Yesterday, we went round and round about the Mormon practice of baptism of the deceased, and particularly a story about that practice and Mitt Romney’s family-by-marriage. Now the story has hit the British press, even including pictures of Ann Romney’s deceased father. More needs to be said.
There are two ways to attack this issue. The first is the issue of simply bad journalism. This humble little blog discussed the matter directly with one of Edward Davies children. Yet the mighty and vaunted Daily Mail of England could not be bothered?! That indicates that clearly the story is about sensationalism, NOT about the Mormon practice nor what it means to the people involved.
Secondly, there is some really deep theology here – stuff most believers of any faith that practices baptism do not understand. There is great disagreement amongst traditional Christians about the practice. Why, Presbyterians like myself, and Catholics as well just to name a couple, dare baptize infants who have no more control over what is going on than the dead. Where are the stories about that concerning say, Rick Santorum, who has our prayers this Sunday? Clearly, the press is not interested in the issue, they are interested in making the Romney/Davies clan look strange.
Which brings me to my final point. The death of a parent is a horrible thing. I was holding my father’s hand as he breathed his last. It is an extraordinary and very moving experience. Such an experience is accompanied by a complex emotional stew that requires sincere expression. What people do in the face of such circumstances is both highly personal and highly diverse. Those of us of faith believe, even more hope, that our posthumous rituals can bring aid of some sort to those we have lost. But all people, not just those of faith, have posthumous rituals of some form to bring comfort to the survivors.
These stories stomp upon and ridicule a source of comfort to the still living members of the Davies clan. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, “Christian” about such an action. These stories are simply inhumane. Most of the Mormon stuff written in this and the last campaign was wrong, but that is politics. This particular line of inquiry is simply shameful.