ritual circumcision performed by a rabbi.

Because living Jews shouldn’t take this lying down, especially when deceased Jews can do nothing else.

No comments: