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Vigil At Mesa, AZ Temple Tonight

Jim Burroway

November 28th, 2008

I wish I had found out about this earlier:

When Mormons light their massive and colorful Christmas displays tonight on the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds, thousands of candles may burn across the street in a vigil in Pioneer Park.

Vigil organizers call it a demonstration of solidarity for gays and lesbians seeking full civil rights. They say their vigil was precipitated by Mormons’ staunch opposition to same-sex marriage with passage of amendments to constitutions in Arizona, California and Florida in the Nov. 4 general election.

“We are not going to march. It is not a protest. We will have our candles,” said an organizer, Robert Parker, an outspoken gay Mormon from Mesa. Parker hopes to get 5,000 people to assemble in the park “to stand in solidarity with gay Mormons who are stuck in the closet and need to know that we are working to help secure their civil rights.”

Mormons in Arizona contributed at a minimum 40% — some say as much as 80% — of the $8 million raised to pass Prop 102 in Arizona. Prominent Mormons were also at the head of the official “Yes” campaign in support of Prop 102. But for all of that, Don Evans, spokesman for LDS church in Arizona, continues to express surprise at being “singled out”

This constitutional amendment was supported by the Catholic Church, which is far and away the largest church in Arizona, and it was also supported by the various evangelical congregations.” All of those churches consistently opposed same-sex marriages, but “our church has taken the lion’s share of the protest,” Evans said.

The LDS church has taken a lion’s share of the protest because the church took on a lion’s share of the work — running the campaigns as well as using LDS tithing rolls as a fundraising tool among church members. Evangelicals and Catholics, while supportive of the amendments, did not take nearly as prominent a role as the LDS church chose to take.

And when anyone chooses to insert themselves in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, they can expect to experience the political consequences and criticisms of their actions, be they a political party, James Dobson, Swift Boat Veterans, or the Mormon church.

And if any other group had gone in as deeply and as enthusiastically into this political fight as the Mormon church has, they’d be fair game for protests. We could just as easily be targeting General Motors if GM had played the role that the LDS leadership did. But GM didn’t put their reputations on the line and fight to strip people of rights that they already enjoyed. The LDS church did.

And they did it with Big Mormon Money and Big Mormon Organization. In Arizona’s example, they out-spent anti-102 forces by nearly 12-1. They are also under investigation in California for making unreported in-kind donations — providing for free the sort of services that campaigns typically have to pay for. The LDS Church provided free phone-banking, satellite broadcasts, travel, a web site, commercials, and so forth — all of which are reportable under California and Arizona law.

So because of all that, the LDS leaders are now political figures just like anyone else who organizes and executes a political campaign. And because they chose to exercise their rights to do that — and as citizens and under current IRS regulations, it is their right to do so — they are now subject to the same scrutiny and criticisms as any other political figures or organizations.

They have given up their right to be “puzzled” and pretend that they are just another church. They’re not. They are now political activists just like the rest of us. Welcome to our world.

See also:
LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple

Comments

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queerunity
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

i wasnt aware of this one either :(

ruby
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

so hilarious. keep protesting. the LDS church can take it. and if prop 8 happened again, there would be the same response.

p.s. i don’t think they were necessarily puzzled by criticism. i think they were puzzled by the destruction to their temples and other places of worship. also, maybe the charges of bigotry?

since when is is bigotry to believe its wise for society to define marriage as between a man and woman?

happy this protest will be peaceful. it is the season of lights. lights are a symbol of christ for christians…so the more lights the better!

Jim Burroway
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

“destruction of their temples and other places of worship”???

Where? Name one.

That’s a flat-out lie. But then, maybe that’s another symbol of your lower-case christ for christians.

TJ McFisty
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

I get so confused–when did “lights” become the symbol of christ for christians? Lights are symbols for Christ, but Lucifer was the Angel of Light not to mention it’s right there in the name.

I give up.

tavdy79
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

The two festivals of lights I know of are Diwali (Hinduism/Jainism/Sikhism) and Hanukkah (Judaism) – neither of which is a Mormon festival. Christmas (like Yule) celebrates birth, not light.

cd
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

so hilarious. keep protesting. the LDS church can take it. and if prop 8 happened again, there would be the same response.

Funny about the horrible horrible LDS and soc con whining I find on conservative websites about it. Actually being an unpopular minority doesn’t turn to be as much fun as the pretend kind. Get used to feeling doomed, because that’s the sad psychological reality of that condition.

Let me point out that it was the LDS leadership that decided on its own to end the mainstream assimilation strategy of the lower ranks. So don’t come crying to us when the mainstream rejection really sets in (which has only begun) and its bite becomes acute, when the feeling of being losers becomes a permanent feature of life. When people start quietly leaving and staying away from the wards. Do you know how many resignations the LDS has received in the past month due to their antigay involvements? Thousands. Of course, you won’t get told that. You probably even still think Mormonism is expanding in the US.

p.s. i don’t think they were necessarily puzzled by criticism. i think they were puzzled by the destruction to their temples and other places of worship. also, maybe the charges of bigotry?

I see lying ’for the sake of the religion’ is still common and acceptable Mormon practice. It is a practice that does not endear you with nonMormons.

since when is is bigotry to believe its wise for society to define marriage as between a man and woman?

Since significant numbers of gay people have families and careers and lifelong partnerships. IOW, in a small way since the beginning of human society. And in a big way in the past 15 to 20 years in the United States.

cowboy
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

I have spent some time in close proximity with my Mormon co-workers: Tiz the season for holiday pot-luck luncheons. And I must say, some Mormons do make a delicious casserole or two.

While enjoying the meals I was privy to some comments about the Propositions 8, 102 ordeal. Some of my co-workers expressed these thoughts:

The protests at their houses of worship (particularly their sacred Temples) were illegal.
There was vandalism. (Maybe the way people stuck signs in the fence surrounding their Los Angeles temple?)
The breaking of glass doors at various Ward Houses in Utah is likely in response to the Proposition 8 vote.
The will of the people are being usurped by the Courts and the Governor A. Schwarzenegger.

In fact, I think the vandalism shook them a bit. They didn’t think they were being anti-gay with their vote for Proposition 8 or Proposition 102.

I wasn’t able make any contribution to the comments. I find it’s better for my job to keep smiling and return to doing my work as quickly as possible (or as soon as the food is gone). But I know some truths:

Bigots are usually the last ones to recognize they are bigots.

Racists are usually racists for a good long time even after attempting to look non-racist.

And the fact you are a victim of vandalism doesn’t negate being on the wrong side of this civil-rights issue.

Some Mormons do not understand the implications such a change to a legal Constitution can possibly be used against them some day.

Timothy Kincaid
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

since when is is bigotry to believe its wise for society to define marriage as between a man and woman?

Since that definition’s purpose and intent became the exclusion of gay people.

Timothy Kincaid
November 28th, 2008 | LINK

I saw about a dozen or so folks in WeHo last night with candles. They had no signs and I didn’t know their purpose.

Arturo Santiago
November 29th, 2008 | LINK

Legalizing gay marriage is not about achieving equal rights, rather it is about setting the stage to silence religion through litigation and or legislation. The worst thing you can say to a gay is “what you are doing is wrong & unnatural”, or “your actions are a sin”. The thing a gay wants to hear most is “there is nothing wrong with your behavior”, thus legitimizing (at least to themselves) their conduct.

Acknowledging that society as a whole will never truly accept homosexual behavior as either normal or acceptable, the gay movement launched a campaign to compel acceptance through the courts; and where those efforts fail, through acts of intimidation, violence and persecution.

Interestingly, gays attack on religion will have far more reaching consequences than they imagine. If you can ultimately compel through legislation the abolition of the teaching of morality by religion, you erase the foundation for any moral conduct whatsoever on the part of society. And when there are no societal boundarys, there will be no limits on conduct. Any culture without moral boundaries and limits is destined for failure.

If you were to achieve the right to gay marriage, would you be willing to allow Churches to teach that homosexual behavior is sinful? Would you simply walk away if a church said “we only marry heterosexual couples”? What about Church membership? Would you accept that membership in many Churches would simply not be possible for “married” gay couples? Would you be OK with parents opting thier children out of public schools courses on “diversity education” (which is really nothing more than an effort to indoctrinate children with the belief system that homosexual behavior is normal and acceptable)? Unlikely.

Experience in other countries where gay marriage has been legalized show that they do NOT have a “live and let live” policy; instead they seek immediately to prosecute or sue anyone who speaks out against them, or refuses to equate homosexual behavior on the same norms and terms as hetersexual behavior. And you wonder why Christians are fighting you on gay marriage.

In the end, changes to civil laws or not – honest Churches will always teach that homosexual behavior is both immoral and contrary to God’s laws. And as long as the US Constitution stands, the freedom or religion (and the right to speak out against immoral behavior like homosexuality) guaranteed under the first ammendment will remain.

However, in the end, should this nation crumble due to the final dissolution of its moral underpinning – you can reasonably anticipate that the muslim invaders who conquor it will be just as tolerant of homosexuals as you have been of Christians who dont support your point of view. Nah, you’re right – they wont be tolerant at all.

John
November 29th, 2008 | LINK

Arturo,

You really are confused. Churches decide everyday who they are going to marry and who they are not. The fact that blacks and whites can legally marry has never compelled one racist preacher to perform such a marriage. It has been 44 years since the 1964 Civil Rights Act and preachers can still discriminate.

I suggest you sit down, read the Constitution (particularly the part about the separation of church and state) and relax. All this worrying isn’t good for your blood pressure.

Then once you are calm, you should ask yourself why gay couples aren’t entitled to the same legal benefits and obligations under CIVIL LAW that heterosexual couples are. It is because of bigotry. Some (like yourself) have some bizarre need to control others by denying them equal protection under the law. Your behvavior seems more in line with the Muslim extremists that you cite who are running countries like Iran, than gay protesters demanding equal rights and an end to discrimination. Have a nice weekend.

Timothy Kincaid
November 29th, 2008 | LINK

Arturo,

I’m curious where you found these insights into the intentions and desires of gay folk. Did God come down and divinely reveal this to you? Have you spent years in anthropoligical study of gay and lesbian subpopulations?

Or are you just repeating angry and hate-filled rants that you have heard from others?

Louie
November 29th, 2008 | LINK

Arturo wrote: “[…]The worst thing you can say to a gay is “what you are doing is wrong & unnatural”, or “your actions are a sin”.”

As a gay person myself, I can say wholeheartedly that you are wrong.

Because I don’t care if you believe that what I’m doing is “wrong” and/or “unnatural” or that you and your religion consider it a “sin”. Because that’s just your opinion.

“Wrong” and “unnatural” according to whom? Your God?

I don’t care what, if any, God you believe in. That is your right to do so and it is also my right to not believe in your God or any Gods for that matter.

In America we don’t just have freedom “of” religion, we also have freedom “from” religion.

When the govt. crosses over that line and starts to tell religions what they can/can’t do, then I have a problem with that. Because if they can do that to some religions, they can do it to all and even those that aren’t religious.

So too, when religions cross over into the domain of govt. and start to tell the “people” what they can/can’t do, then I have a problem with that.

Because then you are forcing people that may not be religious or of your particular “flavor” of religion to follow the rules of the govt. as dictated by your particular religion.

The religious and non-religious communites need to be kept separate from one another. And the government should treat BOTH equally under civil laws. Where the rules, benefits and legal protections are granted to both communities regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof.

By the way Arturo, you haven’t really done too much research into “homosexuality” because if you had, you would have found out that “homosexuality” is alive and well in the animal and plant kingdoms. So, your belief that homosexuality is “unnatural” is not correct.

homer
November 30th, 2008 | LINK

As an atheist, I find it pretty perplexing that morons like Arturo, who use religion to discriminate against people, suddenly start to whine and complain when people demand equal rights.

cowboy
November 30th, 2008 | LINK

Okay if I see one more creative way to use left-over turkey I’m going to barf. No matter how you disguise it, or smother it in a creamy casserole I still can taste the dark meat. I’m strictly a breast man. But, that’s how it goes with being with family these last few days.

I had to endure talking about Mormon artsy people losing their jobs. (The latest being Richard Raddon of the Los Angeles Film Festival).

Then reading an editorial by Jay Ambrose (Scripps Howard News Service) how gay marriage is not about civil rights.

And my blood pressure was taxed a bit when I read the local letters to the editor. I’m right in the middle of Mormondom in Utah Valley. They still don’t understand all the commotion about gays protesting at LDS temples.

Which reminds me, the LDS are preparing for a new Temple open-house this month. So, as a precautionary act, the tiny city of Draper, Utah (Draper!?!) is defining the areas for possible protestors who might disrupt the peaceful gathering of people for the January open-house. I would suggest gays avoid the area. Let the Mormons do their thing.

Oh..okay…maybe I could even advise some to take the tour of temple before it is closed to the public. You’ll get little booties to wear in this most sacred building. And no natty comments about the interior decorating…please. It’s a very hush-hush and solemn tour.

But, otherwise, I survived Thanksgiving and I’ll be doing double time at the gym this week.

Louie
November 30th, 2008 | LINK

Cowboy, what better way to burn off some of those Thanksgiving Day calories than a good old fashioned protest rally!!!

cd
December 1st, 2008 | LINK

Arturo….homosexual behavior is not sinful. Paul and Leviticus don’t like it, but nowhere is it declared as bad as you imagine. Jesus never deals with it: its of no importance to him. If you ask where the Church actually got its antagonism to gay people from, it is not the Bible but dubious ’tradition’. ’Tradition’ that likely has pagan religious roots rather than Jewish or Apostolic ones.

Morality doesn’t require religion, as you would know from some of cultural anthropology. There’s a good case to be made that secular people have kept religions from corrupting entirely. As the proportion of secular people rises over time, the corruption of organized religion decreases.

And just how is that speaking out you must also be doing against divorce, serial polygamy, and interracial marriage going? Western civilization in general seems to be doing just fine and is nowhere near collapse. It is only conservative Christian ”civilization” with its sadly cruel and inhumane misdefinitions of being human that is disintegrating.

Jadis
December 1st, 2008 | LINK

Speaking as a Canadian, we’ve had gay marriage for five years (at least here in Ontario), and – guess what – things are just peachy. Religionists are able to preach whatever they want, and marry whomever they want. None of the contrived doomsday scenarios have come remotely close to passing.

As an atheist, I couldn’t care less about what Mormons think.

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