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TWO Calls Out Becket Fund in Full Page Ad

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2008

We’ve already talked about the full-page ad placed by the Becket Fund in last Friday’s New York Times which falsely characterized the peaceful protests against California’s Proposition 8 as “mob violence.” And we also provided evidence of some of that ad’s cosigners’ undisguised hatred against gay people.

Tomorrow, Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out will counter that ad with a full-page ad in the Salt Lake City Tribune. TWO’s ad calls attention the the Becket Fund’s ad demanding an end to “anti-religious bigotry” against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

“Beginning today,” they wrote, “We commit ourselves to opposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry, against any faith, on any side of the cause, for any reason.

TWO responds by including some rather shameful anti-religious sputterings by three of the Becket Fund ad’s cosigners:

“Hollywood is controlled by secular Jewswho hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.” – Bill Donohue, Catholic League

“Mormonism either affirms historic Christianity, or it doesn’t. Since it doesn’t, it can’t call itself Christianity – a fact that all the good will and public relations in Utah can’t change. …”While Mormons share some beliefs with Christians, they are not Christians.” –Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries

“Most evangelicals still regard Mormonism as a cult.” — Rich Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals

Here is the TWO ad. (Click on the image to see the full-size version.)

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Buffy
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

That’s beautiful. I was naughty and donated $50 even though it’s “Day Without a Gay” and I wasn’t intending to spend any money. To me the cause is well worth it.

Rick
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Cogent and sincere. I’m impressed and grateful.

But why did they place the ad in the SLCT and not the NYT?

Timothy Kincaid
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Good job, Wayne.

David C.
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Ah, at last, somebody is trying to put a stop to the definition of the gay-rights movement by its enemies. It would have been grand had the ad appeared in the NYT, but that’s OK, it would probably have been prohibitively expensive anyway. Placement in a Salt Lake City newspaper actually might be just a bit more effective in some respects, though it will probably leave most Mormons unchanged in their attitudes towards gay issues. Nevertheless, hooray for TWO for setting the record straight.

cd
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

though it will probably leave most Mormons unchanged in their attitudes towards gay issues.

But that was never a possibility. It’s a warning to the Mormon leadership that they and their allies can and will be exposed if they want to carry on their PR war smearing gay rights activists and their supporters.

David C.
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

It’s a warning to the Mormon leadership that they and their allies can and will be exposed if they want to carry on their PR war smearing gay rights activists and their supporters.

Well, there’s that. But I suspect that the Mormons would rather distance themselves from this particular gang anyway. It think it was more a matter of the Becket Fund feigning a common interest in the hopes of manufacturing some legitimacy for themselves. And that’s what makes this ad so important: their cover has been blown.

Benjamin Clark
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Wayne has done a genius of a job yet again with his incredible way with words. Awesome!! TWO needs to take out a full page ad in the New York Times for this as well. That would be expensive yet well worth it!

He hit the nail on the proverbial head regarding the strange bed fellows of the LDS Church and anti-Mormon Evangelicals. The LDS Church will do almost anything to get Evangelicals to accept the LDS Church into their club of Christianity so they will be accepted and liked by them; however many Evangelical leaders have said worse things than this about Mormonism. Some even have published books, held classes, made movies and had a “special ministry to witness to LDS about the cult of Mormonism” as they call it in order to get LDS people to renounce their faith in Mormonism and be “born again Christians”. I know a lot about this being a former LDS missionary in Orange County California and seeing some of the hateful attitudes with which some Evangelical leaders and followers had toward us there. They would tell us “we love you Mormons” while at the same time wielding the proverbial knife of hatred behind their backs. I witnessed this on many occasions in Orange County during the 1980s when I was a missionary there.

The truth is the LDS Church is a Christian Church, just a uniquely different Christian Church than the Christian traditionalists’ Churches. Mormons don’t believe in the medieval creeds of Christianity (i.e. the creed & doctrine of the trinity) and view some of the the Bible in a different way than traditional Western Christianity. The question is does their rejection of the post-biblical creeds disqualify them as Christians?

More recently there have been some LDS educators and leaders who have made an effort to try to bridge the divide between Mormonism and “traditional” Christianity. Professor Robert Millet is one of those Mormon leaders who has gone into the lions den as some Mormons would call it; and held open discussions with Evangelical leaders on matters of Christian doctrine, etc.. Again I think that the zeal with which the LDS Church has undertaken their anti-gay crusade to stop marriage equality is exposed by their efforts to be seen by Evangelicals as a heroic Church as opposed to being seen by them as a non-Christian cult.

Wayne Besen
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. And Buffy, thanks for donating.

I would have loved to have also taken out an ad in the NY Times. Or USA Today or even the Washington Post. But, those ads are way outside my budget. I would need part of the federal bailout for the Times…maybe one day.

But, the next best place is the S.L. Trib. It is a great way to get the message out and reach a target audience at the lowest price.

David C.
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

To Benjamin,

Evangelicals read the Bible very literally, and are prone to base all tenants of their brand of Christianity on that literal reading. I think the divide between Mainline Christianity and Evangelicals (who also happen to be at the point of the attack on gay rights) makes it unlikely Evangelicals will ever credibly embrace the Mormon flavor of Christianity. Mainline Protestant Christians are much more tolerant, and view the Bible differently from Evangelicals. Fortunately, the Moderate Christian voices are leaning more towards acceptance of gay people, and, ironically, are far more likely to accept Mormons than Evangelicals will ever be.

Belief politics, like the usual kind of politics, does make for strange bedfellows, but Mormons are ill advised to believe that an alliance with Evangelicals will ever actually advances the purposes of their stated church mission. The LDS church will be much better served by remaining insular in the Christian world than to embrace the radical fringes of Christian Evangelicalism.

Throwing the Prop 8 bone to Evangelicals (if it was a result of political motivation to curry favor with Evangelicals) will ultimately prove to be a serious mistake on the part of the LDS church, because it is certainly unlikely to lead to better acceptance by mainstream Christians. If they wanted to stay on the fringes or become even more remote from general acceptance, they have achieved that end, and may go on to prompt an even deeper and wider schism in the Christian Faith.

cowboy
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

I guess I will need to be prepared for an onslaught of irritated Mormons tomorrow at my work. (sigh)

Already, there are some awful nasty things being said in the Utah news blogs that have been reporting about this ad….and this without actually seeing the ad!

The comments have been brutal and exaggerated…as you might expect. Most have said: “Let it go!” “Quit yer whining!” One commenter posted a link to an eye-witness account by a Mormon member of the LAPD who wrote about the supposedly riot rally/rallies near some of the LDS Temples last month. (I can provide the link but it really is not worth the read.)

But, I’m going to be on the defensive tomorrow. Would that I could have Mr. Besen here to shield me from the near certain rage that will befall me and the other gay workers. But we will survive. We have the truth.

I would expect another pronouncement from the COJCOLDS HQ tomorrow or by Friday to this ad.

cowboy
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

I see you scratching your heads:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints = COJCOLDS

Bot
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not that strident in its beliefs on homosexuality. In fact, they counsel full fellowship for celibate homosexuals. There is a congregation in Salt Lake City composed of non-practicing homosexuals who wish to keep Christ’s commandments.

So far, no gay-rights activist has had the fortitude to burn a Qur’an on the doorstep of a militant mosque where imams advocate the stoning of homosexuals (even celibate ones).

Oh, I forgot, criticizing Moslems is off-limits for the Politically Correct. The Moslem imams might issue a “fatwa” on all homosexuals.

Lying is Wrong
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

The anti-Prop 8, pro gay marriage groups ran ads charging this whole idea that public schools will teach gay marriage is just a “lie.”

The same groups now charging it’s a lie (public schools will teach about gay marriage whether parents like it or not) — were just in court in Massachusetts filing amicus briefs arguing parents don’t have any right to opt their children out of the pro-gay marriage curriculum.

From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:
“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents.” [p 5]

From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:
“There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment’s free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one’s children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue – or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system.” [pp1-2]

From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:
“Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children’s book…King and King.” [p 9]

Which side is really telling the truth here about its aims?

David C.
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

California law differs from that of Massachusetts.

The Prop 8 proponents were lying in CA by using Massachusetts law as the standard for their argument for Prop 8 “protecting” children from learning about gay marriage.

To learn more, see:
California’s Parental Opt-Out Statutes

cowboy
December 10th, 2008 | LINK

Bot,

You are saying all gays are burning BofMs all over the place?

Can you give me the address of the congregation (not a Ward?) of non-practicing gay Mormons?

David
December 11th, 2008 | LINK

Dear Lying is Wrong,

Very funny id, but some of us take honesty seriously. It isn’t right for you to mock it.

There is a huge difference between “teach children about families with gay parents” and “teach gay marriage”.

The answer to your question is that supporters of Prop 8, have been consistently dishonest.

The fact is that Prop 8 has no intrinsic impact on school curriculm, lose or win. Schools in progressive districts can legally teach that same-sex couples exist, can marry in several other countries and a few other states.

I doubt that the opponents of racial equality, who fought so hard to keep black students out of “white” schools, anticipated that their infamy and criminal acts would become curriculm as examples of unjust and reprehensible behavior.

It is likely that one of the long-term results of Prop 8 is that American History classes in public schools will teach the fact that Californians, among others, chose to codify discrimination into their Constitution, depriving millions of people of their equal protection under the Constitution, forcing the religious rules of one group of people onto people with very different religious beliefs, violating their freedom of religion in the process. And those history classes may well cover the fact that homophobes were not content to deprive GLBTQ people of the right to marry, but also complained bitterly and deceitfully when GLBTQ people exercised their right to assemble, their right to free speech, their right to control their assets, and last but not least, their right to seek justice from the courts.

And should any of the worst-case scenarios projected for Prop 8 come to pass, the lesson that Prop 8 supporters will have written into history books will be utterly ugly and shameful.

Rick
December 11th, 2008 | LINK

Dear Lying,

Teaching children there are gays in the world will not make them gay. This is akin to arguing that teaching them about green-eyed people will make them green-eyed. What it might do, however, is make it more difficult for fundamentalist parents (who publicly school their children) to teach them to hate gay people.

What you’re really afraid of, I think, is losing the ability to successfully repress from children the mere knowledge that there are gays out there living their lives with dignity, loving one another, contributing greatly to society and even (if they choose) raising their own children.

My parents sent me to a private Christian academy for the first ten years of my life. I’m gay anyway. I was gay when I was born and I knew I was gay when I was seven years old. What I learned in that private school was to how to hide this understanding of myself from others, so I would be safe from people like you.

If teaching children there are gays in the world will allow those children who are gay the opportunity to grow up unashamed and unafraid then yes, Lying, I’m all for it.

werdna
December 11th, 2008 | LINK

Just left a comment on TWO’s blog, but thought I’d mention it here as well. I absolutely appreciate TWO’s ad, but I have serious qualms about the way the Rich Cizik quote is used. It’s from an article in the Washington Monthly which discusses Evangelical suspicion of Mormonism in the context of Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions. The full quote of what he said is:

“Most evangelicals still regard Mormonism as a cult,” Cizik explained. “That will shape, I’d imagine, their reactions to Romney as a candidate for the White House.”

As far as I can tell Cizik is being remarkably frank about Evangelical ideas about the LDS church, but it’s a stretch to suggest that he’s endorsing these ideas himself. To characterize his statement as “shameful anti-religious sputtering[]” seems misguided and deceptive. Our opponents say enough clearly outrageous stuff, we don’t need to quote them selectively and misleadingly to show how wrong they are.

Ben in Oakland
December 11th, 2008 | LINK

Lying– your error lies (giggle) in assuming that your children will learn gay marriage in school was what they were actually saying.

Of course it wasn’t, and they were quite well aware of it.

What they were really saying is the subtext– the gays are gonna get your children. they’re oging ot molest your children. Your children will be exposed to homosexuality. they’re trying to turn your children gay.

That’s ALWAYS the subtext, and always has been. That gays molest children is only really good for the right-wing nutcases. no one else really believes it, and so if they say it, it just makes them look bad.

so the subtle appeal to fear is what they do so that it looks reasonable. but it is just the same old hate, just wearing a cheap tuxedo instead an easily opened raincoat.

Understand?

Bruce Garrett
December 11th, 2008 | LINK

Which side is really telling the truth here about its aims?

Not yours obviously. The California public school system already teaches kids about same-sex parents and same sex marriage. It was legal after all, in at least one state during the entire fight over Proposition 8. And civil unions were already legal in California, and in other states. So much, so obvious. And as for opting out…every parent in the nation has the ability to opt their kids out of any curricula that offends their religious sensibilities. They’re called private schools. Proposition 8 had utterly no bearing on what would, or would not be taught in the public schools about same-sex marriages and same-sex households, and absolutely no bearing on what private schools would teach kids.

And the bigots pushing proposition 8 knew that. All those TV and radio ads they dumped onto the airwaves obviously weren’t intended to warn people about something that was, in fact, Already happening. You don’t spend that kind of money to tell people, in effect, that if proposition 8 fails the sky will turn blue. They waved the issue on TV as a backhanded way of Save Our Children From The Homosexuals fear mongering.

Those ads weren’t about what kids might be taught about marriage. They weren’t even about what kids would be taught about homosexuality. They were created to get the image of homosexuals preying on children out there. Because they understood that proposition 8 would fall unless they could find a way to reassure enough voters that it was okay to fear and loath peaceful, loving, devoted couples.

Lies? Lies? Proposition 8 had utterly no bearing on what school kids would be taught about same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 had utterly no bearing on what school kids would be taught about same sex parents. Those things were, and continue to be, taught in the public schools in California. You people aren’t stupid, and you aren’t ignorant of the facts here. And I don’t think the proposition 8 team cared one whit if anyone was or was not ignorant of the facts. Eric Hoffer once said that propaganda doesn’t fool anyone, it merely allows them to fool themselves.

They knew there were a lot of people in California who would vote down Proposition 8 unless their flailing arms could grasp at some straw, some cheap justification, however weak, but something, anything, that would allow them to hold on to their cheap knuckle-dragging prejudices toward their gay and lesbian neighbors. The proposition 8 team gave them that straw. That’s what this unmitigated junk about what kids would be taught in the public schools was all about. Nothing more. It was a lie. But a useful one. It did it’s job. No, it’s not something they can be proud of. But then neither are their gutter crawling prejudices. It must be frustrating to have to keep saying over and over in public that proposition 8 wasn’t an attack on gay people, when deep down inside you can’t fathom why anyone in their right mind would think attacking gay people is wrong.

cowboy
December 12th, 2008 | LINK

Bruce Garrett is correct in saying the Pro-Proposition 8 people relied on cheap justification.

The one irritating meme I constantly hear/read: Mormons are not discriminatory towards gays.

They say there a gay-friendly congregations in the LDS Church.

Not true. There is not even a gay-support group. In fact, the objective is to make gays go back into the closet.

They say gays are welcome in the LDS Church if they just don’t act on their homosexual urges.

I dare anyone to provide the name of ONE out-and-proud, celibate gay Mormon who has a Temple Recommend. Because there is not one who is “out” and certainly not “proud”.

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