I’m taking off my silly hat for a moment to provide one more voice in the shrieking cacophony of the Bloggernacle. I’m extremely disappointed with the response of the Bloggernacle to Proposition 8 and it’s aftermath. Normally, I would just make fun of you, but I’m conflicted, I’m angry and I’m trying to express how much I am bothered by the polygamous wedding (snerk: officated by Karl Rove) of the LDS church, the Religious Right and Neo-Conservatism
As Mormons, we have a conditioned response to large groups of people organizing against us. Our recent history and our origin stories are overwhelmed with stories of mob rule, persecution and murder. We fetishize our past and our martyrs, making that portion of history the centerpiece of our religious history. Furthermore, that past was capitalized by the extreme right in the church during the 1950′s through the 1980′s for their own political ends. Coupled with our apocalyptic theology, this history of persecution can result in rather powerful psychological responses when we are opposed.
Let’s bring a little reality to the situation then. Has anyone stormed the temples? Do we have roving gangs of twinks and bears beating up Mormon families in the street? Other than the destruction of some yard signs, has there been any significant property damage?
So who is having their homes and buildings broken into? Who have roving drunks been beating up? Who have been having their homes and businesses firebombed?
You guessed it. Teh Geh.
According to the 2007 FBI Hate Crime statistics, there were 1400 hate crimes against religious groups. There were 1225 hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Of the 1400 religiously motivated hate crimes, 965 were perpetrated against Jews, Jewish organizations and religious buildings. In hate crimes based on sexual orientation there were more offenders and more offenses against the victim than the religiously based hate crimes.
On a personal level, we have the very real crimes perpetrated against the gay community by members of the LDS church, from the murder of Matthew Shepard to the suicide of Stuart Mathis. We have literally thousands of unreported bias crimes. We have millions of children, whether gay or not, who suffer assaults on their person and their belongings when tarred with our societies virulent undercurrent of homophobia. Finally, we have uncounted hours of mental anguish that I have suffered with individuals in my own family.
It’s been over 100 years since any significant physical persecution of Mormons has happened in the United States. The persecution of our brothers and sisters who are gay is an ongoing, ugly comment on our Western culture.
Protests, applications to the IRS to remove tax exempt status and nasty TV commercials are not persecution. Public reaction in a contested political race is not persecution. They are a sign of faith in our public system, our institutions and our laws. It is a profoundly patriotic action by our brothers and sisters who challenge unjust laws within the framework of our legal system. Their use of our legal system, the media, the legislative system and the police is a sign of faith in the admirable system of checks and balances that underlay the laws of the United States. Our ancestors used the courts in a very similar way, and our name is still associated with one of the most limiting of all decisions relating to religious liberty, Reynolds v. United States. We undercut the very real persecution our ancestors suffered under when we try to integrate our modern political contests with their bold religious experiment.
The coalition in support of Proposition 8 resorted to tactics of fear and intimidation. Proposition 8 was presented as being a threat to children and a threat to religious liberty. Many of the claims were refuted repeatedly, yet were continually repeated, emphasized and used to describe the imminent threat that gay marriage posed. We all remain carefully shielded from the implications of our words. When we provide the lies that justify violence we put ourselves in the position taken so many years ago by the yellow journalists of frontier towns gleefully depicting the latest depredations of the Mormons.
I am disappointed with the actions of the LDS Church in association with the Yes on 8 campaign. I’m even more disappointed with the reactions of the Bloggernacle to the protests. From the rhetoric emerging from your keyboards, you would think our meetinghouses had been put to the torch and families slaughtered in their beds.
You can has lawsuit. You can has protesters. You can has PR disaster.
See you in court, bitches.