Elie Wiesel to Mitt Romney: Tell Mormon church to stop baptizing Jews killed in the Holocaust
On February 15, 2012 At 10:51 am
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Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author of the book Night that recounts his experiences in a concentration camp wants Mitt Romney to tell the Mormon church to stop baptizing Jews killed in the Holocaust. Baptizing dead people is a Mormon practice that they believe saves ancestors. As the Huffington Post reports, the Mormon church was getting ready to baptize Wiesel by proxy:
The Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke to The Huffington Post Tuesday soon after HuffPost reported that according to a formerly-Mormon researcher, Helen Radkey, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had submitted Wiesel's name to a restricted genealogy website as "ready" for posthumous proxy baptism. Radkey found that the name of Wiesel had been submitted to the database for the deceased, from which a separate process for proxy baptism could be initiated. Radkey also said that the names of Wiesel's deceased father and maternal grandfather had been submitted to the site.
A spokesman for the Mormon Church claimed that the names were simply entered into the database, and none were submitted for baptism, which he described as a separate process. The entry of a living person, he said, was a mistake, and he provided no explanation for the submission of Wiesel's father and maternal grandfather. By Monday the records for the names of Wiesel and his family had been changed to "not available," according to Radkey.
Getting Romney to do anything publicly regarding his religion may be more difficult than it would seem. Romney famously does not talk about his Mormon faith, and in the video below, flatly refuses to give any information about his participation in the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead by proxy, saying that the information "should be gotten from the church:"
Wiesel said that as a presidential candidate, no topic is off limits for Romney, including the proxy baptisms. However, as Romney backers have been quick to point out, the White House hopeful isn't the only member of LDS in U.S. politics. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, is also a Mormon.
Wiesel's decision to call out Romney by name could pose problems for the GOP front-runner for a number of reasons. One, it forces the issue of his Mormon religion (not exactly a selling point for many conservative voters) back into the headlines. And two, as HuffPo notes, it could cause trouble with Republican-voting Jews in Florida and elsewhere in a general election matchup with President Obama.
Romney's camp is not commenting on the story, a common practice of late for the campaign.