Mormon baptizing of Holocaust victims must stop

There they go again.

Despite a 13-year-old agreement to suspend the practice, the Mormon Church has continued to posthumously baptize Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

This must stop. Not only has evidence surfaced that the church broke its promise to the Jewish community, but the very idea that any church would condone such a practice calls into question Mormon good will toward other faiths.

As our article this week describes, the church honored its agreement to remove 200,000 names from its database (presumably Jewish Holocaust victims posthumously baptized as Mormons). Unfortunately, the church never stopped adding new names, thus undoing its restitution.

This wasn’t the only time this week the Mormon Church found itself in the news. Since the passage of Proposition 8, which stripped the legal right of gays and lesbians to marry in California, angry street protests against the church have taken place across the country, along with calls to boycott the state of Utah and Mormon-owned companies.

The Proposition 8 campaign was largely financed by the Mormon Church, which donated close to $20 million to the cause — ironic, considering the Mormon Church has itself redefined marriage several times over its history.

Unlike some critics, we do not view the church’s action as a violation of its tax-exempt status nor a blurring of the line between church and state. As long as it is not endorsing candidates, the church has every right to weigh in on matters of morality.

However, actions do have consequences. If the church wants to put up millions of dollars to pass an odious and bigoted ballot measure, it had better be prepared for blowback.

That’s why we support Prop. 8 opponents’ calls for boycotts and other legitimate forms of punitive response. It’s a free country, and citizens have the right to strike back with their pocketbooks.

No doubt the Mormon Church acted in a sincere effort to live out its creed. No doubt the majority of Mormons want good relations with Jews and would recoil at the thought of offending others.

But their church does offend, with its posthumous baptizing and its bankrolling of a shameful assault on our constitution.

We respect the Mormon Church. We Jews want good relations with all faiths, including the Mormons. To best facilitate that, the church must carefully consider its place alongside other faiths and minority groups in America.

A good place to start would be to end immediately the practice of baptizing our murdered brethren, of blessed memory.