Tag Archives: Baptism

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.