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Mormons Don’t Like You Much, Either

Timothy Kincaid

January 20th, 2009

One of the common claims coming from the Mormon Church is that they love gay people and favor justice, they just have to protect the sanctity of eternal marriage. But three new polls taken in Utah suggest that this may be more rhetoric than reality.

First, the good news. Utah residents – only 2/3 of which are Mormons – do favor some changes in a pro-gay direction. For example, 56% of Utahns favor some additional legal protections such as hospital visitation and inheritance. And a poll by Equality Utah is claiming that majorities of Utah residents favor job and housing protection.

But that’s about where the good news ends. Of the polled Utah Mormons,

  • 67% think you should not be allowed to adopt,
  • 85% oppose civil unions,
  • 85% think it was appropriate to urge members to donate time and money to Proposition 8,
  • 58% think it was inappropriate for gays to protest outside the LDS temple grounds, and
  • less than half think you should be allowed hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and job protections.

Not all positions that one might hold contrary to the interests of gay equality are an indication of bigotry.

But, seriously, hospital visitation? Inheritance?

Comments

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Kristian
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

Wow, good to know. I think the numbers speak for themselves. How can you love gay people and not want them to have rights? I really wish more people would ask themselves that question.

TonyJazz
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

I’m tired of the hate-mongering, carpetbagging Mormons.

I think I’ll go play with my magic underwear instead….

David C.
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

It would be interesting to see these statistics broken down by age-group and education. And whatever happened to the proposed Gay equality legislation that was being suggested for enactment by the Utah Legislature?

BJohnM
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

After giving this much thought, I have the perfect solution for them in regards to gay marriage.

If I understand their belief system correctly, the believe they can “baptize” people already dead (such as Jews), so they can get to heaven (or one of the levels of heaven). I guess, since they have this power, they have not felt compelled to try to outlaw Judaism or the other religions that conflict with theirs.

So I suggest they let people marry who they want, and then, after we die, they can marry us to whomever they select. So, they don’t have worry themselves about marriage here on earth.

Ah, the power of magic underwear.

Timothy Kincaid
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

C’mon y’all.

Prohibited terms include those “Terms which demean one’s religious affiliation (Christofascists, kike, sky-god, etc.)” This would also include “magic underwear”.

Our objection to Mormon doctrine and attitudes isn’t based on what kind of clothing they wear.

Bruno
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

I was actually surprised when I heard that 15% of Utah Mormons thought the LDS church was too buttinsky on prop 8. Honestly.

Richard Rush
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy wrote: “Prohibited terms include those “Terms which demean one’s religious affiliation (Christofascists, kike, sky-god, etc.)” This would also include “magic underwear”

While recognizing that you have the right to make the blog commenting rules, I have to say that I think religion deserves to be demeaned, mocked, and ridiculed.

People continuously use religious beliefs to support/justify their denigration of us, but the questioning of their silly beliefs is somehow considered out of the bounds of acceptable behavior. How convenient for them. The solution for them should be quite simple: Just show us strong evidence for the factual accuracy of the beliefs and doctrine.

When people insist and insist and insist on a position or belief without strong backup evidence, they are opening themselves up to mockery and ridicule, whether we are talking about religion or some other issue.

David C.
January 20th, 2009 | LINK

Richard, Tim is only asking that we remain civil here. Clearly, many of us question the validity of religious beliefs, and that’s fine, but to demean and ridicule the positions of others does nothing to advance our cause in the larger debate. I can’t speak officially for BTB, but in my experience that is not a forum of the shrill or condescending. Besides, this particular thread is not about the validity of anyone’s beliefs.

That having been said, it is certainly in bounds to counterclaim with evidence. Here the discussion is about the opinions of a particular religious group, and not a hypothetical universal order, being, or doctrine. That the surveyed individuals happen to hold these opinions is not being questioned. The central thrust is the disparity between what the Mormon leadership says and what rank-and-file Mormons believe about a particular set of privileges sought by, and behaviors of, LGBT people and their supporters. Secondarily, Utah is not entirely Mormon, contrary to a perhaps commonly held belief, and many Utah residents differ from their Mormon neighbors where it comes to LGBT people and their rights.

Trashing the Mormon church and religion in general because of its close association with anti-gay activism might make us feel better in the short run, but does little to help the cause of Gay Rights in this country.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

A fan of the barmaid, are you, Richard Rush? She’s the only woman I’m likely to fall in love with.

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/01/18/piety/

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/01/22/sssh/

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/02/01/again/

********

The point is that we cannot have a debate about matters of morality without first discussing matters of fact. If the Mormon’s view of the universe is correct, if there is a God who has our best interests at heart, and if that God has laid down the rules the Mormons say he has, then our moral discussion must take place within that framework of belief. And, debating within that framework, we are likely to come to the conclusion that homosexuality is immoral.

However, if we note that the framework of belief is not backed up by anything, we can abandon it and develop another framework. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, as Christopher Hitchens puts it. And if we debate within a real-world framework, based on the world as it actually is, and not on the world as described by the religious, we are likely to come to the conclusion that homosexuality is without any intrinsic moral consequences.

I disagree with the Mormons (and many other religious groups) on matters of morality because I first disagree with them on matters of fact. This is important. I don’t disagree with their morality merely because another suits me better. That would be hypocritical. The Mormons are simply not making claims about reality that can be corroborated.

It is interesting that the sort of vigorous debate which is expected, even encouraged, in political discourse, is suddenly seen as rude when someone mentions religion. If our moralities come into conflict, and your morality is based squarely on a system of beliefs which have no evidence to support them, then I shall feel no compunction in pointing that out. Why should I?

Like the barmaid, and Richard Rush, I believe, deeply and sincerely, that religion should be mocked. Of course it should. Why on earth not?

“If you don’t want people to laugh at your beliefs, you shouldn’t believe such funny things.”

TRiG.

Paul Ginandes
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

I have gotten the impression that there are a lot of people who are confused by how the mormons can vilify someone, and work to discriminate against them and accuse them in the press of having all sorts of nefarious intentions and yet still claim to love them. Well, I’m confused too. Because my brain doesn’t enjoy wallowing in cognitive discord and denial. But apparently there’s a lot of mormons who are perfectly happy to behave that way. My theory is that it’s because of several reasons. One, they are so caught up in this polemic behavior of sin and redemption, heaven and hell, that they don’t find anything wrong with the idea that you can love someone while you punish them. Of course you can. Maybe parents can with their children. But they are not our parents, and they can’t see that distinction, because they feel it’s their civic and religious duty, having been told so numerous times, to punish the transgressors, for their own good. Scourging is an age old religious tradition.
Secondly, they are in denial. They don’t want to damage their own self images by admitting just how hypocritical and selfish they are. They want to feel holy and good. And it’s the brilliant actions of the church hierarchy that has found a way to harness the all-too-human desire to wreak mischief with other people’s lives, to the cause of religious proselytizing. Uniting the flock against a common enemy, dehumanizing that enemy, and providing a safety outlet for all that anger and animosity and just plain orneriness that is innate to humans. In such a rigid social system as the mormons possess, they really need a scapegoat, and we’re it. Largely because the evangelicals have led the charge, but the mormons are more than willing to jump on the bandwagon as it also provides another benefit by building bridges with another group who can help to advance their conservative agenda. A group that historically viewed mormons as heathens and unbelievers, until they found they could use them as allies against the fags. So, really, there’s a lot of falseness and hypocrisy swirling around in their worldview, and just one of them is the “love the sinner, hate the sin” piece.

GDad
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps in another decade of progress, the Utah Mormons will believe that we should be able to share the same restrooms or eat in their diners.

Richard Rush
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

TRiG wrote, “A fan of the barmaid, are you, Richard Rush?” I am now. I hadn’t been familiar with the jesusandmo site. I just bookmarked it. Thanks.

TRiG, you expressed the whole issue better and more completely than I did.

This point you made is particularly important: “I disagree with the Mormons (and many other religious groups) on matters of morality because I first disagree with them on matters of fact. This is important. I don’t disagree with their morality merely because another suits me better. That would be hypocritical. The Mormons are simply not making claims about reality that can be corroborated.”

It suits the religious brain to assume that we reject religion merely because it’s rules are inconvenient to how we want to live. I began questioning religion many years before I even became aware of its link to the persecution of homosexuals. (I “came out” in 1969, which I think is before the Christians discovered homosexuals as their next group to persecute after it was no longer socially acceptable to go after the Jews.) So, while the persecution of homosexuals is irrelevant to my disbelief, it is one of the reasons that I loath most religion.

Jim Burroway
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Re: “I think religion deserves to be demeaned, mocked, and ridiculed.”

There’s a fine line between mocking religion and mocking people who are religious. In fact, that line is so fine as to be invisible for many people — including LGBT people who are religious.

The purpose of BTB is to try to create a forum of respectful dialogue among people with differing beliefs. Mocking ordinary people (public figures are a completely different matter) works against that.

You may think religion deserves to demean, mocked, and ridiculed. That’s fine. Whenever you feel the need to exercise that right, there are literally thousands of forums on the internet where that sort of behavior is welcome and even encouraged. Not here though.

Seth R.
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

I grew up Mormon in Utah and didn’t much like the culture there. Ultra-conservative and too much mixing of politics and religion for my liking. So I left.

I’m not convinced that the hostility toward giving gays job protections is a sign of anti-gay sentiment really. First off, I can tell you that my fellow Utah’s were often against giving job protections to ANYONE – not just gays. Any law that allows someone to sue someone else meets a lot of resistance in Utah.

You see less of this attitude among Mormons once you get outside of Utah. I don’t think it has much to do with being Mormon or not, actually. I think it just has to do with being a bastion of the GOP.

I think civil unions are a good idea and opposed Prop 8 on pragmatic grounds. But I still believe in my religion. And keep in mind, I’m a lot less likely to take seriously some guy who talks about tolerance for gays, and then, in the same breath, makes a jackass comment about “magic underwear.”

What are you? 12 years old?

cowboy
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Thank you, Mr. Kincaid and Mr. Burroway. I would love to keep BTB a place where Mormons (note the capitalization) or Latter-Day Saints are welcome to comment here without having to jump over ignorant snide comments about them.

A good dialog in any situation can only start with mutual respect.

homer
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

“A good dialog in any situation can only start with mutual respect.”

It is difficult for me to have respect for certain religions when the members of that religion think gays should not have hospital visitation rights.

I was recently told by a religious person that homosexuals and murderers were equal sinners.

So where’s the mutual respect?

Timothy (TRiG)
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect people who think that protestations of offence are the best way to deal with questions they don’t want to answer. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect people who want to diminish my human rights because I’m upsetting their imaginary friend. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect people who think that “faith” trumps evidence. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect people who think that “truth” is whatever they want to be true. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect the irrational, the wilfully ignorant, and the solipsistic.

I find it difficult, if not impossible, to respect most religious people.

And I don’t apologise for that. Should I?

TRiG,
Rationalist.

P.S. We don’t have many Mormons around here (Ireland), and I’m not familiar with their beliefs. Could someone explain the “magic underwear” references in a totally non-offensive manner, please?

Scott P.
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

The “magic underwear” refer to special undergarments worn by Mormons who have gone through certain ceremonies. These garments (as they are called) are required wear at all times except when doing something, such as swimming, when they are impractical. They have various cuts on them, specially the nipples, crotch and other places that are sown shut. It’s believed that Joseph Smith stole the idea and it’s meanings from the Free Masons.

One of the reasons they are considered magical are claims of people suffering third degree burns on all areas of the body except where covered by “garments.”

I stripped many a returned missionary out of his garments before putting his legs up in the air.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

My previous post was a little strong. Many of my friends are religious, and I can and do respect them. But that’s not the point.

Let’s say we’re having a debate about social policy: should we support this or that? Should we site the landfill here or there? Should we build an incinerator (a very emotive issue in this country)? Should we legalise same-sex marriage? Where should we set the age of consent (in Spain, it’s thirteen)? What should be the legal minimum drinking age? How long can the police hold a suspect without charge? Etc.

Ultimately, force of numbers will carry the day on the ballot sheets. And emotional arguments and rhetoric will persuade some. But if you respect your audience, you will lay out your position clearly, and you will give your reasons. “Show your workings,” as they say.

And if your workings come down to “My invisible friend doesn’t like it,” then we can, and should, dismiss what you say. If you have other reasons, you’re free to present them.

That dialogue based on mutual respect won’t happen while one side refuses to base its claims in the real world.

TRiG,
Ireland.

Emily K
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

I agree with homer. The onus is on the Mormons to prove themselves respectable.

GaySolomon
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Timothy (TRiG)

While I agree and sympathize with you, the bias of the BTB owners is clearly and firmly in favour of religion. It is their site and it is their rules.

On the one hand, I see value in having the voices of religious LGBT heard. Their views are strange and illogical, but I do believe they have a valuable role to play in moving our rights agenda forward.

Like you, I would like to denormalize the expression of vacuous religious terminology – but that is not likely to happen here.

Timothy Kincaid
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

The subject of this thread is not whether or not one is entitled to demean, mock, or otherwise be incivil to religious adherents at this site. And I’ll entertain no further comments that do not address the topic of this thread.

The Comments Policy is not optional or up to a vote.

If you wish to be incivil to others – or if you wish to seek to justify why anti-religious rudeness should be tolerated or even celebrated – do it elsewhere.

Scott P.
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Is it acceptable to correct the moderators of this site in their numerous misspellings? Such as incivil, when the word is correctly uncivil?

Ben in Oakland
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

If religion wants to be respectable and respected, then it must act respectably.

cowboy
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

The opineon af moost everyjuan hear is two knot have a dialog with Mormans?

Fine.

Continue as status quo then.

The people of Equality Utah think otherwise.

John
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

I think we need to go back to protesting in front of the Temples. Calling the Mormons on their bigotry to their face and in front of the media seemed to get their attention. Many seemed honestly embarrassed by all this. This poll also seems to indicate that it hits a nerve.

Then, when they approach us for dialog, they will be starting off from the point of defending themselves as not being bigots. It’s always good to start off negotiations from a position of strength (I got that one from a Republican).

Also, Mormons declared war on gay folks (particularly those of us in California). They have done a great deal of damage. I am not really interested in dialog or making them feel comfortable. I want to make them feel very uncomfortable and for other Californians to associate the Mormon Church with the bigotry that they promote. I think it is important to expose the political machinations, hatred and bigotry of this church so that it will not be able to do as much damage to gays and whatever other group the Mormons decide to target in the future.

Benjamin
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

The best way we can succeed in this dreadful and unjust war against us is for us to continue speaking the truth of our experiences. I am so happy that the movie “Prayers for Bobby” is coming to Lifetime Movie Network. We just need to keep moving forward. We (and our allies) must keep pounding out our message to people who are about as dense as you can imagine and have incredibly thick skulls. Several of them will finally see the light and among those who don’t their children more likely will.

I have found about the best way to get things across to the LDS Church is for them to feel the heavy hand of the law. This goes for the bigoted branches of the Evangelical movement as well. It is very likely that the California Supreme Court will dismantle prop 8 and many Evangelicals and Mormons will likely scream bloody murder but eventually they will have to get used to it. Again the only way to make the changes we need in this case is for the heavy hand of the law to come down and pull out the roots of theocracy that has taken hold over the past several years (especially the Bush years). The childish and spoiled leaders and many members of the Evangelicals and LDS Church’s will be fit to be tied. I say just let them have their rants saying they have been persecuted and treated unfairly. Their parallel universe is about to collide with reality. They’ll have to get used to it and only after that happens will their theologies eventually evolve as a result of this. Let’s hope that it evolves for the better.

I am extremely proud of those Latter-day Saint Christians and other Christians who stood up for us and supported the downfall of prop 8. They must always be remembered as being authentic Christians in following their own conscience and voicing their views even at the possibility of being ostracized by their fellow “Christians”. They deserve three cheers and a major hand of support for helping us.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Emily K: The onus is on the Mormons to prove themselves respectable.

They are. That’s the problem. If their beliefs about the nature of reality are correct, then their actions are morally justified and fully appropriate.

I don’t understand this bizarre notion that one can disagree with the Mormons’ moral judgements without first dismantling the beliefs on which those judgements are based. The factual disagreement has to come before the moral disagreement, because the Mormons’ morals flow quite coherently from their beliefs. (Well, as I said, I don’t know much about Mormonism itself, but what I’m saying certainly applies to Evangelicals.)

The Mormons are wrong. They are factually wrong about the nature of reality, and therefore are morally wrong. This is the only logical way to approach this issue. If their facts are right, so are their morals. So let’s please drop this silly charade that we can “respect” their beliefs. We can’t.

We can, perhaps, respect Mormons as individual people. Indeed, we should. If I ever meet a Mormon, I’ll try to respect him, just as I respect many other religious people in my life, including my parents.

And maybe sympathy, rather than logic, will win the day. But that approach can be dangerous. In the long run, logic is safer. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/jfb/huckfinn.pdf

TRiG,
Trying to live in the real world.

Seth R.
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Mormons have been dealing with unhinged Evangelicals telling them to “go to hell” for decades now. They’re used to being unpopular.

What makes you think that a bunch of angry gay supporters is going to be any different?

The angrier the better – you’ll make yourselves that much easier to dismiss.

cowboy
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Please get your facts right. I can’t let a comment here go unchallenged even if it is off topic. This past year Andrew Sullivan went through a lengthy discussion on his blog about the Mormon Temple Garments. If you want, you can check all the relevant facts on the internet. If you want to denigrate some sacred aspect of Mormons then BTB will need to change their comment policies and allow snide comments about any other religion. The absurd comment about third-degree burns ridicules the significance of the garments. The comment about holes in the crotch and putting someone’s legs in the air was WAY over the line. Enough? Why do I have to point this out?

Never was it mentioned that “respect” was meant for the dogma of the Mormons.

And, I ask everyone here, what would protesting outside a Mormon Temple accomplish? You might wear out a sidewalk protesting around the Temple but it gets you nowhere. You got their attention with the first series of protests but…do you honestly think that will change their minds? Did all the protests at the Catholic Cathedrals in New York change anything in the Vatican?

Think what will make a change happen.

As Benjamin says: “…continue speaking the truth of our experiences. “

I think Equality Utah is right in pursing the Utah Legislature, who are vastly Mormon, to get them to consider what one LDS spokesperson said on-record about giving equal rights to gays. Change for the gays in Utah might come this year with a little dialog with Senator Buttars, et al. and reminding them of what their church Elders have said. I understand a couple of gays went over to Senator Buttars home to offer some pumpkin bread and a chance to talk… THAT kind of dialog.

And with change in Utah, it might change some things in California, and Arizona and…

Scott P.
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

cowboy, I didn’t denigrate ANYTHING! And just where are my facts wrong??? I relayed stories that I, myself, have heard from Mormons about burns, rashes and other incidents. It’s no different than when Catholics claim having a saint’s statue on the dashboard or a rosary hanging from a mirror protects the passengers in a car from accidents. You’ve won the effing war here, now quit acting like anyone who disagrees with you or doesn’t kiss your ass is your enemy!

Ben in Oakland
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I’m not sure why my comment was labeled as “awaiting moderation”. I don’t think it was intemperate, rude, or anything other than a description of reality. And it is certainly something that is reflected in many of the comments here.

I absolutely agree that civility and courtesy are paramount. That is the least amount of respect anyone is due. When i used to work with criminals, that was a statement I made often. Even a heinous murderer deserves courtesy. But respect beyond courtesy and civility has to be earned. that is certainly what anti-gay religionists tell gay people. The contradiction arises that we can NEVER be respectable in their eyes, because we are the WORST sinners, the disgusting ones, the unrepentant.

but this is a two-way street, Yet,I believe in dialog with mormons, catholics, evangelicals– all of them. I am willing to respect them. I think Israeli’s and Palestinians should be in dialog.Yet here is the difficult contradiction for me, and i speak only for myself, they cannot be respectable in my eyes.

But i am still willing to be in dialog.

The prop.8 backers, financially primarily mormons, lied and lied and lied. That is not a respectable thing to do.

The Catholic Church presumes to lecture me on my sex life, all the while protecting pedophile priests and paying out billions that could go to feeding, educating, and housing the poor. Also not respectable.

I have said repeatedly to evangelicals that all I require from them is the same respect that they extend to every other group of people that they believe are going to be sent to hell forever by their just and loving god– jews, atheists, muslims, buddhists, and probably episcopalians, though i might be making that up.

But that respect is not forthcoming, because ultimately, I don’t believe it really is about religious belief. It’s just an ancient prejudice and fear given– here’s that word again– RESPECTABILITY by religious belief.

Prejudice without reason and reality is never respectable. I am prejudiced against suicide bombers and child molestors as a group. there is no excuse for the harm they do, and there is a reason why i would wish to have them contained. i don’t need to make a reason up, or lie.

CPT_Doom
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Mormons have been dealing with unhinged Evangelicals telling them to “go to hell” for decades now. They’re used to being unpopular.

What makes you think that a bunch of angry gay supporters is going to be any different?

Ah, but that’s just it, Seth. The Mormon political community has used their shared “values” regarding family and social life to align themselves with those very Evangelicals, not to mention Roman Catholics and socially conservative mainline Protestants. This alignment is widely seen as an attempt at gaining legitimacy from the more established religious traditions in this country.

The really interesting thing is if you polled those religious people about Mormons, and whether society should be forced to consider their sexual practices as equivalent to marriages (I am not referring to polygamy here, but standard man/woman relationships – according to strict Christian doctrine, no Mormon couple is legitimately married), or allow children to be adopted into Mormon homes, I am sure you would get a LOT of support for anti-Mormon policies. That anti-Mormon sentiment has been credited with causing Willard “Mitt” Romney a lot of trouble gaining traction with the social conservatives during the primaries last year. Heck, I remember my Roman Catholic mother being freaked out that my sister and I liked the Donnie and Marie Show because she was concerned it was a Mormon recruitment project.

I wonder if that is why the attitudes of Mormons to other communities seems different to some when those Mormons leave their stronghold of Utah. Once they are put into the position of being minorities and facing intolerance and discrimination, maybe they learn a little about the tyranny of the majority.

The existence of this anti-Mormon sentiment among their natural political allies, though, is the reason I think we should be continuing to protest against them – they represent a weak link in the chain of intolerance and that is where you want to concentrate energies.

Regan DuCasse
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Tim K, I was wondering if you heard any follow up news about Marj Christofferson and El Coyote?

Over at TownHall, they haven’t stopped bitching about the rallies here and El Coyote.
You’d have thought it got burned down in a riot and MC was lynched.
I kid you not.

Not only that, but I was the ringleader and go her fired.

With this kind of exaggeration, our side was never going to get a break.
It’s laughable to us how they’ve reacted, but they are dead serious.

You remember Marj’s vapors?

The facts remain that Prop 8 was quality of life law. And those who are heterosexual did not have THEIR quality of life compromised and the assumption that the quality of marriage itself was,was simply an insult as you well know.

I was in an email debate about it all with Burt Prelutsky. Evidently Marj is the wife of a friend and he thought his two cents was required at TH too.

Once I got him started, he’s pretty much obsessed with gay sex and poop too.

So tiresome.

There really is nothing SO tiresome as straight guys like that who know ALL about being gay.

Go figure.

I assured him that Marj would recover as her business would too, if it hasn’t already.

Legal marriage for gay folks, not so,
And neither will the quality of marriage for straight folks, but that’s THEIR fault.

I still think we should reach out like THEY do.
Missionary style. Fresh, engaging young people with EXPERIENCE. Either as gay or with gay parents…THAT would be a tough truth to argue!

We have to take the mountain to THEM…it’s a bet they won’t show up at PFLAG meetings.

Jim Burroway
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Ben in Oakland,

I don’t know why your comment went into moderation. WordPress sometimes does that with suspected spam comments, as it automatically filters close to 100 genuine spam comments each day.

But I don’t see any reason why this particular comment should have tripped the spam filter. I’ve released your simple, one-line comment from the moderation queue. It was:

“If religion wants to be respectable and respected, then it must act respectably.”

It should not have been blocked. Please accept my apologies.

Ben in Oakland
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Not a problem, jim. i thought as much. It gave me a little incentive to write a bit more.

Ben in Oakland
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

“There really is nothing SO tiresome as straight guys like that who know ALL about being gay.”

If you gave that comment a little thought……..LOL

Jim Burroway
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

The question about respect for religious views is a tricky one, given that there are a number of religious LGBT people and allies fighting for us.

That’s why I prefer to draw a distinction wherever I can between religious leaders and followers. Yes, the Pope has said some crazy and homophobic statements, and the Catholic heirarchy has displayed an apalling hypocrasy in how it has dealt with the child molestation problem.

And yet, Catholics in the pews are a pretty rambunctious bunch. In fact, right here in Arizona, the Catholic vote to pass Prop 102 51%-49%. Contrast that with the fact that Prop 102 passed overall 56%-44%.

Clearly a huge number of Catholics didn’t listen to their heirarchy on this one. In fact, they voted disproportionatey against Prop 102 when compared to the population as a whole.

And lest we forget: nearly one in five born-again Evangelicals also voted against Prop 102.

So we can continue to bash religion and all religious people, or we can choose to recognize that religion probably isn’t going away anytime soon and that there is a base of religious allies on which we can build.

One way leads to change, one way leads to more of the same. I’m frankly tired of the more-of-the-same route. I’d much prefer we try to grow that base rather than alienate those voters we already have voting with us.

Timothy Kincaid
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Regan,

The last I heard was Margie whining to Steve Lopez. It was all about her and how badly she’d been treated.

There has not been, to the best of my knowledge, EVER any acknowledgment of the concerns of the customers she screwed over.

And while it’s nothing more than just a drive-by observation, if her parking lot is anything to judge by, folks are still staying away.

Scott P.
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I’ll never understand the hype about El Coyote. The food is mediocre, the staff either harried or surly and the atmosphere hectic.

Between El Coyote, In-N-Out Burgers and Pink’s I can’t decide which is the most overrated.

I much prefer El Cholo.

cowboy
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Burroway: I’d much prefer we try to grow that base [of gay-friendly religious people] rather than alienate those voters we already have voting with us.

I would say AMEN, but, I’m not entirely sure that is appropriate for me to say right now.

So, I’ll say: DITTO.

GaySolomon
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Jim Burroway writes:

“And yet, Catholics in the pews are a pretty rambunctious bunch. In fact, right here in Arizona, the Catholic vote to pass Prop 102 51%-49%. Contrast that with the fact that Prop 102 passed overall 56%-44%.”

I wonder if it was really church going Catholics who opposed Prop 102 in disproportionate numbers? I think one has to be very careful with statistics here. Most people who self-identify as Catholic do not attend church on a regular basis and quite frankly have little regard for their Church’s theology. In my experience, most of these folks are really more “cultural” Catholics than real adherents of the faith.

Consequently, I am not so sure you can easily dismiss the efforts of secularists to denormalize religious ideas. I belive it also has an important role in advancing LGBT rights.

John
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

cowboy wrote: And, I ask everyone here, what would protesting outside a Mormon Temple accomplish? You might wear out a sidewalk protesting around the Temple but it gets you nowhere. You got their attention with the first series of protests but…do you honestly think that will change their minds? Did all the protests at the Catholic Cathedrals in New York change anything in the Vatican?

Actually, I think that protesting in front of the Temples did make a difference. I also wish that it had happened throughout the campaign, instead of after the election was lost. Many non-Mormons might not have voted for Prop 8 if they viewed it as a Mormon manipulation.

Also during the campaign, there apparently was some conflict within Mormon wards about Prop 8. There were Mormons at the Oakland Mormon Temple who told the press that they weren’t comfortable with Mormon involvement in the Prop 8 campaign. They even came out to tell protesters that they did not support Prop 8. These people take their discomfort into these Temples and let the powers that be know that they oppose these actions that make all Mormons seem like bigots. I can also tell you that Mormon missionaries disappeared from the streets in my East Bay city during the campaign. They felt the heat and responded.

As for the Catholic Church, you didn’t pay attention to the clergy abuse scandals, if you think public protest has no effect on the Church or it’s actions. Public pressure, ironically mostly by Catholics, has had the Church in the US on the defensive for almost a decade now. They have been so undercut by their own unforgiveable coverups and essential facilitation of predatory priest that when a pompous bishop makes some harsh pronouncement more and more folks just roll their eyes at the hypocracy of the Church.

Being silent hasn’t gotten us anywhere. In fact, I would argue that the No On 8 crowd in large part failed by being too silent, too polite, not reaching out to enough groups and not aggressively going after our enemies.

If we are going to get equal rights, we are going to have to stand up and loudly demand them, regardless of who gets uncomfortable. Sitting around being extra nice to bigots in the Mormon Church hoping that they will have a change of heart as long as we don’t press too hard is a losing strategy.

cowboy
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

One thing. I don’t people here think Marj of El Coyote Restaurant as representative of all Mormons and of all Mormon attitudes…right?

John,
I am for keeping the Mormons’ feet to the fire. I’m not for being silent. I’m all for actively re-educating the Mormons about gays. I’m just saying, the protest rallies do little to make the situation better.

Public pressure can be asserted in other ways. Getting on talk shows, for example. Using YouTube. Cable TV. How about some of the short films I saw at Sundance Film Festival. One panel discussion talked about the GLBT community in Hollywood and New York working on changing the gay image. One older ACLU spokesperson (I forgot his name) was comparing this to the Stonewall reaction he has witnessed. He admonished us to live our lives more outwardly. We have to take the opportunity now and be the catalyst for change.

And during these next two months, I’ll be in Mormons’ faces during this legislature session.

I’m far from being silent. I think our roar is better suited for intelligently chosen venues and not just carrying signs and screaming at each other.

Scott P.
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

People, let’s realize one thing here.

Statistically, Mormons make up a VERY small percentage of the population. We don’t need to kowtow to them.

If the California Supreme Court finds that the LDS Church violated our state constitution and nullifies Prop. 8, all of it’s backers will have to either give up or try to find a newer, even more expensive way of denying us our rights.

Where I live, in the San Fernando Valley, there are more Anti-Prop.8 people than live in the entire state of Utah, Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Let’s not give these people more attention than they actually deserve.

Utah is behind the times, giving the LDS all this attention just feeds their bloated egos.

In the early 90s I owned a house in a part of Salt Lake called the Avenues. When coming home one night a rather pompous individual stopped me from driving up to my home because a film company was using an abandoned hospital in the area. I remember how the local papers had a field day about how Utah really stuck it to Hollywood by getting this production, which had an operating budget of $5,000,000 and how a Utah actress was actually cast to play a part with two whole lines! From all the celebrating you’d have thought this one tv movie was going to bankrupt Hollywood and stop the “Californication” (a word I first read in the Salt Lake Tribune) of the nation.

Stop the flow of money from this church and it’s adherents and we stop the only card they have to play.

Speak to Catholics, speak to Latinos and African-Americans. We don’t have to waste our time with the Mormons.

Scott P.
January 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Correction, the line about bloated egos should read “LDS Church’s bloated egos”.

Don’t want the thought police having conniption fits, now do we?

BobN
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

“The comment about holes in the crotch and putting someone’s legs in the air was WAY over the line.”

How was it over the line?

BobN
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Someone above said that demonstrating in front of Temples did no good.

Really? For one thing, it got the Mormon Church to issue a press release which — read not too closely — gave the impression that they supported civil unions. Of course, this was an effort at disinformation, as they oppose civil unions. Still, it got them into a bit of a public relations pickle and gave Equality Utah in inroad in the legislature.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive…

GaySolomon
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

For any folks labouring under the impression that religion benefits a progressive and fair America, I would point out this study by Gregory S. Paul:
http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

IMO cowtowing to religious adherents’ sensitivities to any “mocking” of their beliefs is yeilding poor dividends to the LGBT rights movement.

I find it very interesting that there appears to be a strong correlation between strong secular societies and advanced gay rights.

Contrary to the assertions of some, perhaps more challenges to vacuous religious terminology in the public sphere is just what the LGBT movement needs in the USA. I am not suggesting this should be the only tactic in our arsenal, but surely it ought to be considered as an important one.

Priya Lynn
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Gaysolomon said “Most people who self-identify as Catholic do not attend church on a regular basis and quite frankly have little regard for their Church’s theology. In my experience, most of these folks are really more “cultural” Catholics than real adherents of the faith.”.

I think there’s a lot of truth in that. I referred to myself as a Catholic for many years after I stopped attending church after my parents stopped forcing me to go. If I remember correctly the vast majority of Quebecers refer to themselves as Catholics although less than half attend church.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Hey. I live in Ireland. I know all about nominal Catholics. (My family, by contrast, are Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

I’ll check your link, GaySolomon.

TRiG.

Seth R.
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Look guys, I’ve been trying, trying, trying to distance my fellow Mormons from the Christian Right for years now. I’ve always said that the moment the Christian Right was done with gays, lesbians, and evolution teachers, they’d be coming after us Mormons.

I really don’t like how large elements of the Mormon Church are allied both theologically and culturally with the Christian Right.

But I can tell you one thing – these protests aren’t helping what I’m trying to do here.

If anything, all the protests have done is galvanize the undecided or lukewarm Mormons into a much firmer support of the Christian Right and into rejection anything that smacks of the “godless left.” All it did was convince many Mormons that Evangelicals aren’t half as much of a problem to us as the hostile gay community is.

All the protests did was confirm in Mormon minds how right they all were to oppose such a bunch of unhinged mouth-foaming left-wing whack-jobs.

It’s kind of like Bush’s “Axis-of-Evil” speech. Sure it made people puff up their chests and say “hell yeah” about how he sure “told it straight” to those evil nations.

But fact is, Iran was actually changing internally and becoming much more open and democratic. A moderate President (Khatami) was in power and popular Iranian sentiment was more pro-American than it had been in years.

Then Bush labeled Iran a part of the “Axis of Evil.” And it all went straight to hell. Iranians on the streets were pissed-off, anti-American sentiment hardened, the moderate president was kicked out, the hardliners took over and over a decade of progress in American-Iranian relations went down the crapper.

These temple protests are doing the same thing. These magic underwear comments that are popping up all over the web are doing the same thing. These gratuitous quotations of South Park and “pedophile Joe” and beating up Mormon missionaries are doing the same thing. You’re simply forcing a hardening of attitudes among a people who already had fortress mentality to begin with. And you risk rolling back almost a decade of very real progress the LDS Church was making with respect to homosexual issues. There was a real softening going on.

That may have all been shot to hell, thanks to the wildly anti-religious outpouring that has occurred among the gay community.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Am I “wildly anti-religious”? I am anti-religious, but I’m not sure how wild I am. I’m certainly anti-religious when religious arguments are applied to social policy. If you think that we (society) should do something, you need to present a better reason than “my imaginary friend says so”.

I will not back down from this.

And yes, beliefs held in the face of the evidence do deserve to be mocked, and therefore I will mock them. Why shouldn’t I?

I admit it might be politic to get the religious onside (and of course many gay people are religious), but personally I prefer not to get my hands dirty. Religion has ever been the enemy of reason, and is generally a retarding influence on moral progress.

And besides, I don’t see this as an argument between gay people and religious people. How could it be, when so many gay people are religious, even Christian? No, this is an argument between faith and reason. It is an argument between advocates of theocracy and advocates of freedom. It is an argument between book-based morality and reality-based morality.

And I don’t apoligise for siding with morality.

TRiG,
Tired.

Timothy Kincaid
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

And yes, beliefs held in the face of the evidence do deserve to be mocked, and therefore I will mock them. Why shouldn’t I?

Because if you do so at this site you will be banned.

If you don’t like our rules, don’t read the site.

Seth R.
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

A pretty good chunk of human scientific advance came because of new religious ideas. Same for social developments.

The end of slavery and segregation came from expressly religious themes. Not secular.

Just because a religion has what you call “an imaginary friend” doesn’t mean that it automatically deserves a dismissal. You can engage a religion on its own terms and still accomplish shared values and goals.

Take the well-known example of the status of blacks in the LDS Church (they weren’t granted full religious participation until the 1970s). You encounter a Church with a racist policy. What do you do?

Tell them how messed up they are for believing in an imaginary friend and how nobody who believes creepy religious stuff has the right to dictate what a racial group can and can’t do?

Or do you point out how their own sacred writings declare that “God is no respecter of persons” among other things? Do you read into the Book of Mormon and find examples of how the “dark-skinned Lamanites” eventually grew into a holy people themselves and eventually had to call upon the light-skinned Nephites to shape-up.

Do you do enough legwork to understand that there are RELIGIOUS arguments that can advance your goals within the framework that churchgoers operate in?

Or do you act like you’re twelve years old and sit outside on the curb throwing insults at the “kooky religious people?”

Timothy (TRiG)
January 29th, 2009 | LINK

Oh the beauties of thread drift! Who knows where a discussion may end up?

I have mocked and shall continue to mock religion, but I don’t do it very often, because mockery isn’t my strong point. I really am not that good at it. For example, I have not mocked religion here at BTB (unless you count references to an invisible/imaginary friend as mockery: I think it’s just telling it as I see it).

I also post at the CARM Christian Discussion Forums, and I don’t often mock religion there either. I can get on with religious people, and I can even frame an argument in religious terms, which brings me on to Seth’s point.

Seth, the Mormon Church did not accept black people as members. That’s their right: they’re a private organisation, a club. If some members disagree, they can petition to change the rules of the club, should they so wish. If they can’t change the rules, they’re free to leave and set up their own club. Big deal. Yes, you can have internal religious debates.

Similarly, some branches of Christianity now celebrate same-sex marriages. Many others don’t. Christians are free to have theological discussions on this subject, as on others, and to join the church which best reflects their beliefs. This is the place for internal religious debates.

But if the Mormon Church works to actively fight against equality in society at large, outside the church body, then that’s a different matter, isn’t it?

Get this: I don’t care what the Mormons or any other religious body believe. If they want to teach that homosexuality is a sin, or that women must wear headscarves, or that pasta may be eaten only on the second Tuesday of the month, or anything else, they’re welcome to. But when they seek to impose those laws on non-members, I will protest. Vigorously.

Here. Let’s get back on topic for a moment:

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/22914/mormon-church-homosexuality

TRiG,
Lazy.

Seth R.
January 29th, 2009 | LINK

As a practical matter, how is a religious person supposed to separate his religious views from his political views?

Yeah, I know CARM it’s that Christian fundamentalist message board that bans any Mormon who actually threatens them with a difficult argument.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 31st, 2009 | LINK

Your political opinions are based on your moral opinions; your moral opinions are based on your understanding of the nature of reality (i.e., your beliefs); and your beliefs are strongly influenced by your religion. So no, they cannot be fully separated; you’re right.

However, a belief that “I should not do X” need not equate to a belief that “X should be banned”.

Also, political discourse would be immeasurably improved if people would give reasons for their positions and supply evidence for their beliefs.

TRiG,
Cynic.

Deann B
February 24th, 2009 | LINK

As I sit here and read all these messages you all have put here a question pops into my mind. When they were writing the Bill of Right’s what exactly were they trying to do with the first amendment? The people of this nation have freedom of speech, press, and so forth. I am only 17 years old, and have found through my years of searching for a church that fits me, that the only church I see to be true is the Mormon church. Now having the backround, that I do come to have, I don’t understand how such hatred can be pressed on one religious group. I believe in what the words in our scriptures say. I believe in the stories that I have heard and I have a strong knowledge of what was laid forth for me from my father in heaven and Jesus Christ, but no that doesn’t mean I think the same way about topics put forth by media and politics. I believe in gay rights and believe they should be allowed to be married and so on. I think abortions should not be legal and that it’s more of an issue of are people paying attention to how much time they put towards sex than to how much money they would have to spend if something like a pregnancy occurs. I also believe abortions should be illegal because it is your baby. Your creation made between the love you had with another human being. I do think you should adopt because difficulties will come into play with families and that baby may have been put there for you to have and to hold and love with all the love you have. But coming back to my question, that’s just what I think. How I feel. The words that I am proud to say. I don’t understand how people can point their finger right at Mormon’s and say, “You’re wrong”. Because to us, this is the truth of all things. It is not like we are pressuring you to believe what we believe. Yes, we have baptisms for the dead. Most of which are OUR own family members. Yes, we believe in three levels of heaven. But it’s more of a question of what do we deserve to be placed at? What level? We do not, what so ever, be asked to be criticized on what we believe because we are happy with what we believe in. We have the faith. If you are happy with you life then good. Keep in that way, but don’t ruin other peoples lives by spreading around the falses you find. Since, yet again, that is what you think. I have no problem with people that are against this religion because that’s how you are taking this life, it just puts me down when I realize how people discriminate when they do not like something. Especially to the point when people stand outside our church protesting. It is not right and it’s disrespect to your own American citizens.

Scott P.
February 24th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, Deanne, after all, there was no disrespect meant when the LDS Church told it’s followers to do everything they could to pass Prop. H8, was there?

Got any tears or sorrow for the damage done by religious institutes, including the LDS? Ever read about the things done to gay people in Utah as late as the 80′s? Electro-shock treatment, aversion therapy, telling them to marry an opposite sex partner. All these things were sponsored by the LDS Church and it’s leadership.

And, just to let you know, not every child is born of love, not every child born is wanted, not every child born is adopted.

You think that a few marches and some spray paint are terrible things. Well, not as terrible as being forced into a second-class status by the efforts of the ultra-religious right.

When I grew up in Salt Lake I heard Mormons talk about how they’d been persecuted, just like the Jews. I never saw Mormons rounded up in cattle cars, never saw them murdered in the streets, but oh, how I’ve the cries of martyrdom from Christians most of my life. Nothing is more nauseating than have some Mormon come into a synagogue and declare “I’m a member of the Tribe of Benjamin”, as if that somehow equates what happened over a hundred and fifty years ago to horrors that are still in living memory.

Do some growing, look around you, listen to others outside of your faith, and you’ll be a better person for it.

cowboy
February 24th, 2009 | LINK

Deann B,
A little background on me: I have lived all my life in Utah (except for a brief stint in Atlanta and Fresno). I have family who are deeply involved with the Mormon (LDS) Church. I, of course, have taken an alternative route in my life because I cannot reconcile my feelings and what I believe is truth with the dictates of the LDS Church.

Having said that…I will defend the LDS Church when I feel they have been unfairly treated and there has been some misconception about the Mormons expressed on the internet. I try to dispel the rumors and falsehoods about the LDS Church.

If you wouldn’t mind, I suggest you read deeper into the discussions here and see that BoxTurtleBulletin in itself is not promoting any falsehoods. The authors here go out of their way to make this a fair representation of the issues (particular with emphasis on gay). I vouch for these blog-hosts. They are decent people with much more fairness than you will find in other blogs. There is admittedly some bias here. That’s to be expected. True and honest discourse of topics has to be factual and supported by reputable sources…not just hearsay.

Please keep in mind I may be critical of the Mormons for when they do something wrong. They are not perfect…even when the Prophet speaks. The LDS Church is not immune from human error.

So, when you see how people outside the LDS Church criticize some dogma, it’s partly they don’t understand the tenants and partly the dogma of the LDS Church is such a foreign concept sometimes.

Let me as a gay man tell you that I appreciate your writing. However, just as you have the right to type something on this blog, I have my civil right to stand outside your Churches or your Temples and make my voice heard. That your LDS buildings are a target is mostly because you put the Temples in obviously prominent places. That was by design. But that also brings attention to your Church. It was intended to be a missionary tool, perhaps but in this day and age, it is almost vulgar and ostentatious (my opinion).

But, the last few years, the LDS Church has taken a strident and almost war-like stance with regards to gay civil rights. You wouldn’t expect us to stand and let that happen would you? Realistically, if I started a petition in California to outlaw all Mormon Temple Sealings because they’re done in “secret” you would be protesting your civil rights being compromised too.

Let me tell you, all my life I have had to deal with being demonized and told I should stay celibate and sit in the back of the chapel and say nothing. I have been told I am dirty, filthy and satanic. My co-workers (who are Mormon) are challenging me in my work and in my private life. They can make my life miserable at times. This is my livelihood. I have no other choice but to be who I am. I cannot and will not be celibate for the sake of someone’s religious views and I certainly will not fake my love and pretend I love someone I really couldn’t love in the way that would make me feel happy.

It is not our protesting that makes you mad. It’s our protesting that make you uncomfortable with the reality that maybe the LDS Church has done something wrong…and that is a foreign concept to deal with.

Timothy (TRiG)
March 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Many of my friends are religious.

I’ve only just realised what I said here. Odd, since it’s something that’s been said many times by members of the opposition.

Wait for it ….

Some of my best friends are deluded fantasists.

TRiG,
Yikes.

Joseph
July 27th, 2009 | LINK

Kudoo’s to everyone who is putting forth “constructive” discusion. Even though I do not personaly agree with gay relationships, I do agree that it is not up to others such as myself (Straight) to unfairly judge others on thier personal and religious beliefs. I am a USAF vet and served with male and female gay personel. Anyone one of them would have laid there lives on the the line for this and other countries and each and everyone of you. May I remind you,”They still are this very minute this very day.” On the Mormon subject if I may. When the mormons built thee Multi,Multi Million Dollar Temple around 10 years ago in Nauvoo, Illinois. They allowed a whole limited weekend crowd to walk through this building soon after it was constructed. Members of this “group” would stand at doorways (Like CIA Agents) they did not want you to go through. You were not allowed to use thee restrooms, you were not to stand still and look and admire the craftsmanship or you would be nudged to move along by one of thee “CIA Agents”. It was very uncomfortable to be there and a two year old would recognize the cockiness they exhibeted. Now I am not judging just telling you a small part of their Hospitality that I personaly experienced. If you try to walk into that temple today and you are not a member (Mormon), you will be thrown out and if you try to ask why, the police will be called and you will have charges of Tresspassing filed against you. You and I can walk in any denominations church in this country and (the middle east mind you) and be welcomed but not at a mormons church or Temple. Talk amongst yourselves, Take Care.
Joseph

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