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Mormon Church now LIKES the gays

Timothy Kincaid

December 21st, 2010

In 2008 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) declared war on the gay community. They probably didn’t intend to, and they certainly didn’t want it to be known, but nevertheless that year the Mormon leadership decided that it would throw the church’s weight and political influence into the battle to deny marriage equality in California.

And they won. Proposition 8 passed.

But this success has proven to be a pyrrhic victory, one that threatened to set back much of the church’s public image campaign. Having spent decades on a message that Mormons make good neighbors, suddenly they were painted as haters and destroyers of happiness.

And the church discovered – to what must have been their amazement – that people in California are more suspicious of Mormons than they are of gays. While they may not have favored marriage, they were disturbed at the idea of a California proposition being funded and controlled from Utah by a church that many still see as a cult.

And then the church took a series of missteps in public confrontation with gays. Efforts to paint gay people as deviants that had to be slapped down (how dare they kiss in this Mormon-owned park) only gained sympathy for gay folk in the public eye. And even members revolted when a leader declared that gay people must choose to be gay because Heavenly Father wouldn’t have made them that way.

I’ll admit that it has been amusing to see the panic and meltdown over gay issues since the church’s involvement in Prop 8 was exposed. But it has also been encouraging that there are obviously many in the Mormon Church who have been awakened by the scandal and who are seeking to act admirably.

And some are really seeking peace, a detente, and if not agreement then at least a cease fire. It shows up in some amusing ways. (ABC)

ABC 4 News has learned that the Church invited several prominent gay leaders to its Christmas concert this weekend, including Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black.

Black, a screenwriter, won an Oscar for the movie, “Milk.”

Saturday, at the LDS Church’s Christmas concert, he and a handful of Utah gay activists were VIP guests.

ABC 4 News is also being told that the Church has met previously with both Black and Bastian, one of the founders of WordPerfect.

This, reportedly, to get more information about gay issues.

I’m not ready to forgive the church for the damage they did in my state. It truly was an act of selfish bullying and it will take more than a Christmas concert invitation to a select few before I see this institution as other than a committed enemy of my civil rights and freedom.

But it does give me hope. Maybe the church has learned a lesson.

There is a strong likelihood that there will be a proposition on the 2012 ballot to reverse Proposition 8, and if the Mormon Church doesn’t want to pay for half of the advertising and 80-90% of the volunteers, then our chances are significantly increased.

Comments

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justsearching
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

“In 2008 the… Mormons declared war on the gay community. They probably didn’t intend to.”

Someone’s feeling charitable this holiday season.

Lindoro Almaviva
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Well, how do we know this is not a PR move on their part? how long did it take them to discard their belief that black people have been marked like that by God because of some horrible sin?

Derrick
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

As a recovering Mormon, I was very skeptical of this move when I first heard about it over the weekend. I hope Black and Bastian are smart enough to not become propaganda tools for the LDS religion.

If the LDS religion is successful in publicizing this very intentional invitation, people will begin to see them as “accepting,” when in reality, nothing has changed. The LDS religion is very PR-savy, and I just hope that Black and Bastian take this opportunity to begin a dialogue, but also to put the pressure on the organization and its anti-gay policies.

Nothing changes this religion like bad PR. We cannot miss this opportunity to have actual change occur.

JandyA Says
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

The word camellia comes to mind.

JandyA Says
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Chameleon*

Scott P.
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Having grown up in Salt Lake City I can tell you that nothing, NOTHING, is more important to the LDS Church than appearances. One of the reasons that Salt Lake is one of the favorite places for con artists is the Mormon reliance on surfaces. It used to be that all a scammer had to do was buy some temple garments and a suit and show up at a ward house meeting to gain the trust of the fellowship. Pressure must be kept up to make actual change occur with in the Mormon hierarchy.

palerobber
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

the authoritarian structure of the mormon church is a double edged sword. the church defended its racist priesthood policy right up until the day it did a complete 180 due to the decision of one guy.

unfortunately, on the issue of full gay equality, i don’t think we’ll see that guy at the top of the pyramid for another 30 years or so.

Big Gay Sam
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

As a Gay Mormon I can honestly say that the Church will never change it’s stance on homosexuality. The sun will burn out before that happens.

The closest we ever got to acceptance was with the last President of the church.

Four years of Reparative Therapy and 40 some odd years of fasting, praying, weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth has never given me an answer as to why God hates homosexuality.

I can’t change. I’ve tried. So, why? I don’t understand and I probably won’t understand until the day I die. So I remain celibate and unmarried. A man without an identity. Waiting for a reason.

Soren456
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Lipstick. Pigs.

I’ll go with what Scott P. says above.

And I’ll add that I’m not well versed in it, but from what I know, I don’t see any place in their theology that can hook onto an accommodation of healthy homosexual life.

They have dug such a deep hole for themselves on our issues, have so thoroughly, foolishly and implacably defined themselves in contrast to us that they are essentially paralyzed by their own dogma.

Backslaps and PR for sure. But genuine change in the bedrock? I don’t even know where they’d begin. And I suspect that they don’t either.

Scott P.
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Bruno, according to many of my LDS neighbors (“official” church doctrine and what many Mormons believe are often at odds) God presents himself, in his physical form to, the Prophet, Seer and Revelator (i.e. the president of the church) in the Salt Lake Temple and reveals his will, which the Prophet then imparts to the brethren. Thus, LDS doctrine changes over time, many times this “revelation” comes after intense bad press for the church, Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

Tony Jazz
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

I feel sorry for you, Big Gay Sam.

I recognize that growing up LDS is cultural and greatly affects many aspects of one’s life. But sometimes it is time to forget those indoctrinations and move on to reality.

Please stop being celebate, and enjoy your life!

(I was brought up Catholic, but don’t miss the silliness one bit.)

Ray
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Big Gay Sam, you don’t have to be a martyr to Mormon bigotry by remaining celibate. It’s not going to make ONE SINGLE DIFFERENCE unless you’re President of the church and broadcast the fact that you’re gay.

Who do I know? Because I tried the same thing. I was 100% faithful but I decided to tell people I was gay.

Guess what?

They SHUNNED me out of the ward – even when I hadn’t **ever** acted on my homosexuality. The word swept around the ward, then the stake and then when I’d walk into even a business owned by one of the brothers, they’d be “unavailable” to even say hello.

Don’t do this. You dump THEM! Believe me, you’ll be a whole lot better off as thousands of gay Mormons can bear witness to.

DavidMalcolm
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

That many still see as a cult? Try just about anyone who’s ever researched even a little who isn’t a mormon.

Sure most world religions have their weird elements. But the Mormons are only normal when compared to other cults.

They’re abusive, they’re nutty, and they’re about as far from rational as you can get. They don’t have a rich history, of tradition like Jews, Christians, Muslims, Budhists etc. They have… a nutty Methodist who couldn’t get a job in a normal Church cause he lied too much.

The fact that the Evangelical Church got into bed with the Mormons should show in general that neither side really cares about their convictions as much as they do hurting other people.

Timothy Kincaid
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Sam is entitled to live his life in the manner that he sees best. I appreciate the encouragement for Sam, but let’s also be respectful of his life-choices.

Andrew
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

If I know my LDS, they have a living prophet. For good or for bad, it means they can change their doctrine freely, so long as the prophet sees it. So, no previous doctrine matters. They basically get a new testament every so often, and certain things aren’t on the bad list anymore.

Priya Lynn
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Sam, a lifetime of personal sacrifices won’t help anyone else in the slightest. As long as you’re not harming others whatever you do is moral.

B John
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

I now love when the Mormon Boys come knocking on my door (I work from home when not traveling for work). I just immediately light into them about why they think it’s OK to insult me and interfere in my personal life.

I’m Christian and pretty well versed in the Bible, so when they start with the Bible verses I start explaining the original Greek or Aramaic translations, and the misinterpretations out of context.

Then they start trying to get me to come to Church (or Stake House or whatever it is) around the corner to speak with some others…because by that point in time their heads are spinning, and they no longer know what to say…since I took away all their biblical justifications for hate.

I’ve noticed a couple of the boys especially interested in topic. I feel sorriest of them, but it does, frankly, always make my day.

Ray
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

I certainly *do* respect Sam’s life choice. I made that same decision myself. What I learned was that distancing yourself from your faith is **painful** but no more painful than living within it and being just as alienated and shunned. I suppose it’s like what woman say about abortion: You have a choice, but whatever choice you make is a lousy one.

gar
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

It will take more than concerts, cookies, and cupcakes to make up for the disgrace that is Prop. 8, but I’m glad they are at least realizing that perhaps they went a bit too far. I pass by the Oakland Temple daily. They have their lights up as usual for the holidays. One day I noticed that I hadn’t paid much attention to them. It wasn’t a conscious effort. I just haven’t been turning my head.

Pretty is as pretty does. And it will take more than nice Christmas lights, as well as the other items above, to make up for Prop. 8.

Jeff
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Clearly, the fallout from Proposition 8 was much greater than expected.

Ben in Oakland
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Four years of Reparative Therapy and 40 some odd years of fasting, praying, weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth has never given me an answer as to why God hates homosexuality.”

Sam, I feel for you. But ask yourself this. Do you think it is possible, after all of that, that you have been asking the wrong question? Or even asking the wrong person the wrong question? Maybe it isn’t god that hates homosexuality. Maybe it’s your church leaders that hate it, for whatever reasons, twisted or no, they have. Maybe they have taught you to hate yourself and convince yourself that it is god that is doing the hating.

Most of the anti-gays have shown repeatedly that they know nothing about this subject. The very existence of so many faiths that are the “one true faith” should clue you in that they don’t know very much about God, either.

When someone tells you that you are dirty, sick, unclean, and especially, sinful and in need to salvation (which they offer–at a price, of course, either money or your soul and heart) it is the biggest mistake in the world to assume that 1) it’s true, and 2) that they are telling you for your benefit, and not for their own. The concept of sin, especially YOUR sin, becomes the expression of their will and their way of seeing the world. If it is making you unhappy, or interfering with your life, then that is probably a good test of its truth value.

Why would you trust people who are apparently amd INHERENTLY untrustworthy?

L. Junius Brutus
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Sure most world religions have their weird elements. But the Mormons are only normal when compared to other cults.”

“Weird elements” like terrorism? Or saying that anyone who wants to leave the religion should be killed? (Talking about being cult-like.) Mormonism is not a pleasant religion, and it is obviously false, but there is no way that you can say that it’s truly worse than all the “world religions” you mentioned.

Seth R.
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

You know, the LDS Church was already in a state of detente on the gay issue back in 2008 before Prop 8 ever happened.

Church leaders were conceding the whole thing about genetics, were backing off of the stance of trying to “cure” homosexuality, were declaring that merely having homosexual feelings as not something you needed to talk to your bishop about, were disapproving of stories about Mormon families treating their kids unkindly when they “came out.”

All of that was happening BEFORE Prop 8.

It’s just that on the marriage issue, the LDS Church felt threatened that gays were trying to force Mormons to allow gay marriages in their temples, were going to force homosexuality to be taught in schools and were going to force a lot of other things.

Remember that “I’m Afraid” ad in California during the campaign you guys all hated.

Did it ever occur to you that Mormons actually sincerely BELIEVED it? That they really thought the gay marriage movement had that as its aim? Mormons felt under attack. The leadership had been making concilliatory moves already, but they weren’t willing to go as far as they thought the gay movement wanted them to.

So they thought it was time to draw a line in the sand.

As it so happens, I think they were mistaken. That “I’m Afraid” ad was a piece of panic-mongering. It’s arguments were certainly overblown. But I think my fellow Mormons really believed what it was saying.

As it happens, in the aftermath, a lot of the problems with that “No” on Prop 8 argument have become apparent – even to LDS leadership I think. I imagine they wish they had approached the issue differently. Not necessarily to revoke their decision to back Prop 8 – but perhaps to re-examine their reasons for backing it.

Look, I’m not saying its hard to find Mormons who take a die-hard homophobic approach to this debate in every sense of the word.

But the LDS leadership simply isn’t as die-hard anti-gay as you seem to think they are. I was following this issue long before Prop 8 ever happened, and the detente was already underway. Prop 8 simply hijacked it, that’s all.

As for Packer’s Conference talk about God not making people gay – you should note that he seems to have immediately changed the wording in his talk the day after the broadcast so the printed version would have softer language in it. This is routine practice for LDS leaders to revise their speeches afterward to more accurately reflect the message they want sent. And Packer is probably the guy with the biggest reputation for anti-homosexual sentiment.

I simply don’t think this is as big a divide as you seem to think.

Ryan
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

There will likely be a proposition on the ballot in 2012 to reverse 8? That’s news to me. I thought most people were assuming the courts will have invalidated 8 by then.

Craig
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

“It’s just that…” This strikes me as an interesting argumentative technique.

“It’s just that on the marriage issue, the LDS Church felt threatened that gays were trying to force Mormons to allow gay marriages in their temples…”

I have trouble believing that ANY informed citizen could be so, pardon the expression but, STUPID and uninformed as to believe this. The Catholic Church has ALWAYS refused to marry people for religious reasons (e.g., divorced, or non-Catholic) and it has NEVER been legally challenged on this point. My evangelical brother-in-law has always refused to marry people who didn’t meet his qualifications. If the LDS church *really* felt threatened by this, they were incredibly ignorant of reality.

“It’s just that on the marriage issue, the LDS Church felt threatened that, gays were … going to force homosexuality to be taught in schools…”

I don’t even know what this means (but it certainly “sounds *scary*!). Homosexuality is in the news almost every day. If our schools can’t address some of the most important political issues of our day, what good are they?

I’m not sympathetic to these examples of the “it’s just that…” argumentative technique, because it’s *not* “just that” — it comes across as a technique used to elicit sympathy for simple-minded people but applied to a very PR-experienced major international organization.

John in the Bay Area
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Mormons and the Mormon Church lie every time they pretend that someone was going to force them to do same sex marriages in their temples. They know that this is a lie. Every Mormon knows that the Morg will not allow anyone to be married in the temple if they aren’t all paid up on the all important tithe. No Mormon temple has ever been forced by any legal authority to marry anyone against their will. They know this, but the lie was an effective scare-mongering thing to toss out on the TV waves to scare people. Also, the commercials that called me a threat to children were actually far more offensive.

The Morg can do whatever it wants on the PR front, but they hate gay people through and through and have demonstrated repeatedly that they will do anything, say anything, spend any amount of money, and tell any lie to deny equality to gay and lesbian Americans.

I think that the Morg will probably have to wait until all the gay and lesbian Americans who are old enough to remember Prop 8 are dead before making any raprochement. It would also require them to change their behavior significantly in the meantime, which I think is not likely.

I view them as an extremely well funded, well organized anti-gay hate group. I know I am not alone in this assessment.

Theo
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

The likely terms of a cease-fire: LDS supports anti-discrimination laws, as it already has in Salt Lake City. LDS maintains its position on marriage, but does not issue statements requiring LDS members to actively oppose SSM, as it did in 2008. Gays acknowledge and express appreciation for LDS’s commitment to anti-discrimination and cease singling out the LDS for criticism. Both sides tone down the rhetoric.

The only item that is a question mark is whether LDS might support some limited form of DP.

All in all, I think an agreement along these lines would be beneficial to both sides. Bastian is an excellent choice to broker such a deal. He donated $1 million to No on 8, so he feels strongly about the issue. At the same time, he is very familiar with the LDS.

I respect the LDS as adversaries a lot more than the nutjobs like Matt Barber or Bryan Fischer.

John in the Bay Area
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Theo, the agreement that you outline would only benefit the Morg. Why would any gay leader “acknowledge and appreciate” the Morg’s commitment to anti-discrimination when the Morg is fully committed to discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.

When the Morg runs about $26 million (inflation adjusted of course) of commericals in California acknowledging and apologizing for the lies they told demonizing gay and lesbian Californians in their Prop 8 campaign, we might begin to have something to discuss.

Tone
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Efforts towards achieving détente and such with Mormons is noble, if futile. I think that religionists are too unstable and unpredictable for us to be bothered reaching out to or to try and understand.

We need to begin waging a social marketing campaign to neutralize their presence and toxic influence in our society. When are we going to stop giving so much power to people who live their lives by the words from bronze age fairy tales?

Lindoro Almaviva
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

The word camellia comes to mind.

Actually,I thought the comparisson was quite good. Doesnt the camelia flower last but for a day? Making the comparison to this latest effort quite appropriate, if it turns out that it is nothing but PR>

Lindoro Almaviva
December 21st, 2010 | LINK

Gays acknowledge and express appreciation for LDS’s commitment to anti-discrimination

That would be like encouraging Blacks to acknowledge and express appreciation for the KKK’s commitment to keep them away from the racist south.

cowboy
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Let me tell you about another semi-secret audience with some LDS Church leaders: Jim Dabakis (a well-respected art dealer and talk-show commentator) was instrumental with making detente before Mr. Bastian or Mr. Black. I do think credit is due to Mr. Dabakis for maybe the genesis of this new LDS Church attitude towards gays.

Minor quibble with Mr. Kincaid’s assessment of the kiss: Two admittedly inebriated gay men probably knew their public display of affection in front of the Salt Lake Temple would be met with scorn and animosity. And I don’t think they knew just how big burly security guards could get when you are on private property and you don’t do as they command. The LDS Church didn’t need to release the security camera videos of “the kiss” but they did so to appease some people and probably to avert a public relations fiasco from happening or getting worse. Personally, I thought it was rather tasteless when some of my friends went ahead a few days later and taunted the LDS Church with a rather silly and sophomoric skit right in front of the Temple. You certainly wouldn’t do that in Vatican City or in certain parts of Jerusalem and get away with it. (And it certainly didn’t help garner any sympathy for our side.)

Not one of my Mormon family or Mormon co-workers would ever think gays wanted to have same-sex Temple marriages/sealings. That has never crossed our minds. I have not heard of one gay couple petitioning the Mormons to have a wedding in their blessed sacred Temples.

The real threat (from my perspective) were the marching around the temples in peaceful demonstrations. That riled up the Saints a bit. I know some people would love to have a persecution complex. I know some Mormons looked at the videos of the demonstrations but there were stories (which were embellished a bit) about the amount of vandalism…(The LDS Church have their Ward Houses/Temples vandalized on a regular basis and it would be difficult to pin all of these incidents on any connection to “the gays” but some people try to blame us.)

On a personal note to Big Gay Sam:

I can relate. I’m probably in a similar situation. I’m only celibate not because I want to be…it’s just too damn hard to have a relationship. I think years and years of propaganda drilled into my adolescent mind and psychological games has short-circuited my social skills with men. It’s hard to make a relationship work when I have some fairly Victorian (read: Mormon sexual hangups) that has caused some consternation and internal conflict with me. (Nudity for one.) I came from a very stand-offish kind of family environment and we never expressed much love and affection. Not like when I came out and started to met a few gays/lesbians. I was a kid in a candy store with some things when I ventured out. And, I’m now figuring out there are more kinds of love that you don’t experience at bars, attending circuit parties or with chronic one-night stands.

Get involved with gay activities. Good ones like: a Men’s Choir. I just heard a concert of our local group at a Baptist Church. Do you garden or like to garden? There are gay groups that specialize in landscaping and growing healthier foods. The local garden club here loves to take field trips and visit club member’s homes and see their handiwork. There are motorcycle clubs and some of the best looking bikers have made a trek to Moab at least once a year…and they don’t drink just wine coolers. Of course, I’m partial to gay rodeo associations. There’s a swim club. There’s a gay softball league.

If I’m wrong with my assessment of you, Sam, I apologize. I just sense in reading your comments that you are someone who is as desperate as I am for not wanting to be celibate or not being “alone”. Nobody is meant to live this earthly existence alone.

Ryan
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

How is the Mormon’s rhetoric on gays any different than the. Christians, the Muslims, the Orthodox Jews, the Catholics, the Baptists, etc? They’re all equally anti-gay. I’m not sure why the gay community has chosen to target the Mormons, other than the fact that they’re an easy target since there’s so few of them. I think the gay community as a whole would be better suited focusing our ire on the political conservative movement, rather than the religious one.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Seth R.: “It’s just that on the marriage issue, the LDS Church felt threatened that gays were trying to force Mormons to allow gay marriages in their temples”

Maybe they had some of the other fears you mentioned, but this seems odd to me. Doesn’t the Mormon church have lawyers? Don’t they know that this is simply impossible? To me, the best explanation seems to be the Mormom church’s attempt to win the acceptance of Christian groups.

John: “Mormons and the Mormon Church lie every time they pretend that someone was going to force them to do same sex marriages in their temples. ”

Not everyone who has this fear is a liar. Only the ones who know better. But ordinary folks really don’t.

Lindoro: “That would be like encouraging Blacks to acknowledge and express appreciation for the KKK’s commitment to keep them away from the racist south. ”

Oh, Lindoro, aren’t you as extreme and unreasonable (not to mention inconsistent) in your views as always. When did the KKK support anti-discrimination laws protection blacks? The LDS church supported them in Utah. When did the LDS church lynch gays? Just because you are angry over Proposition 8, does not justify such a comparison.

And by the way, maybe I should call you a “racist” for being anti-Mormon, and threaten to slap you until my hands are sore. After all, isn’t this what you do to critics of religions you favor?

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Ryan: “I think the gay community as a whole would be better suited focusing our ire on the political conservative movement, rather than the religious one.”

Because conservatives like Ted Olson are evil?

There is nothing wrong with conservatives (I am fairly right-wing), but there is a whole lot wrong with religious lunatics.

Ryan
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Come on, Brutus. We both know Olsen is basically an outlier in the conservative community. He’s also not a politician, so he doesn’t have to worry about being voted out. If he were a Senator or Congressman, he’d be out on his ass immediately.

Emily K
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

the LDS church is obsessed with PR and that’s the only reason they do this.

Cowboy thank you for sharing your anecdotes about struggling with psychological trauma drilled into by your family surroundings and LDS ideas. Not that the LDS is the only place these can be found. But it takes a mature person to be open about these hangups. And you know, I think that if someone really truly loves you for who you are, they will help you grow out of those hangups, or even, accept them, because they love you too much to let them get in the way. And you’re right, you won’t find that kind of love at a circuit party and possibly not at a bar setting.

Sam, I indeed respect your lifestyle choices, but don’t give up on finding a way out of loneliness. You don’t need to suddenly give up celibacy to find happiness – but you can find a way to connect to people. I’m sure of it.

Emily K
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Ryan’s right; it’s a lot easier for conservatives to be supportive of gays when they don’t have to kowtow to political litmus tests. And you don’t need to be a religious lunatic to be a crazy conservative. you just have to be a lunatic.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Come on, Brutus. We both know Olsen is basically an outlier in the conservative community. ”

And yet he is a conservative. My point is that conservatism is not the problem, the religious right is. Secular conservatives are almost always sane: Gerald Ford, for example. People who actually, sincerely believe in limited government are sane, as opposed to people who aspire to be the Taliban.

“Ryan’s right; it’s a lot easier for conservatives to be supportive of gays when they don’t have to kowtow to political litmus tests.”

When they don’t have to be elected by religious crazies, yes. Oh, and there are more than enough left-wing crazies.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Theo said “I respect the LDS as adversaries a lot more than the nutjobs like Matt Barber or Bryan Fischer.”.

I don’t respect either.

Ryan said “I’m not sure why the gay community has chosen to target the Mormons, other than the fact that they’re an easy target since there’s so few of them.”.

Because the Mormons put the majority of money and effort into prop 8. If it had been the Catholics that had done that they’d be singled out more than the Mormons.

Junius said “My point is that conservatism is not the problem, the religious right is.”.

Ryan said “I think the gay community as a whole would be better suited focusing our ire on the political conservative movement, rather than the religious one.”.

The two are largely one and the same. You can’t target one without targeting the other and nor should you.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Focusing on the politically conservative movement seems to imply that the problem is conservatism, not the fact that many conservatives have made an unholy alliance with the lunatics of the religious right. That should be criticized, without saying that there is something wrong with conservatism per se.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Junius, no one’s saying there is something wrong with being fiscally responsible and for small government, etc. (although the conservative movement only pays lip service to these ideas at best and works against them at worst). However the people who pay lip service to these ideas are usually social conservatives and religious as well.

Dr. Matthew
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Great coverage! Though as an aside, I believe most efforts to return Prop 8 to the ballot are stalling, as they would undermine/end the current federal court progression of the Olsen-Boise case. I may be wrong, though, please link if you have seen any recent stories to the contrary!

Richard Rush
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Emily K said, “And you don’t need to be a religious lunatic to be a crazy conservative. you just have to be a lunatic.”

Technically true, I’d say. But in the real world, once you remove the religious lunatics from the pot of crazy conservatives, all that remains is a handful of secular lunatics. And some in that handful I suspect are just hiding their religious underpinnings in order to appear more credible to the secular audience they are trying to persuade.

John in the Bay Area
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Mormons have been stung by their involvement in Prop 8. They have been whining about being “targeted” by gay folks ever since, including in this very thread.

They deserve all the negative attention they are getting. And this didn’t all start in California with Prop 8. Their involvement in Alaska and Hawaii were equally deplorable. In all liklihood, they are heavily involved in the money laundering operation of soft hidden money funnelled through NOM to continue the anti-gay fight.

I personally would like to see protests right now during the holiday season when Mormons are trying to attract visitors to their beautiful outdoor light displays at places like the Oakland Mormon Temple. Protesters out front holding signs with “Just say no to Mormon bigotry” would be the perfect addition to the holiday.

Mormon’s aren’t the ones who had their rights restricted. Mormons weren’t the target of bigotry that is now enshrined in the California Constitution. They are the vicitimizers who directed, managed and funded that attack of bigotry against gay folks that we are still fighting against.

Perpetrators claiming to be victims is even more disgusting than their original acts of bigotry.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Though as an aside, I believe most efforts to return Prop 8 to the ballot are stalling, as they would undermine/end the current federal court progression of the Olsen-Boise case.”

If that prevents the case from getting to the Supreme Court, I think that’s a good thing. Let Obama replace Scalia before we give it a shot.

“Junius, no one’s saying there is something wrong with being fiscally responsible and for small government, etc. (although the conservative movement only pays lip service to these ideas at best and works against them at worst). However the people who pay lip service to these ideas are usually social conservatives and religious as well.”

I agree with you about the current conservative movement.

Ben in Oakland
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

John: i live irght next to the Temple O’ Morg. I’d be interested.

Ben in Oakland
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

““It’s just that on the marriage issue, the LDS Church felt threatened that gays were trying to force Mormons to allow gay marriages in their temples…”

I’m with Craig. I don’t believe that for a moment. Mormons are not stupid, and they have very expensive lawyers that work for free. It has never happened in the nearly 200 years that the mormons– or any other religious group– has been “forced” to perform anyone’s marriage for any reason.

Hasn’t happened. Won’t happen. Can’t happen. We hold very little sacred in this country, except for the mythology of heterosexual superiority…

…and a little thing called freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof.

No. This was a DELIBERATE tactic, either invented by the Morg or Frank Schubert or both, and certainly decried as absolutely false by neither. It was used in an effort to scare people with absolute nonsense, because americans are too lazy to understand how their government works.

My suspicion is that they went the fear mongering route because they knew they would lose if they stuck to the facts, given the simple reality that even bigots can see, that anti gay prejudice is on the wane, even among the religious.

especially the fact that this whole discussion is about the civil contract known as marriage, not the religious RITE of marriage.

Timothy Kincaid
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Ryan, Dr. Matthew

Perry could resolve Prop 8. But probably not with the right time table.

If the Ninth doesn’t find standing and the SCOTUS agrees, then there will be no new proposition.

But if the Ninth tries on the merits of the case, I don’t think that the SCOTUS will have given the final say until some time in 2012 at the earliest. So I think that the proposition will be created and signatures collected and a campaign started, even if the SCOTUS does decide before the election.

cowboy
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I’m not sure I would agree with the two boys from Oakland about protesting at the Mormon Temple. It won’t do much good.

Let’s revel in the holiday mood. Be of good cheer.

I do appreciate the comments everyone typed here on this blog during this past year. It has been beneficial to me.

Truly, have a great holiday season everyone. (That includes…North Dallas 39.9999)

Seth R.
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Junius,

Yes the LDS Church does have their own PR department and legal department.

But watching this closely, I’ve simply come to the conclusion that the LDS Church leadership really didn’t think Prop 8 through very well before they endorsed it. Only some of the apostles (for instance) signed on to organization opposing gay marriage (one wonders why all of them didn’t). I’m not sure everyone in Salt Lake was totally behind this campaign, but support was certainly unanimous enough to call the members in California to action.

But when the call to action came in LDS chapels, it was VERY ambiguous. I read the document that was read in LDS church meetings – and it was very bare bones. All it did was state the LDS Church’s THEOLOGICAL opposition to gay marriage, and then call on members to support Prop 8.

As a believing Mormon, I had a couple reactions:

1. I was quite glad I live in Colorado and not California – so I didn’t have to support Prop 8 (as I saw it) as a part of my membership status.

2. I felt like the letter was utterly inadequate to explain WHY we Mormons were supposed to back this political measure.

In my mind, there is a difference between theological reasons for a stance, and the implementation of that stance POLITICALLY.

The LDS Church has usually confined itself to the theological realm – opposing gay marriage within our religious context for theological reasons. You can agree with this or not, but the LDS Church does have a developed argument for the religious side.

But here’s the thing – having a theological reason does not automatically translate into societal or political implementation. The LDS leadership made a huge mistake here in thinking that it does. They had confined themselves to theological moral discourse on the subject up to that point. They just assumed that these arguments would be good enough to provide a justification for passing a law in California.

I think this was both flat wrong, and incredibly naive.

The first thing I thought when the letter was read – as a believing Mormon – was:

“Well, sure – I understand the theological argument against same sex marriage – but why should I therefore impose that value upon California law?”

For me – the LDS Church had no answer and no argument. Why impose these religious concerns upon the law? I kept waiting for the LDS leadership to formulate an argument and issue it to the California membership, and they never did.

The document read in LDS meetinghouses was entirely inadequate as a justification for supporting Prop 8. All it did was declare marriage between a “man and a woman” and then encourage the membership to “get cracking” and support Prop 8. As a map for a political campaign, it totally failed. It left the Mormon lay membership with almost zero arguments for why this was good politics and good social policy.

As a result, the average Mormon supporter of Prop 8 was left with nothing to rely on – except the other political organizations supporting the campaign.

Why did this happen? Why did the LDS leadership shove us out the door armed with nothing more than a few vague declarations about how marriage between a man and a woman is good and gay marriage is bad, but no societal and political argument whatsoever?

Well, I’m a fan of never attributing to malice what can just as easily be attributed to incompetence. I think this was a case of incompetence. I simply think the LDS leadership never really thought the politics through here and never bothered to formulate a political argument.

Believe it or not, the LDS Church is not particularly politically experienced. They usually stay out of politics and only rarely get involved much. Their general stance on political hot-button topics has always been to articulate general moral positions (like “abortion is bad”), and then delegate the political decision-making to the individual members (for instance, a faithful Mormon might choose to implement opposition to the idea of abortion in either a Republican OR Obama-style Democrat approach). This has been a useful political model for the LDS Church and has usually done a good job of keeping them out of trouble. Prop 8 was an unusual departure.

Basically, the LDS leadership is not used to doing this kind of thing. They didn’t know what would be required to successfully forward the issue. They thought it would be enough to simply mobilize the votes (for which their letter read in church was sufficient – obviously). They never thought about the aftermath, or the need to convince broader American society. And you cannot convince a broad swath of America on moral arguments alone – you have to show everyone the political implementation and why it’s a good idea. The LDS Church simply had no plan for “phase 2.”

Being inexperienced, they abdicated their own responsibility to make the “phase 2″ argument and left it to the other non-Mormon political elements operating in California.

In a sense, this is kind of an extension of the usual LDS Church approach – stay hands-off in politics and leave the political strategy to others. I think this is actually what they were trying to do with Prop 8 as well, actually.

But this is an irresponsible approach in the Prop 8 instance. The LDS Church had already thrown its weight behind a specific political implementation. They were no longer in a position where they could avoid making a political argument. But they were still instinctively trying to take that stance. As a result, they went into the political campaign only halfway – which benefited no one and merely served to piss off their political opponents, while at the same time mobilizing no support from their political allies.

And we haven’t seen any similar LDS political involvement since.

This was a poorly thought-out and half-hearted political effort from the LDS Church, and I think they kind of realize this. It has forced them to rethink their stance on gay marriage and question why they are politically fighting it. I don’t think they ever really thought through why they were opposing gay marriage POLITICALLY in the first place, and the backlash has forced them to reconsider that.

It will be interesting to see how the LDS Church’s political stance changes over the next decade on this issue.

It may very well be that Prop 8 will simply be a fluke in the LDS Church’s normal stance of political non-involvement.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Seth- as a non-believing non-mormon, I don’t buy much of what you are saying.

If they had stuck to the theological argument alone, they would not have won. Theology doesn’t play so well. Only mormons, rabid fundamentalists, and late night comedy show hosts cared about mormon theology.

It’s true they had no other arguments, and also true they had no objection to someone inventing them. There is plenty of documentation available (Fred Karger) to indicate that they through a great deal of political and moneyed weight at it.

I suspect– and others have echoed it here- that this was an attempt to buy respectability from other conservative denominations. and what is the sacrifice of the lives and happiness of a few queers to political/theological triumph? the queers aren’t getting their own planets to be gods of.

Asfor THIS statement of yours: “And we haven’t seen any similar LDS political involvement since.

When NOM complies with various state laws in Maine and rhode island and proves that its funding does not come from either the church directly or from the very deep pockets of some very wealthy mormons who are active in the church hierarchy, then we can talk.

Until then, any talk of mormon non-involvement is just that– talk. your church is not a hapless, innocent, well meaning but misguided organization. I hear no apologies. I hear nothing indicating and reconsideration of its motives, methods, and results.

What I hear is chagrin at being caught. My mother believed a sin is not a sin until it is found out.

cowboy
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Seth,
I was totally surprised at the letter too. I seemed uncharacteristic of the LDS Church. It was not like in Hawaii where the Mormons just quietly and almost secretly worked in the background.

I still have some questions, though.

I wondered what did they expect the Saints to do after being told to so whatever it takes to pass Proposition 8? What did they expect when they are told to follow the admonition of the Prophet without question.

They said they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use tithing to pay for the support of Prop 8. Where did the Mormon folk donate their non-tax deductable to? Where did the millions of dollars go to? (Repeat: it was not tithing and whatever they, the Brothers & Sisters in the Ward donated should not have been listed on Schedule A on their IRS forms.)

Did they donate directly to the campaign or to NOM? That has never been really cleared up.

cd
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I simply don’t think this is as big a divide as you seem to think.

The distinctive element of Mormonism is the axiomatic heterosexism of its spiritual/metaphysical universe and the derivative rules of how to order life on Earth.

Giving that up means the LDS concedes its uniqueness and maybe it’s major competitive advantage. After all, people join and stay in the LDS on a perception of achieving a happy and well-ordered group and family life.

Gay marriage legalization is not just about the ending of heterosexism in the institution. It’s also the fight, perhaps proxy fight, for mainstream consensus about the mainstream ideology of the institution in American society. It’s been becoming an institution that is understood ever more comprehensively in liberal terms and increasingly understood to serve liberal life aims/values. Gay marriage is where the conservatives can finally draw the line they’ve long wanted to and assert that marriage has to be hierarchical and defined by e.g. duty, reproduction, division of labor by predefined gender roles, one partner being obligated to serve the other’s desires, interests, and career unconditionally.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“The distinctive element of Mormonism is the axiomatic heterosexism of its spiritual/metaphysical universe and the derivative rules of how to order life on Earth.”

what you said.

John in the Bay Area
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Seth’s attempt to rewrite the history of Prop 8 is insulting to those of us victimized by the Mormon Church. They funded, controlled and directed that campaign. They are responsible for the commercials that lied about gays forcing churches to marry them, and painting gays as a threat to children. They own this campaign. They also own the blow back, including the suspicion that Prop 8 was in part a preparation for trying to get Romney elected president.

They were very active in Hawaii and Alaska. To pretend that Prop 8 was a first is a flat out lie. And, as Ben pointed out, there is the small matter of NOM’s funding. Likely to be heavily Mormon if that money laundering operation ever complies with the law.

Telling the truth and owning up to the damage and mistrust that the Mormon Church has created would be far more productive than falling back on the Mormon principal of lying for the Lord.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy will remember, and delete this if i am incorrect. I wouldn’t want to be spreading false information, and my memory she ain’t so good anymore…

but isn’t the president or dean of law at pepperdine– a catholic school i believe– a mormon? Wasn’t there something about this on the blogs? And was he not the guy who was making the scurrilous claim that marriage equality would mean that churches wpuld be forced to perform gay marriages?

If all of this is the case, that is Quite a little accidental confluence of relevant facts in a fairly random universe.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

BTW, according to what I read in argentina, they were also very active in trying to prevent Marriage equality there. This was inthe buenos aires Herald.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Not to mention the phone banking students at BYU.

not to mention the articles in the Chronicle about the archbishop of San francsco, and how he naturally turned to his good friends the mormons from his former diocese in salt Lake City when he want to squash the evil homosexual agenda.

Quite a tribute to ecumenism and irrational linking of otherwise obviously unrelated events, eh Seth?

Seth?

Seth?

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

and not to mention…

i have also noticed this. (And someone if I am wrong about Seth in this case, please correct me).

Whenever there is a open, fair-minded discussion on any number of blogs concerning the Mormon Church’s attacks on the civil, religious, and theological equality of gay people, from at least 1994 to the present, there always appears, as if my Kolobian magic, a voice, (presumably) young, (presumably) naive, but nevertheless (and strangely) deeply privy to and understanding of the thoughts of the Mormon Presidency and Council of Whatevers. The voice is always deeply concerned that the mormons are being misunderstood, misrepresented, and have no animus running in this race.

No. Really. It was all a mistake. We’re not that way.

It’s almost as if– almost– there is some sort of internet monitoring group that keeps an eye out for these kinds of discussions, so that they can insert their own propaganda into what would otherwise be a clean discussion.

But thinking something like that would be totally paranoid, wouldn’t it? I mean, these presumably young and naive people would not be so immoral as to lie about who they are and their intentions? They are not so immorally stupid that they couldn’t read what is said here and there by seemlingly rational people with some kinds of facts to back them up, and perhaps think that maybe the Church’s version needs a little bit of research.

Nah. I’m probably being paranoid.

Richard Rush
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Ben in Oakland said,

It’s almost as if– almost– there is some sort of internet monitoring group that keeps an eye out for these kinds of discussions, so that they can insert their own propaganda into what would otherwise be a clean discussion.

I remember reading about a Mormon internet monitoring group some time ago. What Ben described is exactly what I’ve understood to be the case.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Richard….

Accusing the mormon church of manufacturing and disseminating propaganda?

Next you’ll be accusing these Bright Young Things of knowingly disseminating propaganda for their church, and not questioning why their church should be monitoring the websites of anyone, let alone those of organizations and people who seem to have (for some reason) a vastly deifferent perception of the Machinations of the El Grupo Morg…

Let alone being told what to say as IF they were privy to the minds of the Grand Poobahs of the temple.

That would be an impropa-ganda, and a goose of a different oclor all together,

Soren456
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

There’s always an apologist at hand–Christian, Mormon, Moslem or otherwise–to insist that what we see isn’t really true.

They seem to pop up on their own; I doubt that the Mormons would need to manufacture one for this blog.

John in the Bay Area
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Soren456,

The apologist isn’t manufactured for this blog. They just have internet filters looking for posts about Mormons. They check in on the posts. Then, they will make posts in defense of the Morg. They have been doing it for a long time. If you go through this blog’s previous posts about the Morg, you will find the Mormon apologists who have never posted on any other topic dropping in to try to spin the negative information about the Morg in a positive (or less negative) direction.

For more information, exmormon.org is a treasure trove of information about how the Morg operates.

Soren456
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Gotcha. But the apology just above is so clumsy, and unconvincing, and so unlikely even to be read. Can’t they do better?

I’ve never seen official Mormonism to be anything but very slick.

John in the Bay Area
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Apologists generally do a better job of explaining things that you have no backround in. When they take on a topic like Mormon involvement in the Prop 8 campaign with a generally hostile audience (gay and lesbian people who were the target of that campaign), they generally don’t do very well.

The Mormon PR folks in the Prop 8 campaign aren’t any more likely to make a better defense than Seth R.

Richard Rush
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

If some LDS apologists are lurking, I invite them to provide compelling evidence for how Joseph Smith’s story surrounding the gold plates is really true, and not just an enormous fraud that was sold to gullible people who then passed it on to their descendants while the cleverest among them manipulated it to gain power and wealth (just like most religions).

Theo
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Couple of points in response to the various comments above:

- There is no evidence that the LDS has repeated its Prop 8-style interloping in 2009 or 2010.

We know for a fact that there was no LDS money flowing to the anti-gay side in Washington state’s R-71 fight, because they remained impoverished until the end.

In Maine, none of the Mormon donors from Prop 8 weighed in for Question 1. I have studied the filings very closely, and these folks just were not in that fight. Now it is true that the origins of NOM’s cash contributions in Maine have not been fully disclosed. But at this point, I very much doubt that LDS money accounts for much, if any, of NOM’s 2009 contributions in support of Question 1. Why? First, because the Knights of Columbus have already been identified as the source for most of the money. Second, because the tsunami of LDS money in Prop 8 did not come from the church per se, but was triggered by the explicit call by the Prophet that members should give. There was no such call from the Prophet or any LDS official with respect to Question 1.

- The LDS has supported anti-discrimination laws, most recently in Salt Lake City. This is a positive step, and we should encourage it. Right now, a battle is brewing in the Utah legislature to either expand gay rights state-wide or repeal all the local ordinances passed to date. (The latter option is being brandished as a way to dampen the prospect of the former.) Real lobbying by the LDS could make the difference. (Believe it or not, it was the support of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland that helped make a statewide gay rights law a reality in Maine in 2005.)

Gays and the LDS will continue to disagree over marriage, but if we can minimize LDS financial interloping and take advantage of its support in other areas, that is a good deal.

John in the Bay Area
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Theo,

The LDS learn from their mistakes. They are not going to make the same mistake in terms of the way they fund their bigotry as they did in Prop 8. Due to public disclosure laws in California, their members who contributed to the bigotry of Prop 8 got outed.

Your comment that “none” of the Mormon contributors to Prop 8 gave money to the fight in Maine is a rediculous assertion. Making an absolute statement like that undermines your credibility before anyone has even cross referenced the lists, which I doubt you are even able to do, given the huge whole created by NOM’s illegal refusal to comply with reporting laws. I suppose you don’t count the Wirthlins and their commercials or Gary Lawrence and his work with the campaign.

Then you make the comment that NOM money hasn’t been fully disclosed, implying that some portion of the donors have been identified despite the fact that NOM hasn’t released any of the names. You cannot assert that there aren’t Mormon donors on that list until the list has been released and studied.

It is doubtful that the Utah legislature could repeal the local anti-discrimination ordinances based on the Supreme Court decision in the Colorado case. So that is a red herring.

The way to keep the LDS from financially interloping in campaigns is to make them pay dearly with as much negative publicity as possible when they do. So far, that has been far and away the most effective tool.

We have no need to make some deal with the Morg. We’re succeeding by pointing out Mormon bigotry and political involvement to the rest of the country.

Marlene
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

First of all, absolutely none, and I do mean *none* of the non-discrimination ordinances were passed until the LDS royalty gave their blessing. You can’t do a damn thing in that state unless some Mormon muckety-muck approves it.

To those who claim Mormons aren’t involved in politics is lying out of their ass! It’s nearly a requirement for anyone running for political office to be Mormon, despite what the Constitution says.

There have been many instances of non-Mormons being denied jobs, or being victims of religious bias. I remember a story about a Baptist mom being told that only Mormons could be Den Mothers in the Boy Scouts, until the secular press got a hold of the story, and *bingo!* she was told it was okay.

They’ve campaigned across the country against same-sex marriage, but refuse to go after these “fundamentalist” Mormon cults who violate laws against plural marriage, reporting them to the authorities and demanding they break them up.

I consider Mormonism a cult, just like Scientology.

cowboy
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

John in the Bay Area,

I, too, am very interested in the listing of contributors to NOM. I think we witnessed the power and influence Mormons have in California politics. But we can’t discount other contributors to Proposition 8. There was mentioned the connection between the Catholics and Mormon HQ in Salt Lake City. But, there was also had a big rally at the Qualcomm Stadium where Mormons were not really a factor. Who financed that? Lou Engle and his band of ardent homosexual haters and…who else?

As for the “red herring”… I just got emailed from a friend to a call for action:

[Utah] Senate President Michael Waddoups went on record yesterday saying there’s a chance the Utah Legislature may repeal the non-discrimination laws that have been passed in 10 cities and municipalities in Utah. “I’ve seen no advantage to the laws,” he says. ….

Senate President Michael Waddoups, House Speaker Becky Lockhart and other Republicans are not only gearing up to make sure the protections don’t make it out of committee again, but they want to repeal the current laws that local governments have passed.

These people are Mormons, yes…but pronouncements from the LDS Church seems to indicate the Mormon Authorities are willing to give gays/lesbians protection from discrimination.

So, it seems Waddoups, et al are not listening very much to what their LDS Church says.

It points to a very radical group of very politically powerful people who are so anti-gay it borders on psychotic obsessiveness. Abortion is down the list and it looks like immigration issues might be high on our 2011 Legislature agenda…but I bet dealing with gays is right up there in the committee meetings…more than our budget woes, the economy and how our public schools are LAST in the nation in funding.

These anti-gay people are so powerful that it is futile to debate them. It’s can be discouraging when you witness their organization and control in our legislature. I had the opportunity to attend some legislation sessions in our Capitol and my jaw dropped when I saw the ranks of young people with Eagle Forum connection using laptops and who knew how to work the Senators and Representatives. They all hogged front-row seats in the gallery.

Marlene,

You may be interested to know there are non-Mormons who live and work and find living in Utah a pleasant experience. My Representative in the Legislature is a Jew.

I wish you would cite references to the Baptist Mother-Den Mother-Boy Scout story…I don’t know if what you are saying is true or not. There could be circumstances with perhaps your failing memory that could be helpful to our discussion.

There is no denying the influence of the Mormon Church in politics. They are a major force. When you have a concentration of over 60% from one religion concentrated in one area of our country you tend to see a more theocratic type of government. But, we are just as surprised at the power the Mormons wield in other parts of the West.

So, how much did Catholics or Evangelical churches donate to Proposition 8 and should we not protest at Cathedrals and some Mega-Churches too?

Ben in Oakland
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

So, we have Craig, Theo, and Seth, all appearing as if from nowhere to claim that The Morg are not the meddling, anti-gay, theocratically inclined people that so many gay people think they are. And there is no Internet monitoring Group, ready to swoop in the minute anyone wants to shine a light under that particular theological rock.

Well.

So here’s my proposal– not that I expect an answer.

1) there is no internet monitoring group. So, these three, and a number of others in my four years of internet commentary, have appeared, as if out of the very ether of space, with a great deal of “evidence” and insight into the deepest workings of the highest governing bodies, to dispute with “facts” the obvious conclusions about this band of moralizing busybodies who don’t really hate gay people at all, but who do wish to see us as legally disadvantaged as possible in our non-Mormon society.

So, boys, put up or shut up. Produce your evidence, documents, source materials. whatever you have. And Theo especially, since you seem to know so much about who donated what in Maine, would you please give us NOM’s records so that we can judge this for ourselves? Because NOM has not seen fit to tell anyone but YOU about it.

2) There is an internet monitoring group, intended to muddy the clear waters of reasoned debate, if not poison the well altogether.

This presents what I would call a real moral dilemma, as opposed to the false one that treating gay people people is somehow a threat to morality, decency, children, marriage, family, freedom, faith, and all of the other lies that You and Your Kind (goddam, I love delivering that line right back to you) have been promulgating to purchase your ticket to Kolub, or at least to the good graces of the Real Christians (so they claim)who would otherwise think of you as some sort of crazy cult.

Here’s the dilemma. You are knowingly participating in a campaign of disinformation and propaganda– those of us who are your victims call them “lies’ for short.

Is lying for your church a moral thing to do? Is lying for god exactly what someone who lives on Kolub expects? Is causing real damage to the lives of people you do not know, know nothing about, and how have done you no harm exactly the right thing to do to lead the world into everlasting bliss?

And if these are not outright lies, but merely propaganda– and I am being VERY kind here– where is the evidence.

I have no idea what passes for morality among Mormons, especially when theology is at stake. Actually, that’s not true, because I do know. I need only look at Tongan partisans demonstrating every day at Lake Merritt, who told me that they were Mormons and who told me that they had picked up their campaign materials (see all of the threats above)from Church just minutes before.

But what I want to know is this: how can you live with yourselves, and point to yourselves as moral human beings, when this is what you and your church are doing? Do you despise us so much?

So what is it going to be? Moral cowardice or standing up for what you believe is right?

John in the Bay Area
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Both Theo (probable Mormon plant) and cowboy (long time commenter whose motives I have no reason to question) raise this issue of the Utah legislature rescinding the local (limited) gay rights ordinances.

The Utah legislature can do whatever it wants, but they can’t rescind the local protections without violating Supreme Court rulings in essentially an identical case in Colorado.

But the more interesting part of this threat is can the Morg control the gay rights movement nationally by holding gay and lesbian Utahns hostage. That is the issue on the table here.

As a Californian who has already been victimized by the Morg, I have no intention of giving them any more power over me. If they do start going back on the local protections in Utah, they will only expose themselves as the hateful bigots that we always knew they were. It will just stoke more fury into the protests in front of the California Temples during the 2012 election cycle when both Romney and repeal of the Mormon Prop 8 are on the ballot.

It would appear that the Morg reaps what is sows.

cowboy
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

If they do start going back on the local protections in Utah, they will only expose themselves as the hateful bigots — John in the Bay Area

Precisely why EqualityUtah pushed to get 10 in 2010. (That was the chant they used throughout the year.)

It’s already looking like some Utah Legislature members in the upcoming session are going to be characterized as being petty, spiteful and first-rate examples of bigots.

Not good if you want to entice businesses to move their operations and facilities to Utah. (Which will be the ultimate reason why our foes will aquiesce. Not because they don’t like homos but that it will cost the State jobs and revenue.)

Timothy Kincaid
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

If some LDS apologists are lurking, I invite them to provide compelling evidence for…

I revoke that invitation. This site is not the place for debating the legitimacy of Joseph Smith’s claims or, for that matter, any religious doctrines. Take it to either a Mormon site or an atheist site.

Let’s keep this discussion to matters involving the Mormon Church’s relationship or interaction with the gay community.

Timothy Kincaid
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Theo, JIBA, Cowboy,

I too look forward to the disclosure of NOM’s donors and believe it will eventually happen. However, I would be surprised if it turned out to be primarily Mormon. Rather, I suspect that it is a handful of very wealthy Catholic individuals, groups, or perhaps even dioceses.

Ben,

Who cares if there is an internet monitoring group. I welcome Mormons to join in the discussion even if they only find us due to monitoring the internet.

Our ideas and beliefs should be more than able to stand up to challenge – as should those who disagree with us.

It is my belief that in the marketplace of ideas, tolerance and equality win. But if we cannot withstand disagreement, then we probably are wrong.

Rather than shut down debate or disqualify debaters, let’s both listen and speak. Who knows, we may actually win supporters. It has happened here at this site before.

John in the Bay Area (and others)

“Morg” is a term used to demean Mormons. Don’t use it here.

Ben in Oakland
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

No more using the Morg for me, though I do like the term.

I don’t really care if there is an internet monitoring group. fine with me. What i care about is the dishonesty with which they approach it.

Let’s not pretend they are just a bunch of random commentators who just happen to be here. Let’s admit who they are.

and let’s get some documentation for the claims.

Ben in Oakland
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

This kind of whining dishonesty.

The Grand Poobahs were afraid that they would be forced to perform same sex marriages in the temple.

They are not stupid. the people in my neighborhood who lost their homes when the Temple was built 40 odd years ago can tell you that they have very high priced lawyers who work for free.

If they want to discuss this, let them appear honestly as they are. If they was to discuss this, let them present REAL arguments and concerns, not LaPeter and Paul Cameron distortions and fear mongering.

As I said many posts ago:

My suspicion is that they went the fear mongering route because they knew they would lose if they stuck to the facts, given the simple reality that even bigots can see, that anti gay prejudice is on the wane, even among the religious.

cowboy
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Gosh, Ben, I am surprised at you.

You imply impropriety or even something illegal done by the LDS Church with your quip: “the people in my neighborhood who lost their homes when the Temple was built 40 odd years ago can tell you”

And just a few comments ago you demand documentation for claims made by other commenters:

You need to provide documentation and cite sources for your claim about the people who lost their homes. Hearsay is not what I expect from you.

Soren456
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

@Ben in Oakland:

How did people lose their homes when a temple was built?

Seems like a nearby temple would increase the neighborhing value.

I say this because a good friend of mine from Portland, OR, says that when the site of the Portland temple was announced, two blocks from his parents’ house, Mormons began to arrive at their door, offering double and triple the value of the house so that they could “live in the shadow of the temple.”

His parents accepted an offer and moved. This was before he was born, but it’s a family story about how they came to be where they are.

cowboy
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

What you might find interesting reading, this URL:
https://docs.google.com/View?docid=dgbmjj9g_3cppnnzjm&pli=1

It’s written by a lawyer from BYU and he takes his fellow Mormons to task for items in “Commentary on Six Consequences”. Read how some of his commentary echos what we have been saying here on BTB.

It may surprise you. There were many Mormons who did not agree with Proposition 8 and they still are fighting for the equality for gays/lesbians. I’m not saying it is a pervasive attitude with the majority of Mormons but some Mormons did question what their political machinations would bring.

Ben in Oakland
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Most of this story was told to me by old-time residents in my neighborhood. People don’t tend to move here, as it is a fabulous place to live. some have been here for 60 years or more.

the oakland temple was build in the mid 60′s in the oakland hills, not far from my home. The hills are riddled with underground springs, as well as a number of streams fed by rain and underground water. To build the temple where they did, they had to terraform the ridge, cap a number of springs, and divert the flow of some of the streams.

A few years after construction of the temple, a good portion of the ridge on which the temple stood, but south of the temple grounds, slid into Rettig canyon below it. A whole neighborhood– I don’t remember how many homes– took aobut two weeks to move.

I read the geologist reports before buying my home. they said that the water table had risen due to the changes in how the water flowed. The implication in the little I read was that it was due to the construction of the temple, which took over 18 acres on a hilltop.

The old timer, now gone, told me that the neighbors felt they had enough evidence of the source of the slide to sue the temple.

Sue they did, but they didn’t have the legal power that the tmeple did. The lawsuits went nowhere. Eventually, the neighbors just gave up.

Ben in Oakland
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

My point being that the claims of unfounded fears by the Church are just a little too naive to be believable.

cowboy
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

I must say…I had to take a deep breath and sat up straight in my chair before I attempted to chastise Ben in Oakland. He intimidates me sometimes. (nudge nudge)

Ben in Oakland
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Cowboy– you need never worry about chastising me. If you do it right, I might even like it.

Seriously, I am a super nice guy–I built a career out of it– and have no difficulty with it if someone shows me I am wrong about something.

I brought up the story to show that the Mormons are not without legal recourse and advice. They are hardly victims, and haven’t been since they moved to Utah.

I would still like one of these boys to show up and defend themselves, but i don’t tihnk we’ll see that. Their lack of interest so far in doing so for confirms a good deal of the negativity around their motives and methods.

cowboy
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Tell you what, Ben, I will treat you to lunch at Scoma’s next time I’m in S.F. We can talk more. (I rarely get to have fresh crab like I had the last time I was there.)

I do have to defend Seth a little bit. Basically he is on our side. He is saying there are subtle nuances with how the Mormons handled the Proposition 8 fiasco than in other political instances the LDS Church has been involved with. It caught many Mormons by surprise at the heated negativity that resulted from their victory in California politics. Of course, Mormons are going to hunker down and get defensive. It’s a natural reaction to seeing thousands of people protesting their beloved sacred sites.

But how much “the letter” that was read at Mormon Churches was a surprise to me, so too, was the support of an LDS spokesman at the anti-discrimination ordinance during a Salt Lake City Council meeting. I would never had thought in a million years the LDS Church would so publicly defend gays & lesbians. That was a jaw-dropping moment for me. And it was due, in large part, to the reaction they received from supporting the Proposition 8 as they did.

It woke some people up…and that was a good thing.

And I do agree with T. Kincaid. We may be really surprised at who donated to NOM and the Proposition 8. I’m not discounting the majority of the funds were LDS tainted but…

Our foes for equality are varied.

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