Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Taking offense

Is it just me or is there something deeply offensive about the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) baptizing the dead by proxy?
Of course, it isn't a new practice. But, taking someone who was a committed member of another religion, or someone who died for his religious/ethnic heritage (such as Holocaust victims who are
baptized in this way by the Mormons), or someone who just never cared much about religion or a committed atheist and attempting to make him a member of your religion and then claiming him as yours, denies the individuality, the personality and the identity of that person. I was looking online tonight and discovered that my grandfather, in spite of the funeral mass, the rosary he was buried with or his entire life of Catholicism, has been baptized a Mormon. That's an insult to him and to his family. And, in general, the whole practice is insulting and offensive.

8 comments:

RottweilerTOM said...

Not an exact intelligent response but when you mention MORMON all I can say Its a FUCKING CULT!!!

But then again, is it insulting also when a local parish refuses to provide a gay man his last rights because he violates the Church's politics?

Religion in any name....

Tyler said...

It is insulting, though for what I think are very different reasons, in that case as well. The question in such a case is really whether a religious group has an obligation to those who live outside its rules. I'm not answering that one, but if you are thinking about the situation of John McCusker last year, it was clearly a case where the Church was in the wrong, for so many reasons.

The baptizing of the dead is a different kind of insult, I think, because of the way it insults someone's integrity, but anyway...

In any case, I'm not as anti-religious as I think you might be.

RottweilerTOM said...

I am not anti-religious I just don't like Catholics :) (Kidding)

My dad would stone me!!! But one thing to keep in mind aside from the McCloskey matter of which I am not referring, they take money from NY Mob figures which sickens me!

John said...

I have to disagree with you on this one. Posthumous baptism seems to be the most benign form of religious conversion anyone has come up with. It’s certainly less offensive than most missionary work (historically speaking). Sure if would be nice if people could just learn to say “this is what I believe, and it’s not important that you agree with me,” but then that wouldn’t be religion.

Tyler said...

But at least in the case of missionary work, as currently practiced, leaving aside historical forced conversion, there is at least the possibility of resistance. To take someone who is already dead and, presumably, has made any religious decisions that s/he was going to make, and then say, "Oh, guess what, he's one of us now!" is to deny the freedom and dignity of the individual in a special way.

And, I didn't say it was the worst thing done in the service of religion. Surely, there have been much worse practices and still are, just that it is itself deeply offensive.

Luciferus said...

Reading your blog is a pleasure. I found you via BigM and only now cherry picked around in your writings, but it's been fun. And I like that you use the word "interlocutor."

~steve

PS I was a "smart bartender" too.

Anonymous said...

What would prompt them to do this?

John said...

You, sir, need to update your blog.