Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LDS proxy baptism is none of my business

Poor tormented soul.

Obama's mother was abducted recently. Last seen on Cloud 9, her soul was brazenly stolen by proxy baptists, posthumously baptized into the LDS Church, and is feared lost in a post-mortal LDS eschatology. Although archangels are out looking for her, God Himself seems powerless to stop this odious practice. Obama is considering sending in the clowns.

Truly, the world has gone mad.

If President Obama's religion is even remotely true, then it is asinine to believe that a member of the LDS Church (or any other mortal besides Stanley Ann Dunham herself) has any say over her final resting place. In fact, asinine is too kind (and yet too mean to donkeys). It is heresy to believe this, and any self-respecting (non-Mormon) Christian should be ashamed to have let such paganism into his or her belief system.

It is no surprise to read that the Vatican has called LDS baptisms for the dead a “detrimental practice” and directed each Catholic diocesan bishop “not to cooperate with the erroneous practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (according to the Salt Lake Tribune). After all, they should know about "erroneous practices", given their history.

If we all claim to know the Truth, why the outrage when what they others quietly (even secretly) undertake a ritual we believe will be completely ineffective and harmless?

Slander, pure and simple. However disguised, it is an unjustified free kick at a political opponent. What's not to like? Plenty. Gays are culturally more "odd" than Mormons, and those attempting to "shame" us with our "odd" beliefs are waiting in line to see if the mud sticks to Mormons before pour hot tar onto gays. Those avidly watching Big Love today will be laughing at Butt Love tomorrow.

It is not hard to find legitimate points of disagreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has not earned my good will in playing such a central role in opposing my same-sex marriage (a purely civil matter) through lobbying (inappropriate for a tax-free institution).

But if we want the LDS church not to meddle in our civil marriage laws, who are we to tell them what secret (and, we believe, vain) ritual they might undergo in the privacy of their own temple? We need to take our own advice and butt out.

By all means, take my future soul away with proxy baptism, and leave me my same-sex marriage here on Earth. Now that's a bargain I can live with.

5 comments:

Scott B. said...

Nice. Check this out, too. Pretty stellar family history work by a pro.

Chino Blanco said...

I'm all for "butting out" but curious about how exactly anyone ever "butted in" in the first place?

Drawing attention = butting in?

Don't get me wrong, I like your suggested quid pro quo, but it's a little late in the game, don't you think?

Unless the whole point is simply to assuage offended LDS sensibilities without actually requiring any kind of real commitment to mutual respect?

Dan Weston said...

Chino,

Thanks for the comment.

I saw this story on Huffington Post and, though encouraged by the fact that most commentors seemed to find this a non-story, I have been noticing lately that the pro-Obama implies anti-XXX meme has had a much broader reach. Refutation through ridicule is not victory, and allying oneself with Obama is not vindication per se. We cannot rely on Obama or the courts to get us to a level playing field. Sometimes the Freedom Bus is full, and we have to keep walking.

I have no indication that LDS sensibilities were offended or need to be assuaged, so that is not the point. If they are, they need to grow a thicker skin.

The whole point is maintaining the moral high ground, and before you can do that you have be sure you are on the moral high ground.

Why should we defend the privacy of odd practices of a decidedly non-mainstream subgroup still the subject of constant ridicule by rightwing fundamentalists? Stop by your local leather bar with a video camera. We are stop #2 on that bus ride to hell.

Mutual respect comes softly, not least because it first requires self respect (on both sides), and that requires integrity and self-restraint. The biggest threat to gay equality is not Mormons, but closeted gays. And they will not be induced to come out from behind the mask until their privacy is respected enough that they can risk trying self-esteem on for size.

Proxy baptism seemed as good a place to start as anywhere, so strawman or not, off I went!

Anonymous said...

Personally, I never understood why anyone would be upset by a post-mortem proxy baptism. What if they turn out to be right? If other major faiths offered such a deal, I would gladly request them all. Why not cover all your bases, just in case?

john f. said...

Mormons don't believe that they have a say over Obama's mother's resting place. When Mormons do proxy baptisms, we believe that we are just offering those who have passed on the opportunity to accept or reject that baptism. Thus, it's just an offer and Mormons do not believe that people for whom they have done proxy baptisms have become Mormons in the afterlife.

For a non-Mormon, the most striking aspect of this should be that it is a waste of believing Mormons' time to do this given that a non-Mormon would likely assume that if there is a such thing as an afterlife, everyone would be rejecting the offer that is being made them through proxy baptism.