Posthumous conversion

I’ve been percolating a post about religion and religious tolerance.  It started around the time of Tebowmania, and each time I’d think I had just the right angle, something new and blogworthy would happen, like a panel of celibate dudes lecturing the world on contraception.  That post may still occur, but this snippet (sorry!) was too good to wait:

Stephen Colbert on Thursday tackled the practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims into the Mormon church.  . . . But “Jews don’t baptize, so instead I will now proxy-circumcise all the dead Mormons,” Colbert said.

The practice of posthumous baptism is fascinating to me from a number of angles.  Given that Jews don’t believe that baptism has any significance, our collective response should logically be “knock yourselves out, guys.  Enjoy the swim.”  But for sheer creepiness, it is really hard to outdo.  If I got word that my Jewish ancestors were being, well, not “baptized,” because that is not a meaningful concept to me, but invoked during a Mormon pool party the upshot of which is to say that their religion is better than mine, I’d be good and annoyed.  And creeped out.

Stephen Colbert has the answer.  Posthumous conversion of Mormons to Jews!

(I couldn’t get the Comedy Central video clip to embed, and I’ve wasted just about enough jury-instruction-drafting time trying.  For the full, hilarious, clip, click here.)

I’m thinking of proxy converting everyone, living or dead, to my religion:  Unaffiliated Skeptic With A Working Hypothesis of Monotheism.  Our main sacrament is Trying to Figure Out What It All Means.  All of my new converts would wander around in the same state of religious confusion in which I dwell, engaging in the Sacrament by asking each other, “What do you think it all means?” and listening respectfully to the answer.   No special clothing or food required.  And most importantly, no oppressing, killing, or even legislating against anyone else’s faith.

  1. Dan
    February 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I think the set of grandparents that you and I share would be HIGHLY amused to know that the Mormon church has now claimed them. Amusement is the best possible reaction to this stuff. What is particularly funny is that the great religious leaders of all time had these simple, common sense ideas that are impossible to disagree with: treat everyone nicely. Be a good person. Think about stuff (that’s us Jews). Slow down and stop thinking so much (Buddha). Even the Mormons idea is pretty good (Let’s go somewhere nobody else wants to be [have you ever seen the Great Salt Lake???] and do our own thing, and do it in our own spiritual undies). And now in the name of religion everybody is going nuts on everybody else. I recommend sitting back, pouring a shot or two of Maker’s Mark, and enjoying the parade.

  2. February 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I totally agree about our shared grandparents. And I’m definitely adopting your Maker’s Mark parade-watching sacrament into my religion.

  3. Marsha
    February 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Once again, I’m sitting here trout-mouthed! While I hope to move through the stages from being incredibly offended (and also feeling very disrespected by the few Mormons who have undertaken this posthumous conversion debacle) to the more detached amusement described by Dan, i am not yet there. Can’t wait to see who the Mormons will claim next? perhaps all the American Indians they tried to convert, and abused, in their boarding schools ? Yikes! Clearly, I need to watch Colbert’s take on this and get a little comic relief. sigh

  4. February 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Screw it. Related point: Celibacy is a cakewalk for those whose bullshit prevents them from getting laid anyway.

  5. February 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Oh yeah. Isn’t searching for the right religion a bit like trying to find a comfortable toilet seat?

  6. Laura Schwartz
    March 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Stranahan’s

  1. July 29, 2012 at 6:40 am

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