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Mormons and Arizona’s Prop 102

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2008

A huge dust-up exploded on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star this morning. According to the Star, Kyrsten Sinema, campaign chair for Arizona Together, characterized Proposition 102 as a “mostly Mormon-backed attempt to rectify what it calls a ‘polygamy problem’ in the eyes of voters”:

The opponents’ argument against the ballot measure also rests on convincing voters that Mormons and other religious groups are seeking to “impose their views on people.”

Sinema said the ballot measure is a reflection of the Mormon church “working hard to convince the public that they are mainstream.” She said her background, being raised Mormon in Tucson, gives her the credibility to make the charge.

“I don’t think Arizonans are interested in having the Mormon religion dictate public policy to them,” Sinema said.

Sinema contends that at least three-quarters of the individual donors to the campaign are with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on her group having Googled donor names along with “LDS” or “Mormon.”

While that method of verifying the religion of donors may be questionable, Sinema points to top backers with ties to the Mormon church: $100,000 from philanthropists Rex and Ruth Maughan, and $40,000 from Kristen Cowley, an organizer of the LDS Easter pageant.

Last June, just as the Arizona Legislature voted to place Prop 102 on the ballot, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) sent a letter to California churchesto be read during Sunday services which asked its members to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time.” I have it on good authority from Mormon colleagues that a similar campaign has been underway in Arizona since July.

Proponents of Prop 102 charge that questioning the LDS’s heavy involvement in the marriage battle in Arizona amounts to bigotry:

Michele Baer, spokeswoman for the campaign pushing the amendment, calls the focus on
Mormons a “political scare tactic from the opposition.”

But Baer — herself a Mormon singer — could not explain why voters would be scared of such involvement by Mormons.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m just saying that there is such broad-based support across all political, religious and ethnic backgrounds that support this proposition.”

And Baer wouldn’t comment on where the bulk of the funding is coming from, calling that “campaign strategy.”

“I can’t share,” she said. “They can look at public records.”

It certainly is a matter of public record. A look at the Arizona Secretary of State’s web site reveals that “Yes For Marriage” collected some 190 contributions of $10,000 or higher. Four individuals contributed $100,000, 6 contributed $50,000, and 25 contributed between $20,000 and $50,000. The site, of course, does not list religious affiliation, so it’s difficult to know how many of these contributors are LDS members.

Does anyone have time to google 191 names?

LDS Temple in Mesa, ArizonaBut there is this interesting fact: of the 190 contributions of $10,000 or higher, 70 came from Mesa Arizona — home to Arizona’s oldest LDS Temple and a very significant Mormon population. Mesa contributors include three of the four $100,000 contributors. In fact, the temple is located on a street named for the family of one of those $100,000 contributors — David and Nancy LeSueur.

I fully expect this line of questioning to be very controversial. My email inbox is already full about this. But I do think it is newsworthy that one religious denomination appears to be bankrolling a serious public policy initiative under the guise of a broad-based grass-roots organization. If that doesn’t send a chill down the spines of everyone who cherishes religious liberty, I don’t know what does.

The campaign to defeat Prop 102 is desparately outfunded. We’re struggling to afford radio ads, while the “Yes” side already has ads on television. Please give today, whatever you can.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

[Updated at 7:20 PM PDT to include additional information about Mesa, Arizona contributors]

Comments

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Stefano A
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

I had just completed reading the Daily Star article when I saw your post.

But I do think it is newsworthy to consider the possibility that one religious denomination appears to be bankrolling a serious public policy initiative under the guise of a broad-based grass-roots organization. If that doesn’t send a chill down the spines of everyone who cherishes religious liberty, I don’t know what does.

Setting aside for now the debate over the veracity of Sinema’s contention as to the “Mormon” rationale and also any claims of “religious bigotry”, what I was most troubled in the this and other reporting is, e.g., Sinema’s lack of stressing the point you just raised; i.e., how these debates are at root the eroding of boundaries between secular and theocratic governance.

The difference between religious marriage and the governments civil recognition of marriages, i.e., that the government does not bestow any religious sacramental meaning on marriage, I think, should be the major talking point by Sinema.

johnson
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

I’m from Utah and have seen first hand how this Church involves itself in State, National and Political matters under the guise of “moral issues”. I’m certain they are biggest force behind the Arizona Proposition, there are some very wealthy LDS members in Arizona, and if you’re an active member, the Church and it’s goals are foremost.

Michigan-Matt
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

Jim, I think it’s a fair news story to explore who is funding the effort to get AZProp102 passed –as well as who voted in the legislature to put it there, where their contributions come from, etc

What isn’t fair is to contend that LDS folks are somehow NOT entitled to engage in this debate and press for the public policy preferences –just like it’s ok for the gayLeft to agitate for repeal of DADT, ENDA or asylum for gay partners.

This isn’t about a religious group trying to enforce their beliefs on A’zoners; it’s about the very essence of our American system that allows any group or association of people to redress govt and seek changes in state policies.

Having fought this battle in Michigan in 2004, I can tell you that it’s easy to use “red meat shorthand” to inflame mostly Democrat, mostly secular gays with the religious bigots are intolerant of us.

But the truth is, the genius of our system is that religious groups and other associations can petition govt through the ballot box and secure policy preferences they want.

It’s up to the voters and opposing groups to lobby the voters not to fall asunder.

You are absolutely correct that there is a huge difference between sacred and civil marriages… but to those fighting this battle, if civil gay marriages occur they think it’s a moment in time before an activist court judge directs a minister to marry a gay couple in some church that doesn’t want it.

cowboy
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

What maybe something most people do not understand…the Mormons are a formidable force. Their organizational skills are beyond reproach. When the Prophet speaks (as he did with that letter to the Saints that was read from every Mormon pulpit in AZ and CA) you do not question it; you do not debate it; you are implored to do everything the letter asks.

Keep in mind the resources at play here. The Latter-Day Saints have great wealth. (well duh) But examples are: The two new LDS Temples in Arizona are not simple worship houses. They built a 20,000 seat tabernacle without going into debt. They are rebuilding the center of Salt Lake City with a new mall and urban chic center without tapping into any (any!) tithing! And the low estimates for the project is over a billion (with a ‘b’) dollars. But we’re not talking about the LDS Church coffers as much as the contributions the Saints in AZ and CA are contributing AND the manpower (all unpaid volunteers!).

The point of Mr. Burroway is quite correct. The Pro-Proposition 102 and the Pro-Proposition 8 in California is most assuredly financed in great part by the Mormons. They have a populace in both States that can alter the election if so willed. Building and expanding the empire to Arizona, Idaho is a natural result from being a close-knit community with ever expanding members.

Mormons would love to have Utah-styled government (heavily dominated by Republicans in the legislature and Judgeships) in every Western State.

The Taliban could take lessons from the Mormons.

The way to fight such financial advantage is to fight the pro-Propositions with TRUTH and make the voters aware of the lies and fabrications the pro-Proposition campaigns have used.

I have yet to hear of a gay Mormon couple seriously demanding to have an LDS Temple wedding. So, the LDS should avoid making assumptions that are not likely to come to pass after November.

Eddie89
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

I wish the AZ Secretary of State’s website were as functional as the LA Times website on Prop. 8 fundraising. Follow the money for Prop. 8: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-metro-prop-8,0,2463893.htmlstory By the way, over $27 MILLION dollars has been collected by both sides, Pro/Con, of the Prop. 8 issue! What WASTE of money just to try to prevent legal recognition of two loving, same-sex, adult individuals!

Anyway, I looked up everyone in “AZ” that had made contributions to Prop. 8 in California and turned up some VERY interesting details.

For example, DAVID LESUEUR contributed $25,000 dollars in support of Prop. 8 in California. His zip is listed as 85206

I then Googled “DAVID LESUEUR 85206″ and found an even more interesting link to http://www.taxexemptworld.com/organizations/mesa_az_85206.asp

Which lists “ESPERANZA CHARITABLE FUND (c/o DAVID E LESUEUR), Charitable Organization (Protestant) http://www.taxexemptworld.com/organization.asp?tn=1222540

So, it’s not just the Mormons backing these ugly initiatives.

Who knows how much money he’s given to Prop. 102!

John B
September 17th, 2008 | LINK

Eddie89

BTB previously mentioned that LeSueur and his wife contributed $100K to the Yes on 102 campaign. Three other contributors (last I checked) have also given that much :(

Eddie89
September 18th, 2008 | LINK

FYI…

The link provided for the Arizona Secretary of State’s web site does NOT take you directly to the Prop. 102 initiative. Instead it takes you to the first page, which lists the ARIZONA CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE C-17-2008 committee. Seems the committees are listed alphabetically.

Anyway, you then have to click “Next” a few times (23) to get to this page, page 24.

A more direct link to this particular committee is here

You can also do general name or business contributor searches here

Anyway, I found this really interesting PDF file that shows total contributions (personal and business) to the supporters of Prop. 102 of $575,995.00 as of 08/21/2008 $32,100.00 came from Businesses and $543,895 came from personal contributions.

Another interesting tid bit is that John L. LeSueur is the Treasurer for this committee. Some of the “MAJOR” donors to passing Prop. 102 are the following:
Wilford and Kathleen Andersen – $100,000.00
David and Nancy LeSueur Family Trust – $100,000.00
Gary W. and Lori S. Wagner, TTEE’s Wagner Family Trust – $100,000.00
James M. King – $50,000.00
Deryl and Valerie A. Eastman – $25,000.00

I then searched the addresses listed in the PDF report for these “high rolling” contributors and found the following:

Wilford and Kathleen Andersen – Their address takes you to the “Church of Jesus”. No mention of LDS affiliation, so I’m not sure if they are LDS or not.

David and Nancy LeSueur Family Trust – Their address turns up several non-profits, I.E. Care For Life, Inc. and Esperanza Charitable Fund. I then searched using just first and last name and found this “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints the – President David E Lesueur, 230 N Val Vista Dr, Gilbert, AZ 85234″

Gary W. and Lori S. Wagner, TTEE’s Wagner Family Trust – Their address is a residence, a mighty nice one from what I saw on Google Earth.

James M. King – His address is residential. It’s interesting to note that Mr. King and the Wagner’s only live 6.2 miles away from each other. Birds of a feather?

Deryl and Valerie A. Eastman – This is also a residential address. Get this, the Eastman’s live just 5.5 miles from the Wagners and 0.9 miles from Mr. King. Wow! Talk about being neighborly!

Oh, by the way, there is an LDS church located at 8239 W Villa Lindo Dr, Peoria, AZ 85383. Which happens to be 0.1 miles away from the Eastmans, 0.9 miles from Mr. King and 5.5 miles from the Wagners.

But then again, living close to an LDS church in Arizona is like living close to a Circle K. They’re everywhere out here!

Dave Hughes
September 18th, 2008 | LINK

In response to Michigan-Matt:

“This isn’t about a religious group trying to enforce their beliefs on A’zoners…”

It most certainly is.

“But the truth is, the genius of our system is that religious groups and other associations can petition govt through the ballot box and secure policy preferences they want.”

I would agree with you if this was a “policy preference” on most kinds of issues. However, this is a constitutional amendment which says, basically, that a majority class is entitled to certain rights, but a minority class is not. It’s about the civil rights of people.

Constitutions are supposed to guarantee rights for all people. I find it appalling that in this country it’s okay to put people’s civil rights up for a vote.

homer
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

If Arizonans knew the LDS church was bankrolling this initiative it would (will?) lose a lot of support. So they are being very quiet about it and of course they hate the attention.

What a waste of money- if they want to waste 100K they could just write me a check instead, at least I could come up with better television commercials.

Rob Johnson
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Here is a link to an article that puts the lie to the notion that Prop 102 is a “mostly Mormon-backed attempt to rectify what it calls a ‘polygamy problem’ in the eyes of voters.” http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/126097

I love how the article is captioned “800 Pastors (evangelical that is) Strategize on Marriage Amendment” and then has a link to a previous article captioned “Catholic Bishops Urge Voters to Ban Gay Marriage.”

There goes that talking point I guess. Steve May and Krysten Sinema have to be thinking, “Of all the days to hold a press conference in front of the Mormon temple, how did we pick the day of an unprecedented gathering of evangelical pastors supporting Prop 102.”

It’s kind of funny if you enjoy irony.

Jim Burroway
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

The focus is on who is raising the money and actually running the campaign. Yes, many people of faith support Prop 102 — just as many people of faith oppose it. There will be a news conference in Tucson of area pastors who oppose 102 on Tuesday the 23rd. This isn’t a religion vs. gay issue.

The focus of this article is that there is a single denomination that is leading the organization in Arizona andproviding the bulk of the funding. In in terms of leadership of the Yes on Prop 102 campaign and in the overwhelming bulk of the $3.3 million raised, it is certainly an LDS dominated organization here in Arizona.

Michigan-Matt
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Jim offers: “This isn’t a religion vs. gay issue.”

Sure it is, Jim, and with all due respect you’re making it exactly that by painting the proponents as LDS faithful and by portraying the funders of Prop102 as LDS members… even though there are many, many others who are not LDS-faithful supporting it’s passage. Like the Catholic Church, LDS is a favorite kicking boy for gays serving up fresh meat to the red meat gay crowd.

We all know that in our gay community there is a deep-seated antipathy toward anyone –even other gays– who practice their religion or base their opinions on their faith. It extends to religion with a capital “R” and often takes a hateful, spiteful tact toward God. It isn’t just gays; liberals in general do it with pleasure.

Of course there are other religious groups who will oppose 102; but we won’t say “Thank God”. Just like on the flipside, there are OTHER proponents of 102 than just LDS or religion.

You’re trying to make religion the boogeyman behind 102 and, I’m betting if the rotten amendment passes, there will be a continuing chorus from gays indicting religion (in this case LDS) as a foe of gay civil rights.

Guess what? We could probably have all the marriage equality rights we could want, right now, if gays would drop the “marriage or nothing” militancy and ask voters to embrace marriage equality rights for same sex partners.

But we won’t. We’ll go on beating up religion and drive a wedge between us and the very voters we need to appeal to on the basis of shared freedoms and equal rights.

It is perfectly ok to explore who’s funding the advocacy of 102. It’s not ok to try to check their constitutional rights of free association and redress of govt just because they are LDSers.

Jim Burroway
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

I really do wish people would read what I actually wrote, not what they want others to believe I wrote. So let’s try it again, with added emphasis:

I fully expect this line of questioning to be very controversial. My email inbox is already full about this. But I do think it is newsworthy that one religious denomination appears to be bankrolling a serious public policy initiative under the guise of a broad-based grass-roots organization. If that doesn’t send a chill down the spines of everyone who cherishes religious liberty, I don’t know what does.

There are many pastors supporting Prop 102 and opposing it. But there is one denomination in particular that is placing its enormous financial resources in the state of Arizona to impose its theological understanding of marriage on other denominations which hold different views of marriage. I said it before and I’ll say it again. This isn’t a religion vs. gay issue. But it is about the concerns that one denomination can so dominate the financial landscape in an important public policy decision.

Focus On the Family gave $20K back in July, but have dropped out. A few other non-LDS organizations gave early on to the “Yes” side as well, but their active financial participation is now gone. There is a reason for this. Yes, non-LDS persons support and give money to the Yes side, but the preponderance of large donors are the direct result of the strong appeals of one denomination on the financial means of its members.

I wonder how everyone will react if a single denomination — any denomination — places such resources behind any other issue of importance to voters? If we weren’t talking about Prop 102, but about education or health care, wouldn’t you find that disturbing?

Michigan-Matt
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

David Hughes writes: “Constitutions are supposed to guarantee rights for all people. I find it appalling that in this country it’s okay to put people’s civil rights up for a vote.”

Absolutely, David. And I believe, just like the great liberal polisci professor EE Shattschneider thought, democracy is a shelter organization for minority interests.

You should find it appalling. Just like you should find it appalling that some would like to strip the citizens advancing 102 of their right to free association. Just like you should find it appalling that some would like to strip the citizens advancing 102 of their right to redress govt and pursue public policy change via the ballot box just because they are people of faith.

Here in Michigan in 2004, we went through what AZ is just now going through and there were lots of voices within our gay community arguing that the Catholic Church was behind effort to abridge gay civil rights by passing a FMA.

Guess what, after the dust settled, the FMA passed 61-39% and we had the opportunity to closely review contributors stacked against us… we found out it wasn’t them at all. It was just voters who were fed up with the gay militancy of “marriage-or-nothing”. We surveyed 1,245 contributors and 93% said their support for the FMA was based on gays pushing marriage.

We shot ourselves in our own foot. We’ve been meeting with leaders from the religious communities in Michigan to build support for a ballot drive to gain marriage equality… I hope you guys in AZ don’t hear what we’ve been hearing: No way, you gays scortched the Earth the last time.

I just hope.

We all like to contend (cause we’ve been taught to be victims first) that someone isn’t protecting our constitutional rights or that our rights are being infringed/threatened by an evil, tyrannical force… it’s part of our gay culture’s VictimHood Industry.

Just remember that we may need those very voters to pick-up the pieces after they get done with their public whipping of the constitution… and we leave behind the marriage-or-nothing strategy that’s putting us in this unpleasant bind.

(Sorry for the length of the reply to your comment, David)

Jim Burroway
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

I can’t speak to Michigan. I only know what’s happening here in Arizona. This isn’t a “blind” allegation. I do not believe our research can support Rep. Sinema’s contention that 3/4ths of the donations comes from LDS members. (nor can it refute it). But it can be shown that the preponderance of monetary donations are, in fact, coming from members of one single denomination.

Michigan-Matt
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Jim, with all respect, I read what you wrote and for me the reprise line is “If that doesn’t send a chill down the spines of everyone who cherishes religious liberty, I don’t know what does” and “This isn’t a religion vs. gay issue”.

If the proponents of 102 are indeed even 99.99% LDS, what ought to be a chilling concern is that you don’t see their religious liberty to engage in public affairs being worthy of protection by the same constitution that most of us are trying hard to use to protect our right to marriage equality.

There are serious, serious pitfalls to exploring who is funding 102 and portraying it as an LDS effort. It would be far better to explore the complete nature of contributors and not make it look like a witch hunt for farRight LDSers.

Look, we do NOT gain or profit from that approach. And what if LDSers are supporting the effort 99.99%, isn’t that their right? Free speech doesn’t stop at the Temple. Free association doesn’t stop at the Temple.

I think the real reason is to “prove” the issue of LDS involvement and use it to draw into question –or animate our red meat secular gays– religion being involved in thwarting gay rights.

That’s just my humble opinion, respectfully submitted, based on our own experiences here in Michigan with a 2004 FMA.

Michigan-Matt
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Sorry, I may have typed “LSDers” instead of LDSers… I didn’t mean to suggest they are druggies. Sorry if that happened… fingers are too fast for my own good.

Dave Hughes
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Michigan-Matt:

Many of the proponents of “one man-one woman” marriage amendments don’t grasp the difference between the religious sacrament of marriage and the civil marriage license. If we could get the majority of people onboard with this, we would have no trouble securing equal access to civil marriage licenses (and all the rights that come with that) for everyone. This isn’t about forcing churches to marry gay people – no one I know supports that.

The hard-core conservative religions want to oppress and stamp out gays in every way possible – marriage, adoption, employment law, hate crimes law, everything. It isn’t just about marriage for them.

L. Junius Brutus
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Matt, why is it that you regard it as legitimate to work to deny your fellow citizens their civil rights? Would you similarly defend people if they were trying to get interracial marriage bans on the ballot, that they are just using their liberty to engage in public affairs – even though their goal is reprehensible?

If you want to argue that this has not the effect some think it has, make that argument. But don’t say that what they are doing is legitimate. And you wonder why people think of Log Cabin Republicans as self-loathing? Defending those who hate us plays right into that perception.

Steve M
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Michigan-Matt:

“Just like you should find it appalling that some would like to strip the citizens advancing 102 of their right to free association. Just like you should find it appalling that some would like to strip the citizens advancing 102 of their right to redress govt and pursue public policy change via the ballot box just because they are people of faith.”

You’ve made variations of this charge several times in this thread.

But the fact is, pointing out that this group is the primary funders in now way strips their right of association or strips their right to redress the government and pursue policy change. They can continue to do these things. They can even continue to pour MORE money into the campaign, if they so desire. Their freedom of association and freedom to seek redress are completely undisturbed.

To claim otherwise is not merely disingenuous, it is a blatant untruth.

If you stuck to arguing that emphasizing this one denomination’s role was an unwise tactical move, as you do sometimes, I would disagree with you, but I would see how that’s an interesting and fair discussion to have. But you can’t win the argument by just making scary-sounding stuff up that isn’t true.

Tom
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Who cares about the mormons? They are indeed a powerful and well organized opponent on this issue (for those of us who believe in both reason and the true message of Christ) . . . but let’s stop focusing on the Morms, and the Catholics, and all of the others who are mis-using their versions of Christianity.

Church’s are well within their rights to be involved on these issues. Whining about it and focusing on it is a distraction.

For those of us against 102, let’s put more energy into organizing our side and putting up a good fight. There are three key questions we need to ask over and over of all Arizonans:

1) Why aren’t we dealing with more important issues?
2) Why are we voting on this again?
3) Why won’t politicians listen to us? Do they think we are dumb?

Alan - Gay in SLC
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

The first obvious thing about this article and any others of a similar nature is that it is full of hate. It appears that anytime a religion is included in the theory of why something is happening, or why something is being questioned it ends up having a negative overtone. Why is it that religion = negativity? I always thought that religion was there to teach how to love, respect and guide eachother towards happiness, not to keep people apart from living and learning from eachother by spreading discrimination and hate. Its not just mormons or christians for that fact, its all religions.

I also find it odd that anytime that a minority group wants to persue civil liberties that one religion or any majority group doesn’t agree with, they are fought with to all ends until there is nothing but hurt and anger being spread. Civil liberties are meant to keep things in a social society fair and equal. This doesn’t happen like it should, its quite the opposite. It happens with the African-Americans, Jews, Gays, Muslims, Native-Americans, Christians, etc… and each time it leaves that group of people with a grudge that last for decades if not longer. Oppression and discrimination is something we, especially in the United States, have always faught and you’d think would realize its just best in the end to provide the SAME freedoms for all who live here…no matter if you agree or not. In reality if we would approach eachother as individuals who have unique and special outlooks on life, we would learn from eachother and progress much faster than we currently allow ourselves. How I live my life does NOT affect you in any way unless I chose to force you to take part in my daily living. I don’t do that, so my freedoms should not be dictated by anyone other than me.

Living in Utah myself, I hear a lot on how the LDS church interferes with groups growing and progressing naturally. Groups that do a lot of good for the communities they are involved with, but because the LDS church doesn’t agree, things are held back and people are left feeling hurt and discriminated against. This isn’t the only state where religion takes charge in political issues that should be left for the individual to decide. The church should just be there for those who need the guidance to find answers they feel comfortable with, not to be the ones dictating what you should do and how you should feel about something.

I myself was raised in Utah as LDS, but felt early on a different calling for a different spiritual path. I have found myself many of my own answers to my life questions by following what my heart says is true that the church doesn’t want me living. By following my own life path, I am a MUCH happier person that I was by living the life religions state I should live. I feel my spirit communication with what I perceive to be GOD all the time and its because I try to not judge. Judging isn’t for me or anyone else to do. Its for GOD and GOD only. Religions are NOT GOD. The only one who should dictate how I live my life is me and those whom I chose to involve in it. When I die, the its up to GOD to determine how I did.

Timothy Kincaid
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

L. Junius Brutus

And you wonder why people think of Log Cabin Republicans as self-loathing?

Please don’t assume that others here share your own brand of bigotry. Nor should you assume that Michigan-Matt is part of Log Cabin.

Cheap shots are not welcome.


Michigan-Matt

Exposing the effort of one religious denomination to dictate social policy is not at all the same at denying their right to free assembly. We all defend their right to do as they wish but that will not and does not preclude us from warning the electorate that this is a power grab by a specific religious group seeking to impose their own religious doctrines on a civil society to the detriment of other religious groups.

Further, stop with your hostility towards the gay community. You can make slurs at the community at other sites but I will not be tolerant of wild statements like “part of our gay culture’s VictimHood Industry”. Our comments will not turn into the constant flaming that is evident at other sites such at indegayforum.

If you have something to say, say it. But don’t start up the left v. right thing.

PiaSharn
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Michigan-Matt, I don’t see where Jim (or anyone else) said that Mormons or other religious individuals should not be able to get involved in this issue, have the right to assemble, or petition the government.

What is being discussed is that the people behind AZ’s Prop 102 are giving the impression that this is a grassroots organization composed of many average people. However, it is actually being funded by small group of people with deep pockets. Thewy are being disingenuous, and people have the right to know about it.

For that matter, Jim certainly pointed out that it was not just the Mormons who are backing it, and that there are plenty people of faith who are against it.

As for MI, I was living there in 2004 and was involved in trying to block the marriage amendment. I did not have the same experiences as you did. The majority of the people I talked to did not favor the constitutional amendment because of GLBT activism. They backed it because they believed that marriage is a religious matter and that same-sex marriage is forbidden by the Bible. Like Dave Hughes pointed out, they were unable to grasp the differences between religious marriages and legal marriages.

Yes, some of them talked about the “militant gay activists”, but when I questioned them further on it, they admitted that they had never actually encountered any. They had simply been told that all gay people were hell-bent on destroying marriage and forcing kids to learn about gay sex in school and advancing the “homosexual agenda”, so they believed that all GLBT people were like this, and that this is what the gay community was all about.

You also said that in the gay community “there is a deep-seated antipathy toward anyone –even other gays– who practice their religion or base their opinions on their faith.” However, I’ve only seen this on rare occasions. Most GLBT people I’ve known have been religious, and the ones who are not have been accepting of the spiritual beliefs others. I didn’t see this wide-spread hostility you speak of when I lived in MI, nor have I seen it out here in CA. In fact, I was at San Diego Pride not too long ago, and there were many religious organizations that marched in the parade and had well-attended booths at the festival.

If you yourself have encountered unjustified hostility from members of the gay community because of your religious beliefs or your political leanings, then I am truly sorry for you. However, your experiences are not the totality of the gay community in the US. They aren’t even true for all of MI. There’s no need to assume that just because some members of the gay community were mean to you, that this means that all of us feel the same way.

L. Junius Brutus
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid: ‘Please don’t assume that others here share your own brand of bigotry.’

I never assumed anything about anything “others here” believe. It’s the Log Cabin Republicans themselves who complain about being looked down upon. If there is an assumption you wish to complain about, it is theirs.

And pointing that out is by no means bigoted, neither is pointing to the underlying reasons for that perception, even if one were to grant that criticism because of political affiliation is somehow bigoted.

I realize that you are just trying to keep order here, but this was a cheap shot.

Timothy Kincaid
September 19th, 2008 | LINK

L. Junius Brutus

Log Cabiners never refer to themselves as “self loathing”. And neither will anyone at this site, not even in a “no wonder others…” sort of way. It is a term intended to demean and shows contempt and distain.

We have conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, the devoutly religious and athiests all who participate here. We will NOT have a site that is hostile to our readers.

There are literally hundreds of sites on which one can post the most outrageous insults and slurs. And I’m certain that those who enjoy that kind of behavior really get a kick out of them.

But that is not our purpose.

By all means disagree with each other. Challenge their views – or the authors’ views – but please do so without terms intended to show contempt.

Fair enough?

Lauren
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

It is vital that we protect marriage. See why I think so here:
http://choosetheright.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/gay-marriage

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Lauren,

Thank you for illustrating the motivation behind your efforts to eliminate the rights of gay citizens:

First of all, I believe there is a Prophet of God living on the Earth today. I believe he receives direct revelation from our Father in Heaven.

As I suspected, all your efforts are nothing more than a desire to impose your church on those of other faith.

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Lauren,

As one whose religious faith rejects your “prophet of God” living in Salt Lake City (and I’m glad our constitution still lets me do that — so far!), I thank you for stopping by and essentially proving my point — that there is a powerful denomination using its financial resources to impose its theological views on everyone else.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Lauren: When you can provide a cogent explanation as to why you are attacking my marriage in order to protect yours, and how that will work to protect your marriage–or anyone’s–, please let me know.

but if you are going to insist it is about your religious beliefs, then Timothy and jim have it exactly right– you wish to use the powers of the state to enforce your religious beliefs on others.

good luck with that. Please note that if If the Handmaid’s Tale ever becomes reality in this country, you can explain to your baptist and pentecostal overlords why mormonism isn’t a cult and needs to be eliminated. i’m sure it will be an interesting conversation.

cowboy
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Two things you might find interesting.

1) The absolute slap-in-the-face Mormons got when McCain, with little arbitration, chose someone less qualified than Mitt Romney as his running mate. Face the facts, folks, it was anti-Mormonism that cost all-American-looking, business savvied Mitt the Veep position. He was amply qualified except for being too polarizing to the Evangelicals. It was pure anti-Mormon feelings involved and yet…Most Mormons rabidly defend McCain no matter what. It’s because the Leaders of the Mormons are so pro-Republican they can’t see the politics involved. The Saints are like blind sheep when it comes to politics. (If you want proof, I can give you several examples.)

2) The antiquated Utah liquor laws are just being reviewed and debated in the news lately. The Governor has made signals to do away with private-club laws. You would think his endorsement would make it a shoe-in for changing the liquor policies in the Legislature this coming year. But Nooooooo. They had to run the “idea” past the men in the big HQ building on Temple Square. Why??

So you see, there is an attitude in the Mormon culture where you don’t think. You do not study the issue if at all possible. You just follow the leaders. You don’t question the edicts.

So, if I could, I would invite Lauren over to dinner one time and ask why she could justify legislating me to be a second-class citizen. I want to look her in the eyes when she tries. Her website link doesn’t do much except spew weak justifications that any good Supreme Court Justice would laugh at.

cowboy
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Oh..how sexist of me. I assume Lauren is a woman.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

it’s a woman’s name. Could be a guy in drag

cowboy
September 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Or it could be a relative of Ralph? (ha ha ha…[slap knee] I just kill myself sometimes.)

I have to make a clarification. To be fair, I engaged in a bit of gross generalization in my previous post. I sincerely do NOT think every Mormon is a mindless sheep. I have to recognize some good Saints I know. They do and would question some dictates from the Prophet or, formally: the Mormon First Presidency and the Council of Twelve.

Take for example, if a letter from the Prophet/First Presidency told every Saint to drink a cyanide-laced cup of Koolaid. Would the Saints follow the directive? Surprisingly, I think a good many of them would. But, I have no way of proving that. But can we acknowledge there is this dynamics of religion and the related fanaticism that can occur.

However, I do believe a good portion of the members of the LDS Church do study and pray about this. It’s their duty. I have heard it repeated and advised time and again for Mormons to seek out the truth and study and pray about everything. In this case, and other examples I can give, I don’t think the Brothers and Sisters of the Church are doing their prayerful duty…(just my opinion).

These Propositions are discriminatory. The power Mormons wield in cases like this will come back to bite them. Plus, what they do after the election will be interesting. If Proposition 8 fails in California and Proposition 102 fails in Arizona what will be their next plan of action? Part of me knows they will shrug it off and not shed one tear nor feel a tinge of guilt for the millions they spent.

kt
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

I am LDS. I heard the letter from our Prophet over the podium on Sunday. I didn’t need a letter to tell me to get involved. People keep comparing how we feel about this issue to how others in the past have felt towards blacks or Jews, etc. That is a race and religious issue and is completely different in my mind. Our church members have been taught to love all people and religions and that includes gays. We have been taught by the leaders of the church that every person on this earth is a child of God including those that are gay. I have had gay friends and I know that most of my LDS friends have had gay friends. I do not think that God intended for two men or two woman to be married though. I can respect and love my gay friends, but that doesn’t mean that I believe they are living the way God intended them to live. I also think the same about my friends that have tried drugs. I love them, but I know that drugs are not right for me and they shouldn’t do them either. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to love them or that I’m not going to be their friend. Prop 102 is not just about defining marriage between a man and woman. I have two children and this could affect them greatly. I don’t want the public schools teaching my kids something that is completely against what we believe. It isn’t just what would be taught in the public schools. There are numerous ways that my family’s life would be changed because YOU are imposing YOUR beliefs on US. Where are my rights?

I also do not feel I am a sheep. Our leaders guide us in love and they let each individual make up their own minds on the doctorine they teach. I am an individual and a feisty one at that. Have you been around any LDS? Can’t you see that we are all so very different and have our own opinions? I don’t know where people come up with the sheep thing. It cracks me up. The LDS people are some of the most educated, diversified group there is. I wish that everyone would realize that we are not suddenly getting involved in prop 102 because of what our leaders wrote. The LDS have always been involved in politics because we like to know what is going on in the world and we love to have an influence. That is my right as a citizen of the United States of America just like it is your right. It has nothing to do with my religion, it has everything to do with the wonderful country I live in. I love that I can get involved and make a difference.

Stefano A
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

kt

. . . I also think the same about my friends that have tried drugs. I love them, but I know that drugs are not right for me and they shouldn’t do them either.

This is a fallacioius analogy and contrasting apples with oranges when you compare drug use and sexual orientation.

Prop 102 is not just about defining marriage between a man and woman.

Indeed! It is about separation of church and state AND CIVIL Rights!

I have two children and this could affect them greatly.

Agreed! Lack of education about the big wide world can prevent them from being well-educated and fully aware functioning adults in a wider world that includes people of many religions and none, of many cultures and beliefs.

I don’t want the public schools teaching my kids something that is completely against what we believe.

Then you have several options: home schooling, parochial schools come to mind.

There are numerous ways that my family’s life would be changed because YOU are imposing YOUR beliefs on US. Where are my rights?

Where are you rights?

You are able to marry.

Your family is able to reap all of the benefits a civillaly recognized marriage affords to familys to name one.

Another, you fully have the First Amendment right of free speech to utter your opinions and faith-based beliefs.

You have the right to live your life guided by your personal faith and to practice your religion according to your singular denominational beliefs (ones that are not universally shared within any sectarian denomination).

Which brings us to the matter of separation of church and state…

You do not have to obtain a marriage license in order to be married for the religious sacramental bestowments a religious institution posits upon marriage.. You do have to obtain a marriage license if you wish to obtain the civil finanical benefits provided to you and your family that are provided by ALL citizens paying taxes, and the legal benefits such CIVIL recognition of marriage provides.

NO ONE REQUIRES OR REQUESTS that THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSE that your religious institution perform same sex marriage or even recognize them. NO ONE is writing into law requiring you as an individual to believe that same sex marriages are acceptable or even teach your children that they are.

In terms of public education you mention, what you are being asked is to teach your children to be tolerant of others who DO NOT SHARE YOUR FAITH-BASED BELIEFS in a WIDER WORLD and allow in the public sphere for THAT awareness to be shared so that they can as individuals make up their own minds about how to live their lives.

HOWEVER, YOU ARE IMPOSING that your RELIGIOUS BELIEFS DEPRIVE others (who except for sexual orientation) are in similarly situated situations as yourself be denied rights that you take for granted

YOU ARE IMPOSING RELIGIOUS BELIEFS UPON CIVIL LAWS that DO NOT and NEVER HAVE BESTOWED RELIGIOUS SACRAMENTAL MEANINGS ONTO MARRIAGE regardless of whom those marriages are undertaken by and why there is no government imposed formulas for religious ceremonies.

Stefano A
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

BTW: No school teaching I have ever encountered teaches one MUST have a marriage no matter what kind. When the subject of “marriage” is raised it is generally in the context of a sexual education class AND ONLY WITH REGARD TO the context of relationships in general; that is concerning the multitude of both personal responsibilities and multiple consequenes of relationships but also the responsibilities and consequences for others. In other contexts, various forms of relationships — marriage — (when age appropriate) might be discussed but only in terms of various cultural differences; i.e., from a comparative sociolological and anthropological context of what forms relationships may have taken in various situations and cultures, and in various ages.

Contrary to what you might wish, you do not live in a world with only what set of faith beliefs, nor a world which desires everyone to conform to a singular sectarian denominational faith. Nor do we live in a world where marriage has been a static institution for the mellinia.

cowboy
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Thank you, Stefano.

Another couple of things for kt:
You don’t think Mormons are mindless sheep sometimes? You may not remember the controversial MX missile project that was going to be built in the Nevada/Utah deserts. Where most Mormons have accepted a rather hawk-like stance with war, it was the pronouncement from the LDS Leaders that effectively nullified the project. The Mormon Church had a press conference and afterwards the Saints all wrote their Congressmen and effectively killed any missile system being built.

But, the best example of Mormons blindly following their leaders: The Equal Rights Amendment. The Mormon hierarchy was steadfastly against the amendment and made similar pronouncements at their pulpits. When the local newspaper (the SLTribune) did a poll and recited verbatim the ERA to people and asked if they would support an amendment with that wording and it was nearly 70 % who had no problem with an amendment with that tiny clause. But when the pollster asked if they were for or against the ERA the poll reveal a complete reversal of their approval. It was embarrassing for Mormons to realize they had not even read the amendment.

..kt..also said:

“I have had gay friends and I know that most of my LDS friends have had gay friends.”

What is your point? I get tired of people who claim to know gay people but really have no idea…not a clue…what gay is.

I think the operative word you used is “had”. Because, I doubt any gay friends are your friends anymore if they read what you just typed.

Again, I don’t understand where knowing gay people has anything to do with anything. You clearly don’t know gay people and, I’m certain, most Mormons don’t either.

Timothy Kincaid
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

kt,

You ask a good question: “where are my rights”.

Well, kt, currently your rights are protected by the constitution of your state and of the United States. You have the freedom the go about your life and, more importantly, worship as you choose. And the reason that you can take this freedom for granted is because you rest under the assumption that constitional freedoms are set in stone.

We have a long tradition of caution when it comes to changing constitutions. And as a nation we have never changed our constitution to single out and deny the equality of one segment of our population.

But you wish to change that tradition and, frankly, I think that this is not in your best interest. Need I remind you that one constitutional discrimination provides the justification for the next?

So let me pose this question to you, kt: Do you think there are more Mormons in the US or more people who believe that Mormonism is a cult and a destructive threat to Christianity?

I ask you this because you seem to believe that changing a constitution to deny others rights out of ones own religious conviction is perfectly fine. And if it’s fine for a Mormon to seek to deny rights to others because of God’s plan, then surely it’s fine for Pentecostals and Baptists to deny rights to others because of God’s plan.

And I wonder if you have ever considered that you just might be next.

cowboy
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Sadly, Timothy, I don’t think kt is reading our responses. You make a good point. Mormons should be wary. This support for discrimination can come back to haunt a more enlightened Mormon Church…young Mormons are going to replace the old-school General Authorities eventually and this era in Mormon history will be forever an albatross around their necks.

I consider kt representative of the thinking of most Mormons…though I have no scientific proof…it’s just a gut feeling and factoring in my association with Mormons.

I, frankly, was surprised to see a response here on BTB from a Mormon. Just how do they find BTB and then flit on by?

I do think I touched a sensitive nerve, though, when I say Mormons are mindless sheep…but then, I bet other people can give similar examples in their own religion.

What is clear to me now, there is much divisiveness in the political arena. I sort of cringe when I see the latest videos of Sarah Palin and her Pentecostal Church. I cringe when I see any bigotry towards a person’s personal religious beliefs. It usually boils down to a holier-than-thou kind of situations and that’s not good.

I do wish, somehow, that more gay people come out (as Ben in Oakland has suggested) and demonstrate our uniqueness and contribution to society.

Priya Lynn
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Kt said “There are numerous ways that my family’s life would be changed because YOU are imposing YOUR beliefs on US. Where are my rights?”.

That’s preposterous. The reality is exactly the opposite and you know it. No one is forcing you to have a same sex marriage, no one is imposing their beliefs on you. It is you who is forcing your beliefs on others by attempting to deny them the ability to marry a same sex partner.

Michigan-Matt
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, I am surprised you would write: “And as a nation we have never changed our constitution to single out and deny the equality of one segment of our population.”

I think the offspring of slaves might take issue with you. I think the internment of asian-appearing Americans during WWII might take issue with you. I think any foreign-born naturalized politician who’s wanted to run from Pres but can’t, would take issue with you. I’m also sure there are many other examples; maybe some better.

I know you wrote “change”… but I’m assuming you mean changing the meaning of our constitution includes judicial interpertations, too.

Your point about religious values being injected into public policy ought to be a big concern to any thinking gay voter; I don’t get too woried because it’s been done since our Country’s founding.

That’s why, on gay marriage, when Sen Obama said “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman” –I’m not too worried about the injection of somone’s religious values into the body politic.

I think we can treat the potential abuse of one religious group against another by dozens of constitutional clauses and federal laws. I don’t think that’s a pragmatic concern for anyone.

Timothy Kincaid
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Matt,

Perhaps you have a different history book than mine. In mine the Constitution was not revised to allow for slavery or the interment of Japanese Americans. As for the rest of your quibble, it isn’t with me… I’ll let those who actually wrote those words defend themselves. And as for what Barack Obama has said, I’ll also leave that to his campaign to defend.

If you actually would like to address the content of my comment to kt, feel free to do so.

And in case you were not able to deduce my meaning, it was that those who seek to exclude others from civil equalities may first be well served by looking to see if others want to exclude them as well. Feel free to discuss that topic if you like.

Michigan-Matt
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, we have the same history book, it’s just that my understanding of our Constitution and the way it has been applied through our history is different and those applications have had the direct, deliberate intent of disenfranchising the rights of entire groups of people, as my examples illustrate.

I was addressing part of your comments to kt just like others here have addressed parts for which I agree wholeheartedly and some I don’t. You did write that in your response to kt, right? As a student of American history and a proud gay man, it struck me as odd for any gay man to write something so fundamentally incongruent with history.

Our Constitution, in Art 1, Sect 2, literally talks about slaves as being worht 3/5ths a free person. Our Constitution and its application has been used to deny entire groups of people their rights and liberties –especially guys like you and I… gay men!

I did speak to your point about civil equalities when I wrote I doubt anyone who supports the LDS need worry about another religious group seeking to disenfranchise them of their right to worship, freely associate, practice their faith, etc.

That isn’t a compelling argument for someone like kt and voters like kt. We need to reason with them about the values of a multicultural, diverse society and the moral justice in providing marriage equality for gays and why that can be a stabilizing force for good in society (see some of John Corvino’s excellent work on this subject). kt can fathom that God doesn’t want His children practicing discrimination against one of His own, etc.

Timothy Kincaid
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

No Matt, you were not addressing parts of my comments to kt. You were using my comments as a board to leap at the point you wanted to make.

You may think whatever you like about what is or is not compelling to kt. And I disagree.

You can reason about multiculturalism and diversity and justice doctrine all you like. That’s when their eyes glaze over and you see a thought bubble above their head read “Bunch of liberal PC crap”.

I’ve found it more effective to point out that they are next on the list. One primary reason why my father (a Penticostal pastor) didn’t post Moral Majority items on the church bulletin board is because we had a little discussion about just how well divine healing and speaking in tongues would fare in a world controlled by Jerry Falwell.

Somehow I suspect that deep in the heart of every Mormon is a fear that some day the Baptists could take over and decide to put an end to the “cults”.

Danny - Mesa
September 25th, 2008 | LINK

I live in Mesa and I’m not Mormon.I am
supporting proposition 102. I believe
marriage should be between a man and
women. When you believe in an issue,you
should fight for it,whether it’s gay
marriage,illegal immigration,etc. Everybody has the freedom in the U.S.
to voice their opinions. There’s too
much finger pointing here.

AZNative
September 26th, 2008 | LINK

I need to stop reading articles like these, running across neighbors and old family friends whose names appear on large-donor lists. I’ve known the LeSueur family for years. They are good people. Good people who should really know better. I mean, REALLY.

Rob
September 26th, 2008 | LINK

Danny;

Then by all means marry a woman. But let’s change proposition 102 for a moment, and it says that you can only marry a woman who has the same eye color as you. And let’s say you fall in love with a woman who does not. Do you think that it should be enshrined in your constitution that you CANNOT EVER marry the person you are in love with? Oh wait. Let’s change it again. All the people named Danny are not allowed to be treated as equal citizens under the law (Because I believe that all people named Danny are not worth being treated equally, and I firmly believe in that issue).

Do you think I should have that power over you?

Rocky
September 26th, 2008 | LINK

The constitution was established to give rights of the people. We have the right to vote. If the voice of the people wants change for good or bad, it is the peoples choice to vote for or against change.

Change for the sake of change is never good. In this case a change will be protecting an institution that has stood from the dawn of man.

Learn more about the issue at http://www.yesformarriage.com.

Thanks

Jim Burroway
September 27th, 2008 | LINK

Rocky,

“Change” is not on the ballot for Arizona. Same-sex marriage will still be illegal on Nov 5, no matter how the election goes on the 4th.

To claim that voting “no” on prop 102 represents some kind of “change” is just flat-out wrong, and disingenuous to boot. Prop 102 is not about “change” whatsoever, but I think you knew that.

Arianna
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

I’m surprised at those who state that if the LDS church or prophet speaks, members do as they say. Period. I could introduce you to a few hundred LDS folks that I personally know, myself included, who consider all factors when making decisions, which does, of course,include the statements of church leaders.

One thing that most people are not mentioning is that the LDS church strongly encourages its members to seek guidance directly from the Lord through prayer when they make major decisions. Doesn’t sound to me like a church that wants to dictate what its members do.

The church also teaches that we are to follow the “law of the land”, and the law of the United States claims that “all men are created equal”. It is for this reason that I, and many other Christians I know (LDS and otherwise), have decided after prayerful consideration that limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples is a violation of our federal Constitution.

I wish people would stop trying to lay a blanket accusation against an entire group of people. It does nothing to further fair discussion and education of the issue.

Timothy Kincaid
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

Arianna,

Thank you for your prayerful stand for equality. I know that you are not alone in taking this position, even among those of your denomination.

However, I’m sure you will agree that the LDS leadership has been particularly vehement in their efforts to engage Mormons in this proposition. While it’s not fair to say that ALL Mormons are following their edicts, it would also be unfair to suggest that you are in the majority. Wouldn’t you agree?

Again, thank you for your support. It means a lot.

Lorrianne Owens
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

It is ridiculous that I have to speak up regarding gay marriages, as it is clearly a disgusting immoral transgression. The fact that gay marriage is being widely publicized as acceptable and common place, is offensive and completely disgusting to anyone with a basic moral sense. I have a son that just turned one. Sometimes, I sit and think of the world that he will see and learn to know in a few years. I think of him being confronted with gay relationships and marriages as normal and acceptable by way of the television, school, books, movies, etc. I am filled with great rage and even sadness. Truthfully, I have had enough! Enough of sitting quietly while gay rights protesters stuff acceptance and tolerance down my throat. Enough with knowing that my children will have to live in this world being familiar with homosexuality and being forced to accept it! Why should my children have to be corrupted because individuals wish to publicize and legalize their gross and immoral relationships? When does the extent of moral corruption stop? In a few more years a dog and man can be legally married or maybe a 50 year old man to a 4 year old girl. Then maybe a woman and tree could be legally married. What is morally wrong is wrong–no matter what popular opinion might be at that particular time. I do not dislike gay individuals as people but I am greatly opposed to them making me and my children accept and legalize their immoral way of life.

Timothy Kincaid
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Lorianne,

Thank you.

Sometimes when you live in a metropolitan area around civil and polite people, it can be easy to forget just how hateful, spiteful, arrogant and self-satisfied folks can be. But then here you came to remind us that there are those who find acceptance and tolerance to be objectionable and who rage against the happiness of their neighbor.

Rob
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Lorraine,

What kind of world will your son experience? He will experience a world where he discovers that not everyone is as spiteful, and raging as you. He will discover a world where people are different in many ways; the color of their eyes, the color of their skin, the size of their bodies, that different people love different people, and that being different from his mom isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps, if we are diligent and maybe just a little bit lucky, he’ll experience a world where people are who they are, without fear, without hate. Perhaps he’ll learn to look at a person as a human being before anything else, and that every person is and should be valued.

Perhaps he’ll learn how to move beyond your anger. Perhaps he’ll learn to create his own conclusion about how people should be treated. Perhaps he’ll actually embrace that which is enshrined in the constitution, that “all men (no sexism intended) are created equal”.

Please have a calmer day.

Jason D
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

You seriously want to take the moral high ground with a statement like this?
“In a few more years a dog and man can be legally married or maybe a 50 year old man to a 4 year old girl. Then maybe a woman and tree could be legally married.”
Lorraine, you must have pictures! You must have pictures to share of this protest rally in which a tree, a dog, and 4-year old were all gathered with signs indicating they want to marry adult humans. If you don’t have those pictures, then a letter from the Tree, Dog, and 4-year Old Marriage To Adult Humans Action Committee will suffice. We’ll have to find someone who can read horse language or speaks tree to translate, however.
If you really think these are morally equivalent to two adult men or two adult women who love and care for each other, if you really don’t see any difference whatsoever — your moral compass is broken, and you have no business lecturing me or anyone else on what is morally right and wrong.
You think two consenting adults enjoying each other is the same as a woman and a tree? And you have the nerve to call ME disgusting? You have the nerve to call anyone else immoral? Lady you have no idea what disgusting is if you think these things.
“What is morally wrong is wrong–no matter what popular opinion might be at that particular time.”
Thank you for saying this. Discrimination is wrong, no matter what popular opinion is, even if that popular opinion says that there’s something wrong with someone who’s fat, female, short, in a wheelchair, black, mexican or gay. You did get one thing right in your rant, wrong is wrong.
“I do not dislike gay individuals as people but I am greatly opposed to them making me and my children accept and legalize their immoral way of life.”
I think I speak for most gays when I say I DON’T CARE if you have a problem with me as an individual. I also think your half-assed attempt at tolerance, is useless and self-serving.
You know what, Lorrianne, you don’t have to accept us. The government and it’s laws, however, do. Because there is nothing lost by legalizing gay marriage. Nothing. No freedom is trampled, no one is hurt — except those who find gays gross and “immoral”, but frankly, the government is not in charge of morality, each individual gets to decide that for themselves. As long as being gay doesn’t hurt people, and it doesn’t, the government has no business legislating against it. You have every right to disagree, but you do NOT have the right to tell other people how to live their lives. If we get to vote on my morality, we’re voting on yours next, and I don’t think you’ll like that at all.

Drackolus O'Dell
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

I must say that who donates what doesn’t mean anything. What matters is that it’s not right to tell people who they can love, what their life should be like. I’m not Mormon, or even Christian for that matter. I don’t want to be told to live like one. This is America. This is not a Christian country, a Jewish country, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Buddhist country. This is a people country. And gays are people, too. I am absolutely disgusted by the nerve of people who think that they are the absolute dictator of who is right or wrong. Proposition 102 is hate, and voting yes on it is the equivalent of hating gays. I know gays who are practically saints. What right is it of people to tell them that they aren’t?
Satan is the one who said that free will is a bad idea.
Maybe people should learn how to think correctly before they try to tell other people how to think.

Oh, the irony of it all.

Eddie89
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

Drackolus – Very well stated! Indeed!


California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!

Brian
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

Are you serious? This proposition only defines the concept of marriage as between a man and a woman. The Mormons only want to prevent getting sued and taken over by the government for believing it. Both Presidential candidates currently support this. Don’t hate on Mormons.

will
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

Unfortunately some moral people like Lorraine can come across the wrong way. The main divide here is that Christians (I am one), believe that there is one set up truths that will make someone happy. If you don’t believe there is one set of truths that can be applied to people then you are just proclaiming that you do not believe in god. God has to be a rational being that understands just like we do but at a higher level, someone that can be understood by us and us by him. Christians believe that homosexual relationships will NOT make someone happy. Christians should approach this issue with humility and love for ALL as sons and daughters of god and unfortunately they all don’t. But I, as a Christian, know that no person can find true joy and happiness unless it’s through the institution of marriage as given to us by God. By a Man and a Woman.

I’m tempted to think as the world thinks, but when I really think about God I know that there has to be something that is True, and that these truths have to be universally true. They have to be able to be applied to everyone.

Homosexuality is a sin, it is a temptation given to us by the master of deception. Just like sometimes we to be prideful, or justify any sin. It is what it is, and misery loves company.

cowboy
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

They’re worried about getting sued? The Mormons? Oh get serious, Brian. The LDS Church has a bevy of lawyers at their beck and call and they have the resources to keep any sort of lawsuit tied up in the courts until the Second Coming.

Color it any way you want, but the Proposition 8 is anti-gay. Be fair in at least admitting that. Then we can debate the merits of gay marriage but don’t insult me by saying this is not discriminating gays and don’t pretend you’re the victim. The victim here is equality.

Stefano A
October 8th, 2008 | LINK

Funny you conclude your comment by referring to “prideful”… considering the unabashed self-serving sophistry and unfounded arrogance of your comment.

Kevin
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Will,

First, let me stress that there are 38,000 denominations of Christianity so, please, take into consideration that the anti-gay wing of the Christian community only represents themselves and not many other denominations or individual churches who bless same-sex unions and hold that no ones sin is worse than another.

Second, the modern concept of homosexuality just wasn’t an issue to the patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible nor to Jesus himself (although Jesus had PLENTY to say about heterosexual relationships). Much of what we hear about gays in the New Testament is written by Paul – who, by the way, never met the historical Jesus – and it is safe to say that even the words attributed to Paul (some having been added centuries later by scribes) are translated differently and do not necessarily condemn gay people.

All scripture is open to interpretation, keeping in mind that we have none of the original manuscripts and that every biblical scholar worth his/her degree agrees that throughout the centuries text had been copied wrong or re-written to jive with the prejudices of the day (for instance, the misogyny attributed to Paul in 1 & 2 Timothy).

The truth on the ground is that humans will use divine argument to support whatever they wish, just like Pat Robertson saying Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment.

I would ask that if you have a beef with queer folk, you couch it in secular logic and not biblical, because we can argue and pick quotes til the cows come home and neither of us will be satisfied.

By the way, Jesus and his 12 never married – so what does that say about your “no person can find true joy and happiness unless it’s through the institution of marriage as given to us by God?”

Kyle
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

VOTE NO! If this is their decision and it makes them happy, then so be it

will
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Kevin,

Regardless of the number of christian institutions or churches there really can only be one true doctrine. I know it seems far-fetched to believe that of 28,000 churches only one can be true but that’s how it is.

There is one correct set of principles which, if lived by, will make someone happy. There can only be one church that could possibly hold all the of the truths, and god leads that church. There are many, many things we wouldn’t know by reading the bible and historical accounts of the early christian church so there is no point in arguing about whether or not the early apostles were married or not.

Stefano, I’m sorry I came across as arrogant… I’m really not arrogant about this issue. I am just declaring the truth as God has told us and I understand that we are all Gods children, all sinful by nature, but all with the ability to call upon god to make us more like him. The message here is that wickedness never was happiness. The message is very clear, and can be seen as arrogant because it is very to the point. No person will never find true happiness in sin, whether it’s homosexuality, infidelity, or anything else.

I may come across as over-confident, or arrogant as was mentioned above. But it’s because I have been communicated to, by God, in such a way that I know that these principles I’m conveying are True. And my love for all God’s children compels me to share this message so that ALL may taste of God’s love just as I have.

Stefano A
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Stefano, I’m sorry I came across as arrogant… I’m really not arrogant about this issue. I am just declaring the truth as God has told us

This apology is not worth the bandwidth used to post the comment and is in it’s entirety worthless and meaningless.

Certainly you are arrogant, and that arrogance is clear for all to see in your words.

It is the height of conceit to believe that you and you alone know know the mind of God. It is the height of conceit to contest that out of all the religions in the world, and out of even all the various Christian denominations and sects only you (or your) denomination can speak for God.

I certainly support your right to guide your own life by your own beliefs, but that in now way absolves you of such conceit.

Kevin
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Will,

I tepidly I agree with your point of view: if you believe your way is the one true way, you’re right…it’s the one true way for you. If you want to go even further and say that your one true way is the only way then, if your only concern is yourself, I will afford you that privilege without invoking any condemnations of ignorance, selfishness, or bigotry.

I hope you could afford, however, that if someone else claims to be as right as you, you would extend that right of claim to them also – but then this would be a personal paradox for you, wouldn’t it?

I certainly wouldn’t wish to convert anyone to my beliefs simply on the basis of me saying “I’m right and you’re wrong, and even more, God has told me thus”.

As someone who takes the principles of the US Constitution very seriously, I’m thankful our Founding Fathers (notably Thomas Jefferson) foresaw this dilemma and no doubt were surrounded by warring factions of the self-righteous. That’s why we forbid the interference of those, like you, who are always “right” into the personal lives of us who are always “wrong”.

Ken R
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

One thing I have noticed about conservative Christians is that there is this obsessive need to be 100% right about God’s will. Nothing less. If you have the wrong belief in their minds, even slightly, you are not right with God and doomed to the everlasting fires of Hell. With all the different interpretations of Scripture and doctrines out there a person trying to figure out the whole TRUTH about God would no doubt make them eventually go insane. Worrying about whether you have it right at all times doesn’t really make much sense to me. This could be part of the reason why many people are leaving the evangelical/fundamentalists churches.

will
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Stefano,

It seems are disagreement comes from the fact that we have differing views on what Truth is.

One thing can’t be true for one person, and false for another. We’re talking about objective, concrete realities here.

Is there a God or isn’t there? There isn’t more than one answer, there either is or there isn’t. If there is a God then he would be the God of us all.

Just like governing bodies and institutions alike have rules and regulations and have order, why wouldn’t God?

Now the ultimate questions I always have when I disagree with people on the basis of God is… if there is a God then there must be one, universal way, in which each of us could know for ourselves if this God exists.

How do you know that homosexuality is right? Well I can tell you how I know that homosexuality is wrong and I can honestly tell you that I found out in a way that any single person can find out, no matter their background or upbringing. I lived my life with faith in God, praying that he would let me know if he was real and he revealed himself to me. That’s why I know that Homosexuality is a sin, that won’t make any human being truly happy.

What I usually hear from others is a copout, people generally believe what they want to believe usually to justify some way of life that they deep down know that isn’t in right.

So tell me, how do you (Stefano, Kevin, etc..) know that you are right? And how can I find out?

And about the notion that it is arrogant to believe that one set of truths is correct… I don’t understand how that could be considered arrogant, I just don’t understand that. Is anyone that believes they’ve received the truth automatically an arrogant know-it-all?? If that was true then we might as well all deny God and any notion of truth existing.

Kevin
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Ken,

Yeah, I’ve “noticed” (to put it mildly) the same thing. The other thing I’ve noticed is that evangelicals/fundamentalists almost NEVER participate in ecumenical (between denomination) activity when it’s matters of salvation, forgiveness, justification, and love. Where they immediately click up is on issues of whom to persecute and control.

I call it the Ecumenicalism of Evil.

:)

Kevin
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Will,

Is it possible that God revealing himself to you wasn’t a sign of his disapproval with you being gay, but rather a confirmation that he loves you irregardless?

Perhaps it is wrong to assume the presence of God in our lives validates our human prejudices simply because, even as sinners, we continue to maintain our connection to God.

God doesn’t demand that we be right all of the time – that’s what forgiveness is for. Rather, he asks us to have faith and in the process of having faith, love God, love God’s creation, and love each other.

I’m sorry that you come from a faith tradition that has told you that God couldn’t love you because of the way he made you, but like I said – there are many faith traditions who accept you as God accepts you.

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

I may come across as over-confident, or arrogant as was mentioned above. But it’s because I have been communicated to, by God, in such a way that I know that these principles I’m conveying are True.

will,

You don’t really come off as arrogant so much as naive, deluded, or mentally ill.

History suggest that those who claim that God has revealed to them and them alone all of His secrets can often end up serving poisoned Kool-Aid in Guyana or firebombed in Waco.

You would do well to consider that God speaks to others and He may not tell them the same that you think He has told you. Considering that possibility may steer you away from a life of peculiar certainty and delusions.

rusty
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

and as a good point that comes to mind
“people tell me to ignore the voices in my head, but sometimes they have really good ideas” or

“the voices in my head tell me your evil”

but hey, let’s not be here just to judge. I think that one was supposed to be left to the BIG GUY, unless St Peter asks you when you stand at the gates
‘to come back another time.’

will
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Lol, you guys are funny, and I’m not sure what you mean by:

“I’m sorry that you come from a faith tradition that has told you that God couldn’t love you because of the way he made you.”

Kevin, I’m sure I’ve been tempted just as much as the next guy to deviate from the natural way and to look after men sexually but luckily I’ve been able to fully avoid the sin of homosexuality. That’s not to say I haven’t sinned in other ways.

People aren’t made homosexual jut like people aren’t made to fornicate, or be promiscuous heterosexually, it’s our choice. Take these words into account, if you follow them you’ll find more joy in your lives.

Peace

Stefano A
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

It seems are disagreement comes from the fact that we have differing views on what Truth is.

One thing can’t be true for one person, and false for another. We’re talking about objective, concrete realities here.

IF, and this is a huge “if”, you were talking about objective and natural law I might agree with you on the point of their being objective truths.

HoweverYou are indeed not talking about objective but subjective truths and normative law.

In other words, you are bordering on the rantings of religious fanaticism.

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

will,

The next guy isn’t temped to “deviate from the natural way”. Just as gay people are attracted to the same sex, heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex.

How odd that you would not know this.

And if you come here telling people that orientation is “our choice”, you’re only going to get laughed at. You’re talking to folks who know better from experience.

Orientation is determined at a very very young age in most cases (whether one is “born gay” or becomes gay at some point before puberty is probably moot). There was no conscious choice in the matter – this is something that even anti-gay ex-gay groups will acknowledge.

And also, just so you know. Most of us are pretty joyful here. And happy. And full of peace.

Well, we are until others turn up trying to make our lives more difficult through their intrusive amendments.

Emily K
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

“Kevin, I’m sure I’ve been tempted just as much as the next guy to deviate from the natural way and to look after men sexually but luckily I’ve been able to fully avoid the sin of homosexuality.”

OOOH, THAT’S why will is here. yet another “not gay, just tempted” straight guy visiting a very popular very prominent gay blog.

Actually will, according to the Scriptures, (I’m Jewish,) when read with an open heart and all literalness, I have the Truth and you are guilty of the gravest sin of idolatry. And since you twist the Holy Words of the Prophets to suit your 2,000 year old justification of idol worship, you are the one twisting the REAL “Truth.” See http://www.jewsforjudaism.org if you are confused by what I’m saying.

Isn’t it wonderful that these “straight but tempted” Christians take the time to “minister” to us “fallen” homoSEXuals?

Oh, and FYI, nothing in the Holiness Code forbids lesbian sexual relations. So I guess I’m totally clean!

Eddie89
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Emily K – I’m sure that the reason there are no implicit Holiness Codes against lesbian relations is because all those “straight” men of old were turned on by watching two women.

Fast forward two thousand years later and straight men haven’t changed all that much.


California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!

Emily K
October 9th, 2008 | LINK

Actually Eddie, the more likely reason is because men were actually having sex with more than one woman at once. Polygamy, remember? And since having sex with more than one woman at a time put all sorts of grey areas into two women being sexually involved, it was just less complicated not to say anything about it.

Plus, men are SO uptight about two guys having sex. I mean, WTF?? get over it already.

James
October 10th, 2008 | LINK

Staying up late with insomnia somehow brought me to this website. I guess I take a unique position on this issue, considering that I am both gay and LDS, an active one at that lol. I can say first and foremost that “choosing” to be gay is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard, and anyone who says so clearly has not had a deep conversation with a homosexual. I have yet to meet a gay who has chosen to be gay. It was never just a “fleeting temptation.” I can tell you that it is extremely confusing growing up knowing that the feelings you have are not part of the “norm” of what’s expected of you. I recently came out to my family and while there was some initial tension, I was surprised by their eventual change of heart. Why am I gay? Really I can’t answer that. All I know is what I feel. Until I went on a mission (haha yes I went) I was very much the judgemental prick. I snubbed those who believed differently than I did and who lived alternative lifestyles. Being a missionary opened my eyes to a completely different world. Usually I find the opposite occurs, where one becomes more religiously zealous when they come home. I learned that so much good comes from so many different and unexpected places. I became close friends with a catholic priest, a buddhist lama, a gay man dying of AIDS, a transexual couple, and even a stripper lol. I learned so much from everyone I met, and learned how wrong it was of me to ever judge, scoff, or discriminate anybody. At the same time I experienced discrimination first hand as well. I grew up in a predominately LDS community and served my mission where there were not many. I was refused service at restaurants, yelled and cursed at from passing cars, had guns pulled on me, and was side swiped by a car, forcing my bike off a ledge and ending up breaking my ankle. Now, go figure, I’m discriminated against for being gay. Hate unfortunately is everywhere, and it’s aimed at all different kinds of groups. Now that you have some sort of an idea of where I’m coming from, I can address the proposition at hand. Politically I would not consider myself very involved. Working two jobs and school full-time takes up my life. But when I talk to my friends, who are gay, and see how they struggle constantly when faced by endless attempts by the zealous religious right to limit their freedoms, while at the same time I’m sitting in church on Sunday hearing how I should be voting “yes” on proposition 102, I’m forced to think politically. I am thankful for my upbringing and for the values and teachings of the LDS church. I like going to church and I like being around my LDS friends as well. Many would not agree with that and that’s fine by me, just as many would not agree with being gay, and that’s fine by me. I’m faced with a very strange dichotomy. Regardless, I have prayed and I’ve pondered over the issue, and I believe that it is wrong to place limitations on a group of people because of their sexual orientation. Why can’t I have the same freedoms as everyone else? Plus, I’ve taken into consideration the shady way in which the proposition was even put on the ballot. I do not believe that if the proposition does not pass that it will demean or attack the sanctity of marriage. At the same time, I do not expect all religious groups to share my views. When I find a man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, I’m not going to prance over to the nearest LDS temple and demand a marriage. I respect my religion’s beliefs and would in no way wish to force them to do something that goes against their doctrine. I just wish people will stop pointing fingers at each other and to really delve into what this proposition means. Essentially, it is a blatant attack against the LGBT community, fueling anti-gay sentiments. In my life I have found myself on both sides of the spectrum. I am a much happier person when I accept the people around me for who they are, regardless of their beliefs, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I love my gay friends just as much as I do my LDS friends, even when their beliefs and lifestyles differ so drastically. Myself? I’m somewhere in the middle. But on this particular issue I encourage people to vote No on Proposition 102. Please do not continue to fuel hate.

Cheers,

James

Kevin
October 10th, 2008 | LINK

James,

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for the very sincere and heartful message.

My partner’s cousin is gay and grew up in a very Mormon environment in Oregon. Unfortunately, he never could reconcile being Mormon and being gay so he left the Church. It’s a very sore spot for him to this day.

It’s unfortunate that the Mormon church spends its time hurting their own congregation, and doubly unfortunate that they seek to do it to non-Mormons.

However, from what little I know of the Mormon faith, there has been a split in the church over issues of sexuality and marriage before. At one point, the non-polygamist wing of the Mormon church (which has come to predominate) was considered the “liberal” wing, while the fundamentalists broke off and continue to practice Mormonism they way they consider “traditional”.

Frankly, I don’t see what’s so wrong with the liberal Mormon congregation to splitting from the anti-gay wing and forming their own denomination, as it has done in the past.

I mean, isn’t it better to seek inclusion and acceptance of gay Mormons rather than have them leave the Church?

Yeah, I know: rhetorical question.

Mormons and Arizona’s Amemdment 2 : Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com
October 19th, 2008 | LINK

[…] 19, 2008 by James Hipps  From boxturtlebulliten: A huge dust-up exploded on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star this morning. According to the […]

Scout
October 22nd, 2008 | LINK

What I find amusing/amazing is that we can already “get married” in church. There are many who will have us: Unitarian, Unity, UCC, to name a few. The fact that the state does not then recognize these holy unions is ironic, considering that is the basis for an amendment in the first place… that of mixing church and state.

Know what? I think all “marriage” should be civil union, basically a contract between two consenting adults. And THEN if the couple chooses to sanctify their union in a religious way they are free to take their request to any church who wants to marry them.

This isn’t, and has never been about gays wanting to force Mormon ministers or Catholic priests or any other unwilling cleric to marry them, and anyone who claims that is mendacious or willfully ignorant or both.

SM
November 7th, 2008 | LINK

You seem to forget that this initiative was passed by the VOTERS of CA, the vast majority of whom are NOT Mormons. Blaming (or crediting) the LDS for the passage of this is short-sighted, and misguided, and frankly – hateful. Where’s the display of the ‘glorious’ CA tolerance?

Timothy Kincaid
November 7th, 2008 | LINK

SM,

Perhaps you are not following closely, but this thread is about Proposition 102 which was in Arizona.

Louie
November 7th, 2008 | LINK

SM, the majority of voters in AZ passed 102. The majority of FUNDING for “yes on 102″ came from Mormons. That is a fact.

Invalidate Prop. 8!
Prop 8 Call to action: Ask IRS to revoke Mormon’s 501(c)3

AZ KID
May 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I thought it was illegal for Churches to do this? I am not Mormon. My Church frowns about direct involvement. Clergy will be disciplined if they voice opinion on local political matters. Someone answer this question please.

how to end a relatiosnhip
May 4th, 2012 | LINK

how to end a relatiosnhip…

[…]Box Turtle Bulletin » Mormons and Arizona’s Prop 102[…]…

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