Jacoby's position was mirrored by the Hindustan Times, which referred to news of the proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi as "quite touching."
"If a Mormon church in Utah decides to symbolically bring the Mahatma into its fold, what harm can there be in that?" the publication editorializes.
While it is understandable that some Hindus have reacted with "irritation" to the baptism, the editorial said, "they should also take a leaf from Gandhi and treat such matters more lightly. If it makes those upset about Gandhi-ji's 'proxy baptism' feel any better, they could choose a great personality of their choice and 'convert' him or her to a religion of their choice. Let not harmless religious ceremonies come in the way of what is really a compliment."
Similarly, Gandhi's grandson, Arun, said during his visit this week to Salt Lake City that he found the strident reaction of some Hindus to news of Gandhi's proxy baptism "ironic" because of Mahatma Gandhi's life-long legacy of religious tolerance and inclusiveness.
"Whenever anybody asked him, 'What religion do you follow?' he would say, 'I'm a Hindu, I'm a Muslim, I'm a Christian, I'm a Buddhist, I'm everything,'" Arun Gandhi said. "So I can just imagine him sitting in heaven with us in front of God, laughing and saying, 'And now I'm also a Mormon!'"
In a National Public Radio story that focuses on the proxy baptism of Jan Karski, a Catholic who was a Polish diplomat who witnessed the Holocaust and who risked his life to fight against it, reporter Howard Berkes points out that Jews are not the only ones who have expressed concern about the LDS practice of proxy baptism.
"In 2008, the Vatican instructed Catholic bishops throughout the world to decline to turn over parish records to genealogists working for the Mormon church," Berkes reported.
Berkes pointed out "Mormons believe the posthumous baptism rite has no effect unless the deceased soul accepts it." And he said "it's not clear whether the problematic, highly publicized baptisms are the work of overzealous members ignoring the rules or disaffected Mormons out to embarrass the faith and, perhaps, Mitt Romney."
Helen Radkey, an excommunicated Mormon, was cited by Berkes and others as the source of information for the Karski baptism as well as the others reported in the media during the past two weeks.
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