Mitt Romney, posthumous baptism, and the media's fascination with all things Mormon
No one was actually harmed by the recent posthumous baptizing of the parents of Simon Wiesenthal and Anne Frank, but given that a Mormon is running for the U.S. presidency, the issue has garnered a disproportionate amount of attention.
It is getting increasingly unclear whether Mitt Romney will ultimately win the Republican primaries, but as long as he has a fighting chance - and if indeed he succeeds in finally emerging the GOP's candidate for president - the media's fascination with all things Mormon will continue to grow.
The recent reports on the posthumous baptizing of the parents of Simon Wiesenthal and Anne Frank by a branch of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, have nothing to do with former governor of Massachusetts, but I doubt that they would have been repeated in hundreds, if not thousands of publications around the world if not for Romney being the candidate to beat for the GOP candidacy.
Since among those being involuntarily baptized were Jews murdered in the Holocaust, various Jewish personalities and organizations have joined the campaign against posthumous baptizing - including the foremost spokesman of Holocaust remembrance, Elie Wiesel, whose parents also received the Mormon treatment publically - asked Romney to intervene.
Wiesel's belief in God is the subject of much literary research, but whether or not he believes in an afterlife in the traditional Jewish sense, I can't see why he is bothered about whatever some obscure LDS chapter did with his parents' names. If a Jew believes that the God of heaven and earth indeed sent his beloved children who were slaughtered in his name to paradise, then how can a group of goyim change that in any way? An agnostic certainly should have no problem either way - let the misguided believers enjoy their rituals, it's sticks and stones and they can't hurt someone who is long dead.
Compared to the heinous acts carried out in the name of religion throughout history and to this day, I can't see who is actually harmed by posthumous baptisms. All monotheistic faiths believe that those who believe otherwise are destined for an unpleasant end and beyond, so why are we judging the Mormons, who are apparently trying to save these non-believers from hellfire more harshly than others?
I am glad to see that Romney's campaign said that he would not be commenting on these matters and referred reporters to the church.
On the day an Orthodox Jew becomes a serious candidate for the White House, I will look forward to the press grilling him on Rabbi Ovadya Yossef's perorations on star-worshipers.