The controversial author, comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, set brutal honesty and crass humor as his objective in his pursuit to entertain a diverse crowd of University at Buffalo students and community members alike. After some typical political skewering, he turned his attention to religion, training his guns on the Bible, Mormons, and Catholics. Here's the excerpt:
Warning the audience that people often walk out when he criticizes religion, Maher wasted no time on calling the Bible a “seriously flawed holy book” and “a book of Jewish fairy tales.”
“Why is the purposeful suspension of critical thinking a good thing? … If Mother Theresa thinks it is a crock, then it is like finding out that Colonel Sanders doesn’t eat the chicken,” Maher said.
The speaker also mocked Mormons, adding that he would not want anyone to baptize him into the Church of Latter-Day Saints after he died. “I don’t want to spend my time … [Mormon], I’ll take my chances in hell – at least they have drugs down there,” he said.
With this in mind, Maher questioned why people would listen to the pope and his “giant pointy hat” about the great beyond. “It’s just so f**king stupid that people sit there and are like, ‘Yes, he must know [what happens after death],” he said.
Before discussing the scandal surrounding the Roman Catholic Church and sexually abused children, Maher disclosed that he was raised Catholic. He could see the potential for children to be molested because of what he viewed as a pattern among religious institutions. “Anytime there is a cult and there are people in pioneer outfits [running around], there is going to be some child-f**king going on,” he said. “Anytime there is a guy that says he is God’s infallible wingman, lock up the children.”
No danger of us being baptized on his behalf after he dies. If any of us were to be baptized on his behalf in a temple while Maher's in his present spiritual condition, we might find it necessary to rededicate the temple afterwards. Maher's clearly not ready for salvation, and it would be intrusive and invasive to offer him heaven until he's got hell completely out of his system. Say for another 1,000 years -- until the second resurrection, or the Resurrection of the Unjust. Naturally, the final decision correctly rests in the hands of our Heavenly Father; only He has the wisdom to render a completely fair judgment.
Why do we perform vicarious baptism for the dead? According to the official LDS website, many people have lived on the earth who never heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who were not baptized. Others lived without fully understanding the importance of the ordinance of baptism. Still others were baptized, but without proper authority.
Because He is a loving God, the Lord does not damn those people who, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity for baptism. He has therefore authorized baptisms to be performed by proxy for them. A living person, often a descendant who has become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is baptized in behalf of a deceased person. This work is done by Church members in temples throughout the world.
Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world. The names of deceased persons are not added to the membership records of the Church.
The New Testament indicates that baptisms for the dead were done during the time of the Apostle Paul (see 1 Corinthians 15:29). This ordinance was restored with the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In contrast, the Community of Christ, which evolved separately from the LDS Church from those who remained behind in Illinois and Missouri after the migration of the larger body of Saints to Utah in 1845, does not perform ordinances for the dead.
However, some members of the LDS Church got a bit over-enthusiastic about performing vicarious ordinances for the dead. Before we knew it, people like Adolf Hitler and a number of Holocaust survivors received these ordinances. Some people were outraged, so the LDS Church nullified these "celebrity" ordinances and directed the membership to restrict vicarious ordinances to only the deceased in their own family lines in the future. This was most recently reiterated in May 2009 after it was revealed that Barack Obama's mother had received vicarious baptism.