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Protests Spread Outside California

Timothy Kincaid

November 9th, 2008

The passage of Proposition 8 has sparked gay outrage in a way I’ve not seen in many years.

Of the 384 contributions to either side of Proposition 8 coming from Seattle, WA, only three were to support the amendment, a total of $350. So it is fair to say that the Mormon Church in Seattle was not to any great extent responsible for the dissolution of marriage rights of California same-sex couples.

But the battle lines have been drawn. The church has shown itself willing to throw tens of millions of dollars into campaigns to deny gay couples their rights and that any one particular congregation may have been less involved is not the issue. And while gay couples in Washington are not much impacted by Tuesday’s election results, they are taking it personally.

So today dozens of supporters of marriage equality picketed a Mormon church in Seattle.

As church members and their families walked to the church for worship services, protesters chanted “shame on the church,” “equal rights” and other slogans at them.

The leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may have thought that they had bought themselves a constitutional amendment. But along with that amendment they also purchased a change in public perception. Gay men and women throughout the nation – along with their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family – now see the church as an enemy of civil equality.

But while the Mormon Church may not be much enjoying their new image, others are envious of the attention.

In Texas, a Baptist church announced that their next sermon would be titled “Gay is Not OK”. This might have normally resulted in a roll of eyes, but the gay community is angry and ready to be heard. So church-goers were met with protesters. Having gotten the attention they wanted, they announced that next week will be “What to say to a gay person”. The protesters will be back.

I cannot help but think that the shock and anger resulting from the passing of Proposition 8 may well light a fire in the belly of the community in a way that hasn’t been seen since Matthew Shepard.

Comments

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AJD
November 9th, 2008 | LINK

This is great! This is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been waiting for.

Kith
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

This may not be the best course of action.

While people need to look at the church it is dangerous to charge into such obvious taunts. It may very well help establish the church’s “facts”.

A large part of the Yes on 8 campaign was playing up the fear that once gays had marraige they where going to attack and dismantle Christianity, steal their rights to teach morality, eventually strip their freedom of speech. The 8 vote was as much a referendum on “The Gay Agenda” as it was to “protect marraige”. So if these churches can keep baiting gay protesters to show up and harass their kids and their families on their way to church it proves what they knew in the back of their minds, The Gays want to move you away from god. Not to mention since they can control the venue and the tempo of these “sermons”, it will provide wonderful framing for video and footage they can edit and distribute, that proves The Gays are a threat to their “religious rights”. This is a clear case of Bull Baiting and the hurt and angry gay supporters are going to charge right into it.

I think it would be more wise to leave the sermons and churches services alone. Instead we should fill the streets, show up outside their events, schools, court cases, bill signing ceremonies, and public speaking events with our carefully worded signs just like the Religious Right has made a habit of doing.

John
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

I have to agree with Kith. Believe me that I completely understand the anger, but how exactly are these protests targeting the Mormons helping? Christians/Mormons will see their pre-election fears of religious persecution as justified and will entrench themselves further, pulling in some folks who previously voted against Prop 8. No, this is starting to look like an irrational tantrum and one that we’ll pay for at the polls if not in CA, then elsewhere in the USA. I’d like to close any tax-exempt loopholes as far as money (not speech) goes, but how far are we going to push all this? Put it this way: many Christians/Mormons will view protests of their churches with the same kind of disgust and loathing that most Americans think of Phelps protesting military funerals. Do we really want to be put into the same category in enough people’s minds as that puss bag? I’d prefer not…

Stefano A
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

Kith:

I am not concerned about the protest of the Seattle Mormon church, but I shared your concern about the protest of the Dallas Baptist Church sermon.

Why is that one might ask?

Both are protesting against homophobia and in situations where all sides are simply exercising their first amendment rights. That’s a good thing right?

Why then my the lack of concern about the protest of the Seattle Mormon church and the concern for the protest of the Baptist Church?

The answer for myself is because there is a difference between what is being protested.

In the case of the Mormon church, the focus of the protest is on the interference of religion in secular law.

In the case of the Baptist church, the focus of the protest is on the theology of the church and participation in the religions theology.

Pomo
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

I just hope this keeps going on. People have to know we’re gonna push back. And if they want to try even harder to make us second class citizens then thats a choice they will have to make but we can NOT be silent.

Patrick
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

While they will no doubt use video footage of the protests against us, I still believe the protests are worthwhile. Let’s be honest, they would do their video footage one way or another – whether it be from gay pride or some other event. It’s not hard for them to edit a small or large group to make it appear anti-religious, etc regardless of where it is from.

However, by bringing to the public’s attention the lies of the religious right, we might be able to intercept some of what they would do. It will put them under much greater scrutiny.

I for one have just written a letter to the editor of my local newspaper explaining the danger of the situation. We now use the tyranny of the majority to strip rights from groups. What is to stop people from doing that to religious groups in the future? For example, what if the Constitution was changed to ban church members from holding public office? One could argue every individual would still have the right to hold office, so long as they change their chosen lifestyle, and that it would not distinguish between religious groups because all would be treated equally.

I also explained that if marriage is a religious institution the state should not be defining it or determining who can participate. If it can, what is to prevent the state from legislating baptism, communion, or who can or cannot be a pastor.

I think it’s important to explain in our local newspapers the dangerous precedent that was just set.

Stefano A
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

Patrick:

Your I agree completely with the importance of pointing out importance of the basic prinicples of democracy you mention and “the dangerous precedent that was just set.”

I don’t think those points can be stressed enough.

To digress for a moment and return back to my original post and comment above. . .

Prior to posting I had expressed my concerns via e-mail with another individual who made a valid point that somewhat negated by concerns about the protest of the Dallas Baptist church.

I don’t think they’ll mind if I share the points they made.

Their first point was that, “The protest was driven by a marquee stating “Gay is not OK”. It was the church’s external message to the
world, not to the congregants that drove the protest.”

Their second point was that, “It is legitimate to protest the message of a church if you disagree. For example, if a church taught that Jews
are Jesus-killers and the scum of the earth, other Christians might protest against that message to a) try and
bring a change in doctrine, and b) show others that this is not the message of Christ.”

While with regard to the second point I’m in agreement in principle and theory, in application I think when it comes to attempting to change the theological beliefs of a church, direct engagement in dialogue should also be involved as the argument that “this is not the message of Christ” is simply one group saying “we’re more ‘Christian’ than you are” rather than actually engaging in a form of discourse of doctrinal debate that might bring about change.

However, I did want to express that I think these points expressed to me via e-mail are very valid points and somewhat mitigates my original expressed concerns.

Steve
November 10th, 2008 | LINK

What if all straight friends,family and supporters of equality boycotted the institution of marriage. Divorce or not get married until all have the right!

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