I had heard about this practice, but tried not to think about it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is investigating the posthumous "baptism" of President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as a "serious breach" of religious code, a spokeswoman said. Church records published by a liberal blog, Americablog, show that Dunham, who died in 1995, was baptised last June 4 in Provo, Utah, and received endowment, another sacrament, a week later.
You might think that this whole idea would be against their doctrine, but no.....
"The offering of baptism to our deceased ancestors is a sacred practice to us and it is counter to Church policy for a Church member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related," said spokeswoman Kim Farah in an emailed statement.
So the problem isn't baptising dead people, it's baptising dead people who aren't relatives. This isn't the first time this has caused problems.
The practice of posthumous baptism by proxy has caused controversy in the past, as when Jewish groups raised objections to the baptism of victims of the Holocaust.
I can't help but think of the old political machine practice of registering dead people to vote for them. After thinking about this far more that it warrants, I have a few questions for these people.
- Do you really think your God is so stupid that he/she/it is fooled by the charade of adding to your church people who have already spent literally their entire lives outside it and are obviously no longer capable of joining?
- Don't you think he/she/it would be insulted by this low assessment of his/her/its intelligence?
- How can you be loyal to a God for whom you have such low regard?
Sighing, shaking my head and giving a hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for this.