December 6, 2008

Poor, Persecuted Persecutors

Amid ongoing protests against the passage of California's Proposition 8, an organization called The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty placed a full-page ad in the New York Times decrying the violent intimidation of Mormon (LDS) and Catholic institutions - as well as businesses and individuals - who supported the measure. The Becket Fund, which describes itself as a non-profit, non-partisan, interfaith public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the freedom of religious expression, makes a valid point: violence has no place in a civilized society.

Having said that, the vast, overwhelming preponderance of activism against Proposition 8 has been entirely peaceful. There are always a few fringe-dwellers in any movement, but while same-sex couples - who have been relegated to second class status by Prop 8 - have every right to be bitter and angry, the idea that the backlash against Prop 8 is one characterized by organized violence and systematic intimidation is unquestionably false.

To get a sense of the Becket Fund's methodology, it's worth noting that it is behind a new website (which is also home to their full-page ad) called, ominously, And this passage from the ad makes clear that it is merely one more religious organization working to claim victimhood when sectarian bigotry is decried for what it is:
Let's be clear: even the crudest anti-religious propaganda isn't illegal, and may not constitutionally be outlawed. But it's nevertheless wrong. It has no place in civilized society.
As the Human Rights Campaign noted, the idea that the LDS is the offended party is pretty difficult to substantiate:
When did the LDS Church become the victim? It’s hard to believe, but that is exactly what it is trying to convince the public of. It is continuing to spend an excess of dollars in an attempt to mislead the public and transform its image. But the truth is that this is the same church that conducted a national broadcast to every temple, calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign. The same church that donated more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just 2 percent of the state's population. Yes, it’s the same church.
The hypocrisy required to champion a constitutional effort to deny consenting adults the right to marry, but then claim injury when there are repercussions, is pretty tough to stomach. I'm not religious myself, but I seem to recall a biblical admonition about reaping what one sows, and Friday's Washington Blade reported that the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is investigating whether the Mormon church violated state law by failing to report all contributions supporting Proposition 8.

The backlash against the passage of Prop 8 continues and a recent poll indicates that fully 8% of voters who supported it would vote against it if it were on a ballot today. That's a swing large enough to have defeated the measure, and a sign that this egregious dehumanization of same-sex couples, which does nothing but cheapen our society, may not be long for the political world.

For added perspective, please be sure to view this classic clip from the Daily Show, which aired after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, and check out the Prop 8 musical featuring Jack Black.


chardonnay said...

ALL the people voted, not just Mormons. Gays need to get over it and accept it. People are sick and tired of initiatives being overturned by a Judge when they were passed overwhelmingly. 80% is a huge statement. Stop trying to invent ways to get your own way. These people act like spoiled children.

Answer me this, blogger dude, why should we make gay marriage legal when according to the CDC homosexual sex is the leading cause of AID'S? It seems to me that, behavior leads to disease is BAD behavior. We make people wear seatbelts. We passed no smoking laws, trans fat laws, helmet laws, many people died from not wearing a helmet last year? 100?

So why are we not outlawing gay sex if 16,000 people die of aids each year?

PBI said...

Yes, all the people voted, but that vote was massively affected by the $40 million of out-of-state money poured into the election by the Mormons. Per the survey linked in my post, 8% of the people who voted would change their vote, now that they have had time to reflect on it, and Prop 8 would not pass if it were voted on today. Further, there is a very strong indication that Prop 8 violates California's own constitution by using the legislative process to deny equal rights. Judges are there to ensure that the rules are followed, and if you are sick of having initiatives that violate the rules overturned, then stop backing initiatives that abrogate basic civil rights and civil liberties.

I'm not sure what the fact that the leading cause of AIDS is male-to-male sexual contact has to do with gay marriage. Are you saying that, because gay marriage - which would reinforce monogamy by the way, and can therefore be counted on to diminish HIV transmission - is outlawed, homosexual sex will no longer occur? Seriously? Because that's what you seem to be implying. Further, the second leading source of HIV transmission in America is heterosexual sex. What does that mean for your position? I guess now that California has - to your logic - knocked out the leading cause of HIV transmission with Prop 8, the Golden State can now move on to getting after the number two cause: heterosexual marriage.

This isn't a health issue; if it were, tobacco, alcohol and fatty foods would be illegal. And to answer your question about outlawing homosexual sex, so-called sodomy laws have been overturned repeatedly as unconstitutional. Prop 8 is about denying consenting, tax-paying adults the rights that the rest of us already enjoy. The graph at the top of my post perfectly expresses the consequences of gay marriage. The only thing that happens is that gays marry.

That's it; sorry you think it's icky.


hmr said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, so to speak. That's the problem here -- people think it's 'icky.' There's no coherent argument so it just comes down to the ick-factor.
Writing 'ick' into the constitution seems kinda dumb to me.

PBI said...

Hi hmr,

Thanks for stopping by. I think YOU hit the nail on the head. : )


lokywoky said...

Hey PBI,

It never ceases to amaze me how groups that have historically been the subject of some of the worst discrimination in the world (Jews, Mormons) have then 'recovered' and gone on to commit the same kinds of things against other groups. You think they would have learned something from the intolerance and bigotry against them to be a little more compassionate towards their fellow humans. And then when the inevitable backlash happens they run around crying like babies about the meanies who are picking on them!

As for Chardonnay, the fastest growing group of new infections of HIV/AIDS is ... drum roll ... black heterosexuals. Yup. And if 16,000 seems like a big number to you, we should outlaw driving as well since over 40,000 people are killed in traffic accidents every year. Okay?