Friday, November 7, 2008

Mormon Protesters Target Los Angeles Temple


More than a thousand gay-rights activists gathered Thursday afternoon outside the Mormon temple in Westwood to protest the role Mormons played in passing Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.It was the latest in an escalating campaign directed against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its role in marshaling millions of dollars in contributions from its members for the successful campaign to take away same-sex marriage rights.

Members of the Mormon church, who were strongly urged by church leaders to contribute to the Proposition 8 campaign, had an undeniable role in the measure's victory. Opponents of Proposition 8 have accused the church of discriminating against homosexuals, but the backlash against the denomination has also sparked accusations of discrimination.During the campaign, a website established by Proposition 8 opponents used campaign finance data and other public records to track Mormon political contributions to the Yes-on-8 campaign. Opponents estimated that members of the church had given more than $20 million, but the amount is difficult to confirm since the state does not track the religious affiliation of donors.Critics of the website noted that the religious affiliations of other political donors are not generally researched.


A commercial opposing Proposition 8 also drew criticism. In it, two actors portraying Mormon missionaries forced their way into the well-kept home of a married lesbian couple."Hi, we're here from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," one says."We're here to take away your rights," says his partner.The missionaries then rip the wedding rings from the women's fingers and ransack their house until they find the women's marriage license, which they destroy."Hey, we have rights," one of the women says."Not if we can help it," answers the missionary.The ad was produced by an independent group not affiliated with the official No-on-8 campaign and was shown on MSNBC and Comedy Central, according to Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a progressive political group.Jeff Flint, strategist for Yes on 8, called the ad "despicable" and said it "crossed every line of decency.""I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day," he said. "If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned."Members and leaders of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches were also heavily involved in the campaign to pass Proposition 8. The Knights of Columbus, which is tied to the Catholic Church, gave $1 million, and several evangelical groups gave millions more. But they have not come under the same kind of attack.Leaders of the No-on-8 campaign said they did not believe they were engaged in Mormon-bashing. "This is not about religion," said Jacobs. "This is about a church that put itself in the middle of politics."Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said she had grown up in the Mormon Church and thought it was "very disappointing what the church has done and the alliances they have made with churches that don't even like them and have called the church a cult."Church officials made few public statements during the campaign.


On Thursday, they issued a statement asking for "a spirit of mutual respect and civility.""The Church acknowledges that such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life -- family and marriage -- stirs fervent and deep feelings," church spokeswoman Kim Farah wrote in an e-mail. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information." She did not elaborate.Outside the Los Angeles temple Thursday, dozens of protesters screamed "Bigots" and "Shame on You" at half a dozen men in button-down shirts and ties who looked out at the demonstration from behind the temple's closed gates.


The men did not respond.Benjamin Wiser, 27, came to the protest dressed as a Mormon missionary, complete with black plastic name tag. It was not a costume, he said. He was a missionary and a member of the church until age 23, when he left because he was gay.Wiser said he did not feel the protesters were unfairly targeting the church."I don't think the Mormon church should be involved," he said.


Some gay-rights activists said they plan to continue to question the church's involvement.Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, which organized the rally outside the temple, announced the launch of a new website, invalidateprop8.org, which will raise money to fight for same-sex marriage rights in California. For every $5 donated, Jean said, a postcard will be sent to the president of the Mormon church condemning "the reprehensible role the Church of Latter-day Saints leadership played in denying all Californians equal rights under the law.""It is a travesty that the Mormon Church bought this election and used a campaign of lies and deception to manipulate voters in the great state of California," she said.David Loder, 40, a business manager from Corona and a member of the Mormon church, heard about the protest on the radio. He said he was saddened by the anger directed against the church.Loder said he had not given money to the Yes-on-8 campaign because finances are tight raising five daughters, but he did put a sign in his frontyard. It was vandalized, he said."As a member of the LDS church we have known [and still do] the feeling of being ridiculed and mistreated because of our faith," he said. by the LA Times

2 comments:

  1. WHY CALIFORNIA SHOULD PASS PROPOSITION 8
    Marriage is the legal, social, economic and spiritual union of a man and a woman. One man and one woman are necessary for a valid marriage. If that definition is radically altered then anything is possible. There is no logical reason for not letting several people marry, or for eliminating other requirements, such as minimum age, blood relative status or even the limitation of the relationship to human beings. Those who are trying to radically redefine California's marriage laws for their own purposes are the ones who are trying to impose their values on the rest of the population. Those citizens opposed to any change in California's marriage statutes are merely defending the basic morality that has sustained the culture for everyone against a radical attack.
    When same-sex couples seek California's approval and all the benefits that the state reserves for married couples, they impose the law on everyone. According non-marital relationships the same status as marriage would mean that millions of people would be disenfranchised by their own governments. The state would be telling them that their beliefs are no longer valid, and would turn the civil rights laws into a battering ram against them.
    Law is not a suggestion, as George Washington observed, "it is force". An official state sanction of same-sex relationships as "marriage" would bring the full apparatus of the state against those who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. This has already happened in Massachusetts (CatholicCharities and Lexington Public Schools), New Jersey (Methodist Church lost its tax exemption), etc. The Protect Marriage Coalition views this as outlawing traditional morality.
    Eliminating one entire sex from an institution defined as the union of the two sexes is a quantum leap from eliminating racial discrimination, which did not alter the fundamental character of marriage. Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called "expansive energy," which might best be summarized as society's will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.
    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.
    When marriage loses its unique status, women and children most frequently are the direct victims. Giving same-sex relationships or out-of-wedlock heterosexual couples the same special status and benefits as the marital bond would not be the expansion of a right but the destruction of a principle. . If the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point for continuing the assault on marriage.
    If feelings are the key requirement, then why not let three people marry, or two adults and a child, or consenting blood relatives of any age? . Marriage-based kinship is essential to stability and continuity in our state. Child abuse is much more prevalent when a living arrangement is not based on kinship. Kinship imparts family names, heritage, and property, secures the identity and commitment of fathers for the sake of the children, and entails mutual obligations to the community.
    The US Supreme Court declared in 1885 that states' marriage laws must be based on "the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization, the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.''

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  2. What needs to be said, but seldom is, has to do with the homosexual sex act itself. It's perverted. It is an abomination, but few are ready to acknowledge it.

    This is the real reason why the LDS Christians oppose SSM, and why non-LDS Christians oppose it, or should oppose it. God has forbidden man to lie with man, because it perverts the purpose of sex and marriage.

    When Mormons teach their children about marriage, it's in the context of a bond and relationship that will never end, passing through death, standing before the judgment seat of God, rising in the resurrection, and dwelling with the billions of families that will inhabit the earth for a thousand years, preparing for its coming transformation into a celestial abode, when the old earth and the old heavens shall pass away, as a new earth and a new heavens replace them.

    In that day, the former earth and the former heavens will not be remembered, or come to mind. However, this great hope and glorious vision of the future is forever lost to those who, for whatever reason, reject the path that leads to their part in it.

    Yet, that is their business, and they have the God-given right to choose what they will believe, or will not believe.

    Nevertheless, it would be foolish to think that the Mormons don't understand how their children will have to withstand the persuasion of those who will come among them saying, "Believe it not!"

    They will be cajoled, prodded, brow beaten, scorned and even persecuted for their faith in the sanctity of marriage. They will be urged to reject it as folly, to look upon it narrowly and consider it as a foolish and a vain hope, in a thousand subtle, and some not so subtle, ways, and, alas, many will surely succumb, choosing to believe it not.

    Do you think, then, that the Mormons don't have the right, indeed the duty, to defend their position, for their children’s sake? Should they not be expected to seek to firmly establish the holiness of marriage in the minds of the people, striving to circumscribe and minimize, in every legal and ethical manner possible, the power and influence of those whose persuasion in the schools, in the media, and in the halls of the state, is, and ever will be, exerted to deny it, to the utmost of their ability?

    Institutionalizing perversion, officially calling good evil and evil good, allows it to be taught in public schools, written into public laws, accepted as the community standard, and treated as a publicly sanctified norm, to which no opposition can be brooked.

    Clearly, we must oppose such a move, and resist those who seek to establish it, for whatever reason, or face the consequences, when we are fully ripened in our iniquity, like the cities of the plain.

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