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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tempe, Az USA
Local Time: 06:54 PM
The Hypocrisy of the Tolerance Movement
The people have spoken twice in California supporting the traditional definition of marriage—once in 2000 and again this election—but that isn't enough for proponents of same-sex marriage who intend to intimidate and harass until their philosophy triumphs. As San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said when the California Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage earlier this year, “It's going to happen—whether you like it or not.”
Though opponents of Prop. 8 who seek for same-sex marriage tout that they are the movement of tolerance, their actions mark them as hypocrites, as they send the message through protests, property vandalism and singling out donors for vilification that anybody getting in their way had better watch out. Payback and punishment will follow for those who have exercised their right of political expression to support traditional marriage.
This, of course, is designed to inhibit and terrorize anyone who opposes redefining marriage, chilling not only discussion of the issues, but political opposition altogether. At the very least, those who support that marriage is between a man and a woman are labelled hateful and bigoted.
Even the media participated in this kind of name-calling. The Los Angeles Times, for instance in endorsing a “no” vote on the marriage amendment said, “Vote No on the bigotry of Proposition 8.” But supporters of traditional marriage have also seen windows broken, cars keyed, and social disdain. Many ministers are employing guards to watch their churches round the clock.
A particularly easy target for abuse, perhaps because they are a minority, has been The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, whose First Presidency sent a letter to the California congregations in June urging members to be involved in supporting the marriage amendment. Apparently participation as citizens in issues opposing the same-sex marriage agenda cannot be tolerated for now it has become open season on the church and its individual members.
In the past few days, thousands of people have besieged LDS temples in Los Angeles , Manhattan , San Diego , and Salt Lake . Freeway ramps were closed leading to the Oakland temple because of angry protesters. Two days after the election, fearing for the safety of members, LDS officials had to temporarily suspend services at the Los Angeles temple because of the threatening crowds. More protests at LDS temples are planned and at least one website is calling for the LDS temple in Los Angeles to be a permanent protest site.
The protesters bear signs like: “Mormon scum”; “Mormon money, Mormon lies”; “Go back to Utah ”; “Latter-day H8”: “Religious bigots”. They scrawled graffiti on the walls surrounding the temple lot, calling Latter-day Saints “liars” and chanted, “Stop Mormon hate.”
This was a mirror of the sort of threats that appeared on homosexual blogs toward religious people who supported Prop 8. A blogger 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." Another blogger wrote, “Burn their [expletive deleted] churches to the ground and then tax the charred embers.”
For those who claim that when traditional marriage proponents say a child deserves to have a mother and father, it is hate speech, let us draw a clear distinction. What we see on these blogs is what hate speech looks like. It is not hate speech to assert what every other generation has taken for granted.
Calling your opponents “hateful” is just a tool to silence them.
The AP has reported that there's a growing call amongst opponents of Prop 8, gay rights activists and others to boycott the entire state of Utah to punish the Mormon Church and Utah 's vibrant tourism industry.
Under the mantra “Tax LDS now, hate on your own dime,” a petition is also afoot to gather support to challenge the tax-exempt status of the LDS church. This is a frivolous effort, for though, according to some estimates, individual members of the church accounted for some $20 million worth of contributions to the cause of supporting the marriage amendment, according to the Protect Marriage campaign, the LDS church itself only contributed a little more than $2,000 for travel expenses for some officials to attend a meeting.
What is more pointed is Prop 8 opponents have created a website called antigayblacklist.com that lists donors to Prop 8 and where they work. The call is to boycott their businesses. This means, of course, that employees may be penalized at their workplace and seen as a threat to a business's profit for having made a free choice in an election.
Scott Eckern, the well-liked artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento resigned this week after a 25-year career, driven out because he voted “Yes” on Prop 8 and donated $1000 to the cause.
According to the Sacramento Bee, "when Tony Award-winner Marc Shaiman, the composer of ‘Hairspray,' read of Eckern's donation last week, he urged artists and theater workers across the country to boycott the theater." He wrote "that he wouldn't allow his work to be done at California Musical Theatre, and theater workers across the country have followed his lead...
"Susan Egan, star of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie' and ‘Cabaret,' followed with a similar email. Theater professionals flooded CMT's offices over the weekend with phone calls and emails decrying Eckern's actions."
Catch that phrase. "Decrying Eckern's actions." These actions that are being so widely decried are his making a legitimate choice as a citizen in a free election, voting the way the majority of Californians voted, including 70% of the African Americans who seem not to be buying the idea that anyone's civil rights have been violated as theirs once were.
Most egregious was a commercial created to run on election day where two actors, posing as LDS missionaries invade the home of a same-sex couple. They knock on the door, say they are from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and tell a lesbian couple "we are here to take away your rights." They take their wedding rings, ransack the house looking for their marriage license, find it, and then tear it up. They say, "that was too easy, yeah, what should we ban next?" Then the ad says: "Say No to a Church taking over your government. Vote No on Prop. 8"
Of course, this deplorable ad was seeking to incite hatred and fear of a religious minority, but it is ultimately a strike against churches having any say in these vital social issues, and the last line is absolutely chilling for all religious people, no matter who they are, as it seeks to censor their voices. Any church has a constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.
One of the most potent arguments against same-sex marriage is that it tramples religious freedom. A group of distinguished legal scholars recently published a book called Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, Emerging Conflicts . While they fall on both sides of the issue concerning the desirability of same-sex marriage for our culture, they unanimously agree on one point—that a conflict is brewing for religious freedom, which includes freedom of speech.
Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon wrote in 2004, during the same-sex marriage debate in Massachusetts, ''the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance, and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination...The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don't go along."
Religious groups have legitimate concerns that they will be gagged regarding the importance of traditional marriage and family, if same-sex marriage becomes a civil right. Yet, same-sex advocates know it doesn't take the force of law alone to silence opposition. You can harangue and intimidate people into silence. You can threaten their jobs and target their livelihood—even if they have been at their job for 25 years.
The press is often complicit in seeking to paint supporters of traditional marriage in an odious light and uses its own methods to silence them. Brian Fitzpatrick writing in an Anglican publication noted that the New York Times condemned “the ugly outcome of these ballot fights” and ran seven letters to the editor, six by opponents. The Chicago Sun-Times called traditional marriage “discrimination and nonsense.”
Fitzpatrick said a local CBS station in Palm Springs , Calif showed furious protesters knocking a Christian cross out of an elderly woman's hands and stomping on it. She remained calm and collected, and when Kimberly Chang, the reporter, tried to interview her, protesters blocked the camera with their signs. Then CBS anchor Kris Long, in a magical act of moral equivalence, told viewers, “There's a lot of anger and a lot of hate, quite honestly on both sides.”
What is accurate is that for holding the not-so-very-remarkable idea that marriage is between a man and a woman, citizens and their churches are being warred upon. George W. Dent, Jr., wrote of this conflict in the Kentucky Law Journal, “[T]his war is not amenable to compromise. [T]he goal of the gay movement is not primarily economic; most gays already have above-average incomes. The goal, rather, is approval of homosexuality as legally and socially equal to heterosexuality. Because of the tremendous influence of religion in America , this goal cannot be achieved unless religious groups either surrender, thus affirming this equality or, at least, those that do not are reduced to a despised minority compelled to keep its views to itself. In other words, the goal of the gay movement is to confine its opponents in the closet.”
In a democracy, the results of a fair election should be respected and no one should be singled out for attack because they are exercising their core civil right to speak, vote, or donate to the cause of their choice. If, instead, a group demands adherence to their point of view, with consequences for those who do not comply, we are veering sharply from a fundamental foundational principle of our nation. The technique of vilification and intimidation of those who do not comply or conform is a tool of totalitarian systems.
Maurine Jensen Proctor