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Old 12-04-2008, 05:06 PM   #541
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much made of mormon money:


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The New Religious Right
Does the organizational and fund-raising prowess displayed by the LDS church during California’s Proposition 8 campaign augur future political might?
By James Kirchick

In june the governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter to every Mormon congregation in California asking that a message be read to members at Sunday services stating that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God,” and “local church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.” The cause was Proposition 8, and church members were implored to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time.”

Mormons heeded the call. Not only did they donate what appears to be a majority of the funds raised by the Yes on 8 campaign -- an estimated $20 million, according to Prop. 8 opponents, much of it from out of state -- but church members also volunteered thousands of man-hours in support of the amendment. Though the Mormon Church avoided a visible public role in the campaign, it did formally join the coalition of religious groups supporting the amendment, and a prominent member, Mark Jansson, served on the Yes on 8 executive committee. (Jansson was one of four signatories to a public letter threatening a boycott of businesses whose owners contributed to No on 8.)

Mormons make up only 2% of California’s population, so the fact that they played such an outsize role in the Yes on 8 campaign testifies to their rigid and efficient organization as a religious community. Because the church requests that members tithe 10% of their annual income, LDS leaders are able to gain an accurate picture p of how much their congregants earn. With this information in hand, bishops in local communities went from house to house in California asking for specific amounts of money for the Yes on 8 campaign -- an incredibly effective fund-raising tactic. Mormons boast high rates of involvement in church-related activities, including commitments that can be quite demanding, such as missionary work, whereby members spend up to two years proselyting, often in far-flung overseas locations.

This individual discipline, obedience to hierarchical authority, and experience in exhorting people to join the faith comes in mighty handy for mass political organizing. Indeed, Mormons campaigned heavily for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid, especially in the key first primary state of New Hampshire. And it’s Romney’s potential future presidential aspirations, as well as Mormonism’s tortured history in America, that has led some to speculate that the church wasn’t just advocating for “traditional” marriage in the Prop. 8 fight. Perhaps it was also deliberately flaunting its power as a force to be reckoned with --showing both the broader religious right and the Washington political scene what it can do.

Ever since its inception in the early 19th century, Mormonism has been derided as a cult by other Christians, especially evangelicals. “They’re very insecure people,” says Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. And the reaction to Romney’s campaign showed why this anxiety might be justified. From the start, Romney had difficulty attracting the much-needed support of evangelicals and was shocked at the level of anti-Mormon sentiment he experienced campaigning in heavily Protestant areas. “There’s a lot of resentment amongst members of the church,” says Clayton Christensen, a Mormon and professor at Harvard Business School, about the level of hostility that materialized during Romney’s candidacy. “Christ actually said you should love your enemies and do good to people who spitefully use you. And yet, with the evangelicals in the presidential campaign, those guys really showed that they are the ones that aren’t Christian.”

Mormons have expressed similar disbelief at the level of anger voiced by the gay community in the wake of Prop. 8’s success. In response to nationwide protests staged outside Mormon temples, the church released a statement bemoaning that it had been “singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.” Church members feel “genuine alarm” at the hubbub created by their efforts, according to Damon Linker, a former editor of the conservative Christian public policy journal First Things and the author of The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege. And that’s not surprising, considering that Mormons have long been involved in the movement to ban same-sex marriage -- and yet are only now facing massive scrutiny for it.

Ascribing cynical motivations to the LDS church’s behavior is intriguing, but the contention that it became involved in the fight over Prop. 8 as a way to impress is belied by Mormon history. First, Mormonism has never been particularly welcoming of gays and its doctrine proscribes homosexuality as a sin. Nor is it the case that the church ignored same-sex marriage until this past summer. The day before Prop. 8’s passage, a seven-page internal LDS memo was posted online showing just how prescient the church was on the issue. Addressed to M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (men regarded as living prophets by LDS members), the memo presents a thorough argument for why and how the church should become involved in the movement to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

The memo, dated March 1997, was written in response to continuing developments in Hawaii, where in 1993, the state’s supreme court ruled that the denial of marriage to same-sex couples was discriminatory. Anticipating a national legal and electoral fight over the issue, its author supported the involvement of the church in fighting back attempts to legalize marriage equality. The memo not only stressed the importance of working with other religious groups but also cautioned that more mainstream Christian denominations ought to be the public face of the campaign due to concerns that Mormonism was still viewed with suspicion by the general public. Describing a meeting that then–LDS president Gordon Hinckley attended, the memo states that Hinckley “said the church should be in a coalition and not out by itself,” and cites a poll conducted by Richard Wirthlin, a former senior adviser and pollster for Ronald Reagan and a leading LDS figure, which found that “the public image of the Catholic Church [is] higher than our church.” The conclusion of the memo’s author: “If we get into this, they are the ones with which to join.” The church had been nominally involved in the marriage debate prior to the writing of this memo; in 1994 it issued a formal statement against gay marriage, and in 1996 local congregations across Texas urged members to join an antigay organization called the Coalition for Traditional Marriage.

A great deal of the intellectual work of the traditional marriage movement was done at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the Mormon Church. James Ord, a gay Mormon living in California who describes his status with the church as “inactive,” graduated in 2004 from BYU’s law school, where he worked alongside professors Richard Wilkins and Lynn Wardle. The two have been prominent players in the anti–gay marriage movement and, according to Ord, began crafting the legal strategy to oppose same-sex marriage almost immediately after Canadian courts in Ontario issued a series of rulings in 2002 that laid the groundwork for marriage equality in the province and, eventually, the country. For the next two years Ord “attended meetings, forums, and academic discussions where the language for these amendments was floated and debated.”

A rapprochement between mormons and the religious right at large does not appear to be in the offing, despite the LDS Church’s hard work on Prop. 8. With marriage, there is “far more at stake for Mormons than there is for a Catholic or evangelical,” Linker says. Ironically, in light of Mormonism’s polygamist history, he points to its contemporary emphasis on the heterosexual family structure as the primary reason for its involvement. “Mormons are different than other factions on the religious right because their theology emphasizes a traditional male/female family with kids in a way that goes far beyond most other groups, whether they be evangelical or Catholic,” Linker says. According to Mormon dogma, marriage extends into the afterlife and couples continue to have “spirit children” who populate extraterrestrial worlds.

The church is also selective in the battles it fights. For instance, Christensen says, the church stayed out of the dispute over same-sex marriage in Massachusetts because it didn’t think it could defeat the measure in one of the country’s most liberal states, even though then-governor Romney was leading the effort to do just that. Contrast the church’s judicious decision in the Bay State with its 2000 campaign in support of California’s Proposition 22, a statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That measure passed with 61% of the vote, its success was never in doubt, and it occurred a full three years before Massachusetts ruled in favor of marriage equality. Given the uphill environment activists faced then, their outcry was understandably muted compared to the devastating sense of loss felt in November’s bruising. And since the church didn’t face any backlash in 2000, according to Ord, its leaders felt confident about rejoining the fight this time around.

But while Mormons may be bewildered at the outrage directed their way now, it would be wrong to conclude that the church has been so chastened by the reaction that it will stay out of future political battles. For one thing, Mormon doctrine remains steadfastly opposed to same-sex marriage. “To allow gay marriage is to fundamentally misconstrue what [they] are ordained by God to become,” Linker says. And Mormons have suffered far worse in their history than mere protests or the occasional anthrax scare. “I think we attempted to work in the process to do what we think is right in society and in the eyes of the Lord,” Christensen says. “I don’t feel any kind of sense that we made a mistake.”
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:53 PM   #542
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*yaaaawn*

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:04 PM   #543
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toscano View Post
""The poll also showed that the measure got strong backing from voters who did not attend college (69 percent)..
that's because you liberals have educationally suppressed 70% of the black vote.

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:47 PM   #544
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that's because you liberals have educationally suppressed 70% of the black vote.

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In a long line of bigoted and/or stupid statements from you, this is possibly one of the dumbest.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:16 PM   #545
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Did you notice the on his post? I'm going to assume that means he didn't mean that to be taken seriously.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:28 PM   #546
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diemen comes through.

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Old 12-08-2008, 09:06 AM   #547
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http://www.nomobveto.org/images/nytad_lg.png

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Old 12-08-2008, 09:40 AM   #548
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Just as you sow you shall reap.....

- Stuart Adamson, Harvest Home
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:07 AM   #549
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You mean if we focus all of our bigotry on one group people may speak out?

Oh no...
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:13 AM   #550
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Poor persecuted Mormons

What's next? Denying them equal access to rights? That would be ....unconstitutional. We can't have that.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:17 AM   #551
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Poor persecuted Mormons

What's next? Denying them equal access to rights? That would be ....unconstitutional. We can't have that.
Amazing that a group that was historically a victim of persecution themselves decided to forego Jesus' message of forgiveness and acceptance and react by persecuting someone else.

First it was blacks, now gays.

Who's next on the list polygon ?
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:01 PM   #552
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this made me a little misty eyed.


YouTube - Bjorn Borg - Love for All (widescreen)
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:09 PM   #553
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Wow. That was really lovely. And mist-inducing indeed.


Is that THE Bjorn Borg? The hot tennis player from my junior high dreams?
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:21 PM   #554
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Dec 8 (AP) SAN FRANCISCO — Some same-sex marriage supporters are urging people to "call in gay" Wednesday to show how much the country relies on gays and lesbians, but others question whether it's wise to encourage skipping work given the nation's economic distress.

Organizers of "Day Without a Gay" _ scheduled to coincide with International Human Rights Day and modeled after similar work stoppages by Latino immigrants _ also are encouraging people to perform volunteer work and refrain from spending money.

Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood comedian and personal trainer, dreamed up the idea with his boyfriend, Aaron Hartzler, after reading online that a few angry gay-rights activists were calling for a daylong strike to protest California voters' passage last month of Proposition 8, which reversed this year's state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.

The couple thought it would be more effective and less divisive if people were asked to perform community service instead of staying home with their wallets shut. Dozens of nonprofit agencies, from the National Women's Law Center in Washington to a Methodist church in Fresno collecting food for the homeless, have posted opportunities for volunteers on the couple's Web site.

"We are all for a boycott if that is what brings about a sense of community for people," said Hetherington, 30, who plans to spend Wednesday volunteering at an inner-city school. "You can take away from the economy and give back in other ways."

Hetherington said he's been getting 100 e-mails an hour from people looking for volunteer opportunities, and that his "Day Without a Gay" Web site has gotten 100,000 hits since mid-November.

Despite Hartzler and Hetherington's attempt to fashion a positive approach, some organizers of the street demonstrations that drew massive crowds in many cities last month have been reluctant to embrace the concept, saying that it could be at best impractical and at worst counterproductive to "call in gay."

"It's extra-challenging for people to think about taking off work as a form of protest, given that we are talking about people who may not be out (as gay) at work, and given the current economic situation and job market," said Jules Graves, 38, coordinator of the Colorado Queer Straight Alliance. "There is really not any assurance employers would appreciate it for what it is."
Story continues below

Graves' group nonetheless is arranging for interested participants to volunteer at the local African Community Center in Denver. The agency said it could find projects to keep 20 people busy, but so far only 10 have pledged to show up, said Graves.

Scott Craig, a fifth-grade teacher at Independence Charter School in Philadelphia, had no problem requesting and being granted the day off. So many of the school's 60 teachers were eager to show support for gay rights they had to make sure enough stayed behind to staff classrooms.

About 25 teachers plan to take Wednesday off and to have their work covered by substitutes while they discuss ways to introduce gay issues to their students and volunteer at the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, Craig said. A letter telling parents why so many teachers would be out went home Monday.

"We want to get the conversation going in the community that gay is not bad," Craig said. "For kids to hear that in a positive light can be life-changing."

Join The Impact, the online community that launched protests last month over the passage of gay marriage bans in California, Florida and Arizona, has urged people to withdraw $80 from their bank accounts Wednesday to demonstrate gays' spending power, and to devote the time they might otherwise spend watching TV or surfing the Internet to volunteer work.

Witeck-Combs Communications, a public relations firm in Washington that specializes in the gay and lesbian market, published a study this year that estimated that gay and lesbian consumers spend $700 billion annually.

Bob Witeck, the firm's chief executive officer, said it would be difficult to measure the success of Wednesday's strike since gay employees occupy so many fields. And rather than suspending all consumer spending for the day, gay rights supporters would have a bigger impact if they devoted their dollars to gay-friendly businesses year-round, Witeck said.

"Our community leaders who are running book stores, newspapers, flower shops, coffee houses, bars and many, many other things are hurting right now, so paying attention to their needs during this hard time is an effective form of activism," he said.

Hetherington said he has been careful to design A Day Without a Gay _ he came up with the name after the film "A Day Without a Mexican" and liked it because it rhymed _ so no one feels excluded or threatened.

He has specifically urged high school students not to walk out of their classes and assured college students they won't be disloyal to the cause if they go ahead and take their final exams. He also has listed opportunities _ ranging from writing letters to members of Congress about federal gay rights legislation to spreading the word about Wednesday on social networking sites _ for gay marriage backers who cannot miss work.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:22 PM   #555
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My cinnamon roll that's my dinner will probably burn, but I had to say this before I leave for class tonight.

I just got done writing a family history paper for my class, and I got to relive the deaths of my father-in-law and sister-in-law one more time. And I wad thinking that life is so short and can be so hard and there are people who are willing to deny other people happiness because they think their God wants them to. How can you do that? How can you decide who gets to be loved forever by that one spacial person? How can you deny a chance at happiness for people in such a world? A world where someone trying to get their fucking parking pass off the floor as she drives may send your car sliding into a tree and kill you just like that. You have no idea what will happen to you or anyone else tomorrow. How can you be so smug and righteous?

/rant
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