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Are Mormons the victims in the Prop. 8 fight?

Pro-same-sex marriage demonstrators gather outside the Mormon Temple in West Los Angeles

There has been growing chatter among conservative writers in recent days about the anti-Mormon tone of those protesting the passage of Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California. The argument: The tough talk would not be used on another religious group. In today's Times, Jonah Goldberg says:

At a pro-gay-marriage rally in Los Angeles after the vote, chants of "Mormon scum!" were reported. Envelopes containing white powder have been sent to Mormon temples in California and Utah; vandals hit other temples. Lists of businesses to boycott -- essentially Mormon blacklists -- have sprung up on the Internet. The artistic director of the California Musical Theatre resigned because of pressure after it was revealed he gave $1,000 to a pro-Proposition 8 group. It's amazing. Hollywood liberals, who shout "McCarthyism!" as a first resort, see nothing wrong with this. If Jews were attacked in this way for giving too much money to a political cause, Barbra Streisand would already have a French passport.

At Mormon Times, there's the argument that the Mormon role in Proposition 8's passage has been greatly exaggerated.

--Shelby Grad

Photo: Demonstrators at an anti-Prop 8 rally gather outside the Mormon temple in West L.A. on November 6. Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times.  

 
Comments () | Archives (94)

I agree, the tactics used are undemocratic. Targeting one group is undermining the will of the people.

On the other hand, the Mormon church is much bigger than this. They will continue to do great humanitarian work around the world. They will continue to be good neighbors. They will continue to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ and his plans for us as families and husbands and wives. Defending the gospel is not hating gays, it is loving Christ and his plan for us.

When you throw the first punch, don't pretend to be "the victim."

Fighting what a few—with big media mouths—are labeling as "bigotry" with outright religious bigotry seems odd to me too.

The Jews wouldn't have spent so much money to spread anger, fear and lies. The Jews would have never put their words and money toward something that was going to cause so much pain for a minority group.

Ahh, but what -- exactly -- constitutes the "first punch?" Was it the LDS participating in a legal democratic process? Or was it earlier gay-rights activists pushing legal actions to have earlier democratic processes overturned?

This wasn't the first punch; it was simply another punch in a very long process. Regardless, the tactics used by protesters in the days since the election haven't measured up to the "tolerance" that they hitherto professed to believe in. Their actions demonstrate that tolerance is a hollow watchword that only applies to their beliefs, not to those of others such as the LDS.

"throw the first punch" ??? I thought we were all participating in the political process as legally provided for in California. Since when has speaking out for your beliefs and voting accordingly been grounds for blacklisting and being called names?

"Was it the LDS participating in a legal democratic process?" The LDS, as a tax exempt religious organization, is not meant to be participating in any political activity.

Also, as far as "the will of the people," we are talking about a simple majority. Should whites be able to amend the constitution to expel any Muslim who gets a traffic ticket? Under the logic posted here, that would be the will of the people if 50.1% of people voted for it. Doesn't make it any less wrong or discriminatory.

Please. Teenage gays are attempting suicide every day across this country because of the lie they are raised with telling them that the worst thing that could ever happen to them is to be gay. It's a lie and it's a dangerous lie. Anyone who stands in the way of gay rights now has blood on their hands...and calling him scum is letting him off easy. Prop 8 was nothing more than keeping the stigma of homosexuality alive and hating. People are starving in the world and Mormons are working hard at getting people to spend $70M to keep this lie alive? And they do it with a smile?? Well thank Mormons for waking the sleeping giant of the gay rights movement...this will be their legacy, their contribution to humanity.

uh...the importance of equal civil rights trumps name-calling. aw, the poor little nazis getting called nazi-scum.

Some of the homosexual activists are very clever. They recognize that Mormons have already been demonized in American society. Since the earliest beginnings of Mormonism, the faith, which simply claims to be a re-establishment of the original church of Jesus Christ, has been the target of severe persecution. Some so called “Christian Churches” have made the defamation of Mormons a regular topic of their Sunday school lessons. For decades they have worked tirelessly to spread misunderstanding, confusion, fear, and even hate of the Mormons. As a result, if the homosexuals can turn the issue away from defining what marriage is to a fight with the Mormons, they know this strategy will bring support to their side. After all, people blinded by bigotry toward Mormons aren’t going to give any thought to the real issue. They are only happy to have yet another opportunity to join in the hate-speak about Mormons. In addition to being a very effective target, Mormons are a very safe target. In a news story interview last year, an actor and sometimes political pundit said that he feels free to make inflammatory statements about Mormons because they, “…are the nicest people in the world. They’ll never take a shot at me.” The interviewer asked, “So you can be bigoted against Mormons because they’ll just send you a strudel; the Mormons will bake you a cake and be nice to you?” The anti-Mormon responded, “That’s right.” Yeah, those homosexuals are pretty clever.

When 2% of the population (which is the Mormon demographic in California) end up contrtibuting 55% of the funding for a campaign against civil rights (Mormons contributed $22M of the $40M used by the Yes on 8 campaign to pass the amendment) I think we have the right to question the so-called "democratic process." By the way, I'm not sure why the majority has the right to abolish the fundamental rights of a group of its citizens anyway, especially by only a 4% margin, which is what Prop 8 won by.

History will judge the Mormon participation in this campaign, and I think you'll find that history will not be kind.

The Mormon church deserves everything they get. Gay marriage in California is none of Salt Lake's business. Especially a bunch of stuff old white men. I'm a Mormon and am sickened by what the church believes to be important. Gay marriage is no threat to the Mormon Church, and the arguments made that it is are purely ridiculous. My father is one of the Church's temple presidents and feels this is one of the biggest mistakes the Church has ever made. Where's the unconditional love and acceptance taught by Jesus? And the tolerance? Where's the "do unto others..."? Instead of simply doing temple work my father finds himself trying to explain why the Church would wade into such a ridiculous fray. Apparently trying to boost the Church'c public image is more important than teaching the ideals of Christ. So the Church deserves everything it gets. You picked the fight, don't cry if it doesn't go your way. And to the Church members who believe that this was "revelation", be clear, it was NOT. This was a secular plan hatched over a decade using opinion polls and networking with the Catholic church and others. Not revelation, rather as Ollie North said of the Iran Contra affair, "A neat idea". Yeah, neat. Let's hope the Church comes to the conclusion as Ollie did, years after the fact, that it was only a neat idea, "at the time".

Oh boo hoo. Those poor mormons.

As a gay man, I am told yet again that I don't deserve the rights that any other tax paying, hardworking human in a stable relationship has, but the Mormon Church is being picked on and called bad names, so THEY are the victim?

I used to teach high school and I had two students come out during my time there. Seeing those kids struggle due to religious families and the propaganda spewed by churches such as the LSD doesn't make me feel any sympathy for the church. As something they are quite fond of referring to says, "You reap what you sow".

Common Sense @ 10:26... use some common sense.

1) The LDS refers to the MEMBERS (in other words individual TAX PAYING citizens) of a Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2) The Church and any church for that matter has every right to participate in the democratic process as long as they stay within their given boundaries and regulations, which they have. You don't think a Church as well organized and financially stable as the Mormon church wouldn't consider every possible legal ramification before accepting allegiance to the yes on 8 Christian alliance and encouraging members to stand up for what they believe in?!

and

3) The doctrine of separation of church and state was an institution primarily posed to prevent the government from meddling with religion - not to completely strip the government of any religious encouragement/influence.

I'm sorry, but "live and let live" ends abruptly if you don't reciprocate. The Mormon Church got very actively involved in a move to repress a minority. You'd think they'd know better, as an oppressed minority themselves. Many, many gays and lesbians went from supporting the right of Mormons to believe as they wished to being very, very angry when the Mormon church took an active role in attacking our rights. Can you blame them? How many times do you expect us to let a schoolyard bully kick us before we start hitting back?

And, before you say it, yes, this was an attack on our rights. Would Mormons be OK with being required to have a civil union instead of a marriage because they're Mormon? If so, they should speak out now and clarify that position, as it would disarm the opposition very quickly.

And, for the record NO ONE in the gay rights movement supports the threats of violence against the Mormon church and no one knows who mailed the white powder or why. Both sides have had problems with bad behavior, so we need to be careful before casting stones.

$22 million+ dollars donated by the bigot Mormons. That figure is fact. Not exaggeration. They should be ashamed of themselves. Let us not forget that Hitler started with persecuting the gays before he moved on to the Jews. Mormons, each and every one of them, are no better than Hitler. Think it can't happen to you everyone posting here? Let it happen to the gays, then you'll be next.

"Defending the gospel is not hating gays, it is loving Christ and his plan for us." Um... gay marriage does not threaten a single gospel unless you feel that you need to remove all people who believe differently than you do from the country. Just because you have a gospel that tells you to hate the gays (or at least treat them as lesser creatures) doesn't make your behavior any less reprehensible, ShellyGirl. If Christ's plan for us involves discrimination against those who choose not to follow his teachings, maybe he doesn't deserve to be followed.

"After all, people blinded by bigotry toward Mormons aren’t going to give any thought to the real issue." Which is what, Tom? For people who like to pretend that "the culture war" is somehow about good Americans fighting to take us back to some idealized 50s, white picket fence nostalgia that never existed, they need to shove the sodomites back into the closet?

I'm not saying that all of the anger toward the Mormon church is 100% deserved, but certainly a good percentage of it was earned by the church's followers. Show me a rational, secular harm that gay marriage causes. Oh right, there isn't one.

So someone can criticize my being gay due to his religious tenets but if I question those tenets I'm a bigot. It's quite the other way.

Somehow we've been sold this bill of goods that even the most thoughtful critique of religious beliefs that support injustice is the same as attacking the humanity of the adherents of those beliefs. This sets a double standard that we're buying right into. Groups can engage in political action but declare that discourse around their arguments is unfair because it's intolerant of their religion. What other sort of philosophy driving political activity gets that kind of kid-gloves treatment?

Some religious communities act upon their conclusion that their faith directs them to oppress gay people. I reserve the right to criticize ideas (and religions are nothing if not sets of ideas) that are used to harm me. It's too bad if that's unpalatable. It won't help us to appease our oppressors.

We should be careful not to engage in ad hominem attacks with Mormons, Catholics or anyone else. Respectful engagement on ideology is entirely legitimate.

One can choose to be married, one can choose to be Mormon. Choices can be protected and are legitimate. Civil rights are the result of creation by God. When a created characteristic is visible to all, and not a result of a choice, it cannot result in lesser rights. Subjective characteristics, such as homosexuality are not the basis for civil rights. Until this discussion becomes a discussion of objective civil rights, and not a subjective discussion of preferences and choices it will perpetrate injustice.

"You don't think a Church as well organized and financially stable as the Mormon church wouldn't consider every possible legal ramification before..."

Yes, I'm sure they examined the legal ramification. What they didn't expect was to be hung out to dry by the Catholics and Evangelicals. Last week, the Catholic Church finally put out a statement supporting the Mormons.

Now, is the support of child raping mad men really needed? What does that say about the Mormons that so badly want to fit in to the "Christan" family?

i think prop 8 puts a limit on the constitutional rights as an american. by telling citizens that they can't marry and spend the rest of their lives with the ones they LOVE, that puts a strain on morral and individual choices. for adults, they can make their OWN choices and by telling them who they can't be with such as having same sex relationships is just like an abortion....UNFAIR! i think that soon enough people who voted yes for prop 8 will see what they have done. as far as i am concerned, people who voted yes, if you are married and have kids, i hope they are a same sex lover and they rip all your dignitity away. you are basically playing virtual cupid in this play and i hope you see who's lives you are destroying. at a certain extent everyone has a little respect from me but now, there are very limited people who i would piss on if they were on fire. as for the ones who voted yes.....sorry bout ya.

Stevo is right on track in some of his statements. It is true that Mormons have been persecuted from the beginning. As a result they have developed a huge victim complex. Everyone has picked on them and that has become a defining
part of their concept of themselves. They speak of everything as this or that battle. I find it extremely disturbing to embrace victimization as an important part of ones identity. I lived in Utah and saw it every day. In Utah they love to claim they are still being persecuted by the Federal Government because it owns most of the land there. They constantly scream to get the Feds off our backs, and and out of Utah, and lose it completely when the BLM or Forest Service assert the right to their own properties. Crazy. So this latest round of "victimization" plays right into their own view of themselves, and reinforces it. Mormons, the forever persecuted victims in a battle for the souls of the world. Get over it. I guess when you are constanly the odd man out, it helps soothe the soul by embracing the "victimization" as something of your own. If it wasn't for guilt and persecution, Mormons would have no collective identity at all.

There was an article yesterday that AIDS is primarily a gay disease. It is ravaging the gay community. The statistics show that gay behavior is also the direct result of the following:

A major study by the Kinsey Institute revealed that 78% of male homo-sexual "affairs" (relationships entered into with an intent of commitment) lasted less than three years. Only 12% lasted five years or longer.

Homosexual men are six times more likely to have attempted suicide than are heterosexual men

Studies indicate that between 25 and 33% of homosexual men and women are alcoholics.

Statistics give evidence of widespread sexual compulsion among homosexual men. The Kinsey study cited above revealed that 43% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated that they had "been intimate" with 500 or more partners; 28% with 1,000 or more partners.

In a survey reported in the official publication of the American Public Health Association, 78% of gay respondents reported that they had been affected by a sexually transmitted disease at least one time.

These are not good environments for children. These are symptoms of a sick belief system that you can do whatever you want without the consequences. This along with open disregard for public decency (Up Your Alley Festival, Gay Pride Parades), makes it very clear why homosexual behavior is not a marriage under the laws of God.

When we agree to have a Godless society, then maybe, just maybe you will see gay marriage, until then, you live in a democratic society that votes on standards for the whole of society. It never was a right to marry who you want, if it was there would be polygamy, bestiality, pedophilia and all other forms of alternative lifestyles standing in line.

By definition homosexuality is an aberant genetic condition which most suffers feel no control over. They deserve our sympathy and help much like those that overeat, smoke or are addicted to drugs. All of these things are rooted in our genetic makeup and can be near impossible to overcome. One could simply give in to their nature as coded or resist with whatever tools are available to them. That choice does ultimately rest on the individual. I'm not advocating "Gay Treatment" centers because there isn't a demand for such, but let's not pretend that some genetic dispositions are harmless when statistically the gay lifestyle is fraught with danger and harm regardless of social acceptance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows persecution well, but rises above it again and again. Individual church members are being attacked and blacklisted simply because they participated in the political process. It's unbelievable.

Sure, the LDS church took a position on Prop 8, but so did many other churches and other nonprofit organizations--many to oppose Prop 8. Ultimately, the voters want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. It's that simple. It's not about hate or discrimination or civil rights.

Gay marriage advocates should learn from members of the LDS church about love, forgiveness, respect and kindness, even in the face of persecution. You can voice your opinion and hold to your beliefs without spewing hate and throwing tantrums. That only hurts your cause.

 
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