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Mormon-Bashing By Anti-Prop 8 Activists:

So let me get this right--those who are upset about the passage of Proposition 8 in California have decided that the thing to do is to pick on the Mormons? So one marginalized group decides that the way to go is to vent their outrage against another marginalized group in society? Unbelieveable.

Relying on Exit Polls are dicey, of course. But according to the Exit Polls, the decisive difference in Proposition 8's passage was two reasons. First, 70% of black voters supported it. There were 10,357,002 votes case on Prop 8. The winning margin was 492,830 votes. And they were 10% of the electorate. So that means there were 1,035,700 votes cast by black voters. That right there provided a difference of 414,280 votes. If I'm doing my math right, that is 84% of the winning margin. There was an article in the Washington Post on this today. A majority of Hispanic voters also supported Proposition 8.

The second group that strongly supported Prop 8 appear to be Married people with children under the age of 18. Married people were 62% of the vote and voted 60-40 in favor; people with children under the age of 18 were 40% of the electorate and voted 64-36 in favor. 31 percent identified themselves as "Married with Children" (it doesn't say whether that is minor children) and they voted 68-32 in support.

So if the protestors want to vent their outrage, maybe they oughta go over to the local black church and call them "bigots" and chant "shame on you." But then again, that wouldn't be very politically correct, would it? Whereas who is going to stick up for the Mormons? Other than that vast and powerful well-oiled Mormon political machine that launched Mitt Romney into the White House this year, of course.

This is utterly shameful behavior. I understand why the losers on Proposition 8 are frustrated. But scapegoating the Mormons simply because it is politically-correct to single them out is really over the line. Read the linked story for the sorts of Mormon-bashing advertisements that were being run by the anti-Prop 8 groups.

This is certainly an interesing definition of "tolerance" of those who don't agree with you. I hope that these folks calm down and think a little about whether this is the best way of advancing their cause.

Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage, this is a question on which thoughtful people of goodwill can and do disagree. It is a perfectly reasonable and good-faith position to believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing. And to see same-sex relationships as fundamentally a bilateral partnership between two adults that can be governed by legal institutions like civil unions that create and preseve rights and obligations between two adults and to give the opportunity to form a long-lasting mutually-supportive loving bond without it being centered on the fundamental organizational principle of childrearing. And it is significant that married people with children apparently simply see this issue differently from everyone else--I speak from experience that marriage and children simply can and should change you as a person and your worldview. Maybe one disagrees with this argument or these people. But it is a perfectly compassionate and coherent position and it simply is not necessarily bigotry or gay-bashing to believe that. Barack Obama says he is against same-sex marriage--does that make him a bigot?

That's not to say that some anti-gay bigots voted for Prop 8. But apparently the pro-8 side does not have a monopoly on bigotry.

Update:

I should have noted that given the unusual history of Mormons in the United States and their periodic struggles with polygamist schism groups, it is easy to understand why the mainstream Mormon Church would have a particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage.

Update:

Via Glenn, I see that I spoke too soon--apparently blacks are getting their share of the wrath as well as reported here:

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple...me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

My apologies--I hadn't seen this aspect of the story reported previously. Looks like political correctness is not a restraint after all.

Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
If reports are correct, authorities in the LDS church urged members to donate to the Yes on 8 campaign -- including from out of state. If reports are correct, the resulting donations exceeded $20 million, again much of it from out of state.

I don't agree with attacks on Mormons that incorporate religious bigotry (such a the attacks deriding various elements of LDS theology). But if any group -- religious, social, or otherwise -- decides to get involved in a controversial social issue by urging its members to fund an initiative on that issue, that group is open to criticism and comment.

If polygamy were still legal in Utah, and still countenanced by the Mormon church, and if Southern Baptists flooded Utah with money to pass an anti-polygamy initiative, do you think that for even a moment the Mormons would refrain from calling out the Baptists for a targeted anti-Mormon attack?
11.7.2008 4:58pm
Happyshooter:
When I visited SLC several years ago the area had been swamped with lots of pro-gay billboards. I suspect the Mormons are a favorite target for gay groups to insult and taunt.
11.7.2008 5:00pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Also, since I suspect that Obama is insincere when he says he opposes same-sex marriage, I think that makes him either a coward or a successful politician, rather than a bigot.
11.7.2008 5:00pm
Justin (mail):
Todd Zywecki is ignorant of some of the more relevant facts involving the protest.

I assume he'll retract this post once he realizes why the protests are occuring.

At least, after he realizes how organized the LDS was in supporting Prop 8.

Postscript. I agree that Mormons, generally, are not to blame for the opposition to gay marriage. But the Morman church, as an institution, does deserve a large amount of blame.
11.7.2008 5:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

That's not to say that some anti-gay bigots voted for Prop 8. But apparently the pro-8 side does not have a monopoly on bigotry.


Who does have a monopoly on bigotry?
11.7.2008 5:01pm
Asher (mail):
70% of black voters supported it. There were 10,357,002 votes case on Prop 8. The winning margin was 492,830 votes. And they were 10% of the electorate. So that means there were 1,035,700 votes cast by black voters. That right there provided a difference of 414,280 votes. If I'm doing my math right, that is 84% of the winning margin

So there's a ton of agonizing in the black liberal blogging community about this, and basically their argument is that they weren't really 10% of the electorate, that the exit polling is wrong. They kinda have a point - they're only 6.2-6.7% of California's population, so for them to have really been 10% of the vote, they would had to have turned out at a really high rate. Something like 90%, or so they say. You can read more about this here.
11.7.2008 5:02pm
Wings:
I have no problem with Mormons, and in fact there were Mormons who were personally against Prop 8. That's good.

Here's the problem:

1. The LDS Church actively conspired to defeat Prop 8 through a massive infusion of cash combined with the spreading of lies and disinformation.
2. In doing so, the LDS Church has not only violated its non-exempt status, but has actually attempted to do exactly what we need to oppose as democratic citizens - that is, impose its own religious doctrines on California citizens.

No wonder gay people are angry at the LDS Church.
11.7.2008 5:04pm
LA denzien:

At least, after he realizes how organized the LDS was in supporting Prop 8.


I fear that the distinction between "Mormons" and "the Mormons" has escaped you. Try it with jewishness. Just because there are many members of the hebrew faith in the entertainment field, that doesn't make it the case that "the Jews" control Hollywood.

Individual members practicing their democratic right to politics is different from the institution.
11.7.2008 5:05pm
LawMan 5000:
The Church of Latter Day Saints gave over $22 Million to support a popular effort to amend the California constitution to get eliminate the (albeit short-lived) right of California gays to marry. (http://www.sltrib.com/Faith/ci_10918202?source=rv). There is nothing wrong with protesting the Mormon church for that support, and I certainly do not see that as a sign of bigotry. They were a huge, visible donor. Protesting the Mormon church makes perfect sense.

Moreover, I think the advertising in support of Proposition 8 was firmly aimed at exploiting prejudice against gays. I believe that your arguments against gay marriage are not "perfectly reasonable" or "coherent" --- as (a) modern marriage is not centered around the fundamental principle of child rearing and (b) gay people can rear children. I hope Obama is not against same-sex marriage (yes, I hope he is lying) because I it is a bigoted position.
11.7.2008 5:06pm
A.:
I, on the other had, do agree with attacks on Mormons that incorporate religious bigotry. They believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, that the angel Moroni came to upstate New York in the 19th Century, that a dude in Utah has a direct line to God, and that each and every Mormon man is well on his way to being a god over his own planet. If calling them nutters (and unfit for any office of consequence) makes me a bigot, I'll take it.

Oh, and they did make a point of raising a lot of money to oppose prop 8, so they shouldn't cry about the backlash.
11.7.2008 5:06pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
When I visited SLC several years ago the area had been swamped with lots of pro-gay billboards. I suspect the Mormons are a favorite target for gay groups to insult and taunt.

And what, precisely, would a "pro-gay billboard" be?
11.7.2008 5:06pm
Randy R. (mail):
So let me get this straight, Todd: The Mormons can preach from their pulpit against gay marriage, they can make all these wild and false accusations about gay marriage destroying society and being predators on your little kids, they can raise about $20 million to pass an initiative that harms only gay people, and we are supposed to just sit by and remain silent? Especially when these decisions were made not in CA, but in Utah? Are you really saying that we have no right to be angry at the ones who bankrolled all of this?

Sorry, but no, If they didn't want the heat from the campaign, they had a simple choice -- stay out of it.

Oh, let me guess, Todd. You've been just as outraged at the FRC's boycott against Disney and Ford and now Apple and other US corporations because of their support for 'the Gay Agenda', Right? And you were outraged when they said that these corporations are undermining our society and must refuse to employe gay employees or advertise in our publications?

Of course, you were silent then. It's perfectly okay for the religious right to boycott corporations that support gays, but it's not okay for us to be angry and boycott the Mormons or Utah. And of course, you are just being fair about all this.
11.7.2008 5:07pm
Arvin (mail) (www):
It is a perfectly reasonable and good-faith position to believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing.

This would be more convincing if sterile people, incarcerated people (without conjugal visits), old people, etc. were not allowed to marry, but only enter civil unions.
11.7.2008 5:07pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
And what, precisely, would a "pro-gay billboard" be?



Fabulous!
11.7.2008 5:07pm
LA denzien:

actively conspired to defeat Prop 8 through a massive infusion of cash combined with the spreading of lies and disinformation.


You're trying to tell me that the No-on-8 "Mormons will break into your bedroom and steal your marriage certificate" ad was a model of truth and fairness?


In doing so, the LDS Church has not only violated its non-exempt status,


Except the tax limitation extends only to supporting candidates. Chruches are free to support ballot initiatives one way or the other.
11.7.2008 5:08pm
LA denzien:

The Church of Latter Day Saints gave over $22 Million to support a popular effort to


No, LDS members gave that much money. Again, try it with jewishness for a test of whether it works in polite company: "The Jews" don't control Hollywood, even if many individual producers observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.
11.7.2008 5:11pm
Randy R. (mail):
Todd: "Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage, this is a question on which thoughtful people of goodwill can and do disagree. It is a perfectly reasonable and good-faith position to believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing."

Really, Todd? I can understand that some people are upset that the CA Supreme Court ruled on a matter, but that doesn't excuse them from punishing all gay people for the actions of a few. And if you had even bothered to read any of the blogs from Mormon's, you would quickly see that it was not about gay marriage at all, but a referendum on gays in general.

And their whole campaign was designed to exploit fears of gays as sexual predators trying to recruit children. That's a slander on us all. If they wanted a tea party, we gays can do a tea party. But this was a direct assault upon us.
11.7.2008 5:11pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"I, on the other had, do agree with attacks on Mormons that incorporate religious bigotry. They believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, that the angel Moroni came to upstate New York in the 19th Century, that a dude in Utah has a direct line to God, and that each and every Mormon man is well on his way to being a god over his own planet. If calling them nutters (and unfit for any office of consequence) makes me a bigot, I'll take it."

A proud bigot. Disgusting.
11.7.2008 5:12pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
These protests and advertisements are directed against the LDS church as an entity, not against the Mormon faith or its followers.

The LDS church heavily funded the campaign in favor of Prop 8. Further, according to the L.A. Times, officials at the very highest levels of the church urged its almost 800,000 members in California to vote in favor of the measure. It also urged members from outside the state to donate to and volunteer for the effort.

Prof. Zywicki's post omits this rather critical information, perhaps because it contradicts the argument he wants readers to accept.
11.7.2008 5:13pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Ex-Fed wins the comment thread, hands down.
11.7.2008 5:13pm
jmf (mail):

1. The LDS Church actively conspired to defeat Prop 8 through a massive infusion of cash combined with the spreading of lies and disinformation.
2. In doing so, the LDS Church has not only violated its non-exempt status, but has actually attempted to do exactly what we need to oppose as democratic citizens - that is, impose its own religious doctrines on California citizens.


The LDS church believes that gay marriage is bad for society. The LDS church did not donate money to the effort. Instead, it asked its members to donate. There is a very big difference. If you had read the original blog entry you would know that this is an issue where kind, informed, well-intentioned people can have a good-faith disagreement. The Church always encourages its members to support laws which will enhance virtue in society. There is nothing wrong with that. Sorry we live in democracy. Also - do you have any idea what tax exempt status is, or why it is conferred? Seriously.
11.7.2008 5:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
Regarding the children, sorry, Todd, but there is no 'good faith' argument about the children. There are plenty of gays who have children, and their parents deserve to be married. Yet whenever I ask anyone who raises the issue of the children, they never seen to know what to do about them.

And the reason is obvious -- they simply don't care. They really don't care about the rights of children of gay parents. They are concerned only about the children of 'normal' straight parents. That isn't a 'good faith' argument about children at all.

But of course, you never thought about that, did you?
11.7.2008 5:14pm
Wings:
You're trying to tell me that the No-on-8 "Mormons will break into your bedroom and steal your marriage certificate" ad was a model of truth and fairness?


Yes, it's called a metaphor. The LDS Church was trying to take away the marriage licenses of gay people in CA through Prop 8. Do you dispute that Prop 8 would have invalidated marriage licenses?
11.7.2008 5:15pm
AdamTheMormon:
I personally opposed the Church's involvement in this issue for, among other things, the bad name it would bring to the Church. However, Todd has a point. I saw a protester carrying a sign that said "Mormons: Keep your magic undies off my marriage," or something like that. Can you imagine the outrage if the protester were carrying a sign in front of a Jewish synagogue that said "Jews: Keep your magic hats (yarmuklas (sp)) off my marriage!" ?? Protesting is one thing. Being incredibly disrespectful and vile is another.
11.7.2008 5:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The Church always encourages its members to support laws which will enhance virtue in society. There is nothing wrong with that. Sorry we live in democracy."

And if they encourage their members to support such laws, then they open themselves to protests from those who are most affected. There is nothing wrong with that. Sorry we live in a democracy.

Can you tell me exactly what your complaint is?
11.7.2008 5:16pm
LawMan 5000:
LA Denizen-

"The LDS Church got into the thick of the California battle when officials issued statements encouraging members to actively support the ban." --- The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com/Faith/ci_10918202?source=rv

I honestly don't see the distinction between the Church supporting the effort with their money or encouraging their members, who in turn gave $22 Million. The Mormon church officially supported Prop 8, and that support had a significant affect on its passage.
11.7.2008 5:16pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
LA denizen wrote:
No, LDS members gave that much money. Again, try it with jewishness for a test of whether it works in polite company: "The Jews" don't control Hollywood, even if many individual producers observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.
LDS members did this at the behest of the church itself. Judaism has no organizational structure, unlike Momonism (and Catholicism). Since there is no entity in Judaism comparable to the one at issue here, the kind of attack you describe could only be directed at Jews themselves. That's an important distinction.
11.7.2008 5:17pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
I think intelligent and thoughtful gay activists realize that the gay activists who have less self-control should be very careful about how they approach this. Firm protesting is fine and patriotic, but comments about burning down their churches and signs calling them a cult are asking for a backlash. They're reenforcing every fear that the moderates have about gay rights.

This entire "No on 8" push has been a disaster. Instead of showing families in advertisements they show Margaret Cho. Instead of a message of love and "Why?" they're pushing hate. Playing right into their hands. Idiots.
11.7.2008 5:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Adamthe Mormon: " Being incredibly disrespectful and vile is another."

Agreed. So why did they run ads stating that children will be forced to learn about gay marriage, attend gay marriages, and that churches will be forced to marry gays against their will? And why did they say that gay marriage will destroy our society?

In other words, why were the Mormon's so incredibly disrespectful and vile towards gays? And if you doubt me, just read any of the blogs supporting Prop. 8.
11.7.2008 5:18pm
calmom:
Picketing churches is like picketing funerals. You lose whatever point you were trying to make by simply showing extreme bad taste.
11.7.2008 5:18pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
The LDS church believes that gay marriage is bad for society. The LDS church did not donate money to the effort. Instead, it asked its members to donate. There is a very big difference. If you had read the original blog entry you would know that this is an issue where kind, informed, well-intentioned people can have a good-faith disagreement. The Church always encourages its members to support laws which will enhance virtue in society. There is nothing wrong with that. Sorry we live in democracy.


All this may be true. But what does it have to do with the question of whether it is wrong, or bigoted, or shameful, to criticize and protest the decision of the Church to urge its members to donate (or, for that matter, the members who donated)? Is a church's decision to get involved in a political issue beyond comment, simply because it is a church? If members of a church get involved because they have been so urged by their church, is that beyond comment?

Say my Presbyterian church decided to urge its members to donate to an effort to amend the United States constitution to revoke the 13th through 15th Amendments, and a number of my fellow parishioners donated. Would that be beyond proper comment?
11.7.2008 5:19pm
Kevin!:
We can have an interesting discussion about how Gays and Mormons should move forward.

But for this post to ignore the massive organizational and financial support the LDS itself provided for Prop 8 is... it's downright bizarre. Does Todd even know why the Mormons are getting blamed? I mean, excuse the central role of the LDS if you must, but to simply ignore it...

In any case, it's pretty laughable for the Mormons to play the Small, Oppressed Victim card. They exercised considerable financial muscle and political clout to pass Prop 8. They willfully chose to take a big part in attacking gay rights. Prepare to reap that whirlwind.

I live down the street from the LA Mormon Temple, which got protested yesterday. On the one hand there was the gleaming, well-lit, expensive-looking Temple, fenced off and with beautiful green lawns. On the other, a powerless, sobbing band of protesters who uselessly circled West LA, directionless and occasionally beat upon.
11.7.2008 5:19pm
Grigor:
Speaking as a married person with 3 children under 18, who has nevertheless not become blinded by that to the preeminent civil rights issue of our time...

Black people may have provided the votes, but the Mormon church and its members provided the money to spread a poisonous fog of lies. The church as an institution is a legitimate target of recrimination.

And let's not lose sight of the fact that that church is hardly in a position to wage a campaign against unconventional forms of marriage.
11.7.2008 5:19pm
Steve:
I have to assume that Prof. Zywicki was unaware that the Mormons had poured millions of dollars into the Prop 8 effort. If he knew that and intentionally omitted the fact in order to portray them as a "marginalized group" being blamed for no reason, then this was a really, really dishonest post.
11.7.2008 5:20pm
LA denizen:

Yes, it's called a metaphor. The LDS Church was trying to take away the marriage licenses of gay people in CA through Prop 8. Do you dispute that Prop 8 would have invalidated marriage licenses?


No kidding that it's a metaphor. But the ad completely played on the fear of Mormons as somehow "different" or "dangerous." It said "they're not like us because of their beliefs."

That is the exact same sentiment that people are rightfully complaining about when it was applied to people with a different sexual preference.

If the [admirable] goal of No-on-8 was to promote a pluralistic society where people can practice whatever they want behind closed doors, then playing on stereotypes of a religious minority being dangerous and weird is not the way to get there.

I wish 8 had failed. But attacking a different minority through stereotypes is the wrong way to get there.
11.7.2008 5:20pm
AdamTheMormon:
Randy R:

First, did you ignore what I said about opposing the Church's involvement in this issue? I'm not here to defend that Church because I'm not happy with what it did. But are you honestly telling me that this "protesting" would fly if it were against a Jewish organization, for example?
11.7.2008 5:21pm
Randy R. (mail):
Misterbigtop: "This entire "No on 8" push has been a disaster. Instead of showing families in advertisements they show Margaret Cho. Instead of a message of love and "Why?" they're pushing hate. Playing right into their hands. Idiots."

On this, I totally agree. Burning churches isn't the answer. They ran a terrible campaign. But the issue here is whether we are entitled to be angry at the Mormon's and have a right to boycott their church and Utah.

Clearly, we do. And if the church really didn't want this backlash, then they shouldn't have gotten into the mess.
11.7.2008 5:22pm
alanstorm (mail):
Arvin,

"This would be more convincing if sterile people, incarcerated people (without conjugal visits), old people, etc. were not allowed to marry, but only enter civil unions."

This is typical liberal-speak, or rather liberal-whine: "WAAAAHHH! It's not perfect!" No system created by humans is or will ever be perfect. The examples you mention are outliers on the curve, and don't change the basic principle. That principle is that the only reason governments have an active interest in the idea of marriage is that it tends to create the next generation, which in turn perpetuates the state. If procreation was not so tightly tied to marriage, the whole issue would be moot.
11.7.2008 5:22pm
DiversityHire:
This entire "No on 8" push has been a disaster.

I couldn't agree more, MrBigTop. Some terrible, terrible ads that undermined strategic goals for purported tactical advantage. I think the leaders of the no-campaign panicked after an initial wave of incredulity passed.
11.7.2008 5:23pm
dave zimmerman (mail):
I can hear Todd now :"Well I was just sayin..."

Todd missed the point of the article I read. The protest wasn't against what percentage voted which way - it was about the monetary support. But. Todd, you reacted the same way a bull reacts to a red rag; you reduced the fine art of obfuscation to a matter of sheer brawn.

Todd, what kind of libertarian are you? The home page on the Libertarian Party web-site says: ""Libertarians believe the answer to America's political problems is the same commitment to freedom that earned America its greatness...a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom that marks this country above all others".

The main reason I was against Prop. 8 was that I see any attack on anyone's liberty as a danger to my own. But I'm a liberal, so you can't hold me responsable.
11.7.2008 5:25pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
A wrote:
I, on the other had, do agree with attacks on Mormons that incorporate religious bigotry. They believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, that the angel Moroni came to upstate New York in the 19th Century, that a dude in Utah has a direct line to God, and that each and every Mormon man is well on his way to being a god over his own planet. If calling them nutters (and unfit for any office of consequence) makes me a bigot, I'll take it.
Are those beliefs any weirder than the idea that God impregnated a virgin? That the Pope can speak for God? That, once blessed and eaten, wafers and wine become the body and blood of Christ?

Many religious beliefs look weird to people who don't share them. That does not justify discriminating against those who accept them.
11.7.2008 5:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
Adam: Sorry, I apparently DID ignore your opposition to the church's involvement. Thanks for correcting me.

"But are you honestly telling me that this "protesting" would fly if it were against a Jewish organization, for example?"

If a Jewish organization were spreading lies and then using to deny gays basic rights, of course it would fly. Here's another example: After the Catholic church's pedophile scandal, their response was to blame and scapegoat gay priests (ignoring the fact that the majority of scandals involved priests assualting young women and girls), and there were protests. Those protests were joined by the victims themselves.

The only ones who were upset about said protests were some catholics who believed that gays were totally at fault. Fortunately, they were few.
11.7.2008 5:27pm
P. Stone (mail):
The LDS paid 70% of the cost of ramming this hateful thing down the throats of the most liberal state in the Union, and you think they shouldn't be held accountable for it? Just because they are a church? Most of that money came from out of state. Only 2% of Californians are Mormon. Backlash is not only appropriate, it's desirable. Know maybe we have a little better historic understanding of what happened in Nauvoo, and can stop feeling guilty about it.
11.7.2008 5:30pm
Arvin (mail) (www):
This is typical liberal-speak, or rather liberal-whine: "WAAAAHHH! It's not perfect!" No system created by humans is or will ever be perfect. The examples you mention are outliers on the curve, and don't change the basic principle. That principle is that the only reason governments have an active interest in the idea of marriage is that it tends to create the next generation, which in turn perpetuates the state. If procreation was not so tightly tied to marriage, the whole issue would be moot.

And this is the typical response to an issue that no one has a good answer for.

The examples I mention are examples of where the principle doesn't apply, yet marriage is still permitted. So the principle is not the actual principle. If it were, then people with 0% possibility of having children would not be allowed to get married. But they are. So the principle must be something else.

To put it another way, say we let gay people get married. And I'll still claim that marriage is tied to children. Why aren't the gay people just outliers too? Why is it that when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old man, that keeps marriage tied to procreation, but when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old woman, that doesn't? Both couples have 0% chance of having children.
11.7.2008 5:30pm
CDU (mail) (www):
It seems like a lot of people in this thread are conflating "the Mormons" and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons are by no means monolithic in their views. The views and positions of the LDS church cannot fairly be imputed to all Mormons any more than the views of the Roman Catholic church can be imputed to all Catholics.

Opposing the LDS church for taking this position is perfectly fair, but blaming all Mormons for the acts of the church as an institution is religious bigotry, plain and simple.
11.7.2008 5:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
alanstorm: "This is typical liberal-speak, or rather liberal-whine: "WAAAAHHH! It's not perfect!" No system created by humans is or will ever be perfect."

Strawman. No one is talking about making marriage 'perfect.' When you folks have a 50% divorce, you shouldn't be lecturing us about perfection.

No one has argued that allowing gays will make marriage perfect. What we ARE saying is that if you can allow felons to get married, or multiple divorced people, or childless people, or wife beaters to get married, then what about two gay people who love each other? And if those two gay people have children? Dont' they deserve to have married parents?

If the institution is open to everyone, then it should be open to everyone. Simple as that.
11.7.2008 5:33pm
Ed Scott (mail):
Wings:

For information on tax exemption see: The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

Proposition 8 is not a political candidate.
11.7.2008 5:35pm
Tired of Bigotry (mail):

Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage, this is a question on which thoughtful people of goodwill can and do disagree.

Actually, no. People of goodwill can not and do not disagree on this. By definition, you have ill will towards a small minority of your fellow citizens. Try it with race:

Whatever one thinks of different-race marriage, this is a question on which thoughtful people of goodwill can and do disagree.

People who tried to stop others from marrying people of different races were bigots. Without goodwill. People who try to stop others from marrying people of the same sex are bigots. Without goodwill. Own up to your bigotry. It is a free country, and you are allowed to be a bigot. But don't pretend you have goodwill towards your fellow humans.
11.7.2008 5:35pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
To boycott something, you have to be a member or customer of that something. Thus, unless the protesters were all Mormons, they were not boycotting at the LCS facility. They were simply protesting.
11.7.2008 5:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
CDU: "Opposing the LDS church for taking this position is perfectly fair, but blaming all Mormons for the acts of the church as an institution is religious bigotry, plain and simple."

Absolutely true. And that's why all the bloggers have pointed out that even within the Mormon church, this stance was controversial. There are many gay Mormons, there are Mormons who have gay kids or friends, and there are Mormons who think that gays should be able to get married.

Moreover, there are many Mormon's who might even oppose gay marriage, but believe that the church should hold to its own faith of not taking sides in political issues.

All these people should be applauded for their courage in the face of institutional pressure. And they are.
11.7.2008 5:36pm
jmf (mail):
Randy and Fed Ex - you've raised some good points. I believe the author has nothing wrong with the Mormons being disagreed with. This is a democracy, as we've all mentioned. I see nothing wrong with Fed-Ex holding his view that the church was wrong to interfere. That being said, I bet Fed-Ex wasn't one of the protesters holding a sign that said, "VILE MORMON SCUM". I think the author's point (and this happens to be my own feeling as well) is that Mormon-bashing is counter-productive to the dialogue. Can we agree on that?
11.7.2008 5:38pm
Joe1616 (mail):
They protest the Mormons because religious bigotry is one of the few bigotries that is actually allowed in society today, and they are an easy target. The gay marriage cowards don't have the courage to go marching in Compton.
11.7.2008 5:38pm
Jim C (mail):
What does Islam have to say about gay marriage? You won't find these cowardly bigots protesting at the local mosque either.
11.7.2008 5:40pm
Old Fart:
Boy was the "No on 8" Campaign smart to focus on "civil rights" and hide any mention of gays and lesbians.

The backlash you're all creating with your whining, finger-pointing, and self-righteous temper tantrums is making lots of people glad that Prop 8 passed — and none of them are Mormons.

You want to be treated like "normal" members of society? Try behaving like them. Including accepting responsibility for why you lost: African-Americans and Hispanics are anti-gay bigots. And any straight couple with young kids that wasn't scared to death of you before the election sure is now.
11.7.2008 5:41pm
Ed Scott (mail):
Edward A. Hoffman

"They believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri..."

It is. :-)
11.7.2008 5:42pm
joe1616 (mail):
Not to mention that there are no actual rights involved here at all. Gay couples have the exact same rights available to them with domestic partnerships. This whole issue is about semantics and the gay activists trying to thumb their noses at religious people by insisting that they be called "married" even though the term has special meaning to religious people. It is all just a big tantrum, and therefore makes complete sense that they would lash out at religious targets when they don't get their way.
11.7.2008 5:45pm
nonofyourbusiness:
I voted against Prop 8, and exhorted others to do so, as did my Mormon relatives. But after this shameful targeting of sincere people, I will never support gay rights politically again.

Just who do you think you are convincing, with this hateful behavior?
11.7.2008 5:47pm
courtwatcher:
Ed Scott and others who have discussed 501(c)(3) status:

Ed Scott said:

For information on tax exemption see: The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
Proposition 8 is not a political candidate.

But that is only a piece of the law of tax-exempt organizations and political activity. There's no question that supporting or opposing an initiative consitutes "grassroots lobbying" under the tax code; although not forbidden to 501(c)(3) organizations, this lobbying is limited by law for those organizations, under penalty of owing tax of even losing tax-exempt status. See 26 U.S.C. sections 501(h) and 4911.
11.7.2008 5:50pm
courtwatcher:
nonofyourbusiness said:
I will never support gay rights politically again

That's a principled stand - because a few thousand supporters of the proposition are venting their anger in an unproductive way, deny them their rights!
11.7.2008 5:52pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
This whole issue is about semantics and the gay activists trying to thumb their noses at religious people by insisting that they be called "married" even though the term has special meaning to religious people.



Assuming this is true, what business does the state have protecting the special meaning of words for the benefit of particular religions?
11.7.2008 5:55pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Ed Scott:

The language you attribute to me was originally from a post by "A"; I included it in my post to refute his claim that Mormons' beliefs justify discriminating against them. Hopefully people won't infer from your post that I'm the one who expressed such contempt for Mormons.
11.7.2008 5:55pm
Randy R. (mail):
" I think the author's point (and this happens to be my own feeling as well) is that Mormon-bashing is counter-productive to the dialogue. Can we agree on that?"

Sure can.

"They protest the Mormons because religious bigotry is one of the few bigotries that is actually allowed in society today, and they are an easy target"

Really? you obviously haven't read many blogs about gays. Just post here for a times you'll find plenty of bigotry against gays. Here's a good example of it: "And any straight couple with young kids that wasn't scared to death of you before the election sure is now."

JimC: "What does Islam have to say about gay marriage? You won't find these cowardly bigots protesting at the local mosque either."

Since the Muslims had the sense to stay out of the issue, there is no reason to protest them. Or are we supposed to spend all our time protesting every single religions and political party that is against gay marriage in order to have cred with you?

Old Fart: "You want to be treated like "normal" members of society? Try behaving like them. Including accepting responsibility for why you lost"

So we have to act 'normal' befoe you will grant us rights? As I recall, there was a ballot initiative a few years ago in CA on refusing to recognize gay marriage from other states, which passed. There were no gay protests then. We acted 'normal' and took responsibility for losing. So of course, based on our admirable behavior back then, you voted against Prop 8, right?

No? Then don't tell to fool us into thinking this had anything to do with the behavior of a few gays. You are just making excuses to justify your desire to deny gays their rights.
11.7.2008 5:57pm
David Larsomn (mail):
Amazing how it always seems to turn out to be the "oppressed" groups who turn out to be the most feral in their bigotry and most strident in their hatred of everyone who doesn't look/think like them. As much as you believe that people of goodwill can differ on some of the issues of the day, the fact is that the rabid, malevolent haters posting here and elsewhere do not and never will concur. You agree with them or you are stark raving evil, stupid, and probably poorly dressed to boot. Revolting.
11.7.2008 5:58pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Prof. Zywicki has now added an "update" to his post which offers a possible explanation for the LDS Church's "interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage", but which still does not acknowledge that the church acted upon that interest in any way. It certainly doesn't explain just how extensively the Church involved itself in the campaign.

Clearly Prof. Zywicki has read the comments and knows what the Church did (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume he didn't know this before); his silence on this point makes the post look more like spin than analysis.
11.7.2008 6:01pm
B-ry (mail):
1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint spent about 2,000 dollars on the issue (likely the cost of maintaining a website they started). Members of the church donated money, but it would be wild speculation to put a specific number on that, though it is likely in the millions of dollars. I'm sure "no on 8" had nothing against receiving out of state support.

2. The church did NOT encourage out of state members to donate money to the campaign. As a matter of fact the vast majority of "mormons" from outside of California had little to no knowledge of the church's stance on the issue. I know of specific instances where the church told non-Californians to not get involved. How would I, a Californian, know this? Simple, I am attending college out of state.
3. I have LDS family in Florida. They told me the church did NOT support the Florida amendment to ban gay marriage. Tell me, if the "mormon church" hates gays, then why didn't they support the amendment in Florida? Don't say it was money, because that would be a lie. They didn't support it because it went beyond protecting marriage. The church respect's the decisions of homosexuals to live how they will and believes they should be treated like anyone else. That includes limited marriage to a man and woman. When it goes beyond that, the church won't take a stance. IT WASN'T ABOUT HATE OR FEAR.

4. Yes, the LDS people are marginalized. I can remember being ridiculed and discriminated against in California from a young age. All through school I was persecuted for my beliefs. While this is primarily by individuals, there are many groups that actively target mormons in California and elsewhere.

What is worse is that we aren't protected by "political correctness." If you called somebody a f** or a n***** you would be reprimanded or prosecuted for hate speech. "Mormons" are free to target. A great example is a fairly recent case in California where a an LDS high school student was suspended for responding to religious/sexual harassment by saying "that's so gay." Not your so gay. She was suspended. Nothing happened to the harassers. The courts supported the school in its decision. LDS people are frequently targeted for our beliefs and it is deemed acceptable by our society.

oh, by the way the term "Mormon" is actually a slur. If you want to refer to members of the church they should be called LDS or Latter Day Saints.

sign's such as "go to hell mormons," "vile mormons," inaccurate non-stop accusations of hate, and vandalism of property belonging to pro-8 people is not appropriate. People should disagree without personal attacks. Its hypocritical. I guarantee most mormons and most who voted for 8 don't hate gay people. They just see the world differently.
11.7.2008 6:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Amazing how it always seems to turn out to be the "oppressed" groups who turn out to be the most feral in their bigotry and most strident in their hatred of everyone who doesn't look/think like them."

Yes, David, of course. Anti-gay violence is something that we have to live with. Just in the past few months in Washington, a gay man was attacked by two black men and was killed while they yelled at him that he's a faggot. Several other men have been brutally attacked when a few black young men thought that they were gay, and yelled epithets against them.

Do I blame all blacks for these attacks? Or even all black young men? Of course not. But when you can show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion, then you can start up about 'strident hatred against anyone who doesn't think or look like them."
11.7.2008 6:05pm
Seth P (mail):
LA denizen: Your arguments continuously miss the point, but I thank you for contributing to the discussion. The message of the Mormon commercial was not "OMG MORMON ZOMBIES!" It was a (valid, powerful) warning against the conflation of church and state, and the intrusion of discriminatory religious theology into politics and indeed onto constitutions.

Edward A. Hoffman makes a very very important point that is lost upon some of my gay (and atheist) brothers and sisters: we must separate the religion and its spreaders of indoctrination from the religious who blindly follow. In fact I'd say that social conservatives have succeeded in dividing so many formerly-allied minority groups BECAUSE they successfully preyed upon people's fear of religious persecution. My fellow gays and lesbians and I must do more to reach out with and rebuild bridges with people of color, even within our own community. Blame for the passage of this frightening theocratic amendment in my mind belongs squarely upon religious leaders who politicized their pulpits, social conservatives who successfully splintered minority groups (and are now smiling as white gay men and women tragically blame African-Americans for Prop 8), and the gay community in general for its passivity and complacency. I have my problems with any religious dogma, but in general the most noble of religious aspirations is something we should all share - compassion. Justice cannot and will not prevail without compassion.

That said, the Mormon church needs to pay. It is correct that they have for some reason been allowed to preach for or against ballot measures, but this is an unfair loophole. Either churches should remain noncommittal advocates for specific social issues/candidates, or they should be given full free rein to preach politics - as long as they pay taxes like any other political organization or individual citizen.

alanstorm: Completely ludicrous. Government-codified marriage has only ever existed as an umbrella term of settling the exchange of money and property between couples... which until a century or so ago included the exchange of women and their dowries. Your argument that marriage has "always" been about "procreation" is total malarky and yet another red herring. Further, even if it WERE true, tradition is a pitiful argument in support of one of the things guaranteed to change in any society. Even churches and world religions have recognized that our discussion of morality and ethics changes with different societies along with its priorities. Even IF marriage HAD been about procreation, it is obvious these days that empirically that is not the case - and politically I doubt you could find much serious argumentation in support of that from anyone who isn't actively in the "gay witch hunt" camp of the ideological spectrum.

Kevin! I wasn't sobbing on Wednesday night when we marched out of West Hollywood and took to Hollywood proper, interrupting the staid and boring yuppie nightlife swarming out in the streets for drinks and diversions and Obama celebrations. We shut down the Sunset Strip. I got teared up only when I saw the throngs behind me, filling the street as far as my bespectacled eyes could see past La Cienega behind me. To be honest, I could barely stop smiling. Then again this week has left me more hopeful than many of my (also-) gay friends.

joe1616: Federal DOMA much? Domestic partnerships are NOT equal. And "religious bigotry?" Religion has dominated the Presidency and dictated the political and cultural conversation of this country for 220-some-odd years. Sore winner much? And while we're at it, homophobia is in fact the ONLY publicly acceptable form of social persecution left. You don't see the word "religious" used as a pejorative on schoolyards. Finally, you cannot own terms. The religious do not own "marriage" any more than black Americans own the concept of civil rights, or any more than Jews own the concept of genocide. This is a false and ludicrous American construct and only further serves to restrain all of us.

Jim C: Islam has no larger governing body in America, and that fictitious group of elders did not exhort their members to vote Yes on 8 and contribute to its bigoted campaign of lies under threat of abandonment and punishment by Allah (praised be his name, etc. etc.).

Old Fart: You may have to turn up your hearing aid, but we fruits and vegetables have tried to behave like "normal citizens." This is precisely why we'd like to get married. Because we're just as boring as you. Oh, wait, so we shouldn't act like normal citizens? I will grant that you make a good point in the first part of your response: the way the Human Rights Campaign organized its No on 8 campaign (including telling phone operators not to use the words "gay," "constitution" or "civil rights") was laughable, and it is now undeniable that there is more similarity between HRC and Hillary Clinton's campaign than just initials. I can only hope that both gay and straight folks will surmount the identity politics that social conservatives have left us with, and return civility and intellectual rigor to these discussions of social import.
11.7.2008 6:06pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

The LDS paid 70% of the cost of ramming this hateful thing down the throats of the most liberal state in the Union,


heh, a majority of voters in the most liberal state in the union voted for prop 8. i don't think that qualifies as ramming.

i am curious though, when this decision was handed down, did you think it was ramming something down the throats of the most liberal state in the union?
11.7.2008 6:09pm
Anderson (mail):
So one marginalized group decides that the way to go is to vent their outrage against another marginalized group in society?

If the second group is persecuting the first group?

... Every time I think I've seen the silliest Zywicki ever, a new contender arises. Even now, I hesitate to proclaim an all-time champion.
11.7.2008 6:10pm
CJS (mail):
I've no problem with getting rid of the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church - provided that we also get rid of the tax-exempt status of all the churches who had pastors give endorsements from the pulpit on the Presidential election, against Prop 8, or on any other political matters.
11.7.2008 6:11pm
Randy R. (mail):
" Tell me, if the "mormon church" hates gays, then why didn't they support the amendment in Florida?"

perhaps because gay marriage isn't legal in Florida regardless of the outcome? Whereas in California it was? So the stakes were much higher?

Look, B-ry, I sympathize. You are right, we should say LDS. My uncle and cousins are LDS, and trust me, since they have two lesbians in the family, they are fully supportive of gay rights AND the right for us to marry. That's why I have been careful to say the problem isn't the church goers, its' the official church stance.

"The church respect's the decisions of homosexuals to live how they will and believes they should be treated like anyone else."

Nope. How many gays are active members of the LDS? Usually, they are excommunicated, right? So the church certainly does NOT respect gay in how the live, nor do they believe that they should be treated like anyone else.

" That includes limited marriage to a man and woman." Fine, but then again you are NOT treating gays like everyone else, because you are denying us the right to marry, unlike straights.
11.7.2008 6:11pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

But when you can show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion


come on. bring down the rhetoric. you are being ridiculous
11.7.2008 6:13pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
B-ry wrote:
I have LDS family in Florida. They told me the church did NOT support the Florida amendment to ban gay marriage. Tell me, if the "mormon church" hates gays, then why didn't they support the amendment in Florida? Don't say it was money, because that would be a lie. They didn't support it because it went beyond protecting marriage. The church respect's the decisions of homosexuals to live how they will and believes they should be treated like anyone else. That includes limited marriage to a man and woman. When it goes beyond that, the church won't take a stance. IT WASN'T ABOUT HATE OR FEAR.
The key difference between California and Florida is that the California Supreme Court had announced a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Such marriages were actually being established here but weren't in Florida. Besides, I'll bet that the Mormon population in Florida is proportionately smaller than in California.
oh, by the way the term "Mormon" is actually a slur. If you want to refer to members of the church they should be called LDS or Latter Day Saints.
Really? Then why does the Church maintain the mormon.org web site -- a site on which the Church itself calls its followers Mormons?

Every member of the LDS Church I have met has described him- or herself as a Mormon. I have never heard anyone claim to be a Latter-day Saint or an LDS.
11.7.2008 6:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
Additionally, the LDS is notorious for their re-education camps whereby they try to convert gay teenagers into straights. That is hardly a respect for our lives, and it does tremendous damage to the people who are forced by their parents to go through such a process.
11.7.2008 6:15pm
Seth P (mail):
David Larsomn: Rabid and malevolent, at large? Hardly. And I'd like you at least for a moment to consider how your exact argument could apply to the people who voted for Prop 8, no matter their numbers or malevolence in doing so. I am doing my damndest right now to engender a bit of compassion among my community - you will only do yourself credit by following suit in yours.

B-ry: I struggle to understand your point. Simply because you attend college out of state and heard of one instance where a parishioner wasn't exhorted to vote Yes, it didn't happen? The linked news articles above (many from major national news sources) are simply false?

I fail to see how "Mormons" is a slur, or is hate speech. And your claim that it is a schoolyard pejorative - or that people are actually prosecuted for calling others "f____" or "n_____" - are completely uninformed by anything but fictitious blogs. Laughable nonsense, and even if it weren't that does nothing to minimize the unethical influence that a TAX-EXEMPT RELIGION exerted on constitutional law on Tuesday. That is my main concern, even overriding my wish to get married someday if I ever fall in love. I am sorry that some at our protests have misunderstood the justified targets of our anger, but that does not excuse the Mormon Church's official and taxpayer-subsidized flouting of equal protection and human rights in modern America.

I am steering away from personal attacks. I wish the Yes on 8 campaign had done the same. The amendment itself is a "personal attack." And it will have resonance beyond the gay community and far beyond California. Ironically even if gay marriage wasn't a civil rights issue, it has become one in light of the tactics of those who have sought to preclude it.
11.7.2008 6:16pm
courtwatcher:
Zywicki said:
I should have noted that given the unusual history of Mormons in the United States and their periodic struggles with polygamist schism groups, it is easy to understand why the mainstream Mormon Church would have a particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage.

I assume you're not being facetious here . . . . and am struck by how bizarre and ironic and myopic a comment that is!

From the "polygamy" entry on the LDS website http://www.lds.org/:
At certain times and for His specific purposes, God, through His prophets, has directed the practice of plural marriage (sometimes called polygamy), which means one man having more than one living wife at the same time. In obedience to direction from God, Latter-day Saints followed this practice for about 50 years during the 1800s but officially ceased the practice of such marriages after the Manifesto was issued by President Woodruff in 1890.

LDS have already departed from their own "traditional definition" of marriage; believe that the definition of marriage can change, and has changed over time; and that they alone know how, and when, God has decided that marriage deviate from the one-man, one-woman definition.

How, exactly, does this support the idea that LDS have a "particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage"?
11.7.2008 6:16pm
jmf (mail):
Randy - there was this one Mormon who was killed because of his beliefs. Jason Smith or Joseph Smith, something like that. Not sure. His brother Hammond got shot too.
11.7.2008 6:18pm
SecurityGeek:
Many individual Mormons have taken a principled and difficult stand against their Ward leaders and family members in support of gay rights. They should be encouraged and welcomed by the anti-8 crowd.

That being said, the LDS institution and membership was a huge factor in getting Prop 8 passed, especially through the funding of misleading ads that spread lies about the affect of gay marriage on the rights of churches.

I think protests in front of LDS temples are quite reasonable, as long as they are peaceful and not hateful (no magic underwear jokes). I think a more effective technique would be for gay families to sit outside the temples in silent protest. Nothing is going to shame Mormons into reforming their church more than seeing the children that they are hurting through their political involvements.
11.7.2008 6:18pm
LM (mail):
There was a lot of anti-Mormon bigotry during the Republican presidential nomination campaign. It came from both the religious right and the secular left, and it was despicable.

This is an entirely different case. The criticism is predominantly directed at the LDS Church as an entity for funding or encouraging its members to fund a political referendum. It's not directed at individuals for their religious beliefs. Protesting a religious institution's support for a referendum is perfectly legitimate political debate.

If it turns out that the LDS Church was incorrectly reported as playing a role in the financial support for Prop 8, that will make these demonstrations an unfortunately but inadvertently misdirected effort. But that still wouldn't make it analogous to the actual bigotry we saw during the primaries.
11.7.2008 6:18pm
CDU (mail) (www):
show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion


Um, how about Joseph Smith.
11.7.2008 6:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
strangerwithcandy: "come on. bring down the rhetoric."

I sure would like to. But when people play the victim card, it's hard for me to remain silent on that. One of my best friends spent a week in the hospital back in the early 90s when he was attacked by a literal gay basher. He was caught. Another friend was brutaly attacked and still suffers migraines, and he attacker was never caught. Additionally, one of the gay bars not far from my home that I go to from time to time was teargased several years ago. All this in Washington, DC.

When you know two people who were victims of a hate crime, and you might have been a victim yourself (thank god I wasn't at that bar that night!), you tend to get a little touchy when people self-righteously complain about people criticizing them.
11.7.2008 6:19pm
jmf (mail):
Security Geek -


That being said, the LDS institution and membership was a huge factor in getting Prop 8 passed, especially through the funding of misleading ads that spread lies about the affect of gay marriage on the rights of churches.



I haven't researched this too thoroughly - did the Mormon Church really LIE - or did they just advance arguments which you (not they) believe are untrue?
11.7.2008 6:19pm
DensityDuck (mail):
My thought on the matter is that while the "Yes On 8" / "No On 8" ads didn't change anyone's mind, they probably did convince a lot of "Obama-only" voters to go vote on Proposition 8 also. If it weren't for the advertising, there are probably a few hundred thousand voters who would have marked Obama for President and left the rest of the ballot blank...
11.7.2008 6:19pm
commontheme (mail):

I should have noted that given the unusual history of Mormons in the United States and their periodic struggles with polygamist schism groups, it is easy to understand why the mainstream Mormon Church would have a particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage.

Are you deliberately spinning or are you truly this ignorant of the history of the Mormon church?

In case it is the latter, you might be interested to know that the "mainstream" Mormon church has not had a consistent definition of what makes a marriage for its entire history.
11.7.2008 6:20pm
B-ry (mail):
Randy R. I'm sorry for what happened in DC. That is inappropriate. However, just because some people hate gays, doesn't mean this is an issue of hate. I have gay friends and family. I don't agree with some of their decisions, but that doesn't mean I hate them.
Heck, I disagree with some of the decisions every one makes (myself included), that doesn't mean I hate everyone.

Oh, and thousands of religious people have died simply for being a member of X religion. Look at the persecution of Muslims since 9-11. Look at Columbine where they specifically targeted religious people. Look at the state of Missouri were until the late 1970's there was a law on the books known as the "extermination order." That law made it legal to kill an "mormon" refusing to leave the state.
Last year a missionary was shot in Washington. When I was in HS (late 90's) I knew a missionary who was severely beaten for being LDS in Los Angeles. It isn't as uncommon as you might think.
11.7.2008 6:21pm
Seth P (mail):
CJS: I used to be of this thought, but I would almost rather churches be allowed to say anything they want as long as they pay taxes. I don't think hatred should be subsidized by my money - but I'm also honest enough to know that most world religions preach the social change and tolerance that their most conservative leaders and parishioners have so often avoided. Perhaps a bit of loosening of pastors, preachers, and imams in a democratic country could lead to more "spirited" discussion of these issues? Besides, I'd rather these spiritual leaders have the freedom (and the huevos) to put their prejudices in plain and open language. I think the righteous should get an equal platform with the self-righteous or bigoted.

All that said, opening churches to full-throated political speech could set a dangerous precedent - since there often isn't room for opposing viewpoints without claims of imminent hellfire in many dominant theologies.
11.7.2008 6:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
CDU: "m, how about Joseph Smith."

Touche. Then you should understand how horrible it is. And the fact that you had to look back over 100 years to find one example shows the progress that has been made since then. Not so with gays.

I do a little work for SMYAL, which helps gay teenagers, and the stories they have of abuse, physical and mental, from their parents, families and schoolmates is hearbreaking. When any other group can claim even one tenth of the regular abuse these kids have to endure, you will have my sympathy.
11.7.2008 6:22pm
jmf (mail):
RANDY You strike me as sincere. This was just called to my attention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haun%27s_Mill_massacre

Apparently a bunch of Mormons were brutally shot - including a child / children. A handful died. It was a long time ago, though, so I am not sure if it counts.
11.7.2008 6:22pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
No, LDS members gave that much money. Again, try it with jewishness for a test of whether it works in polite company: "The Jews" don't control Hollywood, even if many individual producers observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.
While I agree with the distinction you're drawing, I want to point out that this figure is simply fiction. I think someone needs to put Jack Shafer at Slate on this one, because it fits within his oeuvre: fictional stats that people keep repeating until "everyone knows" that they're true -- and then everyone cites them because the media reports them.

How does anybody know how much money Mormons gave? There's no database of contributors by religion.
11.7.2008 6:23pm
Seth P (mail):
CDU: Um, how about Joseph Smith.

Methinks that's like saying Jesus Christ was killed because he was Christian.
11.7.2008 6:25pm
Ptiger:

But when you can show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion, then you can start up about 'strident hatred against anyone who doesn't think or look like them'.


Not exactly recent, but it's happened before... see here.
11.7.2008 6:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I haven't researched this too thoroughly - did the Mormon Church really LIE?"

yes. They stated that if gay marriage is allowed, religious freedom will be gone. They stated that churches will be forced to marry gay, and that any sort of preaching against homosexuality will subject them to hate crimes.

Mass. has had gay marriage since 2002, and no church has had its religious freedom curtailed. In addition, legal scholars have stated that there would be no basis for such a matter. It was a clear lie. And that no doubt swayed some voters.
11.7.2008 6:25pm
SFJD (www):
Todd, whats up with the weird rant on child-rearing? Are you saying a gay couple cannot raise a child? Or that such an argument in favor of traditional marriage is somehow acceptable?

And you seem to be lumping all anti-prop 8 people into one based on the actions of a few. I think the vast majority of anti-prop 8 people are upset because they feel a right has been taken away and a minority is being discriminated against, in a similar manner to past government sanctioned discrimination. I think a little outrage by the people who hold this opinion is warranted.

No one should be "bashing" mormons, I can agree with that. But a lot of the commenters here seem to be legitimizing more bigotry against gays because they perceive some anti-prop 8 people being bigots. It seems we have some strange vicious circle of everyone legitimizing bigotry because they see it on the other side. Of course, such an opinion is wrong both ways, isn't it?
11.7.2008 6:28pm
CCD:
Those here who insist that no reasonable person can disagree with the idea of gay marriage are the very reason the LDS church encouraged its members to support Prop 8. In your minds there is no valid disagreement, there is no right to question, and there is no right to believe otherwise. And in response, the LDS church encouraged its members to remind us that under the laws of this land there is a valid disagreement, there is a right to question, and there is a right to believe otherwise. And the majority of Californians agreed.

The law of the land is still determined by what a majority of its citizens believe is morally right. Through legal sources ranging from a city ordinance through the U.S. Constitution, the law is what the majority believes it should be, and those laws change when the people believe it should by a requisite vote. Your insistence that Prop 8 is wrong is 1) a minority opinion in the state where Prop 8 takes effect and, therefore, 2) not the law in that state. So far there is not a single state in this Union that has legalized gay marriage by a vote of the people. No state has even approved it by a legislative vote, which is what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was. Gay marriage is only legal in some states in this country because judges have made it so. So Californians saw fit to change the law the judges purportedly relied upon to more accurately reflect the law as Californians want it to be. That's democracy.

There were many churches that took official positions and came out in opposition to Prop 8, but apparently their involvement is acceptable because their message was acceptable. If large amounts of money shouldn't be able to influence a vote then I'd start with taking issue with Barak Obama's campaign to the tune of more than a half billion dollars. If people are stupid for paying heed to messages purchased by campaign money then, again, start with Obama. If people should not allow their moral views to influence their voices in elections then there should be no elections, because that is what elections are.
11.7.2008 6:29pm
jmf (mail):
RANDY


Don't you think the Mormon Church believes those things they said? They may not be true - (though, I think that could be argued in good faith), but I don't think arguing a point of view that you believe to be true (that may not actually turn out to be true) is the same thing as deceiving someone (saying something is true, when you know it is not).

Please.
11.7.2008 6:30pm
rrr (mail):
Wow. So brave. As Todd said, yell your bile outside a black church. Then I'll believe you're sincere. As for now, all you defenders are nothing but bigots who managed to find the one they could pick on and get away with it. You'd think, despite the disagreement, you'd recognize that. Obviously not.
11.7.2008 6:30pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

When you know two people who were victims of a hate crime, and you might have been a victim yourself (thank god I wasn't at that bar that night!), you tend to get a little touchy when people self-righteously complain about people criticizing them.


i understand your frustration. what you are doing though is saying "my victimhood is worse than yours." that is not going to be effective for you. cathartic, sure. effective, no.


think of the folks who had "bush lied, people died" bumper stickers. i am sure it felt great for them to do that. obama never touched that type of rhetoric though bc it would alienate people. it may not have worked yet, but presenting a civil and non-threatening image is the only way forward.
11.7.2008 6:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
B-ry: "It isn't as uncommon as you might think."

Okay, you are probably right. Violence against anyone is totallly unacceptable, for what ever reason. I hope that we can all agree on that one.

"I don't agree with some of their decisions, but that doesn't mean I hate them.
Heck, I disagree with some of the decisions every one makes (myself included), that doesn't mean I hate everyone. "

Good for you. We don't always have to agree with each other, but we do have to live together on this planet. Which at heart, is the libertarian stance. Live and let live, so long as you don't harm me or my rights. Which is why I have a hard time understanding the eagerness to deny gays their rights.

One final thought -- sometimes gays make decisions, but it isn't always a choice. We might pick a bad partner, and that's a bad decision. But it isn't bad because the partner is a guy, it's because the guy was a jerk. Hope you understand the difference. And being in a happy loving relationship is never a bad decision for gays or for straights. I hope that something else we can all agree on.
11.7.2008 6:32pm
Seth P (mail):
B-ry: What you're hinting at is that you don't have a problem with gay people because they're gay, but you do have a problem with gay people because they have gay sex. And I do hope that someday you open your mind enough to realize how ludicrous that is. As a gay person I no longer accept the argument of "love the sinner, hate the sin." Because I do not accept that my love for someone else, which disenfranchises no one and harms nothing, is a sin. Nor do I embrace the ideology which determines what sex is or isn't a sin - and be warned, there is no sound rational or logical ethical basis for saying that gay sex is any more "right" or "wrong" that does NOT require the attachments of ancient ideology and theology.

jmf and Randy: I like you both and applaud your sincerity. But I think the other lesson of Prop 8 (esp. in regards to the African-American community) is that we cannot "compare" suffering. But we ought to acknowledge, and I hope the next four years once again teaches us, that all oppression is wrong. Persecuting the religious for the exercise of their religion is as wrong as persecuting gay people for living our dreams and loving our love.

But these are two different things. We cannot change our sexuality. You could (if you desired) convert to a different religion or set of beliefs. That does not make homophobia more or less acceptable than religious defamation, but it does make one of its underlying assertions all the more pointless and ruthless. And there is plenty of room in our disagreements (and our hearts) to acknowledge our individual and shared pain, identify where it hurts and why - and most important, to build bridges where there is open land. But this will only be once we finally rid ourselves of the identity-politics myopia that begat constitutionally dubious measures like Prop 8.
11.7.2008 6:34pm
fluffy bunny (mail):

I've no problem with getting rid of the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church - provided that we also get rid of the tax-exempt status of all the churches who had pastors give endorsements from the pulpit on the Presidential election, against Prop 8, or on any other political matters.


I'm all for that.
11.7.2008 6:35pm
B-ry (mail):
Seth P

I struggle to understand your point. Simply because you attend college out of state and heard of one instance where a parishioner wasn't exhorted to vote Yes, it didn't happen? The linked news articles above (many from major national news sources) are simply false?


You fail to understand how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints works. The church's sent communication to leaders of the church in California. The leaders acted on instructions. No such instructions were sent to congregations outside of California. I do know that the church did in fact send communications to at least certain areas telling the NOT to get involved in CA. Therefore the church DID NOT solicit donations outside of California as many here have insisted. Anything that did occur was individual actions.

You misrepresented my comments on hate speech. I said you would be reprimanded or prosecuted. I would agree that prosecution would be incredibly rare, but if John McCain had called Obama a N*, or said he didn't support F* marriage he would have been absolutely ridiculed.


oh, and "mormon" is a slur. Research its origin. Its origin if from the murderous mobs who drove the members from New York all the way to Utah in the 19th century.
The church allows its use, and realizes it is the most common name we are recognized by it is discouraged for multiple reasons. Use of the terms to describe members of the church is strongly discouraged.
11.7.2008 6:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
" but presenting a civil and non-threatening image is the only way forward."

Ultimately, of course you are correct. And a nice simple boycott of the state of Utah and the Marriott Corp, and Sundance is a civil and non-threatening way to go forward. This way we don't have to picket anyone.

I remember back in the early 90s. Colorado passed an amendment to its constitution that would deny any local jusidiction the ability to grant rights to gays without a statewide referendum. That angered a lot of people, and there was a nationwide boycott of the state. It also galvinized a lot of complacent gay people, and they got organized. Eventually, the amendment was declared unconstitutional by Romer v. Evans, and the people who passed that were (mostlyl) thrown out of office.

Speaking about 8 years later, the leaders of the anti-gay amendment said that in the end, they didn't get their amendment, and it only got the gays organized and they pressed for greater rights, and so the whole effort just lead to a worse outcome than if they just didn't pick upon gays. I am hoping that 8 years from now, the LDS church and the yes on prop 8 people will be saying the same thing.
11.7.2008 6:37pm
LA denzien:
@SethP

You really think this ad is okay because it only targets Mormons as strange home-invaders?

A large proportion of African-Americans voted in favor of 8. Imagine if the ad instead had two black youth, dressed as stereotypical black youth (pants around butt, do-rags, etc), listening to stereotypical black music (rap), and drinking malt liquor--and they did the same things the two Mormons did in the ad (invaded home, rummanged through drawers, etc). You really think that'd be OK?

Or try two big-nosed jews with curly hair and yamacas--maybe a gold tooth or two, some yiddish music in the background, and they stole all the diamonds in the house on the way through. That would be instantly condemned.

But still people think it's OK to stereotype all members of the Mormon faith for some reason, even if it'd be obviously unacceptable to stereotype all members of any other group.

I am against the individuals who supported and voted yes on 8. But not all members of the church agree, nor should they all be stereotyped and marginalized.
11.7.2008 6:37pm
Steve:
Those here who insist that no reasonable person can disagree with the idea of gay marriage are the very reason the LDS church encouraged its members to support Prop 8.

Oh, so if the proponents of gay marriage had acknowledged that reasonable minds can differ, the LDS church wouldn't have gotten involved? That strikes me as HIGHLY plausible, yes it does.
11.7.2008 6:38pm
courtwatcher:
David Nieporent:
Actually, in this case, an LDS group has been tracking, with pride and care, the number of LDS members who have contributed (and yes, even has a database by name and LDS affiliation):
http://mormonsfor8.com/
http://mormonsfor8.com/?p=154
11.7.2008 6:38pm
james (mail):
Look it is very simple. The manditory teaching of SexEd and sexual norms in public schools made everyones sexual life the bussiness of everyone else.

The State assumed the right to teach correct sexual behavoir to the children of its voting public to the exclusion of individual parental beliefs. It is unreasonable to assume that those same parents will not take every opertunity to have the state define correct sexual behavoir according to their individual beliefs.
11.7.2008 6:38pm
Blue:
There also was that pesky Extermination Order, which was not rescinded by the State of Missouri until the late 1970s. See Extermination Order
11.7.2008 6:39pm
The General:
The Yes on 8 campaign never engaged in personal attacks on gays. It is the No on 8 crowd that has consistently called their opponents bigots and homophobes and haters and liars and sought to marginalize their sincere beliefs rather than engage them in an honest argument. They lied about teaching homosexuality to children when they said it won't happen. It already does! It was the No on 8 crowd that could not even be bothered to show any gays in their ads, which was highly deceptive, too.They didn't because they know that people are repulsed by their lifestyle CHOICES and gutter tactics and they are rightly ashamed of themselves.

Gays never had a real right to marry in this state. The people of this state have now spoken TWICE and said hell no to gay marriage because we don't want it. It perverts the institution of marriage and further degrades the family structure in our society, which seems to be the goal of these radicals.

The people of California, not only restored the institution of marriage, but restored our rights to govern ourselves through the proposition process. For that we should be grateful, not resentful.
11.7.2008 6:39pm
The General:
All this Mormon bashing just goes to show who the real haters are.
11.7.2008 6:41pm
Seth P (mail):
CCD:
Those here who insist that no reasonable person can disagree with the idea of gay marriage are the very reason the LDS church encouraged its members to support Prop 8.


So let me get this right: it's because people tell me I'm a sinner and should go to hell that the tax-exempt Mormon Church was FORCED to rewrite the constitution of my state? I thought it was because I hated families and secretly wanted to sex up schoolchildren. Thanks for clarifying.

astrangerwithcandy: I didn't take that as the point at all. I think where some of us respectfully disagree is that many of us gay folks believe we are being denied even our victimhood. I think that was the point, as in any situation of oppression those who are either outside or oppressors themselves will inherently deny or not perceive victimhood. That's not an insult, it's just how power relations work in social situations. And that's not equating this to every other scenario of oppression ever, either.
11.7.2008 6:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
jmf: "RANDY You strike me as sincere."

All your statement does is remind me of the lyrics from Sondheim's musical, "A Little Night Music:"

"She'll strike you as charming."
"No, I'll strike her first."

And yes, if we are allowed to get married, the first thing we'll do is force your kids to sing in musicals. I can't think of a better way to show off our homosexual lifestyle.

(Other than making them attend the opera, of course, but there are laws against child abuse.)
11.7.2008 6:42pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Picketing LDS temples is a major form of recreation for a small, but vocal (and ridiculously determined) section of our society. Usually they don't like gay people very much either. They do, however, like to scream and shout and wave signs and objects in the air (and often, at least in Palmyra, NY, wear coordinated outfits.) Really, it's good to know such diverse people can agree on something.

The irony is that Latter-day Saints are so used to being protested, and particularly having temples and General Conference protested, that it's probably not a very effective tactic. I'm pretty sure the Knights of Columbus are a softer target. The Southern Baptist Convention... I don't know. They're not actually behind the semi-annual General Conference nonsense; they seem to be more interested in counter-missionary work. But they probably don't have too many pretty buildings in the middle of Westwood.

For what it's worth, I didn't donate any money to either side on this one... half my friends were for it, half were against. Indeed, half the LDS bloggers I know were for it, and half were against. The only real "heat" the semi-major Mormon blog I'm associated with has gotten is a significant amount of anti-Mormon spam now, after the election is over. The blogs that were "against" and the blogs that were "for" got along rather nicely despite our differences. It's like we all thought we were part of a civil society, or that we valued each other as people more than we valued being Right or Wrong, or that we had all noticed that this was a pretty new thing to fight about, or even that "gay marriage" had only existed in California for a few months. Or something.
11.7.2008 6:43pm
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III (mail):
First, there is no civil right to marriage. It is licensed by the State just as driving is or what ever the state licenses. The people of the state have the right to decide the requirements necessary to meet the license. To drive you must be 16 years old. The people of California have decided you cannot marry a close relative, your pet or a person of the same gender. Once again. There is no civil or other right to marriage.
11.7.2008 6:44pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
randy r - your last comment is exactly correct. get organized. what i saw last night on KCAL.com, was not organized or a coherent political statement. it was frustration and anger that some turned into bullying via unnecessarily inflammatory language.

no one in my house voted for prop 8, yet we all thought the protest last night was not a good one.
11.7.2008 6:46pm
Thinking for Myself:
And a nice simple boycott of the state of Utah and the Marriott Corp, and Sundance is a civil and non-threatening way to go forward.

Go forward to ... what? Kicking the Mormons out of Utah? Deprived of their property? Segregated into ghettos? Forced to wear identifying marks? Gee - now where have I heard that before....?

Mormons are a tiny minority not owned by the Democrat Party. Thus the rampant religious bigotry on this thread.
11.7.2008 6:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
The General: "They lied about teaching homosexuality to children when they said it won't happen."

The LDS has taken care of that question. The No on 8 ads never mentioned homosexuality, so kids listening to those ads or hearing them on the radio wouldn't have known what the issue was really about. It was the ads funded by the LDS that used the words gay and homosexuliaty. And since kids tend to be rather inquisitive, it forced many parents to answer their kids questions about it.

So the irony is that the opposition actually forced the teaching of what homoesexuality is to kids. Not that I'm against it, mind you, but if that wasn't your goal, then the problem rests with your side, not mine.
11.7.2008 6:47pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
Wow. The entire point of the original post has been subverted, manipulated and otherwise adulterated in the comments. Please, all of the No on Prop 8 folks, tell us why this protest wasn't in front of the new Catholic Church in LA, or in front of Saddleback Church, or in front of heavily black or latino parishes? Surely, any of these groups contributed to more actual votes on Prop. 8 than the Mormons.

Simply put, the Mormon Church is the easiest target, and any attempt to argue that its financial support somehow "bought" the vote is ludicrous (did Obama buy the election with a 5-1 funding advantage? I personally thought he just ran a much better, more persuasive campaign). Why not target the actual voters (where Mormons are only 2% of the CA population)? Clearly, it is because this intellectually honest action would result in too much political fallout, whereas protesting the Mormons is a cheap, easy "win"
11.7.2008 6:48pm
Seth P (mail):
B-ry: Actually, John McCain got a ridiculous sweater as a present and called it "faggy" within earshot of tons of press. And he got to run for Preznit! I'm not gonna get into a slur-size contest with ya, buddy, and I agree all pejorative terms are unethical and corrode our discussion. I just don't think they're anywhere near on the same level of pervasiveness.

The General: Your troll-fu is weak; your attitude pathetic. I'm sure you're a huge advocate for the LDS Church and its parishioners in your personal life. Or most probably, like every other Republican male during the nomination process, you mocked Mitt Romney and engaged in the namecalling and snickering that cost Mittens the Presidential nod. You really come off like a true advocate for freedom there.

LA denzien: The commercial was satire. Frankly I think satire is an effective weapon, but I'm just a writer, what the hell do I know? And no, those hypothetical commercials you described would just have been radically offensive - nowhere in the real commercial were golden plates, magic underwear, or any other defamatory stereotype. That's beside the point, though: I'm not insulting LDS parishioners for their faith, I'm downright incensed at the LDS hierarchy for its actions in the perversion of Jesus' message of compassion, and the unfair injection of church theology into proceedings of the law. They abused the general kindness of their parishioners (at least from the ones I've known) and turned them into a tool of petty identity politics. I'm just surprised that that still worked.
11.7.2008 6:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
James: "It is unreasonable to assume that those same parents will not take every opertunity to have the state define correct sexual behavoir according to their individual beliefs."

How charming it is to believe that you can teach "correct sexual behavior"! It's rather victorian, in a way. And about as ignorant, of course.

Sexual orientation is innate, or at least set at a very early age. You can teach whatever you want, but it will have zero effect upon actual sexual desire. It's much better and healthier to teach that some people are gay and some are straight, and some are bi. Whatever you are is okay and its a good thing to accept it, because you aren't going to be able to change it.

Thinking for Myself: " Kicking the Mormons out of Utah? Deprived of their property? Segregated into ghettos? Forced to wear identifying marks? Gee - now where have I heard that before....? "

Congratulations! You are the first one to here compare someone you disagree with with the Nazis.

No, boycotting Utah means just that -- you choose to go somewhere else for skiing and vacation. You don't go to the Sundance festival. You stay at hotels other than Marriott.

Or are you saying that behavior is Nazi-like? where were you then Family Research Foundation called for boycotts against Disney, Ford and Apple because of their ads in gay publications? Or is that somehow okay with you?
11.7.2008 6:54pm
aloysiusmiller (mail):
Its okay to not like Mormons. Its okay not to like Evangelicals. Its okay not to like Catholics. Its okay not to like Sarah Palin. But is a sure sign of an evil, diseased and cankered soul to see the infantile attacks on all of the above. These poor aborted souls in living bodies are pitiable. What hell did their parents inflict on them to make them so vicious.

Did any of the above picket the gay homes or gay institutions? I don't think so. But we have commenters on this site who think that Mormons and others should not be able to speak out against homosexuality in church.

I will die for that right.
11.7.2008 6:55pm
aloysiusmiller (mail):
Its okay to not like Mormons. Its okay not to like Evangelicals. Its okay not to like Catholics. Its okay not to like Sarah Palin. But is a sure sign of an evil, diseased and cankered soul to see the infantile attacks on all of the above. These poor aborted souls in living bodies are pitiable. What hell did their parents inflict on them to make them so vicious.

Did any of the above picket the gay homes or gay institutions? I don't think so. But we have commenters on this site who think that Mormons and others should not be able to speak out against homosexuality in church.

I will die for that right.
11.7.2008 6:55pm
Randy R. (mail):
jmf: "Don't you think the Mormon Church believes those things they said? "

Maybe -- I don't know, and neither do you. They might have believe it, or they might have just said that these are good scare tactics.

Look, I can believe in the Easter bunny and creationism. It doesn't make them true or even reasonable. If they truly believe that their religious freedom would be curtailed, then they would have to show some evidence that this has happened in either Mass, Canada, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands or S.Africa, which all have a history of gay marriage. And I'm sure that if they could have founded an example they would have used it.

I can truly believe that all black people hate gays, based on the polls. Would that make it okay for me to state that all black people hate gays in tv ads? Or would you have a problem with that?
11.7.2008 6:59pm
Seth P (mail):
ThinkingForYourself: well, aside from violating the first word of your username, I feel compelled to point out that all that was being talked about was boycotting. Plenty of non-violent folk have boycotted organizations before. There's this big public vehicle called a bus, and this one lady, she wanted to... well, I should let you read about that one yourself.

Article VI Guy: I certainly agree more (any) outreach is needed between the gay community and the black and Latino communities in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Our separate struggles have had many mutual players and threads, and there are many bridges that the identity politics of the last 40 years have tried to slash and burn.

That said it is undisputable that the LDS Church and its hierarchy did more advocacy for Prop 8 than did the official figureheads of any other religious or social group. And since you mentioned it specifically, a protest has been planned at the Saddleback Church and in Salt Lake City.

astrangerwithcandy: Ahh now I think we're pretty much in agreement. Last night's protest was completely scattershot and ineffective. The march through Hollywood the night before, I think, was much better... because I was there (kidding). No but really, it was much more focused, partly I think because it WAS more spontaneous and people were generally in a much more conciliatory mood because Obama had simultaneously won at the same time the Amendment had passed. I think now those happy-Obama feelings are subsiding a bit, and the massively increased police presence (though mostly there to make sure the protests go smoothly for those of us against Prop 8) is sparking less-than-peaceful moods among a select few.
11.7.2008 7:01pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III wrote:
First, there is no civil right to marriage.
Take a look at the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) that "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival." See also Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942) and Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888).
It is licensed by the State just as driving is or what ever the state licenses. The people of the state have the right to decide the requirements necessary to meet the license. To drive you must be 16 years old. The people of California have decided you cannot marry a close relative, your pet or a person of the same gender. Once again. There is no civil or other right to marriage.
By your logic, California could forbid interracial marriage if the majority favored such a ban. For that matter, it could single you out individually and say you couldn't marry anyone at all. Is that what you believe?
11.7.2008 7:01pm
Randy R. (mail):
aloysious: "But we have commenters on this site who think that Mormons and others should not be able to speak out against homosexuality in church. "

Sorry, but the victim card has already been played and rejected. Not one person here has argued that the LDS didn't have the right to speak out on homosexuality. Some have argued that they can't do it and maintain their IRS tax exempt status, but does not go to their first amendment rights.

On the other hand, we have stated that we too have the right to speak out against the LDS church's stance. Or are you saying that we don't have that right?
11.7.2008 7:02pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
But we have commenters on this site who think that Mormons and others should not be able to speak out against homosexuality in church.

I will die for that right.



Utterly bogus. No one has advocated jailing LDS members for speaking out against gay marriage or donating money to ban it. No one has said that there should be a cause of action in court against LDS members for hurt feelings. No one has denied that LDS members have a First Amendment right to oppose gay marriage. Rather, people have suggested that if the LDS church and its members enter into a political debate in the marketplace of ideas, it is entirely legitimate to counter their speech (verbal or monetary) with more speech.

Or perhaps you agree with Sarah Palin (whom you brought up) that criticizing someone threatens their First Amendment rights.
11.7.2008 7:03pm
Boffo (mail) (www):
I live in West Los Angeles, and work in Santa Monica. I spent an hour of my life last night stuck in traffic trying to travel half a mile because the temper tantrum the anti-Prop 8 activists threw in front of the Mormon Temple was designed to snarl traffic for as much of the Los Angeles area as possible. They weren't just screaming at the Mormons. They were blocking streets and even the freeway to inflict harm on commuters that were just trying to get home from work.

It baffles me that they would think infuriating as many people as possible is a good way to gather sympathy for their cause. But then, this protest wasn't about convincing anyone. Temper tantrums never are. The protesters just wanted people to look at them, and in that they were successful. If they had to sacrifice acceptance of gay rights to get that attention, that didn't seem to particularly bother them.

I also wonder why they decided to inflict this pain on the upper class liberal West Side, which no doubt voted overwhelmingly against Prop 8. A friend of mine suggested that the protesters should have gone to South-Central, where the black and latino populations voted overwhelmingly in favor of it. But of course, they would never do that. At least in this decade, protesters are only willing to protest when there's minimal risk of consequences for themselves. Although they don't mind one bit how many consequences there are for innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with their tantrum.

For the record, I vehemently opposed Prop 8, and am all for gay marriage. But I guess the protesters didn't particularly care about that when they decided to ruin my evening.
11.7.2008 7:05pm
Seamus (mail):
Or try two big-nosed jews with curly hair and yamacas

"yamacas"? What's that? Something like "macaca"?

Or maybe you meant yarmulke?
11.7.2008 7:05pm
tom:
Courtwatcher,

the website http://mormonsfor8.com/ has an intentionally misleading title. They were no-on-8 folks who were feeding the 'mormon donor' list that popped up on KOS a few weeks back.
11.7.2008 7:07pm
Seth P (mail):
aloysiusmiller: You have one of my favorite names, but you really scare me. When you say you will "die for the right" to speak out against us gay folks in church, that also presupposes that you're willing to kill for that right. What world do you live on where you think this would ever be necessary, much less ethical or justified by your religion or deity of choice? And what California do you live in where the existence of gay marriage had ever meant that church parishioners could not hold any beliefs they darn well please?

Sincerely, get help. No one is calling you a hatemonger or a bigot at all, like I would with say The_General. Unironically, without reservation: if you really want to believe you're in a situation right now where you are required or obligated to kill or die other people for your beliefs, you need mental health assistance and you need to seek it now.
11.7.2008 7:07pm
jj08:
Given the feverish nature of some of the comments here, I wonder if Mormons are replacing Jews as the focus of wacky conspiracy theories.
11.7.2008 7:08pm
TPJ (mail):
I blame the bigoted politicians. I'm looking at you, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. How dare you come out against gay marriage.
11.7.2008 7:09pm
Seamus (mail):

Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage, this is a question on which thoughtful people of goodwill can and do disagree. It is a perfectly reasonable and good-faith position to believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing.



No! Thoughtful people cannot disagree on this issue. Only bigots, who should be shunned from decent society, believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing. (And even they don't really believe that, but only assert it as a veneer of justification for what is nothing more than irrational hate.)

(Sarcasm off)
11.7.2008 7:10pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
Seth P "I certainly agree more (any) outreach is needed between the gay community and the black and Latino communities in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Our separate struggles have had many mutual players and threads, and there are many bridges that the identity politics of the last 40 years have tried to slash and burn."

"That said it is undisputable that the LDS Church and its hierarchy did more advocacy for Prop 8 than did the official figureheads of any other religious or social group. And since you mentioned it specifically, a protest has been planned at the Saddleback Church and in Salt Lake City."

That was a beautiful transition from the reverent, shared struggle mantra (invoking similar "struggles" and common "threads") regarding blacks and latinos, to the complete reversal of your tone when you wrote about the LDS, letting folks know that protesting the weakest member of this coalition AGAIN, in SLC, is on tap. Solid. In your favor, the Saddleback protest would provide some veneer of consistency. But what about the Catholics? What about First AME?

Similarly, where is your plea for thoughtful "outreach" due to common "struggles" with the marginalized Mormon population? Ah. Therein lies the rub. No civil tone needs to be used with them, as they are much easier pickings than the blacks and latinos. Let's just protest the Mormons again!
11.7.2008 7:11pm
Seth P:
Seamus: I think "yamacas" are Hebrew maracas. Instead of shaking them, you spin them!

Boffo: I'll certainly agree that the later protests after the one in Hollywood have been aimless, directionless, and misplaced - but really, a little civil disobedience is never an awful thing. "Inflict such pain?" Wah, I'm sorry all those thousands of folks decided en masse to ruin your individual evening. (It isn't personal, babe. And it ain't about you.)
11.7.2008 7:12pm
jmf (mail):

Randy

(the eponymous? (betcha never heard that one!))



On the other hand, we have stated that we too have the right to speak out against the LDS church's stance. Or are you saying that we don't have that right?


I don't think anyone would argue that. However, I have yet to see you condemn the actions of the gays who derided the Mormons and their faith. Isn't that the point of the original article?

I'm not asking you to condemn their peaceful, reasoned opposition to the Mormons' involvement - but for the love of all things fabulous, please have the intellectual honesty to condemn their bigotry towards those of the LDS faith!
11.7.2008 7:12pm
Mike99:
The worst part about the protest was that it shut down Santa Monica Boulevard during rush hour.
11.7.2008 7:12pm
TPJ (mail):
Also note that "Mormons" account for all of 2 whole percent of the California population. And probably only half of those, if that, would be considered practicing Mormons.

Ridiculous.
11.7.2008 7:13pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
But I guess the protesters didn't particularly care about that when they decided to ruin my evening.



Yeah, I hear you. Last night I got stuck for like an hour in traffic from the Madonna concert at Dodger Stadium. She didn't care about my evening either.
11.7.2008 7:16pm
james (mail):
Randy R:
The State took upon itself to define correct sexual behavior and teach it to future generations irrespective of individual parental beliefs. Now everyone is fighting over whom gets to define "correct" sexual behavior for the State. Make all sex ed optional and gay marriage becomes a different discussion. As long as well intentioned teachers are using State Court rulings as justification to "normalize" sexual standards, there will parental blowback against gay marriage. 60% of parents with highschool age or under children voted Yes on Prop 8.
11.7.2008 7:18pm
Dan91423 (mail):
The Mormon church hierarchy has been actively involved in extorting its members to contribute substantial sums of money to the pro-Prop 8 campaign. Given that Mormons were--by large margins--the greatest contributors to the the pro-Proposition 8 campaigns (more than $20 million or 80 plus percent of the total funding), Mormons are fair targets for discussion.
11.7.2008 7:18pm
Seth P:
Article VI Guy: I don't run the gay agenda, so I don't exactly decide when and where the protests will be. Nor do I really feel like participating in any more of them.

And quite frankly, I'm disappointed that you continue to conflate attacks on religious leaders and tax-free institutions with attacks on parishioners. If LDS followers really are as persecuted as you say, perhaps they should be marching in the streets demanding their equality and independence from their leadership. I won't attack parishioners for taking the word of those who lead their religious ceremonies at face value. But I will never relent in asserting that those who claim the mantle of moral leadership and then use that mantle to oppress are engaging in a blatant and sorrowful hypocrisy - no matter whose specific crown of thorns they have chosen to wear.

I'm using a perfectly civil tone in this discussion, but as you continue to ignore the distinctions I'm making in order to paint me broadly as a bigot (and perhaps the most specific bigot ever conceived), I have no more use for you.
11.7.2008 7:19pm
Anna D (mail):
I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that marriage is not a right, it is a social construct; one that has numerous transaction rights linked to it. If homosexuals want the rights, they should support comparable social constructs that have the same transaction rights that are linked to marriage, like civil unions and domestic partnerships. Do homosexuals want the rights or do they want to change the definition of marriage? Most people will gladly support the transaction rights but they will not support the change in definition. I think most homosexuals want to change the definition of marriage - they only say they want the rights as a diversion. The protesters are going after the Mormons because they don't have the "balls" to go after the Blacks and Hispanics.
11.7.2008 7:20pm
sealionii:
As a Mormon (and a Mormon who supported Prop 8, at that), I think that protesting outside temples is fair play. Expressing indignation at the LDS Church's opposition to gay marriage is fair play. Expressing hatred of the LDS Church is also fair play, but says nothing good about the person expressing the sentiment. I'm not too thrilled that we became "The Face of Proposition 8" precisely because of scenes like the one outside the Los Angeles Temple, but I certainly can't say the Prop 8 opponents have the wrong church, and as long as they don't break stuff they're entitled to their say.

One of the hard things about an up-or-down proposition is that there are people on "your side" whose views are, uh, frightening. I certainly talked to supporters of Proposition 8 who were motivated by fear and loathing of gay people; it seems likely that at least some of those protesting outside the Los Angeles temple fear and loathe Mormons. I'd like to think that we don't have to let those people (on both sides) run the show for the rest of us.

And furthermore, kumbaya.
11.7.2008 7:21pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
Dan91423 Give the folks here an example of the "extortion" by the Mormon Church. Were people punished if they didn't give? I hadn't heard about this and it seems like something a rational, reasonable person wouldn't say without proof. I'm sure you have loads.
11.7.2008 7:21pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
I'm at a loss as to what the big deal is here. Let's assume everything the anti-8 folks say here is true about what the Mormons did. So what? They oppose gay marriage on moral and religious grounds and acted in a lawful way to enact a constitutional amendment to bring that about.

That sounds a lot like participation in the political process to me. Isn't that a good thing?
11.7.2008 7:23pm
Paul B:
Based on the exit polls, No on 8 activists ought to be heading down to South Central LA to curse at the parishioners at the Baptist and AME churches.

I'm guessing that they will stick to West LA and the Mormon Temple.
11.7.2008 7:23pm
DangerMouse:
The linked article hardly does justice to the insanity of the losers on Prop 8:

On a blog website, "Tread" wrote, "I hope the No on 8 people have a long list and long knives."

Another contributor to the JoeMyGod website said, "While financially I supported the Vote No, and was vocal to everyone and anyone who would listen, I have never considered being a violent radical extremist for our equal rights. But now I think maybe I should consider becoming one. Perhaps that is the only thing that will affect the change we so desperately need and deserve."

A contributor identifying himself as "Joe" said, "I swear, I'd murder people with my bare hands this morning."

Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs for Liberty Counsel, called the statements "hate crimes" for their intent to create violence against someone based on their beliefs.

"This is not just a matter of some people blowing off steam because they're not happy with a political outcome. This is criminal activity," he said. "The homosexual lobby is always calling for 'tolerance' and 'diversity' and playing the role of victim. They claim to deplore violence and 'hate.' Here we have homosexuals inciting, and directly threatening, violence against Christians."

On the "Queerty" website, "Stenar" asked, "Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE. I mean seriously. DO IT."

"I'm going to give them something to be f---ing scared of. … I'm a radical who is now on a mission to make them all pay for what they've done," wrote "Jonathan."

Liberty Counsel's Barber said, "This is not free speech; these are 'hate crimes' under the existing definition. Imagine if Christian websites were advocating such violence against homosexuals. There'd be outrage, and rightfully so. It'd be national front-page news. Federal authorities should immediately investigate these threats and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law."

On yet another site, "Americablog," "scottinsf" wrote, "Trust me. I've got a big list of names of mormons and catholics that were big supporters of Prop 8. … As far as mormons and catholics … I warn them to watch their backs."

"I hope they all rot in hell, those servants of a lying, corrupt devil! BAN RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM," wrote Angelo.

One contributor went so far as to threaten to take out his frustrations on his own family.

"You want me to come back to Idaho for Christmas? Oh wait, my partner and I can't share the same bed? We can't show any affection or any outward sign of our love for each other? Well sorry family ... no Uncle Adam and all his expensive gifts and delicious cooking for you. Your childrens' presents will now be donations in their name to the equal rights organization of my choosing. As will their and your birthday presents, wedding presents, graduation presents, and everything else I give going forward."

The writer continued, "Remember, I'm angry. And I'm strong from my years at the gym and really am ready to take my frustration out on someone or something."

Barber said the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and "other leaders within the homosexual lobby" should call immediately for an end to such threats.

There were suggestions of a different type of violence, too.

"Hope the gay waiters at their hotel p---ed in all the drinks they served these cretins," "Jake" wrote about protectors of traditional marriage.

"If you're planning a heterosexual wedding in California … be prepared for picketers. Designate someone to watch the parking lot … You're going to have lots of unexpected expenses. Add $500 to your budget for security. … Be prepared for the flowers not lasting to the reception or the tuxedos showing up two sizes too small or the music at the reception being a way too loud or the cake tasting a little funny," stated another threat. "Be afraid. Be very afraid. We are everywhere."

Another even listed addresses of Mormon facilities. Mormon, Catholic and other religious groups were active in supporting the marriage definition.

"I do not openly advocate firebombing or vandalism. What you do with the information is your own choice," wrote Jeremy.
11.7.2008 7:24pm
DangerMouse:
Forgot the link.
11.7.2008 7:25pm
Seth P:
jmf: please have the intellectual honesty to condemn their bigotry towards those of the LDS faith!

This is so silly, and I'm tired of seeing it and similar garbage all over such an otherwise-thoughtful thread. It's not any individual gay person's obligation to condemn the stupidity or cupidity of any other individual gay person. Plus, we're not condemning the faith of LDS parishioners, for the last damn time. We're condemning the OFFICIAL AND ORDERED PATRONAGE of this discriminatory measures by the ruling, monied elites of the LDS institution. The one that funnels millions of bucks through three or more tax-exempt corporations (thanks, Wikipedia!). It's ludicrous to expect every gay person to constantly bend over backwards apologizing for any stupid thing any other gay person ever said or did. And before you make the false comparison, no it's NOT exactly the same as "individual" LDS members choosing to donate/vote for Prop 8... as we gays have not been driven to action by some gay overlords. (Although Gay Overlords is now the name of my industrial polka band.)


james: Make all sex ed optional and gay marriage becomes a different discussion.


Poppycock and hogwash. The social conservatives have already succeeded in neutering sex education. And in the last eight years, teenage pregnancy has pervaded and children continue to have more and more sex. They won, and our children have resoundingly LOST. Further, gay marriage as decided in the courts or proposed in the legislature has always EXPLICITLY protected churches and religious organizations from punishment for refusing to marry gay folks. Having several friends who are home-ec teachers of middle school kids in California public schools, the official curriculum has included information on family units (including gay folks) for decades.

But again, this isn't an argument against gay marriage. Telling children that gay people exist will not make them gay. Silly season is never over, apparently.
11.7.2008 7:29pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
Seth P I don't think you are a bigot at all, and I hope my post didn't insinuate that. Frankly, like the word "racist", I think its a label thrown around far too freely by right thinking individuals because of its incredibly hurtful definition.

However, I continue to assert that the various organizations who help direct the "gay agenda" (realizing you aren't the Guru of Gay Protesting) are picking on the weakest member of a pretty broad coalition for political gain. That bothers me. I find it intriguing that people on this thread have nothing evil to say about the groups (Catholics, Evangelicals, Blacks and Latinos) that voted most decisively for Prop. 8, but reserve their scorn for the LDS. The deciding votes? It aint the Mormons (regardless of the church's support of Prop 8).
11.7.2008 7:33pm
Ed Scott (mail):
Edward A. Hoffman
I apologize for my error. I was born and raised in Missouri and could not resist a straight-line such as Mr. "A" provided.
Harboring any hate and contempt is a waste of one's time when it might be used constructively.
11.7.2008 7:36pm
Chris Green (mail):
Regarding the children, sorry, Todd, but there is no 'good faith' argument about the children. There are plenty of gays who have children, and their parents deserve to be married. Yet whenever I ask anyone who raises the issue of the children, they never seen to know what to do about them.

Most such children come from previous heterosexual relationships and the children already have both a father and a mother.

Also, there IS a good faith argument. I think you probably know it but are ignoring it. The argument that having parents of both genders is optimal for children is pretty strong when you consider the evolutionary angle: that our brains have been shaped/patterned from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution during which, as a GENERAL rule, children have had both a strong female and male parent. In other words, children are probably optimized to have both a mother and a father.


Its already difficult and expensive for families with both a father and a mother to adopt a child. Such children have a right to be put into homes with both a father and a mother. If that means downgrading the status of those who can't, or refuse to have children (even heterosexual couples) to civil unions, so be it.

Such scientific studies that have tried to address the issue were dramatically underpowered (from a statistical point of view) and were almost guaranteed to show no difference whatever the reality. I doubt there are enough adults raised by gay parents in any one industrialized nation to conduct such a study with at least 80% power (which is the bare minimum to get valid results).
11.7.2008 7:39pm
Seth P:
And now the evening mouthbreathers have arrived.

Yes, DangerMouse, people who you discriminate against may say stupid things. Get used to it. Clearly that means all gay people including myself are violent radicals who won't stop until we eat the aborted gay fetuses of LDS members.

And linking to WorldNutDaily won't exactly cement your cred there, cowboy.

It saddens me, the folks insulting gay people and their allies by assuming we are all white, and further that all Black and Latino people are to be feared and never reached out to. If only you saw yourselves - but I forgot, that would require any measure of introspection, and your lenses of judgment only see outward. If you are a member of any minority not already roundly favored in American society (yes, LDS parishioners included), you should be frightened by what has happened in California. But no, go ahead, dissolve into identity politicking and irrational bloviation. Prove the actual haters correct.

The reason 8 passed is not because the cause was righteous. It was because the outreach was frankly just plain better, the ads more outrageous and more inflammatory, the argument more socially acceptable to support than to oppose.

sealionii: Well statistically there are clearly more people who do not support equality for all than the number who do. Obviously you are correct, there are loons on both sides, but history, reason, and compassion will show one side to be more democratic and virtuous than the other. And for all our sakes I'd like us to get to that place through education, discussion, enlightenment and love. Even when our mouths get the better of our minds, I can't think of a single gay person I've ever met who wouldn't agree with this. And I'd like to reiterate as you said that I separate the leaders from the led, and the institution from its adherents. This is the same reason I can say that I love America and Americans, even when I have not liked our government. Kumbaya indeed.
11.7.2008 7:40pm
DangerMouse:
Seth wants people to "get used to" outright calls for murder?
11.7.2008 7:42pm
DanielFSmith (mail):
I bigotry displayed by the GLBT protestors is clear. Prop 8 was passed by an overwhelming number of Black and lAtino voters, who also voted for Obama.
Now, why havent GLBT activists protested outside Black Churches and Black community centers in Watts or Compton or East LA?
Overwhelming political correctness,and outright fear and cowardice are the reasons.
Protesting and vilifying Mormons is safe.

And Dan91423- the Church leaders havent "extorted" money from its members. Your anger is making your thinking irrational.

Anyways, fair target or not, I sincerely doubt that the GLBT will be able to do anything to damage the Mormon Church.

And, it is clear, from all th e previous comments, that for the GLBT population and their supporters, it is Ok to be bigoted against Mormons.
11.7.2008 7:43pm
courtwatcher:
Although they don't mind one bit how many consequences there are for innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with their tantrum.

This is about a one-time delay in your commute? A little overstated, I'd say . . . .
11.7.2008 7:43pm
B-ry (mail):
Fedex


Yeah, I hear you. Last night I got stuck for like an hour in traffic from the Madonna concert at Dodger Stadium. She didn't care about my evening either.


big difference
11.7.2008 7:45pm
Ed Scott (mail):
Blue:
Did you see the 1940 movie, Brigham Young, starring Tyrone Power?
11.7.2008 7:48pm
whit:
for the record, I'm for gay marriage.

however, people generally have no problem when religious leaders, or a church takes a stance they agree with , on a political matter.

last i checked, MLK (and many others associated with him) exhorted their followers, and that includes IN CHURCH to support his righteous cause. oh, and lest we forget - it was the reverend MLK Jr.

and the people here complaining about the LDS church would not have been complaining about MLK, and the many other religious leaders who worked with him, and had such a huge influence on changing, hearts, minds, souls, and the law.

the LDS/Mormons didn't ram anything down anybody's throat. everybody got their chance to vote how they wanted.

i totally agree that people have a right to protest the church, but i also think they should do it in a respectful manner.

and of course, NOBODY is protesting (as mentioned) the numerous black and hispanic churches in the hood, because those aren't easy targets. plus, criticizing "people of color" is problematic for leftists, unless the last name happens to be "rice" etc.
11.7.2008 7:49pm
YankAbroad:
Why do I have the nagging feeling that those who are ardently (and quite properly, IMHO) defending the right of individuals to protest outside LDS temples were the first to decry (far milder) protests of the Rev. Wright's church and worldview, and of Obama's silent acquiescence in them (before he [figuratively] threw the good reverend under the bus)?
11.7.2008 7:52pm
TPJ (mail):

If LDS followers really are as persecuted as you say, perhaps they should be marching in the streets demanding their equality and independence from their leadership.


Turn the other cheek?

And someone above asked what would happen if the Southern Baptists marched into SLC, etc. That did happen, and the LDS Church welcomed them.
11.7.2008 7:53pm
Seth P:
Article VI Guy: Thank you for being calm about this. I lament the inflamed nature of our body politic about such simple concepts as human freedom, and though I'm sure I will make silly arguments as often or moreso than you, I'm glad there's at least this minimum of mutual respect. I personally, again, want to reiterate that it's not the individual leaders in the LDS I "despise" or disagree with strenuously. It's that I think it wrong for the church to encourage raising money for any particular legislation (especially one that removes rights from people, no matter how adjudicated) from its parishioners under the cloak of religiosity and religious expression. This WASN'T religious expression - it was legislation. The church is not a deliberative, legislative body, because traditionally it does not allow much leeway for disagreement before accusations of Luciferian influence are tossed about. And unless every article I've read on the matter is somehow allied in lying about it, the offices and leadership positions - the very robes that LDS officers use to preach to people their living word of God - were used to a legislative end. I think that's wrong, and I think it's frightening as far as constitutional precedents go. They (again being only the LDS organization and its higher-ups) funded Proposition 8 to the tune of $20 million or more. That is not the small potatoes of individual churches in California. I am heartened that many Mormons/LDS members were more compassionate than their leadership, but that does not excuse the conflation of church and state at play here. That is the only point I want to make on that, and I think the disagreements between Yes and No on this matter ought to move past religious/spiritual disagreements. Because I think freedom and love can be won entirely outside of religious warfare, as they have in the past. Peace, sir or madam.

Chris Green: For your arguments to make any difference whatsoever, you would have to provide peer-reviewed and wide-ranging statistical analyses that prove (taking into account that correlation is still NOT causation) that gay families tend to be a more corrosive influence on their adopted-or-inseminated-or-surrogated children than straight families - and are that way BECAUSE those children's parents were gay. You won't and can't provide such evidence, because it does not exist. It's pop sociology that presupposes your correctness in this social debate before you have even made an argument. "Children must have a male and a female parent because other children have had a male and a female parent." Fallacies are a shopping cart, and yours is full.

"Such scientific studies that have tried to address the issue were dramatically underpowered (from a statistical point of view) and were almost guaranteed to show no difference whatever the reality."

One big ole' honking reason you're wrong is that science is, like it or not, biased to skew to the facts in its observations and statistics. Plenty of peer-reviewed studies of significant sample size and prestige have shown and will always show what you will always continue to deny. You can claim hearts and minds, but you will never claim ownership of facts and neither will I. If it had ever been shown to have a corrosive effect on children that I am gay, I would immediately cease contact with all children and would disabuse myself of the desire to someday raise one or two into compassionate, awesome adults - in other words, to be just as boring and loving as any other parent. In the absence of that, science called and it would like you to stop hiding behind it. Ditto religion.
11.7.2008 7:55pm
Laura H (mail):
Hear, hear Todd! Another point is simply this: Gay couples anywhere in America can find willing clergy to give them a commitment ceremony. No law is preventing them from pledging themselves to one another forever.

Legal marriage is fundamentally a protective institution for the future of society. Children cannot be made without a father and a mother; they thrive best in a healthy, intact family of father-mother-children and extended clan. This has nothing to do with organized religion and everything to do with health, the future, and adults' responsibility to protect children.

When a law prohibits some children from ever experiencing a father and a mother because they were legally adopted by homosexuals, then such a law is fundamentally unfair to those children. This is happening today in Massachusetts and gays don't give a damn. Shame on them, and no more laws like that anywhere in America.
11.7.2008 7:55pm
Mike S (mail):
Justin,
Your 3 links all seem to say one thing: Mormons are organizing against an issue that they disagree with. They have been planning their strategy for years. Is there anything wrong with that?
The only thing that I see that is potentially (and I emphasize potentially) wrong is attempting to influence a state initiative in another state.
Can you please explain what exactly the 3 links that you provide establish that is so terribly wrong?
Disclaimer: I am against Prop 8, but I am completely for people speaking up for what they believe in (be it through a concerted effort of an entire church, or an individual standing on his soap box).
11.7.2008 7:56pm
Mike S (mail):
"Most such children come from previous heterosexual relationships and the children already have both a father and a mother."

Link? I'm not saying that you are wrong; I simply have not seen statistics to substantiate this claim, and am interested to see if (and to what extent) this is true. I assume that you can substantiate it if you are making this assertion.
11.7.2008 7:58pm
B-ry (mail):
Well, I went away for a while and a lot happened. I guess that should be expected.

anyways, I don't have time to respond to everyone who said something to me.
I will leave with 2 comments.

1. If we take away tax exempt status from religions, we have to take it away from pretty much every non-profit organization because they will eventually support some issue at some point in time.
On a more extreme note: if we do that, we might as well take away press credentials from any news source that officially endorses a candidate or a bill because they are no longer news institutions but propaganda institutions.

2. I would like to thank everyone who tried to be respectful and understanding of various points. Hate is never acceptable wherever it comes from. I honestly voted for 8 for reasons other than hate and personally believe that most did as well. I hope that we can all look past name calling, whining, whatever and attack only the issues. I know that many opponents feel the issue is them and I am sorry it feels/appears that way. I feel you deserve all the same rights as married people. I oppose it solely because it will be used at some point to attack freedom of religion (maybe not now, maybe it wasn't the intent of granting gay marriages, but it will be used that way at some point).
May we all remember that just because somebody has a different view than you that doesn't make them evil, or hateful. Generally hate hurts you as much as the person it is directed at. Good luck with life everyone. I hope you are able to live peaceful and happy lives.


oh, one more thing. I made a comment about not always agreeing with the choices people make. I was not trying to make a statement on the origin of same sex attraction. Sorry if it was taken that way. Frankly its probably impossible to determine its exact origin.
11.7.2008 7:59pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
From reading the pro gay marriage comments here, it looks to me˙that according to them, the prop 8 proponents should have been disqualified from voting for terminal stupidity.

I bet some McCain voters felt the same way about Obama voters. Funny how that works.
11.7.2008 8:00pm
Seth P:
whit: Kudos for your support, but the law has a problem with churches intruding in the legislative process. If the arguments against same-sex marriage had been presented by organizations without inherent ideologies, those arguments would not have stood on their own merits. The commercials funded by the fundraising efforts of the leadership of the LDS Church were distortions and lies, and they have unfairly invited the anger of the GLBT community against parishioners who were led to believe they were fighting for morality. I'm no spokesperson or leader in the GLBT community in California, but I am sorry that individual protesters were saying these awful things about followers of the LDS. Our anger should be focused on the LDS' misleading and bigoted leaders.

DanielFSmith: Your argument, like similar ones I've refuted before, is racist on its face while masquerading as an empty plea for racial equality. The heads of the NAACP and Latino-Chicano organizations did not exhort their members to raise money or vote for Prop 8. This is a false analogy and you'll get nowhere arguing it.

TPJ: The same LDS whose leadership didn't accept black parishioners until the 1980s, considering them tarnished by God for their sin? And while you're being so Christ-like, consider what He would have to say about any majority removing the rights of the minority. Selective about your Christiness, you are. Then again, the guy hung out with prostitutes, so what did he know?

To everyone else: when you ignore the troll, he will go back under his bridge. Except it may take a little longer because of traffic on the 405.
11.7.2008 8:06pm
Gilbert (mail):
Hey, Zywicki, could you take one moment to stop generalizing everyone you dislike into one big category. Not all gay marriage supporters oppose LDS, and not all LDS opponents care at all about gay marriage.
11.7.2008 8:09pm
Cornellian (mail):
They protest the Mormons because religious bigotry is one of the few bigotries that is actually allowed in society today, and they are an easy target.

When there's a constitutional amendment on the ballot to prohibit people from marrying Mormons, then they'll have something to complain about. Until then, they should keep in mind that calling themselves a religion doesn't immunize them from criticism for their actions.
11.7.2008 8:09pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Should have been "some of the pro gay marriage comments".
11.7.2008 8:09pm
jmf (mail):
Seth you said:


It's ludicrous to expect every gay person to constantly bend over backwards


We are having an otherwise thoughtful conversation, and you introduce this kind of subtle reference? Why did you have to go there!?

Besides, whether or not the gays actions towards the church are condemnation-worthy is the whole point of the original article! Can you read? You can counter by saying that the LDS church was out of line - that is fine. But don't try to say that the propriety of the gays actions is beside the point.
11.7.2008 8:14pm
Seth P:
B-ry: Thank you for being respectful as well, and I wish you the same. As a gay man I'd feel much better if the government thought of a better term for the legal protections it gives couples. As long as the government give one set of protections to one couple and more protections to a different couple, THAT to me is where "separate but equal" comes into play.

And as an atheist and a godless heathen liberal, I'd like to promise you that with the amount of people in this world who are religious there is no statistical or rational reason to believe that anyone will ever infringe on your right to believe and practice your religion. Unless, of course, popular opinion somehow wildly tilts against every headwind of history and the populace is allowed to amend our federal constitution. With all due respect, do you not see that your vote for Prop 8 could lead to the very thing you fear most?

As much as I disagree with religion, and as much as I support the people who choose to practice it, I want this country to maintain its very delicate balance of avoiding religious intrusion into our legislative deliberations. We have abandoned that balance in the last eight years - and I think to a large extent we have abdicated our responsibility to check our ideology against our conscience and our intellect since the "culture wars" started. But it will take time for people to stop thinking that sex is dirty, that love is wrong, and that any God would want us to dismiss and reject other people. That said I have hope that we truly can coexist and maximize the freedoms we are promised, even if we haven't yet received the freedoms our taxes have paid for.
11.7.2008 8:15pm
Chris Green (mail):
A private religious institution has every right to push a certain ballet measure and the opponants of such a measure have every reason to be angry with that Church.

However, I think the point here is that bitterness and hyperbole with which anti-prop 8 folks are attacking the LDS church is hurting their own cause.

As I described in my previous post, there are good faith arguments in favor of prop 8. Furthermore, the predictions made by prop 8 commericials were not simply lies and slander. I DARE anyone to read California Eduction Code 51890, section D, and tell me honestly that same sex marriage wouldn't be described and put on equal standing as traditional marriage in many schools and textbooks if prop 8 had failed. It wouldn't happen right away, but it would happen, and it would start happening a lot faster once a school got faced legal action for NOT discussing same-sex marriage on the day when marriage (as defined by law) was discussed. Let's not be naive folks.

Regarding education of school children, this (see above) was the only thing the prop8 commercials were implying. All that stuff about insinuating that school children would somehow be in danger from gays and lesbians is a load of crap. I challange anybody to come up with a quote of any of the official pro-prop8 commercials (not some video by an idiot on youtube) that insinuates such a thing. I guarrantee that nobody will be able to find one.
11.7.2008 8:15pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
DanielFSmith: this is a hard one. Is it ok to assume that Mormons will be bigoted against me based on the fact that many of them are? At what point does that become a legitimate assumption? And, along similar lines, is it ok to be angry at and distrustful of people who have shown themselves to be bigoted against me, or must I turn the other cheek and embrace as brothers people who have ordered the state to discriminate against me?

I understand that being angry and bitter is an ineffective political tactic, but surely it's not an inappropriate, or even surprising, response.
11.7.2008 8:16pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
One of the highest ranking African American religious leaders in California and in the country has endorsed YES on Prop 8. Apostle Frederick K.C. Price of the influential Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles hosted and led off a press conference with dozens of local African American religious leaders yesterday saying that "we shouldn't do anything to jeopardize the future of our family and our children."

http://www.blackchristiannews.com

There's at least one large group of Black religious leaders in favor of 8.
11.7.2008 8:16pm
Seth P:
jmf: HA. My reference was subtle?

I resent and reject the actions of individual protesters because they do not fit the peaceful and compassionate thing for which we are protesting. I condemn the actions of the LDS leadership because they do not fit the message of the deity they proclaim to represent here on Earth, for whom they take oodles and gobs of money without paying taxes, and in whose name they have written discrimination into my state constitution. There is a difference of scale, of rank, of ideology, and of merit here, and I am not "misunderestimating" any of those differences here.
11.7.2008 8:19pm
erik jay (mail) (www):
Why is everybody using apostrophes to pluralize everything? "Mormon's"? "Right winger's"? Just stick an 's' on there and be done with it.
11.7.2008 8:21pm
Bill Smith (mail):
This thread is illuminating. The ignorance of the law displayed by the numerous attorneys posting here is as mind-boggling, as the religious intolerance. It's easier and more acceptable to pick on the Mormons than the Roman Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, I guess. I wonder how many of those of you carping about out-of-state donations to Yes on 8 sent money to Fair Wisconsin two years ago. I did. It appears that, in some narrow minds, out-of-state contributions are only evil when the other side gets them.

To whoever asked about the lists of donors to Prop. 8: I received one which highlighted the religious affiliation of hundreds of donors. (How they managed to discover that is a good question. Other questions: What makes a corporation "Mormon"? If one partner out of 3 in a business is Mormon, is that business "Mormon"? Where is the cut-off?) I was asked to investigate the backgrounds of donors for any dirt that could be used against these private individuals to embarrass the campaign or get them to retract their support. That was a tad too close to blackmail for my taste. I voted No on 8, but after that solicitation and that disgusting commercial, I came very close to not voting at all.
11.7.2008 8:23pm
Seth P:
Chris Green:

Let's not be naive folks.


Okay, then don't be so naive as to think that telling kids that men can marry men or women can marry women will do anything but open their minds. It won't make them gay, it won't make them sacrifice gods to the serpent gods in their Lucky Charms. If you're worth your man-and-woman-parenting elite salt, you'll convey your own moral beliefs to your kids anyway. Are you that scared of your child or young adult thinking critically about the realities of the world? If so, I would kindly suggest that you yourself do not deserve to be a parent either.


A private religious institution has every right to push a certain ballet measure and the opponants of such a measure have every reason to be angry with that Church.


I'm thinking of ballet now. And no, a private religious institution does not have any explicit "right" to interfere with the legislative process. And there are only, oh, three thousand years of history that tell us how dangerous it is when governments give in to theocracy.
11.7.2008 8:24pm
pmorem (mail):
I don't normally have much use for Mormons. Then again, as long as they're doing their own thing somewhere else, I don't much care.

In general, I don't much care what goes on between consenting adults, whether it be sex or rapture, as long as they're not hurting anyone or getting in my face with it.

I listen to the rhetoric, and people suggesting that it's ok to attack Mormons, and I'm concerned.

You're skirting the line of trying to hurt people, and maybe you'll penguin some into actually doing so.

In theory, I'm a supporter of gay rights. I look at the tactics used, though, and I find them deeply disturbing. It's disturbing enough that it raises questions in my mind about the motives of the activists.

I find I must oppose "gay rights activists", at least those who employ confrontational or coercive tactics.

You're free to persist, of course. Just know that the longer you persist and the harder you push, the more people like me will oppose you.

... or you could try being nice. Some people find that works.
11.7.2008 8:25pm
Article VI Guy (mail):


A better, more complete article can be foung at the LA Times by googling the Crenshaw Christian Center. This seems to be african american leaders encouraging their flocks to vote Yes on 8. I understand the more thoughtful posters have made the appropriate distinction between LDS parishoners and their religious leaders, but even accepting that the protests are only against the church leaders, why no vitriol for the Crenshaw Evangelicals? Surely these black pastors were just as "bigoted"? What about the millions of Catholic Latinos? The idea that Latio and Black leaders were not just as involved in this effort, and therefore should be treated or protested differently than LDS leaders is simply wrong.
11.7.2008 8:27pm
Seth P:
Bill Smith: Wow, I'd heard some annoying ish on the tactics of the No on 8 campaign, but that takes the cake. Stuff like that really does undercut the truly righteous and little-d democratic truth in the message of equality for all. If I had received such a call I would've hung up and called their supervisor. I'm sorry, and I hope that hasn't been conflated in your mind with the ideas and sentiments of all gay people.

That said I really tire of this "religious persecution" card. It really is a sore winner argument.
11.7.2008 8:28pm
Seth P:
pmorem: Being "nice" has gotten gay people nowhere. But where your argument holds much truth is that the gay community needs to learn to channel its anger appropriately and constructively as a minority group. We have not done this yet, because those who are set against us (really, it's social conservatives) have set up so many false targets - and we have so readily and virulently bought into this silly shooting gallery of enemies. There is nothing wrong with confrontation, but we need to find venues in which our confrontation doesn't mask the intellectual, rational, and moral truth of our desire for equality under the law. That said, much of your argument (and similar in this thread) will ALWAYS be applied to protests, no matter how right or wrong the protesters are. Dissent in America continues to be devious and easily dismissed. I hope we transcend the cheap battles enough to understand that most of us are really all on the same side of the war.
11.7.2008 8:32pm
Chris Green (mail):
Seth P:

For pities sake, I never even implied that children having contact with gay people is bad. All I said is that from an evolutionary point of view, children are probably optimized to have both a father and a mother.

With that in mind, the burden of proof falls on science to prove that adopted chilren of gay and lesbian parents end up, in their adult years, equally happy and productive as children raised by parents of both genders, not the other way around.

You don't simply conduct a grand 30 year experiment with children's lifes and hope that science tells you at the end that everything's okay. By the way, I understand the difference between causation and correlation. I'm a professional statistian and have spend my career reviewing the statistical correctness of scientific studies.
11.7.2008 8:33pm
Bama 1L:
It's easier and more acceptable to pick on the Mormons than the Roman Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, I guess.

We Catholics have been better at presenting ourselves in politics. Also, it's well known that most of us do our own thing politically and that the Vatican doesn't actually control us through the confessional. I mean, we've managed to gain control of the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives, and the Vice Presidency with no one raising much of a fuss!

By Jesuit standards, the LDS intervention on behalf of Prop 8 was rather ham-fisted. Be more subtle, guys!

Rembember that other Americans don't have a comfort level with Mormonism as they do with Catholicism. I think the main things people know about Mormons are:

1. They send people door-to-door to gain converts.
2. They have an extra book of the Bible.
3. They have some kind of church that you can't go into if you're not one of them, which means you have to wait outside if a Mormon from your sorority invites you to her wedding.
4. They claim no longer to practice polygamy, but who would actually give that up?

Cf. us Catholics as understood by our neighbors:

1. They are having some sort of scandal involving sex with boys.
2. They don't read the Bible much.
3. They don't even go to their own churches except on Easter and Christmas, but they can't go to your church because it "doesn't count."
4. They claim not to believe in divorce, but they actually get divorced all the time.

Which one seems more threatening?

(I know LDS is now preferred but practically all the Mormons I know call themselves "Mormon" and it was the preferred term for a long time. No insult is intended.)
11.7.2008 8:37pm
Article VI Guy (mail):
Bill Smith

Maybe this is what you were talking about?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/20/01429/971

Another taste of the politics of personal destruction. It just seems SO counterproductive.
11.7.2008 8:38pm
Bill Smith (mail):
Seth: If you think the religious persecution card is being misplayed, why do you think there is no criticism of the Roman Catholic Church or the Knights of Columbus? (In my area, the Knights of Columbus were the major donor for advertising.)

Someone went through the donor files to find all the Mormons but they didn't go looking for and identify all the Catholics, Baptists, or AME members. As this thread proves, many people are happy aggregating all of the private individual donations of people who happen to be Mormon and then parading the total around as if the church itself made the donations. They have attempted no such thing with any other identifiable group.
11.7.2008 8:41pm
Chris Green (mail):
The point of my previous post is not to prove or disprove the effect of having parents of the same gender. I'm only trying to point out that there were intelligent arguments in favor of prop8. Many of these arguments hit especially close to home for married people that have kids and that canvassing the whole pro-prop8 group (or an entire church)as a bunch of hate mongers is simply inaccurate.
11.7.2008 8:41pm
Norseman:
I guess I had a question about this question ... I'm not from California, and always get a bit squeamish with the whole ballot initiative process, but as a libertarian, I'm not sure which way I would have gone.

1) Obviously the best outcome from my view would be removing the state from marriage. Figuring out how to handle contract law implications doesn't seem to be too hard, but obviously this solution is supported by either side (it either "delegitimizes" heterosexual marriage or homosexual marriage, something neither side would agree to).

2) Absent # 1, I'm kinda stuck. While my instincts would have been to vote "no", I do have a fear that given how the supreme court has interpreted rules, it is a short slippery sloped pier from marriage neutrality, to the state somehow more aggressively intervening in the private lives of its citizens.

The church I belong to has a national policy that is anti-gay. It isn't supported by our congregation, or even by most members under the age of 65. It will change with time and I am working for that. Same with boy scouts, IMO. The result of the boy scout lawsuits have made some aggreived people feel better (kick 'em out, de-legitimize them, etc.), but has made change within that organization much harder.

Not sayin' people shouldn't do what they want to do to try and fight to protect their rights, but two sides can play at that, and so far, the boy scouts have lost, and anti-gay marriage bigots (not everyone who supported 8) have won. Eye for an eye, I guess. (LDS is very active in scouting too)...
11.7.2008 8:43pm
pauldom:
I'm pretty depressed by comments such as these:

When a law prohibits some children from ever experiencing a father and a mother because they were legally adopted by homosexuals, then such a law is fundamentally unfair to those children. This is happening today in Massachusetts and gays don't give a damn. Shame on them, and no more laws like that anywhere in America.

Let's set aside the fact that many children with gay parents were born to them. Laws that "protect" children from adoption by gay parents demonstrably harm children. Apparently people like Laura H don't give a damn. Shame on them.

Concern for children is the best reason to support gay marriage, imo.
11.7.2008 8:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Postscript. I agree that Mormons, generally, are not to blame for the opposition to gay marriage. But the Morman church, as an institution, does deserve a large amount of blame."

Good point. Does the Mormon Church deserve more or less blame than the Catholic Church?
11.7.2008 8:52pm
DarkRads (mail):
FYI yeson8donors@mormonsfor8.com is actually being run by individuals who are (or were?) against proposition 8 and are trying to sucker Mormons (and accumulate information from the unaffiliated) to document the extent of Mormon financing for the prop-opposition 8 forces. I suspect it won't underestimate the money donated from Mormon church members... As a result, to say that Mormon church members are proudly documenting their donations through this website would be unfair as I suspect that most of the religious affirmation information was not submitted by the payee/donor.
11.7.2008 8:56pm
randal (mail):
Whether or not a reasonable argument can be made for Prop 8 doesn't matter. The Mormon church wasn't making your argument in millions of dollars worth of ads. It's completely appropriate to point out the bigotry of those ads, and by extension the bigotry of the Mormon church, and also yourself for defending their statements.
11.7.2008 9:01pm
pmorem (mail):
Seth, I appreciate what you said about learning to channel anger. Don't read too much into what I said, though.

You're free to choose your tactics in dissent. You're also free to choose how much anger you will feel, and how you channel it. Those choices are yours, and you own them.

Right now, I find myself siding with the Mormons. You don't know me well enough to know how very strange that is.

That's my warning. How you evaluate it is up to you.
11.7.2008 9:06pm
Cornellian (mail):

For pities sake, I never even implied that children having contact with gay people is bad. All I said is that from an evolutionary point of view, children are probably optimized to have both a father and a mother.


Gay people can adopt (at least in California), even though they can't get married. Opposite sex couples with children are not prevented from divorcing. A same sex couple cannot get married even though they cannot produce children with each other, and even if they have no desire to produce children at all or to adopt children. So why exactly does this "mother and father" argument mean anything for same sex marriage, and which is this argument applied only against gay people, and not straight people wanting a divorce?
11.7.2008 9:07pm
Randy R. (mail):
"With that in mind, the burden of proof falls on science to prove that adopted chilren of gay and lesbian parents end up, in their adult years, equally happy and productive as children raised by parents of both genders, not the other way around. "

Agreed. And every study that has been conducted on this issue in the US and Britain has concluded that children of gay parents turn out just as well as children of straight parents. This is why every major adoption agency has stated that they will happily place children in gay households. Heck, even Dr. Laura agrees with that one.

So the idiocy of Laura H., who claims that only two straight parents are good (showing a complete lack of regard for single parents whose partner might have died, for instance) are way out of line and incorrect.

There are plenty of studies (they also show that the children of gay parents are no more or less likely to turn out gay than that of straight parents) that show that the kids turn out basically normal. Moreover, almost all of the kids say that they would never change their parents for any other, or think that they somehow missed out by not have a father and mother.

So what more do we have to prove?
11.7.2008 9:12pm
Hoosier:
Eliot123

"Does the Mormon Church deserve more or less blame than the Catholic Church?"

Blame?!

Keep that up, and perhaps the GOP will have a chance of recapturing California within my lifetime. Do you find culpability in a religion that refuses to surrender an ancient teaching whenever you and likeminded "progressives" have decided that teaching is wrong? What are *your* values based upon, other than traditions that you yourselves inherited? From your reason alone? Reason based upon WHAT?

I struggle sometimes to resist the urge to take positions I don't agree with, just because the people on my side are so arrogant.
11.7.2008 9:13pm
Hoosier:
"But when you can show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion"

We can't.

They're called "martyrs."

So by definition, they're dead.

Maybe you'll get to see them yourself in the fulness of time.
11.7.2008 9:15pm
Randy R. (mail):
Bama IL: "Which one seems more threatening? "

Catholics encourage reasonable drinking of wine and beer, LDS prohibit it.
Catholics allow unlimited amounts of tea and coffee and Coke. LDS prohibits anything with caffeine in it, unless it's chocolate. Somehow, that's okay.
Catholics preach against masturbation, but everyone ignores that one. LDS preach against masturbation, and they probably ignore it, but no studies have been done, to my knowledge. Would be curious to see the success rate on that one!
Catholics generally have better churches, though the new ones, like the LDS one's are pretty hideous.
11.7.2008 9:17pm
Hoosier:
Randy R.
"Bama IL: "Which one seems more threatening? "

Catholics encourage reasonable drinking of wine and beer,"

Wait a second. "Reasonable"?

Crap! I just gotta learn to read more carefully.

"Catholics generally have better churches, though the new ones, like the LDS one's are pretty hideous."

And the uglification of church architeture in North America goes hand-in-hand with the unsingable banality that is post-concilar liturgical music.
11.7.2008 9:20pm
voter (mail):
I have to say, as someone who supported prop 8 but doesn't have that strong of feelings about the issue, that the protests and bigotry against Mormons and other religious people seriously decreases my sympathy for the gay cause.

Reasonable people really can disagree, and it's a typical tactic of liberals of our time to turn any opposition against favored policies into some sort of intolerance or hate or lack of compassion for a certain group. Sorry guys, but you could convince a lot more people if you treated other people's viewpoints with respect and intellectual honesty.

This country--and 52% of California voters--do not accept gay morality. That will probably change in the future, but compromises have already been made now, such as civil unions. This country also does not accept polygamy, marriage of people closely related, marriage of parents to children, marriage to animals, marriage of people below a certain age, etc. Based on the logic of the gay marriage movement, none of those should be banned as long as the people getting married love each other and enter the union willingly. If defining the sex of a person is arbitrary, so is defining all those other factors too. Why only two people? Why can't I marry a close relative or sibling? Genetic concerns? Then don't have kids! This really is about society's definition of morality, and if anyone is trying to force their morality on someone it's the gay activists. You know, I saw an article about a Japanese guy who wanted to marry a cartoon...

The Yes on 8 people did not engage in a dishonest campaign. Everything said in official ads has documentary support, like the education code cited above. There was no disrespect directed at gays, and Yes on 8 people for the most part are perfectly fine with people doing whatever they want in private. They don't want what they consider an immoral lifestyle taught to their children. That's why there's controversy over sex ed in general.

No on 8 people have engaged in bigotry. I know people who held held signs in support of 8 and were constantly sworn at. They even had objects thrown at them. They were told by prop 8 organizers not to respond to anything like that and to support the measure in a way respectful of all people. Yet the No on 8 people painted all their opponents as haters--see any "No on H8!" signs? I know no one saw any "Be Str8-Vote 8" signs...

Here's a proposal: Leave marriage to the religious folk and lets change the laws in other ways. There could be rights of survivorship, visitation, all that stuff, for people in registered households. A household would consist of people with dependents, ie parents with children, gays with their children. They would all get the tax breaks because household or families are more stable an better for society. If there are no dependents, then file separately.
11.7.2008 9:21pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Blame?! "

Of course. It wouldn't be fair to assign all the blame to Mormons if they haven't earned it. That type of favoritism shouldn't be tolerated in a democratic society. Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, Blacks, and Mexicans all did yoeman's work in supporting Prop 8. Surely you don't want to deny them their fair share of the blame?
11.7.2008 9:25pm
Hoosier:
"That type of favoritism shouldn't be tolerated in a democratic society."

But should a democratic society tolerate the opinion of the majority?

Just curious about your take on that conundrum. Since you really responded to only the first word of my post. And perhaps--to be generous to you, Elliot--the punctuation.
11.7.2008 9:27pm
One Opinion (mail):
It appears the anti-LDS feeling on this blog isn't for LDS people voting for 8, but rather for LDS church leaders daring to ask members to support it financially. How does that make sense? If LDS church leaders feel this is a spiritual cause worth promoting (as apparently they do), why ever should they not ask members to support it? Are people who have values but don't act in support of them by voting or spending money somehow better people in your minds? Barak Obama opposes gay marriage - but I guess he's not a bigot just because he didn't raise money to oppose this particular vote? I don't know what the pro-8 advertising was like, but I'm pretty sure the LDS church didn't create it. It's astounding, as always, to read the ridiculous level of mis-information on these posts about the LDS church.
As for the central issue, there's really little point in discussing between these two groups. We're just speaking in completely different contexts and languages.
11.7.2008 9:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
Article VI guy: " Apostle Frederick K.C. Price of the influential Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles hosted and led off a press conference with dozens of local African American religious leaders yesterday saying that "we shouldn't do anything to jeopardize the future of our family and our children."

And this is the most frustrating part of the debate. Gays, more than anyone else, know that we don't *choose* to be gay. You just are. Sure, we can try to recruit people. but try as we might, you cannot make someone enjoy something that they don't enjoy. You can't force anyone to be attracted to someone that they are not attracted to.

This should be a matter of relief to the anti-gay crowd. If you kid is not gay, you have nothing to worry about. You or your kid can be exposed to tons of gay porn, think that gay is cool, maybe even (god forbid) get raped by a gay person. Doesn't matter -- you or he won't become gay. So what's the worry about the family and the future?

On the other hand, there is a small percentage of the population (it's debatable, but let's assume the anti-gay people are correct that it is only about 1%), then 99% of the kids growing up with be totally straight. Again, what's the worry? But for that 1% that is gay, there is NO amount of indoctrination, teaching, whipping, cojoling, or heterosexing you can do to make that kid straight. Why is that so hard to understand? Better to accept your gay kid than kick him or her out on the street (which is what a lot of black families do). THAT is anti-family -- disowning your kid because you just don't like who he is attracted to, something that he has no control over.

I know too many people who have been disowned by their families. They would dearly love to reunite. So who is anti-family? It's not the gay people, it's the anti-gay people. Kicking out your kids is a traditional value? Not in my book.

On the other hand, I and most of my other friends are warmly accepted by their families. Nothing has changed. We still get together for Thanksgiving and holidays. We exchange presents, we rejoice in each other successes, and commiserate when the chips are down. We stick together, like real families are supposed to. How is that anti-family?

Any preacher, black or white, who encourages you to hate your child for whatever reason is preaching evil. There is no other way around it. Anyone who thinks kicking out your kid from your family is being pro-family has a weird and twisted vision of what a family is and could be. These preachers should be ashamed of themselves. Jesus didn't think anyone should be thrown out of his church, and accepted everyone -- you would think followers of his teachings would do the same.
11.7.2008 9:30pm
Randy R. (mail):
One opinions: "t appears the anti-LDS feeling on this blog isn't for LDS people voting for 8, but rather for LDS church leaders daring to ask members to support it financially. How does that make sense? "

Because not everyone in the LDS followed their church's teaching, and don't believe in blocking gay marriage. That's why it makes sense. You can't tar everyone with the same brush, and in fact some have taken us to task for doing just that.

If you think that we should condemn even those who agree with us, you've come to the wrong place.
11.7.2008 9:32pm
Hoosier:
"And this is the most frustrating part of the debate. Gays, more than anyone else, know that we don't *choose* to be gay."

But it's a /choice/ to go beyond merely "gay," and to be "fabulous".

A minority within a minority.
11.7.2008 9:37pm
One Opinion (mail):
Randy R., my point is why are LDS church leaders not allowed to direct the church in what they consider to be a spiritual issue? Why is it outrageous for a church's leaders to ask members to contribute to a cause? I guess the ads were bad, according to these posts, but I'm pretty sure the LDS church didn't create them, so that's not selling it.

I don't understand much of the rest of your post. Was I condemning someone? I certainly didn't mean to, whether or not they agree with me - just all seems pretty ridiculous to me. I think people should be entitled to vote their values, and entitled to convince other people to vote a particular way - although obviously I think inflammatory advertising isn't good. I don't have a clue what else you read in my earlier post.
11.7.2008 9:40pm
Chris Green (mail):
Cornellian,

Generally speaking, states in which same sex marriage is prohibited have a higher likelhood of requiring both a father and a mother for adoption.

In states where same sex marriage is allowed, same sex couples can ALWAYS adopt children. Like it or not, California is a leader state, and I believe the passage of proposition 8 will influence courts and the voters of other states to make it more likely other states will pass and preserve similar measures.

Not only will this make it more likely that kids put up to adoption throughout the country will have parents of both genders, but it will make it harder for same sex couples to sue private religious adoption agencies that only give kids out to families with both a father and a mother for religious reasons (I'm sure you are aware of what happened with the Catholic adoption agency in Boston).

As for state involvement in marriage in general, the most important reason (and only legitimate reason) modern states have for regulating marriage in the first place is for the purposes of raising children. Any law which grants economic benifits (tax) credits to couple without children should be struck down as unfair.

With regard to divorce, I agree with your logic. Divorce is terrible for children and I think, excepting in situations of physical or verbal abuse, divorcing parents should pay a large fine for the damage they are doing to society. If the divorce is caused by the infidelity of one partner, that individual should have to pay the entire fine. Maybe then we would see a drop in divorce rate as parents (who simply fell out of love) put the interests of their children over their own.
11.7.2008 9:40pm
da wolfe (mail):
I followed the comment thread on one of the more trafficed youtube pro-Prop 8 videos. The majority - the vast majority - of people against Prop 8 explained their position by calling Christians and Mormons fascist Nazis. This for all the practical difference of preferring civil unions to gay marriages and motivated particularily by fear that if gay marriage was read into their constitution religious rights and freedoms would be prejudiced.

I'm very happy that Prop 8 passed.
11.7.2008 9:43pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

No kidding that it's a metaphor. But the ad completely played on the fear of Mormons as somehow "different" or "dangerous." It said "they're not like us because of their beliefs."

That is the exact same sentiment that people are rightfully complaining about when it was applied to people with a different sexual preference.


I think this is what I am getting at in urging everyone to abandon the allegations of cultural or social treason (trying to undermine society). Alleging gay rights activists, right-wing preachers, the Mormon church, etc. is trying to destroy society has the goal not of furthering discussion but of cutting it off.

I find it interesting that Nazi party membership spread most quickly during the time when the party was banned from the political arena. I am not seeking to invoke Godwin's law here or compare either side to the Nazis (if there is any comparison to be made, it is to the government which banned the Nazis), but rather point to one place and time which supports a general point which is that a lack of dialog allows the worst ideas to spread faster than a great deal of dialog.

My favorite political discussions are those with whom I disagree on many things. In these discussions I am forced to think, and sometimes even reconsider my own positions. Yet this sort of dialog on this sort of issue seems largely non-existent. Instead we have militants on both sides who are so afraid of losing that they do unintentionally undermine our society (yes, both sides, even though I favor gay marriage).

Why can't civic-minded folks discuss and debate issues both seeking common ground and at the same time trying to show why the differences exist as an element of resolving them? Why does everything have to be so heavily all-or-nothing that people are afraid to have open conversations with those they disagree with?
11.7.2008 9:45pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Chris Green wrote:

As for state involvement in marriage in general, the most important reason (and only legitimate reason) modern states have for regulating marriage in the first place is for the purposes of raising children. Any law which grants economic benifits (tax) credits to couple without children should be struck down as unfair.


At least your policies, were they enacted, might have convinced the Massachusetts court that there was rational basis for the exclusion. And at least you take your argument to a reasonable conclusion (that all marriage benefits should be reserved for couples with children).


And as an atheist and a godless heathen liberal,


Somehow I think to be a heathen you have to believe in at least some (presumably non-Christian) gods. Like Lady Liberty, for example. (Lady Liberty was seen in the Roman Republic as the patron goddess of the Forum. We worship her in a similar manner here in the US as her statue also stands atop the Capitol building. The Capitol is named after the main temple in ancient Rome.)

I am sick of people suggesting you can be godless and a heathen at the same time. Pure bigotry against us heathens. ;-)
11.7.2008 9:54pm
joe1234 (mail):
"And this is the most frustrating part of the debate. Gays, more than anyone else, know that we don't *choose* to be gay. You just are. Sure, we can try to recruit people. but try as we might, you cannot make someone enjoy something that they don't enjoy. You can't force anyone to be attracted to someone that they are not attracted to."

There is no black or white in being gay, just as the GLBT community claims that having a penis doesn't make you anything more than physically a man.

It's pretty obvious that there are degrees of homosexuality along some sort of distribution with most people falling into a place where they're attracted to the opposite sex.

Tell me, are there more gay people now than 50 years ago? I would bet money that as a percentage of the population the number has increased, and it's not just because more people hid it back then. The lifestyle is promoted, and *some* people can be recruited. That would be those in the mid range of the distribution.
11.7.2008 10:03pm
Chris Green (mail):
Cornilian,

However, you bring up a good point. It may very well be that the passage of prop8 will not have the effect I think it will.

Again, I'm not trying to argue that I'm right. I'm just trying to say there is an alternative point of view that isn't based on hate.
11.7.2008 10:04pm
bikeguy (mail):
I'll weep a few tears for the gays whining about Prop 8 when they start treating Obama like they are treating the Mormons. He took precisely the same position. Obviously the whiners are major league hypocrites.
11.7.2008 10:05pm
Redlands (mail):
From Justin . . .


Postscript. I agree that Mormons, generally, are not to blame for the opposition to gay marriage. But the Morman church, as an institution, does deserve a large amount of blame.


Blame? Truly?
11.7.2008 10:06pm
Smokey:
Since there are no gay Mormons, we can all agree that they're the bad guys.
11.7.2008 10:08pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Generally speaking, states in which same sex marriage is prohibited have a higher likelhood of requiring both a father and a mother for adoption.


Given the fact that you can generally give a child up for adoption or adopt a child by crossing state lines, there is a great deal of forum shopping that can happen.

Gay couples can always adopt children, unless you expect to see federal law preventing this across state lines. But this would be as unfair as Osborn v. Adoption Center of Choice (see particularly the dissenting opinion).
11.7.2008 10:09pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Just a bit of advice. Be careful when attacking Mormons, Baptists, and Catholics (of some ethnic groups)...

They're better armed than "The Gay Community".
11.7.2008 10:12pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Note on the bit about forum shopping and Osborne. My main point is there are bigger issues with interstate adoptions than gay adoptions.
11.7.2008 10:14pm
MR:
"[T]hose who disagree with the prevaling vision are seen as being not merely in error, but in sin. For those who have this vision of the world, the anointed and the benighted do not argue on the same moral plane or play by the same cold rules of logic and evidence. The benighted are to be made 'aware,' to have their 'consciousness raised,' and the wistful hope is held out that they will 'grow.' Should the benighted prove recalcitrant, however, then their 'mean-spiritedness' must be fought and the 'real reasons' behind their arguments and actions exposed. While verbal fashions change, this basic principle of the differential rectitude of the anointed and the benighted has not changed fundamentally in at least two hundred years."
11.7.2008 10:16pm
Guest12345:
According to the LA Times:

Total raised to oppose prop 8: $38,432,873
Amount from outside of California to oppose: $11,968,285
Percentage of money raised from external sources: 31.1%

Total raised to support prop 8: $36,122,538
Amount from outside of California to support: $10,733,582
Percentage of money raised from external sources: 29.7%

This search app lets you see who gave, how much, and where they are from. Shows that money came from, not only outside of California, but outside of the United States (Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Canada.)

Both sides of the issue received multiple $1,000,000+ donations from out of state. Surprisingly, given the hate towards Utah and Mormons, there were million dollar donations to both sides from Utahns. Humorously Alan Ashton and Bruce Bastian, two founders of WordPerfect, each gave a $1,000,000 to the Prop 8 fight, but on different sides of the issue.
11.7.2008 10:24pm
TPJ (mail):

The same LDS whose leadership didn't accept black parishioners until the 1980s, considering them tarnished by God for their sin?


Seth P., not sure what anti-Mormon site you get your info from, but Blacks have been allowed membership into the LDS Church since inception. They were forbidden from the "priesthood" until the 70's thus preventing them from operating in a leadership role. This wasn't exactly a unique situation in our country at that time.
11.7.2008 10:24pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

Do you find culpability in a religion that refuses to surrender an ancient teaching whenever you and likeminded "progressives" have decided that teaching is wrong?

Hoosier, I realize that when conservative factions (cultural conservative, libertarian-conservative, neo-conservative) do battle, your insult of choice for one another is "liberal" or "progressive." I just want to confirm for the record, since I know you do actually read this blog, that you don't really believe Elliot is a progressive.
11.7.2008 10:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"But should a democratic society tolerate the opinion of the majority?"

If it disallowed the majority opinion, then it would be left only with minority opinion, and why should it tolerate that?

"Just curious about your take on that conundrum. Since you really responded to only the first word of my post. And perhaps--to be generous to you, Elliot--the punctuation."

I responded only to the word "blame" because that's what I was discussing: blame and it's fair and balanced allocation.
11.7.2008 10:30pm
aloysiusmiller (mail):
Randy said that no one is trying to limit my right to speak out against homosexual behavior in church but they are fine with taking away tax exempt status based on that. That is an assault on my rights. No one can have a tax code that tells me what I can say or cannot say in order to have a certain tax status.

My religious and speech rights are worth fighting for and they are worth dying for. How many gays can you enlist in your army to fight and die for gay marriage?
11.7.2008 10:34pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"No one can have a tax code that tells me what I can say or cannot say in order to have a certain tax status."

Yes, they can. We have a tax code that does that.
11.7.2008 10:43pm
trad and anon:
The LDS church, as an institution, was one of the leading parties involved in organizing, and fundraising for, the anti-marriage campaign that promoted Prop 8. What is being protested is not "the Mormons" but a particular private organization: the LDS church.
11.7.2008 10:43pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Randy R. said:


Good for you. We don't always have to agree with each other, but we do have to live together on this planet. Which at heart, is the libertarian stance. Live and let live, so long as you don't harm me or my rights. Which is why I have a hard time understanding the eagerness to deny gays their rights.


As a libertarian, this seems like you're asking me to be sympathetic with your protest to get farm subsidies even though you don't farm or own any fallow farm land. I don't find it persuasive. Or maybe you're an apple farmer that doesn't get subsidies and you're complaining that your rights are being violated because the corn farmers get subsidies (and consequently are subject to certain regulations).
11.7.2008 10:47pm
MCM (mail):
aloysiusmiller:
My religious and speech rights are worth fighting for and they are worth dying for. How many gays can you enlist in your army to fight and die for gay marriage?

In some countries (Israel, for example), the answer is "all of them".
11.7.2008 10:52pm
MCM (mail):
Hoosier
What are *your* values based upon, other than traditions that you yourselves inherited? From your reason alone? Reason based upon WHAT?

How about "based upon my observations of the world around me"?

Wow. It's like the Enlightenment never happened or something. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to modern world.
11.7.2008 10:56pm
trad and anon:
To put it another way, say we let gay people get married. And I'll still claim that marriage is tied to children. Why aren't the gay people just outliers too? Why is it that when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old man, that keeps marriage tied to procreation, but when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old woman, that doesn't? Both couples have 0% chance of having children.
If state-sanctioned marriage were even principally about procreation, here are some of the sorts of policies that we might have:

1) Requiring people to certify that they intend to procreate in order to get a marriage license;
2) Revoking the marriage licenses of married couples who fail to procreate;
3) Voiding the marriage licenses of married couples if a member becomes infertile (e.g., through age)
4) Allowing third parties whose rights are affected by the existence of a marriage to argue in court that the marriage is invalid because the couple is infertile and/or lacks intent to procreate; or
5) Criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

We do not have any of those policies, or anything remotely like them. We are so far from procreation being the sole purpose of marriage that nonprocreative marriage is a constitutional right.
11.7.2008 11:03pm
whit:

Kudos for your support, but the law has a problem with churches intruding in the legislative process. If the arguments against same-sex marriage had been presented by organizations without inherent ideologies, those arguments would not have stood on their own merits. The commercials funded by the fundraising efforts of the leadership of the LDS Church were distortions and lies, and they have unfairly invited the anger of the GLBT community against parishioners who were led to believe they were fighting for morality. I'm no spokesperson or leader in the GLBT community in California, but I am sorry that individual protesters were saying these awful things about followers of the LDS. Our anger should be focused on the LDS' misleading and bigoted leaders.



like i said, plenty of churches (and religious leaders) have intruded in the "legislative process".

MLK, for one.
11.7.2008 11:04pm
trad and anon:
There's no question that supporting or opposing an initiative consitutes "grassroots lobbying" under the tax code; although not forbidden to 501(c)(3) organizations, this lobbying is limited by law for those organizations, under penalty of owing tax of even losing tax-exempt status. See 26 U.S.C. sections 501(h) and 4911.
Actually, I believe the IRS regulations specify that supporting or opposing an initiative is direct lobbying rather than grassroots lobbying. Direct lobbying is also restricted, though for some reason it's actually less restricted than grassroots lobbying.
11.7.2008 11:07pm
Guest12345:
Also interesting, unlike the LDS Church, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center made a $1,000,000 contribution in the "oppose prop 8" column. They appear to be a tax exempt non-profit. Do the people who advocate the LDS Church losing their tax exempt status also support the same for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center?

Another interesting fact about the LAGLC: in 2005 &2006, 28% of their operating revenue came from government grants. Assuming that this continues through 2008, it appears that even the people who voted yes on prop 8 donated to the no on prop 8 effort via their tax payments.
11.7.2008 11:11pm
Hoosier:
jmf
"Seth you said:


It's ludicrous to expect every gay person to constantly bend over backwards


We are having an otherwise thoughtful conversation, and you introduce this kind of subtle reference? Why did you have to go there!?"

Um. Does anyone else see a problem with that whole exchange? Or am I woefully ignorant on the physiology of gay sex?
11.7.2008 11:15pm
Kent G. Budge (www):
Apparently the success the Proposition 8 protesters enjoyed in shutting down the Los Angeles Temple has emboldened them to expand their list of targets: Blacks now targeted by Proposition 8 protestors
11.7.2008 11:18pm
trad and anon:
They lied about teaching homosexuality to children when they said it won't happen. It already does!
If by "teaching homosexuality to children" you mean "acknowledging that gay people exist," absolutely. What you really mean is that the schools should have a policy of pretending gay people don't exist. They should act as though there are no gay students, no students with gay parents, and no gay people anywhere else in the universe.
11.7.2008 11:19pm
MCM (mail):
Also interesting, unlike the LDS Church, the LA Gay &Lesbian Center made a $1,000,000 contribution in the "oppose prop 8" column. They appear to be a tax exempt non-profit. Do the people who advocate the LDS Church losing their tax exempt status also support the same for the LA Gay &Lesbian Center?

Yes, because apples are oranges, and vice versa.
11.7.2008 11:26pm
Jeff Boghosian (mail):

It is a perfectly reasonable and good-faith position to believe that marriage is a unique institution formed around childrearing.


It's not reasonable...no reason in it...just arbitrary.

And sorry, not good faith either. If it was, you'd be against marriage for hetero couples that couldn't have children.
11.7.2008 11:31pm
Hoosier:
MCM
"Hoosier
What are *your* values based upon, other than traditions that you yourselves inherited? From your reason alone? Reason based upon WHAT?

How about "based upon my observations of the world around me"?

Wow. It's like the Enlightenment never happened or something. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to modern world."

Wow. It's like Hume never happened or something.

Observation leads to values? So sense data goes into your brain, and values come out? All perceptions are mediated by mind, which is a product of nature /and/ nurture. Nurture comes from culture, which is /not/ a creation of your--or anyone else's--powers of reason.

/You/ can't even speak about values and morality without using a vocabulary that came to us Westerners through /my/ Church. Again, you didn't invent the values that you hold. Nor did you perceive your way towards them by the clear light of reason.

The Enlightenment? Better than the alternative. But unable to come up with a replacement for religious tradition that met its own standards of rationality. Because logic is a way to derive conclusions from first principles. It is most definitely /not/a way to derive first principles, anymore than the penthouse is a step toward building the basement.

Allow me to be the first to introduce you to coherent epistemology.

Now do you want to respond to my substantive points? (Actually Alasdair MacIntyre's substantive points, but he told me I could use them if this ever came up.)

Or do you want to insult me again? Up to you.
11.7.2008 11:32pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'll weep a few tears for the gays whining about Prop 8 when they start treating Obama like they are treating the Mormons. He took precisely the same position.

He didn't take the same position. He didn't support Prop 8. Saying that you think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman is not the same thing as saying you think that ought to be written into the state constitution.
11.7.2008 11:35pm
Guest12345:
Yes, because apples are oranges, and vice versa.


I'm not sure I understand your point. They are both 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organizations. They are the same in the eyes of the IRS.
11.7.2008 11:37pm
MarkField (mail):

/You/ can't even speak about values and morality without using a vocabulary that came to us Westerners through /my/ Church.


He can, you know. His vocabulary might be a little stilted because limited to Plato and Aristotle, but it's not like they didn't discuss values and morality.

In any case, using the same vocabulary does not require making the same real world connections or even implying the same ultimate values.
11.8.2008 12:05am
HometownHero:
11.8.2008 12:10am
trad and anon:
Also interesting, unlike the LDS Church, the LA Gay &Lesbian Center made a $1,000,000 contribution in the "oppose prop 8" column. They appear to be a tax exempt non-profit. Do the people who advocate the LDS Church losing their tax exempt status also support the same for the LA Gay &Lesbian Center?
Not coincidentally, $1,000,000 is the exact maximum amount a 501(c)(3) organization is permitted to spend on direct lobbying under the 501(h) expenditure test.
11.8.2008 12:17am
John Moore (www):
"Agreed. So why did they run ads stating that children will be forced to learn about gay marriage, attend gay marriages, and that churches will be forced to marry gays against their will? And why did they say that gay marriage will destroy our society?

In other words, why were the Mormon's so incredibly disrespectful and vile towards gays? And if you doubt me, just read any of the blogs supporting Prop. 8."

Uh, because these are all [bar the last] entirely likely outcomes of legalized gay marriage, given the history of activist courts.

There is no better place to find disrespect, hate and bigotry than among gay-rights activists.
11.8.2008 12:23am
Dunstan:
I find it ironic that several commenters here are chastising the protestors as bigoted and also saying that they aren't "brave" enough to protest black churches.

Why would it take more courage to do that? Are you implying that black churchgoers are violent? Oh heavens no, of course you're not. That would be bigoted.
11.8.2008 12:27am
courtwatcher:
trad and anon,
thanks for the correction/clarification re "direct or "grassroots" lobbying. Glad someone out there is actually paying attention.
11.8.2008 12:30am
David Warner:
LM,

"Hoosier, I realize that when conservative factions (cultural conservative, libertarian-conservative, neo-conservative) do battle, your insult of choice for one another is "liberal" or "progressive.""

I believe his use of "progressive" here was descriptive and only incidentally insultative. I don't believe I've heard him use the word "liberal", especially as an insult.

And I believe that Kant might have a thing or two to add to the conversation re: how observations become evaluations.
11.8.2008 12:31am
aloysiusmiller (mail):
Seth P

Kill? You have a logical screw loose. But you probably know a lot about loose screws.
11.8.2008 12:33am
joe1234 (mail):
No Dustan, fear of violence keeps gays from protesting mosques; Muslims stone guys or throw them off buildings in some places.

As for Blacks, its fear of backlash from protesting a protected PC class.

But Mormons are a fair target for bigotry.
11.8.2008 12:34am
whit:
let's face it. mormons are also kinda nerdy.

one of the running jokes in law enforcement is that a disproportionate # of FBI agents (fan belt inspectors) are mormon accountants from utah (MAFU's).

iow - SQUHARE

don't get me wrong, I have mormons in my family. salt of the earth. great people. but kinda nerdy.

in a good way
11.8.2008 12:39am
Elliot123 (mail):
"/You/ can't even speak about values and morality without using a vocabulary that came to us Westerners through /my/ Church."

Were Greek and Latin invented by the Council of Nicea?
11.8.2008 12:42am
David Warner:
Randy,

Much appreciate your last post. I think that's the best attempt you've made to really engage your opponents. If I considered myself homosexual, I doubt I'd have found the courage. The only thing that I've seen that has worked is engagement/relationships.

A couple things that I think are problematic:

The claim that a genetic predisposition is inevitably an identity, and therefore that one is not free to choose another identity or to take action at odds with that predisposition, while facilitating the applicability of the civil rights narrative to homosexuality, is also problematic for obvious reasons from a libertarian perspective.

Long term, it might be more productive to drop the rights approach, which has traditionally inhered in immutable traits, and stress the liberty/privacy one.

Second, the idea that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt already existing children is far less controversial than intentionally bringing children into the world intentionally without the biological family unit. Ironically, it is the prevalence of divorce over the last 40 years, and thus large numbers now of adults who were raised outside the biological unit, that leads those adults to seek to spare future generations their fate. This could all be a case of "grass is greener", but its out there.

Yes, there are non-homosexuals doing it too, hence the Murphy Brown hub-bub.
11.8.2008 12:45am
Hoosier:
"He can, you know. His vocabulary might be a little stilted because limited to Plato and Aristotle, but it's not like they didn't discuss values and morality."

(1) Historically, we'd have lost Plato and Aristotle without all those non-enlightened monk who spent their lives copying texts during the "Dark Ages." (Especially my Hibernian bretheren.) The vocabulary of the Geeks would not have survived to be incorporated into English without the monks. When they began teaching at the universities, they taught the pagans as they understood them in the Christian context. We are the heirs to that understanding.

(2) Our understanding of the Greeks, and thus their thoughts on morality, are also mediated by our culture. And I don't imagine anyone will deny that Christianity has shaped Western culture. Can't get away from that. (Unless you're a Straussian, in which case I understand you get a secret Greek-text decoder ring.)

(3) Aristotle thought ethics--and the virtues that lead man to behave ethically-- had to be taught within a culture. Though ethical behavior /is/ in accord with reason, it is a practical matter in the literal sense. Man /does/ what is right, and does so because he has become virtuous. He doesn't "reason to right," but /does/ what is right because he is virtuous. Virtue ethics" in present-day philosophy is associated with Thomism, /not/ with enlightenment rationalism.

(4) He and Plato didn't like the sophists' attacks on Greek religion.

(5) Etc.
11.8.2008 12:45am
Hoosier:
Elliot123
"/You/ can't even speak about values and morality without using a vocabulary that came to us Westerners through /my/ Church."

"Were Greek and Latin invented by the Council of Nicea?"

You can look up "through" in the dictionary. I'll wait.

Got it now? Good.

So, now that you have mentioned the Nicean Council, wanna tell me if the Church through its councils did or did not shape the Western understanding of Latin and Greek terms used to speak about morality?

There's not much point for me to do this, is there?
11.8.2008 12:50am
MCM (mail):
Hoosier
I sort of despair of this conversation continuing since the format of the comment section doesn't exactly lend itself to a real discussion of the topic you raised. But first I'll point out that you're talking about our Church, not your Church. I would point out that Church thinkers were incapable of writing of values and morality without using a vocabulary that came from Greek and Roman pagans, as well as some Arabs. So I wouldn't be so quick to claim a monopoly on truth.

Second, you would do well to realize that you are completely ignorant of the values I hold, so you have no idea where they came from. More importantly, you implicitly pose the question of where the first cultures received their values. If your answer involves the literal truth of Genesis, we can end this now.

Third, you seem to mock the idea that "sense data goes into your brain, and values come out", which seems to suggest that things get into your brain by some path OTHER than sense data? I'm all ears. Or eyes. Or whatever mystical faculty it is that allows me to perceive "truth".

Fourth, the idea that the Enlightenment was unable to come up with replacements for religious tradition is mind-boggling. Although I suppose GWB isn't that far from invoking divine right at times. I mean, where to begin? Do you have any comprehension of the stranglehold the Church (and religious belief generally) had on life three centuries ago?

Finally, you can't use logic to derive first principles, but you can certainly use it to discard first principles if they logically lead you to conclusions that are demonstrably false.
11.8.2008 12:50am
David Warner:
MarkField,

"He can, you know. His vocabulary might be a little stilted because limited to Plato and Aristotle, but it's not like they didn't discuss values and morality."

Yeah, but then you miss the Jews. The history of values and morality without Jews is like, well, the present United States without Jews: a much poorer and stupider place.
11.8.2008 12:51am
Guest12345:
Not coincidentally, $1,000,000 is the exact maximum amount a 501(c)(3) organization is permitted to spend on direct lobbying under the 501(h) expenditure test.


And is giving $1,000,000 to another organization -- for purposes of asking the public to vote a particular way -- considered direct lobbying? Seems like it fits more under the umbrella of grass roots lobbying, in which case they went over budget by $750,000. Except that it doesn't appear that Prop 8 would be legislation anyway.
11.8.2008 12:55am
Hoosier:
David Warner:

"I believe his use of "progressive" here was descriptive"

That was the idea; otherwise I would have said "Jacobin";

"and only incidentally insultative."

LM's post was the first time that I have heard "progressive" is insulting to . . . to /whom/? What am I supposed to call the people who used to like the term "liberal," but now don't? ("Jacobins"?)

"I don't believe I've heard him use the word "liberal", especially as an insult."

Thanks. I don't use it as an insult. People disagree about these things. You can call me "conservative" if you want. Or Burkean. (Not "Jacobin," though. Hate that.)

"And I believe that Kant might have a thing or two to add to the conversation re: how observations become evaluations."

Yes he did. But I can't understand a blessed word the man wrote.
11.8.2008 12:56am
David Warner:
MCM,

"Finally, you can't use logic to derive first principles, but you can certainly use it to discard first principles if they logically lead you to conclusions that are demonstrably false."

Until you knock them all out and get a nice Pomo web to play with. Good luck building any non-coercion/tribe-based consensus with that. Also, Godel implies that a more humble approach to logical consistency might be in order. See Popper and Berlin for suggestions.
11.8.2008 12:59am
Guest12345:
It appears that ballot initiatives and amendments are covered under the definition of legislation.
11.8.2008 1:03am
David Warner:
Hooiser,

"Yes he did. But I can't understand a blessed word the man wrote."

He's from the country of Europe. They have translations now.
11.8.2008 1:03am
JoshD33 (mail):
b"Except the tax limitation extends only to supporting candidates. Chruches are free to support ballot initiatives one way or the other."

"For information on tax exemption see: The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

Proposition 8 is not a political candidate."

...except you are wrong. Religious institutions are especially prohibited by the IRS from excessive lobbying. See p6-7 of http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

"The LDS church believes that gay marriage is bad for society. The LDS church did not donate money to the effort. Instead, it asked its members to donate."

...except the LDS itself DID donate money to the effort. The following links show that the LDS church donated nearly $5,000 to Yes on Prop 8:

Donation for $2864.21

Donation for $2078.97

Thanks for playing, though.
11.8.2008 1:06am
Aaron Williams (mail):

To put it another way, say we let gay people get married. And I'll still claim that marriage is tied to children. Why aren't the gay people just outliers too? Why is it that when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old man, that keeps marriage tied to procreation, but when we let a 60 year old woman marry a 60 year old woman, that doesn't? Both couples have 0% chance of having children


News flash: laws are arbitrary. Why do 21 year-olds get to drink while 20 year-olds don't? Arbitrariness. Why do 16 year-olds get to drive while 15 year-olds don't? Arbitrariness. Why do 18 year-olds get to vote, while 17 year-olds can't? Arbitrariness.

Positive benefits conferred by the state rarely apply to *every* person; there is almost always some dividing line where society has said 'here's the line'.

The prevailing marriage dividing line limits marriage to only those (1) of legal age; (2) of no relation to the proposed spouse; (3) of the opposite sex of the proposed spouse and (4) marrying only one other person.

All the above are totally arbitrary. There's no consistent philosophical good maximized by all those criteria other than that's what society seems to want.
11.8.2008 1:10am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Historically, we'd have lost Plato and Aristotle without all those non-enlightened monk who spent their lives copying texts during the "Dark Ages."

I suppose we can say the same thing about those non-Hibernian Muslims who preserved Plato and Aristotle and passed them on to the West. We can even use the word "through."

I wonder who the vocabulary for speaking of values and morality passed through getting to the Church?

The Greeks and Romans shaped the Western understanding of Latin and Greek terms used to speak about morality, and all those who followed are indebted to them.

"And I don't imagine anyone will deny that Christianity has shaped Western culture."

And I don't expect anyone will deny Greek and Roman culture shaped Christianity. Which came first?
11.8.2008 1:11am
MCM (mail):
(1) Historically, we'd have lost Plato and Aristotle without all those non-enlightened monk who spent their lives copying texts during the "Dark Ages." (Especially my Hibernian bretheren.) The vocabulary of the Geeks would not have survived to be incorporated into English without the monks.

Does the cultural chauvinism ever end? Or does being Irish give you the alchemical to transmute sufficient conditions into necessary ones? Clearly there's absolutely no way that Arabic scholars could have preserved ANYTHING, particularly Plato and Aristotle. Thus the Irish and ONLY THE IRISH could have saved Western civilization.

When they began teaching at the universities, they taught the pagans as they understood them in the Christian context. We are the heirs to that understanding.


Ahh, yes, education. Yet another Church tradition that the Enlightenment was unable to replace...

Regardless, you're not explaining how students reading Plato and Aristotle before reading Aquinas are somehow bound by Thomism without even knowing it. Is somehow the mere intellectual shadow of the Church so powerful that even without knowing it, their very minds are warped and altered? Perhaps, but that makes Christianity one of a million other influences. You're still not really talking about the Church then, but ideas that Church thinkers had; the idea is influential, not the Church. It's mere accident that you get virtue ethics from Greeks instead of from, say, K'ung-fu-tzu.
11.8.2008 1:15am
Guest12345:
Can't tell you about the $2864.21 amount, but the $2078.97 was an in-kind donation. No money donated.
11.8.2008 1:18am
courtwatcher:
Guest12345,
Do you think there's any legal significance to the fact that the donation wasn't cash? I don't see why there would be.
11.8.2008 1:23am
Hoosier:
MCM

"So I wouldn't be so quick to claim a monopoly on truth. "

Didn't. I don't see any point in being conservative if you aren't an epistemological skeptic. But my point about language isn't really related to "truth." I'm talking about the external history of the English language. This is just an empirical matter. Why is anyone challenging me on this?

I know that the Church used Greek and Latin terms. I fact, I am the one who /raised this issue/.

The fact that the Roman church is "my" church doesn't imply that it is mine and only mine. My sons are also Dr. Hoosierwife's sons. Capice?

"Second, you would do well to realize that you are completely ignorant of the values I hold, so you have no idea where they came from."

I am making an epistemological point. You are free to disagree, but you need to respond to my arguments with comments that are not cryptic. (Viz., "I know something an you don't.") If you don't agree with me, prove me wrong. Where /do// your values come from?

"More importantly, you implicitly pose the question of where the first cultures received their values. If your answer involves the literal truth of Genesis, we can end this now."

Are you actually a Catholic, or was that a rhetorical point? (Seriously, not snarkily. That last comment just seems to come from a Protestant postition.) Do you know (m)any Catholics who are biblical literalists? The Pope isn't one. So I feel pretty gosh darned OK about my historical-critical approach to scripture.

"Third, you seem to mock the idea that "sense data goes into your brain, and values come out", which seems to suggest that things get into your brain by some path OTHER than sense data? I'm all ears. Or eyes. Or whatever mystical faculty it is that allows me to perceive "truth". "

It's the Straussian secret decoder ring. Pay closer attention. Your sarcasm doesn't fill me with hope that our discussion of the question you raise will be very fruitful. I'll just ask you to read up on John Searle's take on this matter. I want a five-page report on my desk by this time next week.

"Fourth, the idea that the Enlightenment was unable to come up with replacements for religious tradition is mind-boggling. Although I suppose GWB isn't that far from invoking divine right at times. I mean, where to begin? Do you have any comprehension of the stranglehold the Church (and religious belief generally) had on life three centuries ago? "

First part: more sarcasm. Let me know when you have something to contribute.

Second part: That's just historical ignorance, oh my brother. The period of which we speak didn't have Enlightenment ideas, since it came before the Enlightenment. The intellectual competition of the Latin Church in the Middle Ages was limited to /other theologies/. Which one do you prefer?

Second paper assignment: A zero-word report on the impact of /secular/ Medieval universities on the coming of the Enlightenment.

OR

You may choose to write on literacy in the secular schools and the growth of European libraries /outside the Church/ from 900 to 1400. Also zero-word limit.
11.8.2008 1:26am
Hoosier:
MCM

"Does the cultural chauvinism ever end? Or does being Irish give you the alchemical to transmute sufficient conditions into necessary ones? Clearly there's absolutely no way that Arabic scholars could have preserved ANYTHING, particularly Plato and Aristotle. Thus the Irish and ONLY THE IRISH could have saved Western civilization."

Um. Yeah. Where to begin?

How about here: Did the Arabic writings come into Western consciousness through alchemy? Or did someone gather, translate, and propagate them at monasteries and universities? (Hint: "monasteries".) I know that it's now cool to say "It was the Arabs!" Some ability to make distinctions about what was and what was not from the Arabs would be nice. But let's concede that there was a conduit to the West. And it wasn't Voltaire.

"Ahh, yes, education. Yet another Church tradition that the Enlightenment was unable to replace..."

Only in the sense that my genetic inheritance means that I "replace" my mom and dad. What an odd point you seek to make, 1900.

Your final paragraph is a mess. Not worth diving into
that (b)ramble. Write when you find work.
11.8.2008 1:33am
Cold Warrior:

Update:

I should have noted that given the unusual history of Mormons in the United States and their periodic struggles with polygamist schism groups, it is easy to understand why the mainstream Mormon Church would have a particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage.


No, it is not at all "easy to understand why." I mean, only in the "every man hates what he has to deny" sense.

Remember: it was official doctrine of the LDS Church -- from its inception until roughly the time of Utah statehood, when a fortuitously-timed revelation changed things -- that polygamy was the command of God.

So one might naturally think that the members of such a church would be open to the formation of similarly unorthodox marital relationships by others. Why ever not?

Think of it this way: it is commonly-accepted that Islamic doctrine allows for the taking of up to 4 wives. Would it not strike you as absurd if fundamentalists Muslims were to pump millions and millions of dollars into a campaign to eliminate one unorthodox form of marriage, all the while continuing to believe that plural marriage ought to be perfectly permissible?

Yes, it's different because polygamy was banned by the Church 115 years ago. But does the Church hold that, in retrospect, all those plural marriages from 1830-1890 were abominations against God? No. The Church honors them. They were lawful (under LDS "Canon Law") when they were entered into, and the participants in those marriages are not subject to scorn. (Just embarrassment at the hands of Church authorities, as you'll rarely see any official Church mention of, for example, the many wives of Brigham Young.)

So I repeat: why is is "understandable" that a Church founded, in part, on a very unorthodox view of marriage would now vehemently oppose somebody else's unorthodox view of marriage?

Just wondering.
11.8.2008 1:35am
Hoosier:
Elliot123

I'm not going through this yet again. When you have something that actually challenges what I've laid out, I'd be thrilled to hear it. Until then, enjoy your weekend.
11.8.2008 1:36am
Sam Draper (mail):
Matthew 5:10-11.
11.8.2008 1:38am
MCM (mail):
David Warner
"Until you knock them all out and get a nice Pomo web to play with. Good luck building any non-coercion/tribe-based consensus with that."

Oh, so you already know that all first principles are demonstrably false? You should have said something earlier!

"Also, Godel implies that a more humble approach to logical consistency might be in order. See Popper and Berlin for suggestions."

I would be satisfied with an incomplete but consistent value system, as opposed to a complete but inconsistent one.

And Popper on logic is just embarrassing. I might as well read Rand.
11.8.2008 1:39am
Hoosier:
Sam Draper

Excellent! Finally we get to the box scores.

I won some serious coin on this game:

Corinthians 12:17-18
Hebrews 6:11-20
11.8.2008 1:41am
ToddEd:
MCM,
I think you just got intellectually rag-dolled. I'll confess, it was fun to watch.
11.8.2008 1:41am
Hoosier:
And Popper on logic is just embarrassing.

I think David meant Karl Popper. Not the guy with the penguins.
11.8.2008 1:44am
Cold Warrior:
I should add (and maybe our LDS friends can help me out here):

The participants in 19th Century plural marriage are not considered to be worthy of scorn because they dutifully followed Church doctrine of the time. However, the LDS Church does an awful lot of posthumous marrying ... does this include severing posthumous marriages and remarrying the "divorced" parties to achieve one woman - one man marriages in the Celestial Kingdom?

If not, why not? After all, if the Church takes dead non-Mormons and converts them to Mormonism, and then sometimes marries the new converts to another Mormon, why (if anything other than one woman-one man marriage is now considered an abomination) wouldn't they also sever 19th C. plural marriages to make everything kosher in the afterlife?

Please, no attacks. I know I've probably misused some Church nomenclature; that's an honest mistake, not some kind of snarky comment. I am a Catholic, and I know it is easy to ridicule matters of faith and doctrine, and that's not what I'm trying to do. I am honestly trying to understand what motivates the LDS Church and individual Mormons to take special action in the sphere of marriage law. I just find it curious given the persecution Mormons so obviously faced based on their own unorthodox practices not so long ago.
11.8.2008 1:45am
MCM (mail):
MCM,
I think you just got intellectually rag-dolled. I'll confess, it was fun to watch.


It certainly seems that way, except when you notice that Hoosier avoids every question he can't conveniently answer, or simply incants the name of a philosopher who once had something to say on a subject, and then weaves his own sarcasm in with his disapproval of mine.
11.8.2008 1:52am
Guest12345:

Guest12345,
Do you think there's any legal significance to the fact that the donation wasn't cash? I don't see why there would be.


I have no idea of any legal significance. But I would hope, that if JoshD33 has any intellectual honesty, that it might have some smugness significance.
11.8.2008 1:53am
MCM (mail):
Hoosier:
"I think David meant Karl Popper. Not the guy with the penguins."

Ah, you've reached the limits of my intellectual training. I'll come back when I've completed Mr. Popper's Penguins, which I'm embarrassed to say wasn't taught in my school. Probably because I never had any Irish teachers.
11.8.2008 1:55am
David Warner:
Hoosier,

I'm thinking the flood of eastern documents (many with an Arabic pedigree) that headed west with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, sparking the Renaissance, will now enter the conversation. Of course my hero Erasmus was very much the Churchman, so I'm still on the Hoosier side.

On the other hand, I'm a math guy. There's a reason Al-Jibra sounds like Al-Qaeda.

Plus, leaving those stiff-necked Israelites out of the discussion is just silly.
11.8.2008 2:07am
MCM (mail):
"Does the cultural chauvinism ever end? Or does being Irish give you the alchemical to transmute sufficient conditions into necessary ones? Clearly there's absolutely no way that Arabic scholars could have preserved ANYTHING, particularly Plato and Aristotle. Thus the Irish and ONLY THE IRISH could have saved Western civilization."

Um. Yeah. Where to begin?

How about here: Did the Arabic writings come into Western consciousness through alchemy? Or did someone gather, translate, and propagate them at monasteries and universities? (Hint: "monasteries".) I know that it's now cool to say "It was the Arabs!" Some ability to make distinctions about what was and what was not from the Arabs would be nice. But let's concede that there was a conduit to the West. And it wasn't Voltaire.


You do understand the difference between "could have" and "did", right? Congratulations on having your ethnic group come out as winner of that particular historical lottery.

"Fourth, the idea that the Enlightenment was unable to come up with replacements for religious tradition is mind-boggling. Although I suppose GWB isn't that far from invoking divine right at times. I mean, where to begin? Do you have any comprehension of the stranglehold the Church (and religious belief generally) had on life three centuries ago?"

First part: more sarcasm. Let me know when you have something to contribute.


Something about practising what you preach... here's another good example:

"More importantly, you implicitly pose the question of where the first cultures received their values. If your answer involves the literal truth of Genesis, we can end this now."

Are you actually a Catholic, or was that a rhetorical point? (Seriously, not snarkily. That last comment just seems to come from a Protestant postition.) Do you know (m)any Catholics who are biblical literalists? The Pope isn't one. So I feel pretty gosh darned OK about my historical-critical approach to scripture.


So... again, where did the first cultures get their values? (Am I actually Catholic, yes. Do I know any Catholics who are biblical literalists? In all seriousness, are you saying there aren't any? Obivously it's not the Church's teaching, but there definitely are some.)

The fact that the Roman church is "my" church doesn't imply that it is mine and only mine. My sons are also Dr. Hoosierwife's sons. Capice?


Sure, on its own. However what you actually said was:

/You/ can't even speak about values and morality without using a vocabulary that came to us Westerners through /my/ Church.


You are using those forward slashes for emphasis, I believe?
11.8.2008 2:10am
Cold Warrior:
Continuing my conversation with myself (maybe Zywicki will read it someday, maybe some LDS reader will pick up the argument; who knows?), here's a clip from a Washington Post-Newsweek online "On Faith" article from just last month (author: David Waters). It supports my understanding that Mormons still solemnize posthumous plural marriages, and it asks the same question I asked: ironic that the Church so opposes gay marriage when it still believes that a very unorthodox form of marriage is good (or even ideal), albeit in the afterlife rather than here and now on earth:


LDS leaders are encouraging (some say demanding) congregational leaders to speak against gay marriage and to solicit volunteers and donations to support Prop 8, which would amend the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex marriage and define marriage as a legal union "between a man and a woman." To their credit, LDS leaders are aware of the irony.

In a frank and fascinating discussion of the issue, Elder Dallin H. Oaks was asked about the irony of LDS activism against gay marriage "when in the minds of so many people in the United States and around the world the Church is known for once supporting a very untraditional marriage arrangement -- that is, polygamy?"

"I see irony in that if one views it without the belief that we affirm in divine revelation," Oaks said. "The 19th century Mormons, including some of my ancestors, were not eager to practice plural marriage. They followed the example of Brigham Young, who expressed his profound negative feelings when he first had this principle revealed to him. The Mormons of the 19th century who practiced plural marriage, male and female, did so because they felt it was a duty put upon them by God . . . In short, if you start with the assumption of continuing revelation, on which this Church is founded, then you can understand that there is no irony in this."
11.8.2008 2:20am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm not going through this yet again. When you have something that actually challenges what I've laid out, I'd be thrilled to hear it. Until then, enjoy your weekend."

Of course you're not going through it again. Why make the same mistake twice?
11.8.2008 2:26am
David Warner:
MCM,

"I would be satisfied with an incomplete but consistent value system, as opposed to a complete but inconsistent one."

On what grounds? Doh!

Oh yeah, you can just pull another hobgoblin rabbit out of your Pomo hat, that hobgoblin rabbit himself wearing a hat, and so on. I wish you well with your consistency, but you do look foolish in that hat.

We each alone do not get to set the boundaries on the completeness of our own understanding, if we wish to be more than merely alone.
11.8.2008 2:27am
CA Steven:
I believe the original reasoning behind protesting the LDS Temple in LA was due to the LDS Church's organized effort and influence. Yes, the Church only gave approximately $5,000, but it had an organized effort within the state to send local church leaders to visit with individual LDS members and suggest specific amounts to contribute to the Yes on 8 Campaign based on those individual familes' profession/income with the minimum at $1000 per family. It has also been speculated by some LDS members whether they used tithing records to figure out the specific amount to contribute. (Here is a blog post from an LDS member that corroborates.) The Yes on 8 Campaign, itself, estimated that approximately 40% or about $14 million of the campaigns funds came from members of the the LDS Church.

That being said, it does appear that some of the crowd did not exercise better judgment in how to voice their protestation of this sort of organized effort of the LDS Church to enshrine religiously based beliefs into the state Constitution. Certainly angry, frustrated, and anguished people who feel bereft and betrayed as second class citizens lashed out unproductively and in an ugly, inappropriate manner. None of that is excusable, and the organizers (if there were any, really) should have focused the protesters in a more productive manner.

The reasoning behind the protest seem valid and sound, but the execution left something to be desired.
11.8.2008 2:30am
David Warner:
MCM,

I think he's making a philological argument that present concepts are inevitably shaped by their own genealogy. The (Irish) ethnicity of a certain link in that chain was raised primarily as a jocular boast. Not entirely - the character of those Irish monks was among the highest produced by humankind.
11.8.2008 2:36am
LM (mail):
David Warner,

I believe his use of "progressive" here was descriptive and only incidentally insultative.

That was kind of the point. Though many people here do use "liberal" as an insult, Hoosier isn't that crass, so I was implying something else.

I hope Elliot will correct me if I'm wrong, but I've inferred he's somewhere on a conservative-libertarian-atheist axis, an inference I assume Hoosier shares. The description I'd most expect Elliot to deny is "liberal"/"progressive" (as those terms are usually used politically in this country).

When Hoosier was offended by Elliot's comment it looked to me like he called Elliot a "progressive" not to insult Elliot, but progressives, i.e., 'Elliot must be a progressive, because conservatives don't say things that obnoxiously anti-Catholic.' Except that Elliot is kind of, inconveniently, a conservative.

I intended my comment as a means for Hoosier to climb off what I thought he meant or if I was wrong to correct my misunderstanding, a possibility I still don't rule out. But his reply to your reply to me did neither.

Hoosier?
11.8.2008 2:48am
tom:
@ Cold warrior

The work for the dead done in LDS temples simply tries to replicate marriages conducted while the folks were living. We do not, to my knowledge, assume to get more creative than that. We do not currently solemnize posthumous plural marriages. As for plural marriage/ same-sex marriage, LDS folks believe whatever God says is right, though we may not understand why at the time. We also tend to believe that because God owns marriage, he can change it at will.
Easy to critique positions? For volokh regulars, sure! Thankfully, I don't lose much sleep over what libertarian lawyers might think of my religious beliefs...
If you have follow-ups, send them to boxturtlehatemail@gmail.com. I hate to hijack the thread.
11.8.2008 2:53am
Cold Warrior:
Thanks, Tom.

I'll take your word for it.

Still, my point remains (and it also stands as a criticism of my own Church's role in the political arena): why should one believe that the rules of man on earth (the marriage laws) ought to correspond to the rules of God in heaven?

Example: the Catholic Church in America (or at least a number of its subunit dioceses) has opposed gay marriage. This strikes me as odd, since in the eyes of the Church a gay marriage has zero validity, much like a second marriage of a divorced Catholic who has not been granted an annulment by the Church has no validity.

So if it has no validity, why worry about it? A civil gay marriage is, to the Church, no more or less meaningful than a civil man-woman marriage. Neither of them count for anything in the eyes of the Church.

So why be bothered?
11.8.2008 3:34am
Cornellian (mail):
much like a second marriage of a divorced Catholic who has not been granted an annulment by the Church has no validity.

So if it has no validity, why worry about it? A civil gay marriage is, to the Church, no more or less meaningful than a civil man-woman marriage. Neither of them count for anything in the eyes of the Church.

So why be bothered?


Perhaps because the number of gay people is miniscule compared to the number of divorced straight people? If the Catholic Church railed against the "threat" to the family posed by divorced people the way they currently complain about gay people they'd have an even harder time filling those pews than they do now. Much easier to pick on the tiny minority.
11.8.2008 3:45am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):
Wow, almost 300 comments and I'm only now arriving. Seems I've missed some of the fun. Still:


So if the protestors want to vent their outrage, maybe they oughta go over to the local black church and call them "bigots" and chant "shame on you." But then again, that wouldn't be very politically correct, would it? Whereas who is going to stick up for the Mormons? Other than that vast and powerful well-oiled Mormon political machine that launched Mitt Romney into the White House this year, of course.

This is utterly shameful behavior. I understand why the losers on Proposition 8 are frustrated. But scapegoating the Mormons simply because it is politically-correct to single them out is really over the line. Read the linked story for the sorts of Mormon-bashing advertisements that were being run by the anti-Prop 8 groups.


There is no nationally organized black church, so while many activists may be very upset with blacks in general who voted for this proposition, I'm not sure what they're supposed to do about that short of protesting every black who voted for it. The Mormons are a large, relatively unified church that engaged in a fairly broad program to support this proposition, so they make for a fairly easy target for those reasons and not because it's "politically correct" to do so.
This has nothing to do with anti-religious or anti-mormon bigotry and it's very silly to say otherwise.
11.8.2008 3:58am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):
Also, this makes no sense:


I should have noted that given the unusual history of Mormons in the United States and their periodic struggles with polygamist schism groups, it is easy to understand why the mainstream Mormon Church would have a particular interest in opposing efforts to weaken the traditional definition of marriage.


So, because at one time the Mormons engaged in non-traditional marriage practices, and are now embarrassed by that particular bit of history, they zealously oppose anyone else's non-traditional marriage practices? Why? To "prove" that they support traditional marriage so nobody would think otherwise?

Let's be clear: the Mormons are opposed to gay marriage because they are religiously conservative and don't have a problem asserting their own moral beliefs on others, just like other conservative Christians. Let's not try to grant them any excuses, shall we?
11.8.2008 4:01am
pgspat (mail):
The LDS knew that all this would happen. I think they want this rift with gay america to somehow increase membership or raise money... who knows. I don't care what the LDS does behind the closed doors of their temples... just keep it there.. away from decent gay people who are trying to live our lives the best we can. I haven't done one nasty thing to mormons (well except vote Marie Osmond off dancing with the stars) I think they are just as Christian as any other church. I just don't want to see that stuff in public in California... please keep your religion private.
11.8.2008 4:46am
Public_Defender (mail):
I don't remember many conservatives defending Rev. Wright saying that it's somehow improper to condemn his religious views because they're religious views. The same thing applies to Mormons.

The Mormon Church worked hard to strip a tiny minority of some very basic rights. People are ticked. Religious institutions shouldn't escape responsibility for immoral positions just because they're religious institutions. If you join the political fray, you join the political fray.

Of course, criticism of the Mormon Church can and does sometimes go too far. But peaceful picketing against an institution that has taken what you believe to be a bigoted position is perfectly fair and perfectly American.

Other non-religious groups aren't escaping protest. Remember the Hyatt boycott? Also, this past week, Jon Stewart said of black support for the measure, words close to, "From oppressed to oppressor, how long did that take? Twenty-four hours? Free at last! Free at last! Hey! Where are you two guys going?"
11.8.2008 4:52am
RobS:
The LDS church has always taught that people can control their own behavior despite natural tendencies. I think this common belief between libertarians and the LDS should illustrate the real problem, government sanction of marriage and government schools involved in sex education.

School vouchers and civil unions for all.
11.8.2008 8:23am
Aluwid:
Cold Warrior:


So I repeat: why is is "understandable" that a Church founded, in part, on a very unorthodox view of marriage would now vehemently oppose somebody else's unorthodox view of marriage?


I think you're looking at this the wrong way. Consider this, what was the effect of the LDS Church having an unorthodox view of marriage? Their leaders were jailed, their property was confiscated, etc. This didn't stop until the church changed it's practices and banned plural marriage.

Now a subset of society is trying to change the current definition of marriage. The threat is that in time society will change the orthodox view of marriage to include same-sex couples, the LDS Church will not, putting it in the same uncomfortable position it was a century ago when the government persecuted it to force it to give in.

I don't believe that is the core reason why the LDS Church is pushing back so strongly against same-sex marriage. I think it has more to do with our view that homosexual activity is a sin and concern about the collateral impact of same-sex marriage (more normalization = more people engaging in homosexual activity). But I think that people completely misread the expected impact that the past polygamous history of the LDS Church would have on how they handle this subject.
11.8.2008 8:44am
Hoosier:
LM

When Hoosier was offended by Elliot's comment it looked to me like he called Elliot a "progressive" not to insult Elliot, but progressives, i.e., 'Elliot must be a progressive, because conservatives don't say things that obnoxiously anti-Catholic.'

No. I know better than that. Some--many?--Fundamentalists still say much worse things about Catholics. Usually among themselves these days, but that doesn't fool anyone. To further complicate this issue, African American Fundamentalists are some of the worst offenders.

I still am not sure what you want from me regarding the word "progressive." Again, I don't use it as a pejorative, the way I'd use a word like, say, "Episcopalian," "Wolverine," or "Cheese Head."

I readily concede that I don't think progressivism is a good way of looking at the world. And I kinda don't get how people still believe in the possibility of man's linear progress after WWI. But, hey, live and let live, right? (Or not, which was the problem with WWI.)

Regarding Elliot, when I said "you and like minded progressives" (NB: Not set off in quotes anymore, because I'm flexible), I meant like minded with regard to this issue. To rephrase it for the sake of clarity: "you and progressives who agree with you." Does that help?
11.8.2008 9:59am
AdamTheMormon (mail):
SethP: Not that it's particularly relevant to the discussion, but to correct your information on blacks and the Mormon Church, as TPJ mentioned, blacks have been a part of the Church since its inception. In fact, the primary source of Mormon persecution in Missouri was because the Mormons were against slavery and Missouri was a Southern state. And as an addendum to TPJ's refutation to your ignorance, Joseph Smith actually gave the priesthood to at least one black man, and probably another two or three.

The prohibition on the priesthood to blacks was simply a product of racist times and hardly unique to the Mormon Church. And as early as the 1950s, the Mormon leadership was questioning the restriction implemented by Brigham Young. While some Mormon leaders tried to find doctrinal justification for the policy, the Church never formally announced a doctrinal justification for it.
11.8.2008 10:00am
Hoosier:
Final point that isn't, strictly speaking, relevant. But which is nevertheless interesting: Conservative Fundamentalists are among the most consistent bashers of the LDS.

Interesting fact: The chasm between Fundamentalists and Catholics was bridged significantly in some circles by Roe v. Wade; Protestants found themselves working side-by-side with Catholics in their towns and states, and a large number decided that we weren't as bad as their grandpa said we were. Americans are rather exceptional in world history in that we are willing to overlook our neighbor's Hell-hatched heresy, as long as he votes like we do.

A possibility that SSM might build bridges between the heirs of Jospeh Smith and, respectively, of Jerry Falwell? Stay tuned. But progressives might want to monitor the situation, and react before it's to late.
11.8.2008 10:07am
Hoosier:
2x-y* said:

except when you notice that Hoosier avoids every question he can't conveniently answer, or simply incants the name of a philosopher


John Searle is actually a philosopher?!!! How crazy is that? I was just BSing. I've never heard of him.


*(x=1000; y=100)
11.8.2008 10:38am
trad and anon:
Seth P., not sure what anti-Mormon site you get your info from, but Blacks have been allowed membership into the LDS Church since inception. They were forbidden from the "priesthood" until the 70's thus preventing them from operating in a leadership role. This wasn't exactly a unique situation in our country at that time.
The LDS Church has a lay priesthood and all men are typically admitted to it at age 12. Blacks weren't just forbidden from operating in a full-time ministerial role: all Mormon men are considered to be in a leadership role relative to the women (and children), except that black men weren't allowed to. While any white man could perform the rituals upon which his salvation and the salvation of his family depended, a black man could not. He had to get a white man to do it for him.

The worst part about this is that the doctrinal change wasn't that the previous doctrine was wrong. Until the 1970's, Mormon theology holds, black people were particularly despised by God because they were all afflicted with several extra doses of original sin. But in 1970's God finally found it in his heart to forgive them for being black, hence the "new revelation."
11.8.2008 10:59am
Hoosier:
Elliot said:
Why make the same mistake twice?

Deep question. I don't have an answer. This is very much on point, however, and might help:

www.amazon.com/gp/reader/ 0060892994/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

Goo luck in your quest for wisdom.
11.8.2008 10:59am
MarkField (mail):

Yeah, but then you miss the Jews. The history of values and morality without Jews is like, well, the present United States without Jews: a much poorer and stupider place.


Sure, if you limit yourself to Plato and Aristotle, you'll miss a lot. My point was only that it's possible to conduct a moral discussion without Catholic intermediaries (and that's assuming that Catholicism itself could be disentangled from Neo-Platonism).


Historically, we'd have lost Plato and Aristotle without all those non-enlightened monk who spent their lives copying texts during the "Dark Ages." (Especially my Hibernian bretheren.) The vocabulary of the Geeks would not have survived to be incorporated into English without the monks.


This is a weaker claim that I understood you to be making. In this sense, of course you're correct.


Our understanding of the Greeks, and thus their thoughts on morality, are also mediated by our culture. And I don't imagine anyone will deny that Christianity has shaped Western culture.


This is closer to what I originally thought you were saying. While I agree with this, I do so only up to a point. Just as Catholicism has shaped Western culture, so pre-Christian Western culture has shaped Catholicism. The language of values isn't unique to the Church and didn't begin with the Church. Today, as a result of the work of lots of secular philosophers and of moral traditions outside the West, we use a vocabulary influenced in many ways.

The real question, it seems to me, is whether we can discuss moral values other than those endorsed by the Church. There's no doubt we can, even if we use terms which originated in the Church for a different purpose.
11.8.2008 11:19am
Heh:

please keep your religion private.


Freedom for me, but not for thee? How charming. The religious have just as much right to wear it on their sleeves as anyone else. That's how the USA rolls :)
11.8.2008 11:29am
Elais:
Folks claiming that Prop 8 does not target any specific group are morons. THe ONLY reason folks start getting all hot and bothered over marriage and suddenly feeling it needed 'defending' is that a specific group was seeking marriage. And a specific group IS target by prop 8, anyone who says otherwise is a hypocrite.

Polgamy has and still does exist for a long time and apparently no one felt they needed to 'defend' marriage from that. Only when gays started getting uppity did people start screaming that marriage be their own priviledge and no one else's
11.8.2008 11:36am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I hope Elliot will correct me if I'm wrong, but I've inferred he's somewhere on a conservative-libertarian-atheist axis, an inference I assume Hoosier shares. The description I'd most expect Elliot to deny is "liberal"/"progressive" (as those terms are usually used politically in this country)."

I've been called many things over the years, some good, some bad, and some truly nasty. But, Hoosier has the soiled the the common decency that binds us all together as a community with his implication I am a "Progressive." Harsh. Really harsh. I suppose "Stink Fish" will be the next vile clot of invective loosed upon the bandwidth. But I'll bind the wound, haul myself up, and somehow hobble back on the field.

However, in some ways it has been a valuable experience. I now know, deep in my heart, the ache and agony inflicted by unbridled insult and hate speech. I know the wound. I know the injury. I know the chill. I now understand the calls for speech codes to curb the Hoosiers of the world. I now share the pain. It's real.
11.8.2008 11:51am
Heh:

The Mormon Church worked hard to strip a tiny minority of some very basic rights. People are ticked


It's worth noting that some "people were ticked" when the courts suddenly pulled a "right" out of thin air. And it looks like they made their feelings known at the ballot box. Sure, some will make excuses about this or that, but at the end of the day the people voted against it because they didn't want it.

Maybe if the gay community spent half as much effort trying to win in the court of public opinion, instead of the court system, they'd see better results. I have always suspected that the majority of religious people in the USA can be convinced that being gay isn't wrong or a sin. But again, that requires work to convince them. It requires an investment of time and effort, and it requires a willingness to extend the hand and ask for friendship.

I think if the answer to this loss is to try to get the court system to overthrow it, the backlash will be even worse next time. So take the time to start reaching out to those who don't agree. Talk to them respectfully, and find the middle ground. Right now the reaction seems to be blaming religions and acting a bit racist. If you stop now, people will overlook it. If it keeps going, you'll just make things worse.
11.8.2008 11:56am
Heh:

Polgamy has and still does exist for a long time and apparently no one felt they needed to 'defend' marriage from that


Uhh... what? In this country you can't legally be married to more than one person. So unless the courts are going to say polygamous marriages are legal, why would anyone spend any effort to discuss it? Of course, there are some who feel that opening marriage up to anything new is opening the door to polygamy. I don't know if that's true or not, but I understand the concern.

It's a funny side note, but at one point I remember a discussion where it was suggested that LDS might actually support gay marriage, exactly because it might open the door to polygamy. But the impression I got from the LDS I know is that even their current elders don't want to see polygamy come back.
11.8.2008 12:03pm
timid10:
Randy R wrote:


And this is the most frustrating part of the debate. Gays, more than anyone else, know that we don't *choose* to be gay. You just are. Sure, we can try to recruit people. but try as we might, you cannot make someone enjoy something that they don't enjoy. You can't force anyone to be attracted to someone that they are not attracted to.


You state this somewhat matter-of-factly. In reality, no scientific studies exist that prove biological determinism of your sexual preference.

Here is what the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists says about the matter:


No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality... to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.


But you are right, I can't force anyone to be attracted to anyone else any more than I can force my kids to eat their broccoli. You may be biologically predisposed to like same-sex partners, but that is your choice... your sexual preference. I could change my sexual preference tomorrow if I so decided - as can you - but to suggest you were "born that way" and have no choice in the matter is not scientifically valid.

cheers.
11.8.2008 12:04pm
hypocrite:
Wings:
1. The LDS Church actively conspired to defeat Prop 8 through a massive infusion of cash combined with the spreading of lies and disinformation.

Hmmmmm, aren't those the methods the Obama campaign utilized during the general election?
11.8.2008 12:04pm
tom:
trad and anon wrote:

The LDS Church has a lay priesthood and all men are typically admitted to it at age 12

Almost true!! To receive the priesthood one has to be interviewed and found worthy. If one becomes unworthy, it't taken away. Nobody gets to just 'claim' it. Every six months or so we are instructed that the priesthood should not be automatically given just because someone has 'x' number of birthdays.

Blacks weren't just forbidden from operating in a full-time ministerial role: all Mormon men are considered to be in a leadership role relative to the women (and children), except that black men weren't allowed to.

False. Priesthood does not equal leadership in the LDS faith. Otherwise, calling some meetings 'priesthood leadership' meetings (which we do) would be redundant. We view priesthood as a call to serve, not as a sign of rank or leadership. I admit, particular callings do get viewed as leadership callings, but that's pretty far removed from that blanket statement about the priesthood. Men and women are on equal standing, this is taught every general conference. Not necessarilly because the members of the LDS church need to hear it, but because non-LDS folks need to hear it in order to avoid conflating priesthood with status.

While any white man could perform the rituals upon which his salvation and the salvation of his family depended, a black man could not. He had to get a white man to do it for him.

Wrong again. If one's thinking of baptism then that statement is partially correct, but that's a drop in the rituals bucket in LDS theology. 98% of those who currently hold the priesthood can't "perform the rituals upon which their salvation and the salvation of their families is based" it's hardly limited to discrimination against any one group. Expanding on this would be more doctrinal than a discussion of the merits of anti-8 mormon bashing, so you can email me at boxturtlehatemail@gmail.com for follow-ups.

The worst part about this is that the doctrinal change wasn't that the previous doctrine was wrong.

As someone else expained above, there was no official doctrine regrding Blacks and priesthood. It was a practice, so some less patient members tried to bridge the gap with their own 'doctrines'. Those doctrines were never accepted by the LDS church, many were specifically repudiated.

Until the 1970's, Mormon theology holds, black people were particularly despised by God because they were all afflicted with several extra doses of original sin. But in 1970's God finally found it in his heart to forgive them for being black, hence the "new revelation."

That's an example of a false doctrine that was sometimes passed around, without authorization or sanction by the LDS church. Because there's so much misinformation in this area of LDS beliefs, I'm not at all bothered that tread and anon wrote all this misinformation. I'd be bothered however, if anyone gave it creedence.
11.8.2008 12:11pm
Horatio (mail):
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh."

-- Robert A. Heinlein
11.8.2008 12:16pm
Cold Warrior:
Re: my comment about non-Church marriages having no spiritual validity to Mormons and Catholics alike (this is not exactly correct, since "Christian" non-Catholic marriages are valid but defective to Catholis, but I digress), and therefore having no greater standing for those of true faith than "civil unions,", Cornellian said:


Perhaps because the number of gay people is miniscule compared to the number of divorced straight people? If the Catholic Church railed against the "threat" to the family posed by divorced people the way they currently complain about gay people they'd have an even harder time filling those pews than they do now. Much easier to pick on the tiny minority.
Perhaps because the number of gay people is miniscule compared to the number of divorced straight people? If the Catholic Church railed against the "threat" to the family posed by divorced people the way they currently complain about gay people they'd have an even harder time filling those pews than they do now. Much easier to pick on the tiny minority.


Which may be true, but if it is true, it strikes me as sad. The Mormon/Catholic opposition to things like Prop 8 is ostensibly based on a simple construct: that state recognition of "marriage" should as closely as possible reflect the religion's (or some kind of core Judeo-Christian ideal) of marriage. While I do not agree with this construct (since, after all, we render unto Caesar what is Caesar's ...), I can respect it as a fair position for the respective churches to take. After all, you can say that "marriage" was developed in the religious traditions, and states ought not be bastardizing the very name of "marriage" by extending it to all sorts of people who aren't allowed to "marry" within those religious traditions.

But then why not be brutally consistent, and campaign just as vigorously for things such as the "covenant marriage" movement, in which the right to divorce is severely restricted? Doesn't that, too, protect the "traditional religious" definition of marriage (one man, one woman, one lifetime?) Where is the principled Mormon/Catholic opposition to the loosening of divorce laws? Where is the ballot initiative the would prohibit remarriage of the divorced (perhaps with some kind of Catholic/contract law exception if you could show that your prior marriage was entered into with some kind of lack of understanding of the nature of the commitment)? Where is the ballot initiative that would require extensive counseling and training on the rights and responsibilities of marriage -- training that would have to be completed before the state could issue a marriage license?

Until I see the LDS and Catholic Church -- and their membership -- take as much interest in enacting such restrictions on marriage and divorce between and man and a woman, I'm left with just one conclusion: the focus on opposition to gay marriage is based on two rather unsavory factors:

1. The gays are an easier target, so why not pick on them;
2. The battle to limit "marriage" to the traditional Judeo-Christian defitiion (one man, one woman, one life) is a lost cause, so let's not worry about the moral implications of that.
11.8.2008 12:17pm
David Warner:
Elais,

"Polgamy has and still does exist for a long time and apparently no one felt they needed to 'defend' marriage from that."

I take it you're not a lawyer. That's an awfully full empty set you conjecture.
11.8.2008 12:38pm
Mark Allen (www):
11.8.2008 12:44pm
XPolygamistWife (mail) (www):
POLYGAMY IS UTAH'S TALIBAN.

Mormons spend 20 million on Prop 8 and ignore polygamists who practice tyranny over women and children and live on taxpayer handouts.

There are 50-100,000 polygamists in Utah who for 8 generations have been stripped of their democratic and human rights.

There are no programs in Utah to help victims of polygamy, mainly women and children, transition into mainstream society.

The Mormon prophet JOSEPH SMITH started polygamy.

The MORMONS need to get their priorities STRAIGHT

http://www.bankingonheaven.com/

BANKING ON HEAVEN. COM - sign up for polygamy updates
11.8.2008 12:44pm
Mark Allen (www):


Great article! As a man who once struggled with same-sex attraction (gay). I have found happiness. I did not choose to be gay, but I did choose to change my orientation. I couldn't be happier.
11.8.2008 12:46pm
Cold Warrior:
From The Independent (UK):


Daniel Ginnes carried a banner declaring: "No More Mr Nice Gay." Brian Lindsey held up a sign billing Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as a "prophet, polygamist, paedophile." Hundreds of others simply chanted: "Mormon scum."


That final insult? Uncalled for.

Prophet, polygamist, paedophile?

Yes, to Mormons.
Yes, most definitely.
No, not by standards of his time. Perhaps, by modern standards.

This is the founder prophet of the LDS Church. His followers decry gay marriage as an abomination.
11.8.2008 12:48pm
David Warner:
Horatio,

"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh."

And Verse Visa.

MarkField,

"The real question, it seems to me, is whether we can discuss moral values other than those endorsed by the Church. There's no doubt we can, even if we use terms which originated in the Church for a different purpose."

No, I think the real question (i.e. the one raised by Hoosier in response to Elliot, et. al. and engaged by MCM with his call for naked empiricism) is whether moral values endorsed by the Church or even a Church are thereby suspect due to their shady derivation vis-a-vis more Enlightened values derived via a purely secular process. The separation of Church and thought, if you will.

He's saying, as I take it, and I agree, that no such purity exists.
11.8.2008 1:05pm
FactCheck (mail):

See what others think of this issue, and fact-check 1000s of quotes at www.ameritocracy.com
11.8.2008 1:05pm
MarkField (mail):

No, I think the real question (i.e. the one raised by Hoosier in response to Elliot, et. al. and engaged by MCM with his call for naked empiricism) is whether moral values endorsed by the Church or even a Church are thereby suspect due to their shady derivation vis-a-vis more Enlightened values derived via a purely secular process. The separation of Church and thought, if you will.

He's saying, as I take it, and I agree, that no such purity exists.


The way I'd phrase it is that when it comes to legal issues and analysis, the 1A requires us to conduct the discussion without recourse to matters of religious faith. We can use religious terms, but have to support them on a purely secular basis.
11.8.2008 1:35pm
Aaron Williams (mail):
"Polgamy has and still does exist for a long time and apparently no one felt they needed to 'defend' marriage from that."

Did someone actually write this? Polygamy has been a felony since 1882. Has anyone ever been arrested for gay marriage?
11.8.2008 1:35pm
genob:
Where is the outrage and the protest against Barack Obama? Seriously. The post Prop 8 state of affairs in California is precisely what Barack Obama supports. Joe Biden during the debates made a point to be crystal clear that Barack Obama and Joe Biden do not support gay marriage. Period.

I'd even go so far as to say that his very clear position on this issue may have had every bit as much impact on the outcome of Prop. 8 as any spending by the Mormon church or its members.

Yet near universal adoration for Obama. Indeed, unbounded joy on election night in the gay community.

Why?
11.8.2008 1:59pm
Hoosier:
Elliot123:

But, Hoosier has the soiled the the common decency that binds us all together as a community with his implication I am a "Progressive." Harsh. Really harsh. I suppose "Stink Fish" will be the next vile clot of invective loosed upon the bandwidth

You won't hear that from me. I'm sticking with "sweatbeetle-dickweed" for the foreseeable future.

And just to make it clear, I am not skeptical about sensory data. I am rather fond of it, as you all know, when Kate Beckinsale is involved. But that example is instructive of the serious limitations of sense data, since I'd really like to get the other three senses involved in my perception of her.

And finally:

My assertion was that no one comes to his or her opinions on morality purely through the application of reason. This was the implication of the Enlightenment, and they got it wrong.

My challenge was to prove me wrong: Give me a moral statement that is incumbent upon all of us, that is based on secular ontology, and that I cannot reduce to "ethical emotivism," as defined by philosophy.

My proposal is that anyone who wants to make snarky comments about my treatment of Irish history should meet me at "Butch McGuire's Pub" on W. Division in Chicago.
11.8.2008 2:00pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"The way I'd phrase it is that when it comes to legal issues and analysis, the 1A requires us to conduct the discussion without recourse to matters of religious faith. We can use religious terms, but have to support them on a purely secular basis."

Perhaps, but that again presumes a capacity to sort the secular wheat from the spiritual chaff that is problematic, to put it mildly, in practice. Not sure that purity is the standard at which to drive.

That said, attempting again to connect to this thread, the question arose in the context of prejudice against or ignorance of arguments inspired by religious* devotion (to, say, a traditional practice) but advanced on secular grounds.

* - not implying exclusively religious either: philosophical, social scientific, game theoretical, etc. concerns could also be involved, but not purely secular in your formulation
11.8.2008 2:02pm
Hoosier:
(The last of these was meant as an invitation. But now that I read it, I suppose anti-Irish bigots might see it as a threat. The struggle continues . . . )
11.8.2008 2:03pm
Hoosier:
Let me retract everything that I said about the "Genealogy of Morals," in order to make clear my most important question:

If you believe that action A is morally right and Action ~A is morally wrong, how would you explain to me why this is so? (And no fair bringing the transcendent into this, since that's my point. Secularism only.)

Anyone?
11.8.2008 2:11pm
Down from the Ivory Tower:
The Mormons definitely need to be called out for their role in this bigotry. Last I checked, it was the Mormons who tried (and succeeded) to take away the rights of gay people, not vice versa.
11.8.2008 2:16pm
MCM (mail):
""I would be satisfied with an incomplete but consistent value system, as opposed to a complete but inconsistent one."

On what grounds? Doh!

Oh yeah, you can just pull another hobgoblin rabbit out of your Pomo hat, that hobgoblin rabbit himself wearing a hat, and so on. I wish you well with your consistency, but you do look foolish in that hat."

If I recall, Emerson was only talking about a "foolish" consistency. I don't think it's foolish to seek a consistent ethical framework.

Otherwise, don't you have to deal with the principle of explosion?
11.8.2008 2:35pm
MCM (mail):
My proposal is that anyone who wants to make snarky comments about my treatment of Irish history should meet me at "Butch McGuire's Pub" on W. Division in Chicago.


It's walking distance for me, so I accept.

(The last of these was meant as an invitation. But now that I read it, I suppose anti-Irish bigots might see it as a threat. The struggle continues . . . )


Not being pro-Irish partisan makes me an anti-Irish bigot?
11.8.2008 2:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Randy R Wrote:

The Mormons can preach from their pulpit against gay marriage, they can make all these wild and false accusations about gay marriage destroying society and being predators on your little kids, they can raise about $20 million to pass an initiative that harms only gay people, and we are supposed to just sit by and remain silent? Especially when these decisions were made not in CA, but in Utah? Are you really saying that we have no right to be angry at the ones who bankrolled all of this?


Sure, those are valid points. I am more concerned with the tone of things than anything else. I think it is also reasonable to point out two things:

1) Statements aimed at stopping dialog ("YOU BIGOT!") don't help get anything done. While it is certainly within your First Amendment rights to say whatever you want about the Mormons in an appropriate forum, some things are more constructive to everyone than others.

2) Whoever tries to stop dialog loses. If both sides try to stop dialog, then the minority loses.

Finally, historically "Mormon" (CJCLDS) was a slur but like "Quaker" (the Society of Friends) it was adopted by the people it was used against. In more recent times "Heathen" and "Pagan" have had the same effect. Calling it a slur at this point is largely meaningless.

Me? I was raised as a Quaker in Mormon country (central Utah), and eventually left Quakerism for Odhianism in my early 20's.
11.8.2008 2:48pm
MarkField (mail):

If you believe that action A is morally right and Action ~A is morally wrong, how would you explain to me why this is so?


Sorry, but this test is one you have to pass all on your own.
11.8.2008 3:00pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"Sorry, but this test is one you have to pass all on your own."

You grade on a curve too steep.

Which leads into MCM's question:

"If I recall, Emerson was only talking about a "foolish" consistency. I don't think it's foolish to seek a consistent ethical framework."

Certainly consistency is a local good if one values integrity. But to effectively relate to the other(s), self-reflection is essential, and that puts one directly in Godelville. One can, of course, avoid self-reflection to preserve one's consistency (a foolish move, I would assert) but then you wind up with, well, Kos. First principles are, among other things, a tool for building consensus that transcends mere tribes.

"Otherwise, don't you have to deal with the principle of explosion?"

I'm unconvinced that two-valued logic is the correct one to employ for non-man-made systems. Making sense of Popper using two-valued logic would indeed be difficult.
11.8.2008 3:43pm
Hoosier:
YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger.

That's not just unkind. It's dangerous.
11.8.2008 3:48pm
Hoosier:
MarkField


If you believe that action A is morally right and Action ~A is morally wrong, how would you explain to me why this is so?

Sorry, but this test is one you have to pass all on your own.


Unsolicited advice from this Notre Dame alumnus: It doesn't look good when you punt on first down.

MCM

But now that I read it, I suppose anti-Irish bigots might see it as a threat. . .


Not being pro-Irish partisan makes me an anti-Irish bigot?


So you took it as a threat?

It's walking distance for me


Are you east or west of the River/Goose Island? (Only asking because I used to live in Wicker Park. But that was '89-90-ish. So everyone under 30 lived in West Town.) My oldest friend still lives in Bucktown, so I'm actually in the area every now and then. He tells me that Logan Square is now safe. But that can't be true. LK turf. So I suspect he wants to get me killed; life insurance policy on me perhaps?

Just occurred to me: since MCM = 1900 North? [winking emoticon here] Around Armitage?
11.8.2008 4:07pm
Hoosier:
Speaking of the Native Town, I really think I indulged a bit too much in the alternative rock scene's . . . umm . . . 'ancillary attractions' while a foolish youth. Nowadays, when I drive out to visit my buddy in Bucktown, I hallucinate that I'm being followed by huge metal Puerto Rican flags.

Crazy, I know.
11.8.2008 4:18pm
David Warner:
MCM,

As for Emerson, something interesting I found:

"There can be no high civility without a deep morality."

Webs are wide, first principles deep.
11.8.2008 4:20pm
NYNY (mail):
Aren't we missing the point. What if the mormons and the blacks were not a factor but Prop 8 was still passed? Then we would get to the real issue: Is "marriage" a fundamental right that should not be prohibited by the majority? is this not the true argument.
11.8.2008 4:37pm
MCM (mail):
"So you took it as a threat?"

It did have a certain "Will you walk into my parlor?" ring to it...

"Are you east or west of the River/Goose Island?"

East; not quite so far north as 1900. MCM is, disappointingly, nothing more than my initials.
11.8.2008 4:56pm
Batman:
How to justify A and denigrate -A?

Man's moral actions should conform to how his body functions.
Man's sexual organs are intrinsically related to the creation of human life.
Sexual activity between a man and a man can never result in the creation of human life, and hence is wholly unrelated to the creation of human life.
Hence, such activity is an improper use of the sexual organs.
Accordingly, sexual activity between a man and a man is improper, i.e., wrong.

What about that argument? Where's the "emotivism"?
11.8.2008 5:00pm
MarkField (mail):

You grade on a curve too steep.


My response was, intentionally, kind of post-modernist. There are no grand narratives. Hoosier, like Sartre, has to figure this one out on his own. He's a smart guy -- he'll get there.
11.8.2008 5:17pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

i.e., 'Elliot must be a progressive, because conservatives don't say things that obnoxiously anti-Catholic.'

No. I know better than that.

I wasn't suggesting you believe it. I know you don't believe it. I was pointing out that it's what you imply by associating Elliot's comment with progressives.

Regarding Elliot, when I said "you and like minded progressives" (NB: Not set off in quotes anymore, because I'm flexible), I meant like minded with regard to this issue. To rephrase it for the sake of clarity: "you and progressives who agree with you." Does that help?

No. You could have just as easily said, "you and like minded conservatives" or "you and conservatives who agree with you." As you acknowledged, we both know there are progressive anti-Catholic bigots and conservative anti-Catholic bigots. We also know that Elliot doesn't fit properly into either category. What I object to is you breaking the tie by foisting him on us. We've got our own problems.

I still am not sure what you want from me regarding the word "progressive."

You may not say "progressive" to me ever again. You're forbidden to even say "pro," "gre," "ss" or "ive." Instead, say "every NCAA Division I athlete," "a test you take to accumulate elitest credentials," "Prince Harry" and "I have." And of course in the morning you'll continue to refer to "those things sunny side up with toast."
11.8.2008 5:49pm
Hoosier:
No. You could have just as easily said, "you and like minded conservatives" or "you and conservatives who agree with you."

In the context of Prop. 8 and the LDS that wouldn't have made a lot of sense. But I'll see if I have a big enough shoe horn.

You may not say "progressive" to me ever again.

OK. Back to "Jacobin." But I'm telling everyone it was your idea.

You're forbidden to even say "pro," "gre," "ss" or "ive." Instead, say "every NCAA Division I athlete," "a test you take to accumulate elitest credentials," "Prince Harry" and "I have."

Totally hilarious. Except that I took the GRE to accumulate elitist credential. If I'd wanted "elitest" credentials, I'd have gone to USC. Also keep in mind that Northwestern is NCAA Div. I (Olde Style). I don't know if this affects your analysis.

And of course in the morning you'll continue to refer to "those things sunny side up with toast."

Kate Beckinsale's buns? And why are they "with toast"?
11.8.2008 5:59pm
Hoosier:
[Since people have been misreading me on this thread, I feel compelled to clarify that my USC reference was ironic. Because I am a Domer, and we malign Trojans. "Trojans Break." That sort of thing.]
11.8.2008 6:01pm
bugmenot:
Mr, Zywicki: let me see if I understand this correctly. The Mormon church is about as marginalized as the Hiltons or DuPonts, and bankrolled the "yes on 8" campaign. And yet they are the oh-so pitiable group being unfairly maligned by the gay people they managed to turn into second-class citizens.

Are you kidding me? The reaction they have received for their (quite possibly illegal) interference in California politics has been fully earned.
11.8.2008 6:12pm
Hoosier:
MCM

You thought I was inviting you "into my parlor"? So I guess you live on Halsted". j/k Do you Jacobins have a sense of humor?
11.8.2008 6:15pm
Mars vs Hollywood:
I feel compelled to clarify that my USC reference was ironic. Because I am a Domer, and we malign Trojans.


For a second I thought you were talking about South Carolina.

That would make you a "Cock"! :D
11.8.2008 6:43pm
Arizona Strait (mail):
LDS Followers not only decry gay marriage as an abomination, but homosexuality,adultry, murder, anything that is contrary to the conscience, or "light of Christ" that every human is born with. You have all forgotten how this country was founded on by God fearing Christians.

The constitution was founded by these God inspired individuals and our Country has been free from oppression since. But now, the old "flesh after his own kind" (homosexuality) has been re-introduced. Allowing this kind behavior only means oppression is on the way. Way back, Old Testiment times, God did not see kindly to this kind of behavior. It is interesting how it has recycled.

Some of us have learned from history. And then there are those who don't care... only giving in to self-satisfying behavior. Being gay is an abomination &always will be. Mormons are not shoving that down anyones throats, just reminding them of the consiquences that follow by allowing such behavior in our beloved country &society.
11.8.2008 6:48pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"So one marginalized group decides that the way to go is to vent their outrage against another marginalized group in society?"

Are you talking here about the Mormon attack on the gays with Proposition 8, or the reaction of the gays?
11.8.2008 6:59pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

In the context of Prop. 8 and the LDS that wouldn't have made a lot of sense. But I'll see if I have a big enough shoe horn.

Only because I've got a few minutes to kill before the USC v Berkeley game (I eschew the populist "CAL"), I'll kick this horse one more time. I think when you say, Do you find culpability in a religion that refuses to surrender an ancient teaching whenever you and likeminded "progressives" have decided that teaching is wrong?, you've enlarged the context beyond SSM.

Except that I took the GRE to accumulate elitist credential.

Tushie.
11.8.2008 7:07pm
Arizona Strait (mail):
Both, the big picture brother. Venting rage is not good for any group large or small. The Mormon Church has never vented out.... They have stated the facts, very Christ-like, to remind their brothers &sisters through-out CA, AZ &FL of the perils that follow allowing this "marginalized gay group" to change the normal ways.

The Mormons are not, have not changed, or asked the Constitution to be changed to allow abnormal behavior. When the law said no poligamy, the church obeyed. Splinter groups have continued. If they practice poligamy or profess to be gay, they are not "Mormons" or recongnized members of the LDS Church.
11.8.2008 7:12pm
Lyle H (mail):
Randy R, responding to a query about if the Church lied:

yes. They stated that if gay marriage is allowed, religious freedom will be gone. They stated that churches will be forced to marry gay, and that any sort of preaching against homosexuality will subject them to hate crimes.

Mass. has had gay marriage since 2002, and no church has had its religious freedom curtailed. In addition, legal scholars have stated that there would be no basis for such a matter. It was a clear lie. And that no doubt swayed some voters.


While 'legal scholars' may be correct that there is no basis for such a fear, unless there has been a state or federal court ruling on the matter, scholarly opinions are more of a deterence to suits than anything else.

IANAL nor a legal scholar, so let me display my ignorance on the matter.

To me, the issue boils down to whether, when performing a marriage, the Church is acting as an Agent of the State or if the State is simply giving secular legal recognition to a specific religious rite. And I am not sure how many people want that question definitively answered.

If the Church is acting as an Agent, then it must follow all applicable state laws, which may include non-discrimination based on sexual orientation or on current secular marital status. Which would result in the Church being forced to perform marriages that go against its core beliefs.

If the State is just recognizing a specific religious rite, then I think we run into issues that run afoul of current Establishment/Free Exercise doctrine.* The State is sanctioning a specific religious rite for acceptance into the secular world while denying similar rites. Divorce and annulment are acceptable ways to end a marriage, yet to the best of my knowledge, the State does not grant religious divorces or annulments the same status it does religious marriages (as long as the marriage rite does not run afoul of other legal issues (age, blood relation, number of individuals, etc.)).

* My simple understanding of current doctrine is that the State must remain (more or less) neutral on religion. That while it may not be specifically for or against specific religions, it may pass generally applicable laws that target specific religious rites and/or practices (drug use, animal sacrifice).
11.8.2008 8:47pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"My response was, intentionally, kind of post-modernist. There are no grand narratives. Hoosier, like Sartre, has to figure this one out on his own. He's a smart guy -- he'll get there."

Sartre lived through Dresden, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima, not to mention the Great Meatgrinder as a child and Vichy as an adult. He was lucky to patch together a short story, let alone a Grand Narrative.

What's our excuse?

Descartes: I think, therefore I am.
Wojtyla: We act, therefore we are.

Note: "we" doesn't imply all of us, just more than "I", nor does seeking a Grander Narrative imply seeking One Narrative to rule them all, nor a state to enforce it.

"Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance -- these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible."

- Isaiah Berlin

Individual and collective.
11.8.2008 9:34pm
Hoosier:
Mars vs Hollywood:

I feel compelled to clarify that my USC reference was ironic. Because I am a Domer, and we malign Trojans.



For a second I thought you were talking about South Carolina.

That would make you a "Cock"! :D


How could I possibly insult the 'Cocks? They took Lou Holtz off our hands. Thank you!
11.8.2008 10:40pm
Hoosier:
MarkField:

I wasn't saying that I am lost on these issues. Increasingly, I'm afraid that everyone else here finds himself inside a dark wood, the right road lost.

So I am only trying to help you all by sharing my insights; that this act of human kindness provokes such hostility reveals how lost you all truly are.

But I will not tire of my quest to bring my fellow VCers back to the well-lit path. And thus I share with you all the Grand Narrative that I have composed. The True Path, and the Path of Truth. Indeed, the Grand Narrative for all human lives. And for each.

(Clears throat)

Here is the way to live each day. And since meaning is made only by doing, what follows is the Meaning of Life itself:

Get Up.

Survive.

Go back to bed.
11.8.2008 10:51pm
MarkField (mail):
David, I'm with you on all that. My belief, though, is that each person pretty much has to get to that point by him/herself. To that extent I agree with Hoosier's point earlier -- it's not through rational argument that we come to our morality.


I wasn't saying that I am lost on these issues. Increasingly, I'm afraid that everyone else here finds himself inside a dark wood, the right road lost.


If Virgil is available as a guide, tip him well.

If I were to give moral advice to anyone, it would be this: watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's the best guide to morality I know. When it's dark and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think, What would Buffy do?

And the chicks are hot.
11.8.2008 11:14pm
JWG (mail):
This is a tangential set of questions to the issue being discussed. Regarding the biological determinism of (male) gayness, I instinctively agree on that, and makes sense to me. But there is still the nagging issue of how and why prison rape occurs in male prisons. I mean if someone is not attracted to other men, he cannot get it up. But how does widespread prison rape occur in that case? Are there large numbers of gay or bi men in prisons? Or do they become bi in prison when deprived of female contact? I mean, if gayness is icky to straight males, masturbation and fantasization is preferable to bi/gay behavior, right? And what happens to the rapists when they leave the prisons? Do they stay bi or revert back to straightness?
11.8.2008 11:15pm
Bama 1L:
Hoosier, isn't Humanae Vitae the example of an argument from reason rather than tradition you seek?
11.8.2008 11:26pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"David, I'm with you on all that. My belief, though, is that each person pretty much has to get to that point by him/herself. To that extent I agree with Hoosier's point earlier -- it's not through rational argument that we come to our morality."

(a) Doing it alone is suboptimal, if not impossible. Mental masturbation, if you will, which brings to mind this Grand Narrative.

(b) Doing it unalone entails arational arguments. See discussion with MCM above. I think we have some agreement here.

As for Morality, this poem by 19th Century liberal Matthew Arnold never fails to bring a tear.
11.9.2008 12:05am
LM (mail):
DW

Doing it alone is suboptimal, if not impossible.

Doesn't that assume you know who's gotten there, who hasn't and what route each of them took?
11.9.2008 1:27am
Hoosier:
If I were to give moral advice to anyone, it would be this: watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Crap. I was trying to keep my to-do list down to just three things per day. And I already have three, if you count not dying.
11.9.2008 2:43am
whit:

So I repeat: why is is "understandable" that a Church founded, in part, on a very unorthodox view of marriage would now vehemently oppose somebody else's unorthodox view of marriage?



polygamy is NOT an unorthodox view of marriage at all, when viewed in historical context. in numerous cultures, for centuries, it was an acceptable, even enviable (from those who couldn't afford it) form of marriage.

that is most definitely NOT unorthodox in that respect.

gay marriage, otoh, is unorthodox, and has pretty much not even existed (or even been subject to consideration) apart from very recent history.

and i support gay marriage, btw.
11.9.2008 3:34am
whit:

But there is still the nagging issue of how and why prison rape occurs in male prisons


whether or not (and to what extent) orientation is biologically determined, aside, this is HARDLY a nagging issue.

men have a sex drive. fwiw, as i recall it , prisoners (convicted criminals, especially violent ones ) tend ot average higher T levels (testosterone) than average, and probably higher sex drive fwiw.

even if you are heterosexual (and i realize it's a continuum), given a strong sex drive, the fact that you are surrounded by men and have no option with women, you are bored out of your skull, and you have been deprived of "power" (recall that among many theorists, rape is a crime of power and the means are sex. iow, the primary motive is not sexual gratification, but desire to impose dominance and power), it's pretty easy to understand why rape and.or consensual male on male sex happens in prison.

also, not to get all graphic and stuff, but the two most common sex acts that males perform with each other are not at all uncommon when males have sex with females, and so in many respects, it's not going to be THAT different.

it would be a "nagging issue" if it DIDN't based on what we know of human nature
11.9.2008 3:40am
Hoosier:
also, not to get all graphic and stuff, but the two most common sex acts that males perform with each other are not at all uncommon when males have sex with females

But where do prisoners get avacados and a slide projector?
11.9.2008 8:07am
David Warner:
LM,

"Doesn't that assume you know who's gotten there, who hasn't and what route each of them took?"

Where's there?

I think that Mark Field is making the no one can take your bath for you case, to which I say:

(a) I take showers, not baths

(b) They're a lot more fun, good clean fun, mind you, taken unalone

(c) Somebody made/maintains that shower, plumbing system, soap, et. al.

So no one can construct your morality for you, but certainly someone(s) can construct it with you, and many hands make quick work. The for/with distinction was one we took pains to make at Habitat for Humanity (we built houses with people in need, not for them), and also applies here, I'm guessing, the difference being in this case that it is an inherently mutual process.
11.9.2008 10:17am
Investigator (mail):
Just check out where you can see a complete list of all the mormons who donated outrageous amounts of money to discriminate against Americans.
11.9.2008 10:56am
Investigator:
http://mormonsfor8.com/
11.9.2008 10:58am
MarkField (mail):

Doing it alone is suboptimal, if not impossible.


Agreed. But that's not the same as "coming to his own conclusions".

In either case, I'll be happy to watch Buffy with Hoosier and discuss it with him as we go.

Cuz like I said, the chicks are hot.
11.9.2008 11:19am
Anonymouse:
If you think Mormons are a "marginalized group" then you have a lot of reading to do.

Also, it seems that a solid grip of subject-verb agreement is not (or, as Zywicki might write, "are not") a requirement for GMU law professors...how depressing.
11.9.2008 12:08pm
Hoosier:
Investigator
Just check out where you can see a complete list of all the mormons who donated outrageous amounts of money to discriminate against Americans.

Bad link. This one just lists Prop. 8 donations.
11.9.2008 12:11pm
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America supported Proposition 8, so why not go to orthodox Jewish synagogues and start chanting "dirty Jews," "kikes," "hymies," etc.? Oops, I forgot -- that would not be politically correct.

I lost my sympathy for gays when they campaigned (successfully) for the removal of Cobb County as a venue in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics because of an anti-gay resolution passed by the county council (though I disapproved the resolution). IMO politics should be kept out of sport, particularly the Olympics.

I am not surprised that a substantial majority of blacks voted in favor of Prop. 8 -- blacks tend to be conservative on social issues involving religion.
11.9.2008 2:24pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Tired of Bigotry wrote:


Actually, no. People of goodwill can not and do not disagree on this. By definition, you have ill will towards a small minority of your fellow citizens.


I disagree. A lot of the question comes down to social stability vs. social progress. People do disagree about this and although I favor gay marriage, I do so on a basis that has more in common with the opponents than with the supporters of this cause.

There are legitimate reasons to be cautious about gay marriage and the biggest one is that many of the proponents seem to make this an argument for social progress and an unwillingness to be tied to the traditions of the past.

Imagine (as an analogy) if the courts decided to no longer consider collateral estoppel (cannot re-litigate facts necessarily decided in another case one is a party to) and precedent (cannot re-litigate legal issues already necessarily decided) to be governing principles because we no longer want to be tied to the decisions of the past and we want real progress in judicial thinking (which is impossible if we are always looking backward to previous cases). This would unravel our entire legal system. The same fear exists when people basically feel that we need to redefine bedrock institutions of our society (for example, marriage).

As mentioned on another thread, I may favor gay marriage, but I don't think one can be entirely dismissive of the fear that tying bedrock institutions to ideas of social progress will lead to unforeseen consequences.
11.9.2008 2:43pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Arizona Strait wrote:

LDS Followers not only decry gay marriage as an abomination, but homosexuality,adultry, murder, anything that is contrary to the conscience, or "light of Christ" that every human is born with. You have all forgotten how this country was founded on by God fearing Christians.


What exactly did Christ say about divorce? Just askin.....
11.9.2008 2:51pm
MCM (mail):
"If I were to give moral advice to anyone, it would be this: watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Crap. I was trying to keep my to-do list down to just three things per day. And I already have three, if you count not dying."

I don't think you'd like it anyway; she fails the "get up-survive-go to bed" test at least twice.
11.9.2008 2:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Just to note, I am thinking of the passage in Matthew 19....
11.9.2008 2:54pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"To me, the issue boils down to whether, when performing a marriage, the Church is acting as an Agent of the State or if the State is simply giving secular legal recognition to a specific religious rite. And I am not sure how many people want that question definitively answered."

This is easy to fix. The couple goes to the courthouse, pays $25, says "I DO" in front of witnesses, and gets a marriage cert. This is what the state recognizes.

Then they go to church and go through whatever rite they choose. The church is not acting as an agent. The state neither cares nor recognizes what happens here.

I think this is how they do it in Italy.
11.9.2008 4:10pm
John F. (mail):
"And let's not lose sight of the fact that that church is hardly in a position to wage a campaign against unconventional forms of marriage."

You're referring to polygamy, of course. Your statement would make perfect sense if the church currently supported the practice of polygamy or had any inclination to defend it. But it doesn't, and hasn't since 1890. In fact, the opposite is true. For more than a century, the church has struggled to shake the public association with polygamy. In spite of that, the association persists in the public mind, even to the point of widespread belief that it still supports the practice.

Ironically, I think this enduring association serves to motivate the church to oppose any expansion of traditional marriage more publicly and with more determination than it otherwise might. That is, this opposition can be seen as part of the ongoing effort to distance itself from polygamy in the public mind.

Put another way, imagine a hypothetical opposite position. What if the church had publicly opposed prop 8? How would that have been perceived? I suspect that many would think, "Of course they favor a looser definition of marriage. What they really want is legalized polygamy."

Of course, that's a purely hypothetical scenario. It's hard to imagine the church taking that position. Which is my point, I suppose.
11.9.2008 7:10pm
John F. (mail):
"I honestly don't see the distinction between the Church supporting the effort with their money or encouraging their members, who in turn gave $22 Million."

Encouraging their members to support prop 8 undoubtedly influenced many to do so. I'm with you on that. But from that observation to seeing no distinction is an awfully big leap.

If you really don't see a distinction, perhaps it's because you see Mormons as minions having no mind or agency of their own, waiting to be told what to think and do, as opposed to distinct and diverse human beings with their own opinions and beliefs. That's called "prejudice", and I have a problem with that.

I see a very big distinction. The church's money comes from tithing payments from members, regardless of their position on prop 8 (or anything else, for that matter). The money donated from members came only from those that favored its passage and chose to make those donations.
11.9.2008 8:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
John F:

You're referring to polygamy, of course. Your statement would make perfect sense if the church currently supported the practice of polygamy or had any inclination to defend it.


Actually the official line is that polygamy is OK, but that it is not mandated by the church, so one might as well also follow the secular laws. The LDS church does support polygamy in the abstract. They also believe in following the laws of the land, and since it isn't a requirement of their faith, are inclined to let it slide.
11.9.2008 8:11pm
Champagne (mail):

Heh wrote:


Maybe if the gay community spent half as much effort trying to win in the court of public opinion, instead of the court system, they'd see better results. I have always suspected that the majority of religious people in the USA can be convinced that being gay isn't wrong or a sin. But again, that requires work to convince them. It requires an investment of time and effort, and it requires a willingness to extend the hand and ask for friendship.


I am so tired of this argument being used against gays. So, because we want equality and are willing to use the courts to achieve it we are responsible for creating a backlash against us? This thinking seems not to hold heterosexuals at all responsible for their own actions or thoughts. Talk about a disavowal of personal responsibility!

Gays spent over 20 years working through the legislature of Maine to pass a non-discrimination law. Finally, in 1997, after decades of out reach and education, they finally managed to have a bill pass the legislature and land on the desk of a governor who was willing to sign it. No courts were involved, yet there was a MASSIVE backlash and gays' civil rights were put to the ballot box where they lost. The nasty backlash in Colorado that led to the passage of Amendment 2 (which also would have stripped gays of their civil rights had not the US Supreme Court struck it down) also lacked any judicially imposed mandate. The list could continue.

Gays have been trying to win in the court of public opinion. Can you imagine what it feels like to have to persuade your compatriots that you are deserving of the same rights that they are so willing to deny you? Rights, that they in fact have the luxury of taking for granted. Many people like to point to the inherent nobility of past civil rights struggles. In hindsight, and in light of their success, it seems like a quest filled with dignity. However, for those who had to do the tedious day-to-day work what was so dignified about convincing others that, for example, you aren't a "dumb, dirty, Dago?" Any Italian with an ounce of self-respect, already knew that they weren't dumb and dirty. They knew that they deserved the same opportunities and respect as anyone else.

I suppose that many once just thought that "dirty immigrants" or "uppity negroes" should invest their time and effort to convince the haters of their day that they were deserving of equal rights, and that they should extend their hands and ask for friendship from people who sneered at them and were happy to oppress them. People who posit things like the above expect that investment of time and effort from gays. Once again, it seems to go without saying that ALL the work must be done by the disenfranchised minority. Those who suggest that gay people be responsible for the hatred of others against them don't bother to ask straight people to reconsider the way they think about gay people or to reconsider the actions they take against gay people to codify their second class citizenship.

I don't know of any gay person, nor any gay organization, that is trying to take away marriage rights from heterosexuals. I don't know of any gay led attempt to make life harder for straight people based on our own undeserved feelings of superiority. I have yet to hear of a gay person violently attacking a heterosexual person solely because the person is heterosexual. I haven't heard of any gay ministers preaching that heterosexuals are a filthy abomination that must be stopped at all costs. I have never heard any gays slur the straight community as merely a bunch of pedophiles out to molest innocent children. Yet in spite of such an endless onslaught of slander targeting gays and lesbians, the proper response on their part "requires a willingness to extend the hand and ask for friendship." This hand has been extended time and time again, only to be slapped back. Last time I checked it takes two hands for a handshake -- not one.

Well, I am not willing to do it. I see no nobility in convincing others that my husband and I deserve the same rights that they take for granted as their birthright. I refuse to take responsibility for the hate and contempt that so many Americans feel for me. If someone is ignorant it is their damn responsibility to do something about it; not mine. Just as I don't hold others responsible for my foibles and failings; neither am I to blame for theirs. Personal responsibility belongs to everyone.

I realize that perhaps my refusal to play "Mr. Nice Gay" will offend the majoritarian sensibilities of many who post on this site. Perhaps Heh or others will tell me that I can't possibly hope to win over straight America if I refuse to assuage their concerns. Well, I have given up on straight America. I have seen their backlash all my life, from the taunting on the playground, to the hypocritical rhetoric from the pulpit, to the hostile comments in the workplace, and the mean-spirited denial of my rights at the ballot box. My husband and I left the country three years ago. We refused to be kept down by a society that is bent on oppressing us. We have chosen to contribute instead to a society that believes in our inherent worth and dignity.
11.9.2008 8:13pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Champagne wrote:

I am so tired of this argument being used against gays. So, because we want equality and are willing to use the courts to achieve it we are responsible for creating a backlash against us?


Actually, I don't think that. I do agree at this point that hopefully Prop 8 will be struck down.

However, I also think that we have reached a point in our society where a great many issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc) have become so divisive that any change will create a backlash and that it is difficult for civic-minded people to find common ground that they have.

My criticism is limited specifically to allegations on both sides that:

1) One side is motivated by bigotry (I am not convinced this is simply the case, see the different perceptions of civil unions vs marriage).

2) The other side is trying to undermine society, trying to move our country away from its foundations, etc.

The dialog needs to be improved regardless of other tactics. Is there anyone who really doesn't agree with that?
11.9.2008 8:21pm
Heh:

We refused to be kept down by a society that is bent on oppressing us.


As I was reading through your post, I was considering responding to some of your points. But if you're going to sit there and claim to be oppressed, then you're beyond hope. You have no idea what that word means, to use it so flippantly when you don't get your way.

You talk about having rights stripped away, or being a second class citizen. Marriage is no more a right than adoption is a right. They are privileges that have a specific set of restrictions and responsibilities. You want more privileges? Convince the public there's a benefit to them. You wouldn't even try to do that in CA. The "no on 8" people didn't even want to put gays in the commercials. And then you come say it's somehow the fault of everyone else that it didn't work out how you liked? You didn't appeal to them. You didn't go knocking on the doors of African Americans to ask for their help. You just wrote them off. Did you think they'd just blindly vote for you because you were voting for Obama? The same liberal Obama who said he doesn't support gay marriange?

I have no objection to gay marriage, and as I said I think at a low level most people don't. I do acknowledge, though, that there is a level to overcome to win them. There have been things the gay community has supported that has upset the religious community. But I think there can be a change. However, if you force something on people, they tend to react. And it's often not a good reaction. I think the gay community needs to get back together and come up with a better way to go forward, as you're clearly not winning right now. A lot of thought and soul-searching could do some good.

Physician, heal thyself.
11.9.2008 8:53pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Heh and Champaign:

First, I hope Prop 8 gets struck down or overturned soon. However:

Campaign wrote:

People who posit things like the above expect that investment of time and effort from gays. Once again, it seems to go without saying that ALL the work must be done by the disenfranchised minority.


My comments haven't been directed at gays so much as supporters of gay marriage, of which I consider myself one (I am straight, married to a foreigner, and we have 2 kids). If you don't expect supporters of gay marriage (gay, straight, or bi) to do all the work, who then do you expect to draft?

Heh wrote:

Marriage is no more a right than adoption is a right. They are privileges that have a specific set of restrictions and responsibilities. You want more privileges? Convince the public there's a benefit to them.


To be perfectly honest, that needs to be done regardless of other tactics. However, I also have argued time and again that gay marriage ought to be seen as a requirement under the equal protections clause at least in many states if not the federal level.

CHampaign wrote:


Well, I am not willing to do it. I see no nobility in convincing others that my husband and I deserve the same rights that they take for granted as their birthright. I refuse to take responsibility for the hate and contempt that so many Americans feel for me. If someone is ignorant it is their damn responsibility to do something about it; not mine. Just as I don't hold others responsible for my foibles and failings; neither am I to blame for theirs. Personal responsibility belongs to everyone.


I think Cicero's points about constructive criticism in friendship might be worth reading. You can find it in the anthology published by Penguin entitled "On the Good Life."

In general, Cicero argued as do I that friendship demands honest criticism. I would however extend this to honest dialog about criticism as well. If someone is your friend and they think homosexuality is wrong, then that is an opportunity to have a deep conversation about it. If such a person doesnt think that it is wrong but feels that gay marriage is something to be opposed (maybe because marriages should be cemented with shared biological offspring), that is an opportunity for dialog.

However, this is only one part of it. The larger issue has to do with how people react to oppression. When MLK adopted nonviolence in the face of violence, this had the impact of showing to the country that he was right, and because he was right, he was spiritually strong in this regard. No amount of trying to portray him as a communist or a traitor could undo that.

In the end what will make the difference is how one acts during the struggle. Make enemies of the majority, and they will bite back. Show that you can be strong of will in the face of problems and you will win friends.

Yes, in the end, it is important to be better than the mainstream when trying to have a small minority change the country. Otherwise, it is left to those of us who are not in your position to try to make your case for you.
11.9.2008 9:24pm
kev0001000 (mail):
I am a Latter Day Saint and I am proud of our effort that we made to pass Prop. 8. I'm sure we will get a lot of crap from people who were against it but so did people who followed Christ in his days, not that they were asked to take a position on prop. 8, but you get what I'm saying. It has been mentioned here that there were some LDS people who were against prop. 8, I say to you who have heard this, these people do not understand their religion, or fully believe in it. I believe that my Prophet is the Prophet of God here on the earth today and I would be a fool not to take his counsel seriously. Satan will always attack the family and if gay marriage were to be encouraged in our society then that would take away from the significance of the family. I also do not believe that being gay is a choice. It is one thing to have same sex attraction and it is another to act on that attraction. I did not choose to be an addict, it's just something that has been in my family for generations. But I still have a choice to abuse substances or to choose not to but I will always be an addict. I believe that these people will be very blessed for not giving in to temptation, it is a challenge that they will have to endure their entire life's. I'm not sure what it's like to have same sex attraction, but I know what it's like to long for something, but I personally know what's right and what's wrong. It's not wrong to long for it, but again, it's wrong to indulge in it. I pray that God will bless the gays of this nation with peace and understanding. What I have said here are my opinions and in no what reflect those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
11.9.2008 9:28pm
Champagne:
Dodge answering my statements all you want with a semantic argument. The bottom line is gays are treated unfairly before the law in the United States. Once again, you repeated the tired trope that all the work should be done by the minority. As both Obama and McCain are on record as opposing equal marital rights for gay couples I feel your mentioning Obama is a red herring. I gave you examples of backlashes that had nothing to do with the judiciary and you chose to ignore them.

In light of the fact that 30 states have passed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments that deny civil marriage rights to gays (many of the state constitutions have been re-written to bar ANY rights for gay couples even including hospital visitation rights) I feel your statement that "at a low level most people don't have an objection to gay marriage" is nothing more than anecdotal conjecture. How come with 30 states voting to keep us from having equal marriage rights that somehow that doesn't count as having legal limitations forced upon us? Why does your concern about that only extend to the majority?
11.9.2008 9:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
kev0001000 wrote:

I am a Latter Day Saint and I am proud of our effort that we made to pass Prop. 8. I'm sure we will get a lot of crap from people who were against it but so did people who followed Christ in his days, not that they were asked to take a position on prop. 8, but you get what I'm saying.


I guess my problem with this is that if I look at Matthew 19, a constitutional amendment banning divorcees from remarrying would seem closer to what Christ argued for, though clearly Christ's arguments against divorce would also apply against gay marriage.

But this gets to a question: Why accept divorce but not gay marriage if the fundamental theological concern is the same? Otherwise it looks like you are trying to look through timbers worn as sunglasses.... (When I lived in Utah, I found the divorce rates there higher than they probably should have been.)


It has been mentioned here that there were some LDS people who were against prop. 8, I say to you who have heard this, these people do not understand their religion, or fully believe in it.


Maybe. Or maybe the system of belief is accepted but the leadership is not? Sorta like Catholics who disagree with the Pope on issues like birth control?


I believe that my Prophet is the Prophet of God here on the earth today and I would be a fool not to take his counsel seriously. Satan will always attack the family and if gay marriage were to be encouraged in our society then that would take away from the significance of the family.


It is interesting to me that another major sect that believes in continuing revelation (the Quakers) tends to be very much opposed to things like Proposition 8. Who are we to believe if continuing revelation is the primary guide to policy? The Quakers (who tend to be a bit left-of-center) or the Mormons (who tend to be a bit right-of-center)?

Or do you believe that God does not talk to Quakers?

I suppose it is good to see your opinion here, however, because it shows a couple of things that are worth considering (and red flags I have previously raised):

1) You obviously believe that your sects religious views should be enshrined in temporal law. .

2) You have ultimate trust in the authority of your religious group, perhaps more than is healthy.

The authority-centric and willingness to try to legislate temporal law to be in line with (somewhat selective) religious ideologies is what makes a lot of us nervous. I would hope you could respond to the above points.

PS. Can any Mormons explain to me why coffee ice cream is banned as a hot beverage?
11.9.2008 10:12pm
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
John F. said (11.9.2008 8:01pm) --

The church's money comes from tithing payments from members

Yes, many Mormons are very generous in donating to their church, and that may help explain why Mormons were singled out for condemnation by the No-on-8 folks. If you are already giving one-tenth of your income to the church, what's another thousand or two towards the Yes-on-8 campaign? Some Mormons may have even deducted their Yes-on-8 donations from their normal donations to the church.

Gays already had it in for orthodox Jews because of ultra-orthodox Jews' violent demonstrations against gay parades in Jerusalem, so it may seem surprising that the No-on-8 folks are dumping on Mormons and blacks while letting orthodox Jews off the hook. Maybe the reason for that is that gays do not want to risk offending Jewish organizations that opposed Prop. 8.
11.9.2008 10:39pm
Heh:

Dodge answering my statements all you want with a semantic argument. The bottom line is gays are treated unfairly before the law in the United States. Once again, you repeated the tired trope that all the work should be done by the minority. As both Obama and McCain are on record as opposing equal marital rights for gay couples I feel your mentioning Obama is a red herring. I gave you examples of backlashes that had nothing to do with the judiciary and you chose to ignore them.


Not at all. I think working the public is exactly the right way to go. But if the measure didn't pass, I think you give the effort far too much credit. Clearly they didn't do as good a job as they thought.

And I don't agree that gays have any less rights or privileges than the majority does. There are extra privileges you'd like, but currently neither of us has them. So again, still equal.

As for Obama, I realize you want to keep revering him, but he was against gay marriage. Sure, he said he was against Prop 8, but he that didn't change his fundamental viewpoint. But that's what many politicians do, find wiggle room to try to have their cake and eat it too.

I expect you'll find that Obama leans farther towards the black churches than he does the gay community. You need to figure out the reason he does that and convince him to come to your side more vocally. Obviously if the president stood up and said "We should have gay marriage", it would mean something. Even if it caused a ruckus immediately :)



In light of the fact that 30 states have passed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments that deny civil marriage rights to gays (many of the state constitutions have been re-written to bar ANY rights for gay couples even including hospital visitation rights) I feel your statement that "at a low level most people don't have an objection to gay marriage" is nothing more than anecdotal conjecture. How come with 30 states voting to keep us from having equal marriage rights that somehow that doesn't count as having legal limitations forced upon us? Why does your concern about that only extend to the majority?


Well, I would offer that the gay community caused that situation. As soon as you run to the courts for something, it engenders resentment. Resentment leads to anger, etc, etc. Dr. King didn't win in the court of law, he won in the court of opinion. He stood up and made sure that he was heard, and that everyone understood his message. Yes, of course, there were courts involved, but the real reason he won had to do with the fact that he ensured a discussion among the people. He couldn't force you to drink, but he could ensure you made it to the stream. And when the discussion was had, a lot of people had to stop and ask themselves what they truly stood for. They looked inside, found themselves at fault, and corrected their stance. And I suspect a lot of them were much happier for it. I think it's a very tiny group of people who enjoy hating some others. They'd much prefer some way to not hate. Sometimes someone just has to give it to them.

Though the gay community often tries to hitch it's post to that movement, they lack the leadership to do what Dr. King did. And failing that, they probably do need to make stronger efforts to reach out to all the parties that are upset at them. It's important to remember that in the last few decades groups have made choices and dug-in, so in some places it will be more uphill than others. But I still think it's possible to do it.

And of course, I have to finish by mentioning that I still don't think you understand some of the words you throw around. Gays are not oppressed. No state constitution has ruled gays 3/5 of a man, or any such thing. You have all the rights the rest of us have. You want more privileges. And I think at some point as a group you will have to admit you're asking for something extra. I don't think it's a bad extra at all, and I don't think most will either. But you'll have to ask them, and win their hearts. It can be done.
11.9.2008 10:52pm
MCW (mail):
Wow!! Speaking as a former tax lawyer, all I can say is that the amount of misinformation about the tax laws here is amazing. Do any of you really think that the Mormon church failed to have its lawyers vet this issue beforehand? Do any of you remember the ERA? Same discussions, same comments. Deja vu. One other point, the Mormon church couldn't buy this kind of publicity. It is a proselytyzing church and these kinds of events and debate only increase interest in the Church.

What I synthesize from the debate is that the anti group is upset because the pro group was organized. Would it have been OK if the Pro side were unorganized but still won? Who would the anti's have to punish in that case? Get over it. The political process is messy and doesn't always give you what you want.

Really, though, it is fun to read all of your comments. Some of you are certainly brighter than others.
11.9.2008 11:37pm
Champagne:
Heh,

I appreciate that this time you provided a more detailed response. However, as you are free to marry the person of your choice (assuming you are heterosexual) and in most states gays are not I hardly see how gays have the same rights as straights. You and I will have to agree to disagree about marriage being a privilege. Many, including legal scholars, feel marriage is a fundamental right.

Speaking of assumptions, I am perplexed as to why you would think that I revere Obama. I don't. I never once even mentioned Obama, so I think it odd that you would assume that I am unaware of his lack of leadership on this issue. I don't think he will do much of anything to move gays forward. I am perplexed as to why the gay community thinks he will be some champion of their cause. However, this backlash against gays has been going on for almost my entire life and really has nothing to do with any president or presidential election.

No, I understand the words I use. I don't think you understand what it is like to be denied the rights that others take for granted. Your right to marry the person of your choice isn't being put up to a vote. You don't have to worry about persuading your fellow citizens that you deserve the same rights that they do. Marriage confers hundreds of unique rights that are currently only available to heterosexual couples in the vast majority of states. We aren't asking for anything extra we are asking for the exact same things you already have. Equal rights are not special rights or extra rights. Equal, no more, no less. My Portuguese Catholic grandmother was the victim of prejudice because she was the wrong gender, the wrong nationality, and the wrong religion. Don't tell me she wasn't oppressed just because she wasn't as subjugated as blacks. That is a ridiculous argument that is predicated on the faulty assumption that civil rights are a zero sum game.

Blacks were systematically oppressed by laws. State constitutions being re-written to specifically DENY rights to committed gay couples is oppression (unjust exercise of authority or power). By the way, Martin Luther King, amazing man that he was, did not change the minds of the majority of white Southerners. The law had to be changed very much against their will and they fought it. For God's sake, federal marshals had to escort black children into schools as hostile crowds spit on them and called them vile names. Eventually, due to the ruling of the courts and enforcement of the new laws they got to used to it. Pretending otherwise is to re-write history.

I am incredulous at your assertion that we are to blame for the current situation. You NEVER addressed the fact that there have been many times that the gay community has been the victim of backlash even though they didn't go to the courts. Apparently that would get in the way of your blaming the victim. These actions that the straight majority takes against gays wouldn't have anything to do with animus would they? No, merely, resentment of judicial tyranny. Even when the judiciary wasn't involved.
11.9.2008 11:58pm
randal (mail):
timid10 wins for most ignorant comment:

You may be biologically predisposed to like same-sex partners, but that is your choice... your sexual preference. I could change my sexual preference tomorrow if I so decided - as can you - but to suggest you were "born that way" and have no choice in the matter is not scientifically valid.

Um... I definitely could not change my sexual preference tomorrow. If you can, well, you are bisexual. We don't need science to tell us that.
11.10.2008 12:37am
Heh:

I am incredulous at your assertion that we are to blame for the current situation. You NEVER addressed the fact that there have been many times that the gay community has been the victim of backlash even though they didn't go to the courts. Apparently that would get in the way of your blaming the victim. These actions that the straight majority takes against gays wouldn't have anything to do with animus would they? No, merely, resentment of judicial tyranny. Even when the judiciary wasn't involved.


I'm trying to think of a nice way to put this, but you really need to get over these issues you have. Every post so far, you keep insisting everyone else is at fault. You're so desperate to paint this picture of some world where you're so horribly treated. But it's just not true. You just can't bring yourself to admit you're asking for something. You keep saying equality, but you just can't bring yourself to admit that neither you or I enjoy any rights the other doesn't.

I'll say it again; you want an extra privilege. When the public discourse comes around to this, I think there's a good chance that people will find they don't have a reason to say no. But if you won't ask, they'll keep feeling like they're getting forced into something. And they'll just keep reacting exactly as expected.
11.10.2008 12:44am
Mark Kraft (mail):
I'm sorry, but I thought you were a lawyer... and yet your argument runs off the rails from the beginning!

So one marginalized group decides that the way to go is to vent their outrage against another marginalized group in society?


ONE marginalized group?! Hardly. There were PLENTY of heterosexuals who have been involved in the protests as well.

And what they are protesting isn't a "group", but rather, an entity. Specifically, the Mormon Church, which took it upon themselves to interfere in California's politics, contributing over 70% of the overwhelming funds supporting Prop. 8, almost entirely from out-of-state sources.

And since when is the Mormon Church marginalized? They have the rights that they wanted to specifically strip away from the LGBT community, AND they have full tax-exempt status, AND the right to use that largesse to get discrimination written into our state constitution!

Please tell us... where is this Mormon marginalization? Is it merely that their church does not make up 50.0001% of our state's population?

I find it telling that religious conservatives always seem to consider themselves to be a marginalized minority when others have the same rights as they do.
11.10.2008 1:51am
David Warner:
Champagne,

"However, as you are free to marry the person of your choice (assuming you are heterosexual)"

But as a heterosexual, the person of my choice changes several times a day. That's biology. Civilization is different. Civilization does change, but that requires either force or better arguments.
11.10.2008 1:58am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Champaign wrote:

Dodge answering my statements all you want with a semantic argument. The bottom line is gays are treated unfairly before the law in the United States. Once again, you repeated the tired trope that all the work should be done by the minority. As both Obama and McCain are on record as opposing equal marital rights for gay couples I feel your mentioning Obama is a red herring. I gave you examples of backlashes that had nothing to do with the judiciary and you chose to ignore them.


You didn't answer my question. Who do you want to draft to do the work? In general most people find that whoever does the work chooses the direction that work is applied in. In my world, people who want to see a social change made are going to have to do the work to make it happen. Expecting otherwise may or may not be fair, but it isn't going to get you anywhere.

In my world, if it is important to me, I do it because otherwise it will never get done.
11.10.2008 2:10am
Jake437 (mail):

But as a heterosexual, the person of my choice changes several times a day. That's biology. Civilization is different. Civilization does change, but that requires either force or better arguments.


The person you want to marry changes several times a day?

If heterosexuals change their mind about who they'd like to marry several times a day, based purely on their sexual urges, maybe they're the ones who don't deserve to be married.
11.10.2008 2:56am
David Warner:
Jake347,

"The person you want to marry changes several times a day?

If heterosexuals change their mind about who they'd like to marry several times a day, based purely on their sexual urges, maybe they're the ones who don't deserve to be married."

So you mean there's something other than sexual attraction that enters the equation? What might that be? Please elucidate.
11.10.2008 10:08am
The Oracle of Syracuse:
The equal protection argument rests upon the assumption that homosexual behavior is genetically determined. That assumption has not been shown to be true.
11.10.2008 11:12am
John D (mail):
Oracle,

You are incorrect. The equal protection argument does not rest on the assumption that homosexual behavior is genetically determined.
11.10.2008 1:59pm
whit:
first of all, saying that behavior is genetically determined is sloppy terminology at best.

orientation very well may be genetically determined (60%, 75% 90% 95% ??? most evidence i have seen shows some variation amongst individuals, but strongly suggestive that it's primarily of genetic origin), but to say BEHAVIOR is genetically determined is incorrect.

orientation not behavior.

i support gay marriage, fwiw, and i think it's largely irrelevant to what extent it's genetically determined.

note also that even if it's only partly genetically determined doesn't necessarily mean it's more or less of a choice.

i've made this point before. generally speaking, men (heteros) have a genetic orientation to be most attracted to women within a relatively narrow range of waist-hip ratio.

that's a biological marker of fecundity.

however, sufficient environmental influences (living in a culture that prizes fatter women for instance, or skinnier women) can skew that to some extent, with different effects among individuals.

the point i made was about muscularity.

i didn't used to find much, if any , muscularity sexy among women.

after 10 years as a strength athlete (training with some of the strongest women in the country), my "orientation" has change a bit. that is certainly not genetic.

otoh, i strongly doubt that any amount of hangin' with gay men, really attractive men, etc. would orient me to any extent towards homosexuality.
11.10.2008 3:50pm
Gibberish Guy:
I find it interesting how many posts talk about the Mormon church or "the Mormons" or the Catholic church or a coalition of churches or whatever group "bought" the passage of Prop 8. If this assertion is true, it also simultaneously negates the ability of California voters to make up their own minds about how to vote.

Whatever side of the fence you are on, the fact remains that VOTERS passed the bill, not the Mormon church nor its members nor the Catholic church nor its members nor any other group single-handedly "caused" the passage of Prop 8 because of its money. If you recall, the VOTERS passed a similar law in 2000.
11.10.2008 4:51pm
whit:

I find it interesting how many posts talk about the Mormon church or "the Mormons" or the Catholic church or a coalition of churches or whatever group "bought" the passage of Prop 8. If this assertion is true, it also simultaneously negates the ability of California voters to make up their own minds about how to vote


this is a common tactic of the left. spend a little time at DU and you get this all the time.

see, the rightwing causes people to "vote against their interests" (a favorite meme).

also, the electorate is routinely referred to as stupid (well, at least throughout the bushco years), and easily malleable by the corporate media, and those with "power".

the reality is that mormons, and others, engaged in the democratic process and used their speech and money to support a cause.

they did this AFTER a group of elites used the power of the robe (tm) to overturn the will o the people.

fwiw, i support gay marriage. i also support a healthy debate on this issue. i have plenty of friends and family members who are mormon and NONE OF THEM (to my knowledge) "hate" gays or any of that crap.
11.10.2008 5:48pm
whit:

I find it interesting how many posts talk about the Mormon church or "the Mormons" or the Catholic church or a coalition of churches or whatever group "bought" the passage of Prop 8. If this assertion is true, it also simultaneously negates the ability of California voters to make up their own minds about how to vote


this is a common tactic of the left. spend a little time at DU and you get this all the time.

see, the rightwing causes people to "vote against their interests" (a favorite meme).

also, the electorate is routinely referred to as stupid (well, at least throughout the bushco years), and easily malleable by the corporate media, and those with "power".

the reality is that mormons, and others, engaged in the democratic process and used their speech and money to support a cause.

they did this AFTER a group of elites used the power of the robe (tm) to overturn the will o the people.

fwiw, i support gay marriage. i also support a healthy debate on this issue. i have plenty of friends and family members who are mormon and NONE OF THEM (to my knowledge) "hate" gays or any of that crap.
11.10.2008 5:48pm
SoCalVoter (mail):


Except the tax limitation extends only to supporting candidates. Chruches are free to support ballot initiatives one way or the other.




I suggest you actually read the IRS code on 'lobbying':

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html

Which states:

"An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status."
11.10.2008 6:14pm
Captn. Marrufo (mail):
No one has the "right" to desecrate a Temple. Just wait until I get to Utah... If I see ANYONE disrespecting the House of My Father ... I will WHIP you fags back to West Hollywood.
11.13.2008 1:58am
Jonny (mail):

But when you can show me any Mormon or even any Christian person who was killed or put in the hospital by anyone just because of their religion, then you can start up about 'strident hatred against anyone who doesn't think or look like them."


This instance of a woman being killed not long ago in Massachusetts is on point, I think: Massachussetts man on trial for killing LDS-devoted wife and son
11.14.2008 4:43pm