Sara Whitman

Should We March On Churches?

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 14, 2008 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gay marriage, LDS, marriage equality, Mormon, Prop 8, protest marches, same-sex marriage

Wednesday, 10,000 people marched and rallied against the Mormon church in New York City angry about the loss on Prop. 8.

I think it's a mistake.

When we start making villains out of other people, we are no better. When we call them names, we are no better.

I love the energy. I love the protest and the 10,000 people. But we said we wanted marriage equality. We said we'd never make any church recognize our marriages. It was about equal access to an institution recognized by the government.

And yet there we were, protesting at a church that does not want to recognize us.

Should the church be allowed to plow 18 million dollars into a political campaign? No. Should any church be able to preach specific political action? Not and keep their not for profit status.

That's a different battle.

We will not win this fight by being angry and bitter against those who hate us. We need to educate people. We need to remember that every person who sees the way in which it is discrimination does not go back to being close minded.

My eleven year old son, Zachary, said to me when he heard about the loss in California, You mean, people think gays and lesbians are different so they shouldn't get the same rights?

Yes.

Don't they understand we are all different? I mean... no one is the same.

No, they don't.

We are all different. People pray at different alters, and some are places we will never create change. That doesn't mean we need to stoop to their level.

Rally, organize, march, light candles, write, cheer- and remember we are about justice.

Tolerance.

For everyone.


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Thanks Sara. I appreciate your call to tolerance.

Thank you Sara. I've been really disturbed by all of the anti-Mormon rhetoric coming out of the gay community. As a gay Mormon, it hurts twice as much. I appreciate your concise call for tolerance. I really do.

Sorry, its too late to play nicey nicey with the Mormon Cult. Everything they do from the special underwear to the post death conversions to Mormonism of Jewish Holocaust survivors and the funding of policies that remove our civil rights is open for debate, discussion and protest.

I'm not giving up my civil rights to anyone who believes that Jesus left tablets of gold buried on a farm in upstate New York that only Joseph Smith ( A hotel check in name if I ever heard one) could translate.

Such nonsense, when believed, seems to be driving this train and I want the train derailed.

WADR, I think this is bollocks. This is the reason we keep losing fights with the haters -- we bring a knife to a gunfight.

Listen, I *despise* the Catholic church. That does not mean I hate all Catholics -- just the organized institution that is symbolized by the Vatican and Joey the Rat. My Catholic friends know perfectly well that I have nothing against them, and we get along fine (in no small part because THEY think the Vatican heirarchy and Joey the Rat are full of shit on a lot of topics, too.)

My point is, we can turn their own tactics against them: love the congregant, hate the church.

you may not like the Mormons, but they are not a cult. 178 years of existence. not a cult anymore.

and don't get me started about other religions and their bizarre beginnings. eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ?

that seems kinda wacko to me but what do I know, I'm an atheist.

is it so hard to understand the Mormon religion has as many layers of people as any religion?

and if we want them to tolerate and respect us, why can't we do the same?

Mormons are not a cult? Really?

So... how long until Scientology is no longer a cult?

Is it just a matter of time and numbers? Is it when they stop squashing dissent? Is it how they indoctrinate? Is it when they hide their extremely bizarre beliefs?

Did the mormons stop being a cult when they amended their racist "scriptures" in 1978? or before then?

I personally don't care if mormons respect us. I want them to respect the separation of church and state.

Thank you so much!! All the Mormon hate rhetoric does is foreclose any possibility of dialog between gays and Mormons.

And tell me, what kind of progress has Affirmation, the gay mormon group, made?
If you think you will change the "church", you are naive - no amount of "dialog" will do that.
It is the separation of church and state we must support - if the lds "church" has violated the law we must make sure the penalty is paid.

Protesting in front of temples isn't going to make the Mormon Church change.

But maybe it will make the Mormon leaders think twice before entering the political arena again.

Sunday 11/16 there will be a protest at the Mormon Church on 22nd Ave in San Francisco. I will be there and I hope a large crowd turns out to protest!

I couldn't disagree more.

The LDS church made the decision to enter the public democratic arena -- which they have a right to do.

They have a right to exort their members to raise enough dough to account for more than half of all the monies raised for Prop 8 and Prop 102 even though they make up a tiny portion of the population.

They have a right to operate in leadership positions on the Yes campaigns for Prop 8 and Prop 102.

They have a right to try to push their theological positions into the state constitutions which affect everyone -- Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

The leadership of the LDS have a right to do all of these things, both under IRS regulations and as citizens of the United States.

But once they leave the comfy confines of the Temple and enter the world of Caesar, once they stop acting like a church and start acting like a political organization, they are then subject to the same scrutiny, criticism, accountability -- and yes, protests -- that any other political organization is subject to. Just like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain were.

You see, the LDS church became politicians, and that means that now that they have embarked on a political career, they can't just scamper back to their temples, throw their hands up and say, "Oh, no! You can't criticize us! We're just a religion."

The LDS church is not just a religion. It is a powerful political player. And I, for one, respect their political power and their rights. Which is why I'm all for protesting them. I'd do no less for any other organization. Why would I give them a pass just because they're a religion?

Sarah, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the need for tolerance. But my understanding of the protests is that they're addressing the Mormon Church's possible violation of their tax-exempt status.

None of us are telling the Mormons what they should should teach, or whether they should marry us in their temples or not. But the entire coalition of Prop 8 churches are trying to keep us from having CIVIL marriage, which is entirely outside the scope of their teachings and church practice.

Conservative U.S. religions -- and that includes the LDS Church--have to get something through their heads. If they're not prepared to take political heat, they should stay out of the political kitchen. The Mormon Church made a massive step into the kitchen, so they're getting some massive heat. Welcome to the world of politics.

And these churches will certainly not refrain from picketing US when it suits them.

Yes, Patricia, but the problem is the baffling emphasis on the LDS church. Who invited them? The SF Catholic Archdiocese.

Nobody's protesting the Catholic Church, or the Pentecostal Church, or the Baptists and Evangelical Church.

Know what's worse? That video of the lady with the cross that got ripped out of her hand. It cemented the view of gays as vicious heathens. It won't help.

Furthermore, as much as I hate Elizabeth from the view, she made the strong point that the protesters were just as hateful. For goodness's sake, the Mormon Church has gone for a long time separated from its polygamist branch, and yet gays continue to misrepresent Mormons as polygamists.

This is not going to win us support. Gays vs. Religion will result in a resounding destruction of the gay rights movement. 86% of this country is religious whether we like it or not; to engage in hate speech against religion will set back our cause greatly.

Oops, sorry about the h, Sara.

In answer to Lucrece's question, we SHOULD be protesting the Catholics and others. The problem is, the Mormons put way more money into the Yes on 8 campaign than any of the others. This is why they stick out like a sore thumb.

On a battlefield, if you stick your head up higher than anybody else's head, you better expect to be shot at.

Look Lucrece -

You responded to me in another post today with the same sentiment: We must not fight back to any ignorance or injustice because it might make us look bad. Instead we should just lay bleeding at the feet of our oppressor and hopefully they will come to their senses before we die.

Your position (and perhaps that of Sara's) certainly have their place and time in the stream of life as we work to achieve...something...I'm not even sure what that sort of diplomacy accomplishes...but right now - 10 days after the election, I think we have a right to raise hell.

And we ought to raise hell. And it apparently is working against all the cautious hand wringing of the moderate voices - because suddenly we have the attention of the country (let alone an increasing majority of our own community) and THAT is worth pitching a fit over.

We might make headway toward tolerance of some of these despicable organization and majority populations when it comes to election season political games, but first we need to show that we not going to sit idley by and allow our citizenship to continue to be marginalized by these tax exempt liars and charlatans.

Listen to the YouTube clip of Dan Savage arguing with Tony Perkins on CNN that is posted at Bilerico and you will hear the disingenuous spin that makes him and his followers believe that they have the right to obstruct the constitution. If you think that we aren't justified in making our dissatisfaction with our treatment known then I don't understand why you bother blogging.

We can pretend that we have a place at a table of negotiation with these fanatics and that they will respond to our polite rebuttals of their views...but that is delusional and counter productive and after DOMA and 30 amendments it is now dangerous.

I won't sit on my hands anymore and assume that we will be granted justice or anything anymore.

What would it take to get you to step away from the non-existent negotiations and fight like you are running out of options?

What will have to happen in order for you to realize that the other side is not open to your rational, moderate, pandering?

....Quote me. Really. I am disappointed that in your irritation, you have forced a position on me that is not mine.

I am part of Join The Impact. I support the protests. If you have read any of my comments on this blog, they're one of the most belligerent activist-wise. I can't really fathom where you got the notion that I suggested we just lay down for our oppressors to walk over us.

Nevertheless, this does not invalidate the criticisms that have been raised. How can you raise hell about mischaracterization and the removal of rights when you are fighting with the same fire? "You have 14 wives; I want one husband". I have seen millions of those signs in the protests. They makes us look ignorant. As a scrutinized minorities, we cannot afford to be caught spreading false information. The vast majority of Mormons do not engage in polygamy, so why make it a central point of our retorts?

You even made a post about getting ALL the churches. So, why do we still people focusing solely on the LDS? Why don't we see protests over at other churches, and even in Democratic neighborhoods that could still not bother to support us despite flocking for Obama's "change"?

I'm happy that the community is motivated, but this anger won't last forever. Furthermore, its focus leaves other Christian and unsupportive secular sources free to squak by out of guilt in the public, since the public eye is only upon the Mormons.

Aimed at the wrong person. Patricia made the post about getting all the churches, not Patrick.

From the Ocamb post: "I suspect it will further alienate them, which doesn't help."

above: "...and yet gays continue to misrepresent Mormons as polygamists."

"It cemented the view of gays as vicious heathens. It won't help."

"This is not going to win us support."

"As a scrutinized minorities, we cannot afford to be caught spreading false information."

Perhaps I miscategorize you as a hand wringer...maybe you are just a control freak. WE finally have people showing up who are mad as hell and now you (and others) want us all to march to the same beat, and behave well, like if we just do the one right thing we will get a result.

Let it go. Plan the proper direct hit that will make all the religionists love us tomorrow. We've had months of supposed experts directing us (and taking our money for a crappy campaign).

Right now we need less fussing and more activism to keep each other engaged.

Let appearances go...just while this energy is present...can we just have a goddamned protest without wearing white gloves and hats, for the love of god?

Right, end the facade of being empathic people, you mean. Use their same dirty language. Let's leave the white gloves, and instead let's put on the hypocrisy mask! After the Mormons, let's go to the Catholics and call them mass child-molesters.

That's some top strategy you've got there, Patrick! Let's just make noise, keep ourselves amused. Nothing about actually achieving something after the awareness bit has faded, just antagonizing for the sake of making our bitter selves feel better.

Then again, there's not much point to arguing when you've set the tone with "religionists" and "control freak" (amusingly enough, you scold me for wanting to control people, seemingly unaware of the irony in your actions). In the end, you have still failed to demonstrate how those comments bear no merit.

I am completely uninterested in any merit that might be wrung out of straddling the middle and compromising rights in a desperate attempt to achieve an increment of justice.

I'm not one of the people that find any satisfaction in temperance.

What I suggest for now is that you "reasonable" people with "pragmatic" goals that wish to unify all of us behind one common goal (like for example the election of Obama) should go away for a few weeks while the rest of us raise hell.

Isn't there some secret bunker you can go hide in with Kate Kendall and Geoff Kors to find a way to achieve equality without having to mention anything about LGBT people?

seriously.

You have had your turn at the mic to tell us all how we should act/think/respond during the election so we don't embarrass the Democrats...now I think you should just go take a nap and get rest.

When the next election starts (probably in three months) you can come back and tell us all to behave and get back in the closet because our anger is no longer needed...just the contents of our wallets.

False pretense and obvious strawmans aside, I'm amused by your fervent belief that these protests will achieve rights any quicker than previous measures.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that these protests are anything besides payback. They took away rights; they will face unpleasantness. Pleasurable as it may be, though, this revenge will hardly net you the justice you keep trumpeting about.

Then again, perhaps having you play street soldier will get you to channel your angry rhetoric somewhere else besides at Bilerico.

P.S. I'm interested in what YOU were doing when Kate and her fellow incompetents were forcing the closet on the poor queers. Perhaps usurping our bunkers while having spa/dress tip sessions ala HRC?

Ah....see....there it is!! I am an elitist!!

Just like when I criticized Obama for being too afraid to stand up for equal protections because it might make him look bad and I was called a Log Cabin Republican.

Hilarious.

You middle of the road entrenched milquetoasts will throw stones at anyone that won't follow the rules and insist on rocking the boat.

What was I doing while Kate and Co were losing Prop 8? I was giving money that I couldn't afford to give and giving away any gifts at my wedding in turn for donations to No on 8.

Oh, and I spent some time visiting with my friend that had to leave America to be with her British partner because the US won't recognize same sex relationships, but England will.

And Obama hasn't done anything about Immigration Equality...how are you gonna fix that? By asking real nice?

Haha, darling, you're preaching to the choir, silly goose.

Perhaps I ought to introduce you to my clashes with Crawford about how Obama would sell us short?

Now, stop polluting my exchange with Patricia, and go find some other outlet to ramble on.

Thank you, Lucrece. I totally agree.

Actually there was a report out of a SLC Utah ABC affilate that as of 11 years ago Hinkley had a plan in place to alling itself with the Catholic Church on this issue primarily so that any flak wouldnt come back to haunt them I dont have a link but I have the excerpt of the news report:

The Church of Latter Day Saints began putting together a game plan 10 years ago to ensure same-sex marriage would not become legal, a internal church memo shows.

The document, obtained by Salt Lake City ABC affiliate KTVX, was sent by a member of the LDS General Authority to a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, the church’s governing body.

Dated March 4, 1997, the memo mentions a meeting with Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then President of the Church, and quotes Hinckley as saying the Mormons need to “move ahead” with the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

Hinckley, according to the 11-year old document, suggests joining forces with the Roman Catholic Church.

“The public image of the Catholic Church is higher than our Church. In other words, if we get into this, they are the ones with which to join,” the memo quotes him as saying.

He also warned in the memo that the Church should not be seen as the lead instigator in the fight against gay marriage.

KTVX showed the memo to current Mormon officials who said they could not verify the authenticity of the document but believe it is authentic.

As Serena bravely notes, there are gay mormons. Stop and think about the message we are sending to all the baby queers in the Mormon church. Your church can't stand you, and oh by the way neither can we.

Because our opponents have hardened their hearts does not mean we should. To take and hold the high moral ground, we have to rise above the pettiness and rancor.

The tax exempt argument won't go very far. In the Prop 8 instance none of the churches or religious organizations have taken sides in the election of an identifiable candidate. That is where the absolute prohibition is. They are allowed to attempt to influence legislations providing that such activity does not constitute a substantial part of its activities.


No, the Mormons are not a cult. Not any more than the Catholics, or all the rest of the religions.

Personally, I think they are all pretty ridiculous. I don't see much difference between any of them, including Scientology.

but as I said, I'm an atheist.

we will not win by being so angry. we need to be productive with the energy.

I'm all for taking on the tax exempt status. In a lot of churches, not just Mormons. I don't think that is accomplished in the streets.

Churches and religious organizations work best when they stick to specifically that, faith. But we can well see that churches and other large religious organizations operate in many ways that are not related to their faith. I mean we have hundreds of years of Catholic history where the church was not only influencing politics, but was a political force unto itself: printing its own currency, waging wars, exacting genocidal ethnic and faith purges, etc.

I believe you have every right to protest a faith organization when that organization steps outside of its bounds and negatively influences people in and out of its faith constituency. We should not allow the Mormon Church, or any church for that matter to leave this battle unscathed by wrapping themselves in a holier-than-thou shroud of untouchability.

The world is not righted by asking for your rights. Equality is won by fighting for them.

The problem is that the LDS church is the villain in this story. The pleas from the church to sing kumbaya now are just an attempt to manipulate gay people through liberal guilt.

Suzanne Neilsen | November 14, 2008 3:20 PM

Why protest at the Mormon Temples?
Without Mormon support Prop 8 would have gone down, way down.
Rather than a recent addition to the anti-gay coalition, the Mormon Church have been prime architects of banning same sex marriage.(Take a look at Hawaii and Alaska.)
Mormons make up what?, 2% of Californians, yet they contributed 4out of 5 dollars to Yes on 8. Mormons contributed over 100,000 volunteers and countless hours to Yes on 8. These "volunteers" were signed up and assigned their shifts in their wards.(congregations)
We must fight back against the Mormon Church by exposing their involvement in stripping and denying Civil Rights.

Sara I believe freedom of religion stops when someone seeks to make me adhere to their beliefs.If they attempt that I have a constitutional right to smack them upside their head and fully intend to do so wether that be a Mormon,Catholic,Evangelical or even a Baptist.They must be forced to understand their faith stops at preventing us from practicing ours we must shake them to there roots and challenge their having hate crimes protection especially when their the ones committing the hate crime.

I have no plans to attend any protests. In 2004, when Kentucky's doma amendment passed by an 80/20 margin, I didn't see people from California protesting on our behalf. I'm disabled and on crutches right now, anyway.

I don't think protests mean squat, anyway, these days, although I've certainly cheered on the anti=HRC/pro-T protests, as it was the only weapon available. In this case, there are better actions to take. What I want to see - and have spoken to a state legislator about already - is a bill allowing revokation of a church's property tax exemption for use of church funds and use of the pulpit to collect funds for faith-based political activism. It is high time we enforced separation of church and state, and it will be necessary to do that if you want same sex marriage and ENDA laws to pass in more than a couple more states.

Protest if it makes you feel good, but if you aren't talking to your legislators about preventing churches from interfering in matters of state, you ain't doin' nothin'.

I seem to hear an echo in here. "Be tolerant toward the Morman church for their position on Prop 8." "Be tolerant toward HRC for their position on ENDA." No one could convince the trans community to be nice to HRC after the ENDA mess, so would anyone think the entire LGBT community will be nice to the Morman church? The wound in the heart is exactly the same. The reaction to the church falls into the "Duh" catagory.

The point that has been made is that they stopped being a "religion" and became a "political orgainzation" once the hate language came out. Once the money flowed into California. Once they strong-armed their people into donating until it hutrs. We have to fight hate where ever it appears. The protests are only the beginning.

For those who know the history of the Civil Rights movement, you know that they used a multiply prong approach to their goals. There were civil disobedience, quiet protests, marches, talks with legislators, bocotts and many other things used to make their point. You had people like Dr. King and others who approached things like Malcolm X. It came from all sides.

We don't coop the Civil Rights movement, but we learn from their methods. Protests are one part of the process, and it should be in front of Morman temples, Catholic churches, mega churches, state capital buildings, city halls, town halls, legislators offices, and even in front of the White House.

But, while they are going on, others are inside talking to legislators and other decision makers. A pressure cooker works far better than an open pot for cooking, because the heat come from all sides. So, turn up the heat in front of the churches and other places. We're not giving anyone a pass who doesn't support equal rights.

Serena
Your church is a cult. It says God and Jesus spoke with your founder Joseph Smith back in eighteen hundred and twenty and told him to start this church. Smith was 14, a backwoods farm boy in upstate New York.
Your church and it's members gave 20 Million to influence popular vote in a neighboring state denying our rights.
They have the money and power to influence state laws and take away rights from other citizens just because it is contrary to the Mormon teaching.
Next propositions in line for them to influence will be, partial birth abortion, the morning after pill, freedom of speech, biotechnology, science, and education, and lesbians. What are you thinking ?
Are you a product of childhood religious indoctrination on automatic, because you sure are not using reason in being a member of that strange and superstitious cult. Magic underwear ? Spooky, especially for LGBT's.



Whoa, slow down. Everyone slow down.

WE all want to win rights. Not just marriage rights but all rights. Across the country. WE can be in disagreement about the strategy.

I am offended by the comments about the Mormons. I grew up in an upstate new york town with at least 30% of my classmates being Mormon. Some were strict, some where not, some had grain in the basement, some did not.

Stop it. Please.

enough with the snarky comments about the ads for Prop 8- the ads were tested, polled and were created to convince undecided votes.

WE ARE NOT UNDECIDED VOTERS!

enough. it doesn't do any good. use the energy and call your representatives. march tomorrow along with everyone across the country, not against something BUT FOR SOMETHING.

Us. Our rights. Our dignity. When we start calling people names, we have lost our dignity.

Dr. King, Monica, never marched against racist white churches. He marched in the streets. He marched to capitals, to state houses, to Washington DC.

It is wrong to take away our rights.

But this kind of hateful rhetoric against the Mormons? Makes me ashamed.

don't count me in.

Reformed Ascetic | November 14, 2008 7:44 PM

Sara,

He wasn't just Dr. King although that is what everyone has come to call him.

You may remember that at the time it was often insisted that all his earned titles be used. That he be called:

REVEREND Dr. King

He addressed religiously based racism by being a religious leader speaking to religious people, and often at religious sites. He did act to fight religious racism through the circumstances of his being and through his language.

Rev. Dr. King came to national prominence by almost bankrupting a private bus system. Not all of his actions were solely directed at government institutions, and by no means were all the actions of the black civil rights movement.

Reformed Ascetic | November 14, 2008 7:59 PM

I guess I should for clarification that I very much agree with your larger point that hate is ugly on anyone.

I just don't think that protesting a church, any church, is in and of itself necessarily an act of hate.

SammySeattle | November 14, 2008 7:23 PM

Well said, Monica. When calling out bigotry upon those who felt the need to enshrine it in a State Constitution it must be done loudly. After the protests we write letters, emails, lobby and speak one on one with everyone we can. Why protest when you don't live in the State of California? Because you are next.

Sammy,
I live in Georgia, and like the LGBT people in many other states, we got our amendment in 2004. We aren't protesting because we're next. We will be protesting because some other state will be next, and to stem the flow of hate, we will be part of the dam to hold back the water. Georgia will not be brought back from the Dark Side, but since LGBT people across the country are our family, we will be supporting our family. It what family does. Thanks.

Reformed Ascetic | November 14, 2008 7:27 PM

First, the LDS church is not the sole focus of the protests. Churches of different faiths have been targeted based on their participation in Yes on 8. And notably the suggested targets of the protests being called for this weekend are local governmental buildings.

Some people have done bad things. I don’t support tagging churches. I don’t support hate speech. Apparently someone sent two envelopes of white powder to Mormon churches today. Odds are reasonable that some misguided person did this in light of the Prop 8 results. I hope that we police our own. That if an LGBT supporter did this, that it is LGBT people that turn him in.

Personally, I am having trouble getting behind the pressures being put on individuals. Costing people jobs. Calling for protests against small businesses. I know it’s happened before. I know it’s been a part of other successful civil rights campaigns. These people peacefully participated in one of American society’s way to settle disputes. I can certainly understand why someone would prefer not to hand over their money to someone who might donate it to other “Yes” type campaigns. But the instances I’ve seen so far leave a bad taste in my mouth and I, personally, prefer not to participate.

This is one of the reasons that establishment forces have issues with grassroots activism. As more people get involved, the likelihood that some person will engage in unsavory activity increases, whether it is some of the instances of racist language noted here at Bilerico previously or the cowardly terrorism of mailing white powder to people. That isn’t to say that I have a problem with activism that grows from the ground up. I strongly support and believe that activism should be working on several levels at once. I do think it needs to be pointed out that if we complain about establishment groups for too much control and grassroots groups for too little, we are not left with much.

However there is a difference between some individuals of a group behaving inappropriately, or even illegally, and a group of people cohesively acting to deny others rights.

It is possible for people to discuss race without being racist. It is possible for people to discuss homosexuality without being homophobic. And it is certainly possible for people to discuss, and protests are part of the public discussion process, the actions of a religious group without attacking that group’s religion. In fact, saying that white people can’t discuss race or racism is itself racist. And etc. If the Mormons, or anyone else, ever need my help to protect their right to practice their religion freely, I will be happy to provide it. If in some alternate dimension they needed my help to continue preaching anti-gay rhetoric, I would help. They have the right to say, think and believe whatever they want. But when people act to legally impose their religion on others, they deserve to be called out for it. As far as I am concerned, attempts to portray the Mormons as hypocritical are incredibly small prices for them to pay and are only being mentioned at all out of political expediency and shocked self-righteousness.

In many ways, I am far less concerned who is getting protested than that there are so many successful protests. I support the LGBT establishment groups and think good work has been done by them. But I also believe that the tactics and demeanors that established organizations naturally acquire is not the only successful way to organize. And I suspect that it might not be possible for it to be truly successful on its own. I am excited about the galvanizing spirit these protests bring and I am excited about the attention they gather.

I didn’t see any coverage of Prop 8 in the national media before the election. I’m seeing it daily on multiple channels now. This discussion will ultimately result in gains.

I agree with much of what you wrote. The energy that has been created is truly amazing and I'm fairly certain the Mormons and other funders of "Yes" on 8 never dreamed GLBT people would stand up to them and their millions (along with millions who also support our Civil Rights struggle). I am glad we finally are standing up and I hope we continue to do so for all causes that are just and right.

Larry Kramer and others who founded Act Up did so out out fear, anger, disgust and necessity and they made the government and Big Pharma aware of the plight of those living, but mostly, dying with HIV/AIDS. No, HIV/AIDS is not over in the United States as the apathy is too damn great. HIV/AIDS is still epidemic, even in the United States and Gay Men are still disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Gay people are 10% of the population and Gay men are perhaps 5% of the population, yet 51% of infections is among Gay males. The epidemic has not ended.

Reformed Ascetic, you said "apparently someone sent two envelopes of white powder to Mormon churches today. Odds are reasonable that some misguided person did this in light of the Prop 8 results." Who would get the most PR from such a stunt? Let me think, maybe it would be the Mormon Leadership. I would bet the letters were postmarked Salt Lake City. What do you think?

Anyway, my point is Demonstrate and Be Heard. GLBT people cannot allow a steamroller known as the Mormon Church or the Roman Catholic Church to just flatten us and leave us for dead.

Reformed Ascetic | November 14, 2008 11:31 PM

The best thing would be that actions like terrorizing people with white powder through the mail simply were not part of any group's political actions.

But the reality now is that there are a few possible explanations for this.

One is that some fool of any political bent, or none, simply saw it as a sophomoric practical joke. A childish way to push people's buttons. If this is the case, the odds are high that the person/people responsible are about to find themselves the object of a domestic terrorism investigation rather than getting high fives at the frat house.

Another is that some Machiavellian figure decided to play a political spin game by trying to paint LGBT people as political terrorists.

Another is that it is simply a coincidence in timing and the motivations have nothing at all to do with anti-gay politics by the LDS.

And another, that seems fairly likely is that some LGBT supporter, queer or straight, got caught up in the heat of the moment and did something really, really stupid and ugly.

If it was an LGBT supporter, I would roundly denounce anyone who tried to paint the LGBT civil rights movement as either violent or vindictive based on that individuals actions.

And if it is somehow traced back to some shadowy Machiavellian Mormon leader, that will also not say anything about LDS members in general.

If the Mormon leadership failed to denounce that person's actions, it would certainly say something about the LDS leadership. And if LGBT people can't denounce such actions, it can also fairly be described as saying something about us.

The way to protest church political activity is to be low key and think and speak of the protest as a vigil. Rowdy is bad, friendly is good. Don't curse or name-call. Make sure signs aren't negative in a personal way. Don't name individual targets, merely institutions, and don't attack the institution or “religion” as a whole, just this one policy. Have more positive than negative signs: "Gay By God", "God loves my son and his partner", "Together __years", and so on.

Be polite to everyone attending church, and if the churchgoers cuss you out, turn the other cheek and be peaceable - "I'll pray that God will open your eyes to justice" or something on that line (if you sincerely are a praying type). These people need to see gays as ordinary people, not hooligans or freaks. They need to see that we aren't trying to prevent them from worshipping, or from having their own personal code of conduct that forbids them to take part in same-gender sexual acts, merely from using the secular law to impose their religious opinion on those outside their denomination.

Dress conservatively - parka/tee shirt and jeans, not club clothes or shock-the-straights clothes. You should look like you are going grocery shopping or running some clothes to the dry cleaners or going to work. You would like to show both the churchgoers and the random gawkers that you have a life, not a "lifestyle". Always remember, media may be there.

In fact, try to attract media to the event, and steer media by making it easy for them to get their story. Recruit some people to be spokespersons, train them on a few media techniques, send out press releases naming individuals (and summarizing their story or job description) willing to be interviewed before or during the action, have a prominently signaged "Media station" onsite, with a schedule of which interview subjects will be waiting at the media station at which times, supply said media station with free coffee and soda for media and police only.

Get clergy from liberal congregations involved. Also find some long-time lesbian or gay couples, or trans couples who have been unwillingly divorced by the state after one person transitions. Ideally, some of the couples should have significant involvement in religion and be able to state why they believe God sanctions their union. Some of the couples, agnostic/atheist or religious, should be able to talk about problems they have had (hospital visitation and health care management) due to lack of civil marriage. A legal expert, perhaps from the local ACLU, or a local lawyer with a specialized gay practice component, would be good to have on hand as well.

This works very well. We did it in St. Louis for the Exodus ex-gay "Love Won Out" seminar at a local conservative church. This was pulled together in less than two weeks, and had media, event bus transportation, parking, police relations (call them up, find out law and local traffic issues, and enlist cooperation by promising cooperation), participant security training (how to defuse arguments non-violently, and how/where to keep protesters placed for safety) more or less worked out in time. The police in the suburb containing the church conference appreciated our orderly behavior, the cell phone number of the protest security manager, the fact that the protest's own volunteer security wore identifying smocks, making it easy enough for police to get help keeping crowds safely away from moving cars. After all, police officers generally prefer an easy safe stress-free day.

If you can't manage a low key protest, it would be better to avoid the actual churches and stick to protesting at a site customarily used for rallies,political speeches, etc.

All superstition driven groups are cults. This is one cse where size doesn't matter, but the fact that they all do us damage does. Without exception they're based on the warmed over eches of ancient fantasies and of minimal use even to those who relish really bad science fiction. People of “faith’ chooses a lifestyle that can be very dangerous. As in drinking the Kool-Aid and shooting the queers.


Should we hate Mormons and catholics? What would be the point? However when businesses, politicians, cults and public figures vilify us and politically organize to harm us should we make sure they know how angry we are. Definitely. And as often as circumstances permit.

Should we find legal ways to punish cults? Absolutely, and cheerfully. Boycotts, ridicule,and demonstrations are all in order.

Cult groups are the really bad part of the entertainment industry. Should we insist that they be taxed just like Disney of DreamWorks. Positively. Bush, soon to be followed by Obama, uses federal largess to buy political support using bribes under Hillary Clinton’s faith based ‘charities’. It should be abolished and the recipients forced to repay us.

Should cults be permitted to frighten and warp the development of children in cult schools? Definitely not.

Finally, keep in mind that if the HRC 'fundraisers', Obama apologists and other self appointed leaders who misled No on 8 and the efforts in Arizona and Florida had been smart enough to denounce Obama’s bigotry and if they'd led a campaign of angry, disruptive demonstrations that threatened more of the same we very probably wouldn’t be in this mess now.

Protest if you wish or must on Saturday, but if you are not lobbying your state legislators to require religions and churches to pay property tax on their facilities if they choose to become politically active, or siccing state tax auditors on their books, you are not doing anything but playing out a romantic 1960s fantasy.

For what the Mormons and K of C did in Cali (and, in my state, megachurches and the Southern Bastard Convention in 2004), they should be forced to pay property tax on their churches, seminaries, and cathedrals. They violated tax code. They should be held accountable. And, while you are at it, support churches who support your lifestyle and beliefs.

We should lobby for even-handed enforcement of existing tax code, not try for more restrictive code.

There are justice-minded denominations and congregations out there. At least one of them got seriously harassed by the IRS in a politically instigated investigation over a 2004 anti-war sermon that pointed out that both candidates were involved in the Iraq War, Bush by virtue of being CinC, Kerry by virtue of having voted for the war. This same church, All Saints Episcopal (Pasadena CA), has been involved in No on 8 activity, and denounced the passage of 8 recently. All but one of the California Episcopal bishops spoke out, as a group, against 8 during the campaign season.

Action hasn't been taken against all of the churches that skirted the law by commanding that members vote solely for candidates who are against legalized abortion and against gay rights, at the peril of the member's soul.

It is ok for a 501c3 church to spend a small percentage of total income (including in-kind) on lobbying for issues (bills, propositions, amendments). Promotion of specific candidates or parties is forbidden.

Thanks for the info about the Episcopal Bishops taking a stand for justice. For those that are interested in the relationship between tax exempt status under 501(c)(3), the IRS publishes a pamphlet of advice to churches and religious organizations. Given what is at stake you can bet that church lawyers have read it, so too should activists.

I disagree. Cults come in a variety of flavors, some as old as Sumer and some, like the mormons, moonies and scientologists newer. That's not important. Most are virulently anti-GLBT andonly a few moderately anti-GLBT. That doesn’t matter either.

What does matter is that without exception they disseminate superstition. They promote a dangerous, unscientific and unethical lifestyle. They maintain by indoctrinating of children and sometimes raping them. They promote misogyny, homophobia, war, ethnic cleansing, regimentation and patriarchal norms. Not exactly a pretty picture.

They are not relevant to any aspect of modern societies, particularly in the field of ethics, which is, putting it mildly, their weakest point.

The 'charitable' work they do could be done better by secular organizations under the direction of community activists. And none of it would be necessary if we had a government that cared about the needs of it's citizens instead of the needs of the reatarded rich.

Faith based charities were brainstormed by Hillary Clinton and Rick Santorum and then used by Rove who began an organized raid on the federal treasury to bribe cultists. Obama’s insistence that faith based funding should be INCREASED means he learned the wrong lesson from Clinton, Santorum and KKKarl Rove. Which is hardly surprising.

The question is not evenhandedness. The question is should any cult get tax break or federal bribes? The answer is no, they shouldn’t.

Tax cuts for cults violate separation of cult and state.

Cult schools should be closed.

Joni Christian | November 15, 2008 5:17 AM

Protesting at Mormon churches will only fortify their position. I did this at Liberty Baptist(Falwell's church) and I don't know that they are anymore tolerant or accepting.
Expect more hate in the backlash at your own place of worship.
This is not the answer.

THE BATTLE TO OVERCOME OPPRESSION AND OBTAIN EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE U.S. INCLUDES OVERCOMING RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, BUT NOT IN THE HISTORICAL SENSE THAT THE EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE PERSECUTED FOR BEING CHRISTIAN, BUT THAT SOME RELIGIONS IN THE U.S. DID (AND CONTINUE TO DO) THE PERSECUTING.
IT CANNOT BE FORGOTTEN THAT MANY RELIGIONS USED (READ ABUSED) THE BIBLE TO JUSTIFY AND SUPPORT SLAVERY BY CITING THE CURSE OF HAM AND CANAAN IN GENESIS 9:20-26. MANY RELIGIONS THEN ABUSED THE
BIBLE BY CITING THE STORY OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND THE CURSE ON EVE IN GENESIS 3:1-16 AS THEIR JUSTIFICATION OF WOMEN AS SECOND CLASS, SUBSURVIENT TO MEN AND PORTRAYED AS SEXUAL "SECUDERS"! A MORE RECENT RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION WAS PERPETRATED AND SUSTAINED BY THOSE RELIGIONS WHO AGAIN ABUSED THE BIBLE TO
JUSTIFY SEGREGATION IN THE U.S. NOW MANY MAJOR RELIGIONS ARE PERSECUTING LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS AND TRANSGENDERS WITH THE SAME ABUSE OF THE BIBLE. ALL OF THESE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTIONS MISSED THE CORE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELF, DO UNTO OTHERS AS WE WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO UNTO US AND TO JUDGE NOT LESS WE BE JUDGED BECAUSE ONLY GOD THE FATHER IS JUDGE.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY JUST AND ESSENTIAL THAT WE "FIGHT" FOR OUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUALITY IN THE U.S. HOW WE DO IT IS EVERYTHING!

Thank you very much for the wonders you are doing for the LGBTI community all over the world.

Much love and respect.

From Liana known as Spike*

Allison Elise | December 22, 2008 1:12 PM

These religious institutions are misusing their tax exempt status when they raise monies for efforts such as their yes on Prop.8 drive. This is not an infrastructure capitilization campaign designed to benefit their congregants, it is in fact work that falls outside of their 501 (c) 3 tax exempt status as applied for under religious exemption. This is a corporate tax loophole that begs to be plugged. If they can pony up millions of dollars to influence campaign such as Prop. 8, then they can afford to pay the taxes on it.

I found this site by going from one comment on one board to another - to another -etc...
I would like to share with you from an active LDS oponion about some of the things that I have read in your comments.
First!! NO ONE made us vote the way we did.. We are Americans and we voted the way we chose to. There were some LDS who voted to support you also.
LDS are known for getting organized quickly. It comes through our organization (Home Teachers Visiting Teachers). Most people are happy about this when it comes to disasters etc..
We DO NOT HATE gays... you can say that all you want but it will not change the fact that it is a lie. Sure, there are some LDS who hate gays, same as Catholics Batist Muslim etc.. but the church as a whole does not. We bellieve what you are doing is wrong and believe that marraige is ordained by God as being between a man and a woman. That is a core consept of our and many other religions beliefs. We are not so much fight against you, as we are in fighting for what we believe. You keep saying that it has nothing to do with our religion and that it will not affect our religion, homes, families in any way. And yet you are doing just that. You are trying to force doctors who do not believe in your way of thinking into performing invetro on lesbians and when they choose not to you sue them. There are other doctors that will do this for you - why must you take away our freedom of religion to be forced into doing what you want. Many of the comments I have read talked about closing down schools that will not get in line with what you want... Teaching children in schools that their parents are horrible people because they happen to believe that Christ spole out against the gay behavior and whated men and women to marry. YOU are FUELING the fire or this so called hate !! By comments such as this. AND you commersial about the LDS misssionaries was so overboard you really lost a whole lot of people both in and out of the church over that one. I don't know who thought that up but they should be kick out of your organization because you truly are losing people that you might have had with horrible untrue stunts like that.
Most LDS people will help you gain legal rights that you say you need - as long as you leave marraige out of it. They see this as making a mockery out of that which they hold sacred and also as a hole in the law which will allow you to get into the temples, sue for whatever etc.. p(please don't say it won't happen - I have been alive a long time and I remember what happened in Hawaii and so do alot of other people. You have proven beyond a doubt that your work CANNOT be trusted!!
If you want our help - then STOP trying to force your lifestyle down our throats!!!
Picketing at the Temple is a big NO NO for you! I have heard from many people - not just LDS but all other religions that they have lost all respect for you and your cause by doing this. You have set your cause so far back..... You were truly seen as toddlers who did not get their and threw a temper tantrum... Sooooooo imature. That is how most straight people now view you.
I don't know if this will even be posted.. but I know that I will not be back on this site. I know that what I feel and why has no merit to you and all you do would bash me. Had enough of that already... just thought I would give you a perpestive of where I sit.
The LDS will NOT change their view on this unless the word comes from God. So I guess He is the oponion you need to change.