Reflecting on the issue of posthumous baptism this Presidents Day

I’m going to preface this entire post by saying that I respect all people’s rights to their own religions.  What you choose to believe, and even what you choose to not believe, is your right, and I respect that.

What I do not respect is doing something without a person’s consent.  Hateful remarks like, “I bet your father is rolling over in his grave right now” and the like are reprehensible.  I equate them to rape; you are doing something against a person’s will.  I have no right to force myself on another person sexually, just as I have no right to perform actions on a person that is deceased that may or may not interfere with a person’s belief system.  In the former, that’s called rape.  In the latter, you can call it psychological or memorial rape, because that’s really what it is.

And that is why I have such a big problem with the Mormon faith taking it upon themselves to baptize people in death.

Our founding fathers have been baptized into the Mormon faith after their deaths.  Every one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence has been baptized into the Mormon faith after their death.  David Livingston, a Christian missionary, was baptized into the Mormon faith after his death.  Paul Revere – famous for his midnight ride to alert the Colonists of the impending British attach – baptized after death.  Jewish holocaust victims, including Anne Franke, were baptized after death.  Even President Barack Obama’s mother was posthumously baptized into the Mormon faith after death.

Many of these were done without the consent of the family (the baptism of George Washington and the other founding fathers occurring after a man had a dream that Washington came to him, asking to be baptized), while some were.  But still – it’s done without the consent of the individual.  And that’s just wrong.

It continues to this day.

So as you sit back and contemplate Presidents Day, and maybe have a fleeting thought about our founding fathers, think about their legacy – and how it’s been changed, against their will.  And I’ll be sitting back, wondering why this isn’t a bigger deal in American politics.

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