Late Night: Stephen Colbert converts dead Mormons to Judaism
On Thursday, Stephen Colbert waded into the controversy surrounding the Mormon Church’s posthumous baptism of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Author and survivor Elie Wiesel recently discovered that several relatives who had perished under the Nazis were later baptized as Mormons, and publicly called upon presidential candidate Mitt Romney to speak out against the practice.
But Colbert, for one, didn’t see what the fuss was all about. “What business is it of yours, Elie? I did some research and discovered that those 600,000 Jews are now Mormons,” he said, referring to the estimated number of Jews who’ve been posthumously converted to Mormonism.
He continued: “Besides, the Mormons have stopped baptizing Holocaust victims, other than last week when they baptized Anne Frank, which they’ve done nine times. But that’s it, nobody else.”
However, as Colbert quickly discovered, this isn’t the case. It actually turns out that Wiesel,who is perhaps the world’s best-known living Holocaust survivor, was also on a list of people to be baptized.
“I don’t get why Elie Wiesel’s so upset about his name being on a list,” Colbert said, the off-color joke eliciting groans from the audience. “This controversy just seems like it will not die, and if it did, the Mormons would posthumously baptize it.”
Colbert proposed a novel solution to the problem: In an effort to “balance everything out,” he would “convert all the dead Mormons to Judaism.” (An eye for an eye, just like the Old Testament says.) Because Jewish don’t baptize their children, Colbert instead conducted a “proxy circumcision” using his Jewish intern Jay, a hot dog and a cigar-cutter. (We'll let you do the math.)
“By the power invested in me by renting ‘Yentl,’ I hereby circumcise every dead Mormon. By the name of the father, and that’s it,” Colbert proclaimed. “Congratulations dead Mormons, you’re now dead Jews. I just pray that no one baptizes you without your permission.”
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-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Stephen Colbert at a rally for former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in South Carolina. Credit: Richard Ellis / Getty Images