Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Prop 8 fallout.

The anger over Prop 8, especially over the deceptive efforts by the Mormon Church in that campaign, continues. Protests today were held in well over 100 American cities and in at least 8 other nations as well. The Mormon sect still argues that they are being singled out unfairly, in spite of having their members provide the bulk of the funding.

The New York Times has an article: “Mormons tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage”. According to the article the Prop 8 proponents said they were ready to lose the initiative when, at the last minute, extra generous donations directed to the campaign by the Mormon Church changed their fortunes. And Michael Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the Mormon sect told the Times that while the Mormons have spoken out previously on some issues “we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

In response to a decree read to Mormon congregations tens of thousands of Mormons funded the campaign and traveled to California to donate their time. A strategist for one of the proponent groups “estimated that Mormons made up 80 percent to 90 percent of the early volunteers who walked door-to-door in election precincts.”

I read a blog maintained by the a Prop 8 support group which gives instructions to regional coordinators and zip code coordinators for the campaign. The way it is written implies that virtually all the campaign workers were themselves Mormons operating out of the local churches.

This memo is written by Gary Lawrence who is described as an “area grass roots coordinator” as well as “State LDS Grassroots Director.” It is important to remember that the district for the local Mormon church is called a Stake and that a collection of stakes is called a Ward. No other sect uses these terms.

Lawrence’s instructions starts out quoting “Elder Lance Wickman” a Mormon official calling Prop 8 “the Gettysburg of the culture war.” Lawrence discusses the distribution of campaign literature and urges volunteers to pay for them directly. He suggest that if anyone is overburdened financially on this that the regional coordinators should “please find someone in your ward or stake who could help out?”

By the way, this should be seen as an encouragement to break contribution laws. Donations in excess of $50 are to be reported. It is doubtful that a cost under $50 would be too big a burden for a volunteer. So the sums must be higher and this Mormon official is suggesting that these off-the-books payments be made directly. Not only does this violate the law but it also makes the financial contributions of Mormons to Prop 8, which are known to be massive, seem smaller than they really are. This indicates that whatever estimates for Mormon contributions to the campaign we’ve seen based on donation records are too low.

In another section Lawrence asked zip code supervisors to find schedulers who will “call people in the ward and ask them to participate.” He says that the reason to not pass out requests for volunteers “in Priesthood or Relief Society” (two Mormon church organizations) is because “people respond best when directly asked by someone they know”.

Lawrence also writes that Mormon “Elder John Dalton, the Area Authority responsible for all aspects of our LDS effort to assist the coalition, is asking stake presidents and bishops to announce our Walk Saturday program in Church this Sunday.” Lawrence says that church “Bishoprics are being asked to provide that information [on training meetings for Prop 8 volunteers] as part of their regular ward announcements.”

One result of Mr. Lawrence’s actions in this campaign is that his 28-year-old son, Matt, has resigned from the Mormon church. Matt said that the was hurt when his father said “opponents of Prop 8 are akin to Lucifer’s followers” and pleaded with his father, “don’t put me and Satan in the same sentence please.”

Not worthy of a separate blog entry but worth mentioning is the absolutely absurd remark made by a prominent Prop 8 official. He very clearly said that opponents of Prop 8 “have no right boycotting” supporters of the initiative. Frank Schubert, the man hired to run the dishonest Prop 8 campaign, whines that a boycott is trampling “on other people’s civil rights.” Schubert may not be a Mormon but he is moron.

Think for a moment what he is saying? A boycott is when people voluntarily refuse to purchase goods or services from a particular individual or business. How can anyone in a free society not have the right to refuse to purchase something? Is this Prop 8 official really saying that people don’t have the right to make voluntary purchases? I know the Prop 8 officials are very weak on the issue of rights but I didn’t think they were this absurd. Clearly I was wrong.

To show how confused and inconsistent Schubert is, he also whines that he is a smoker -- good, I like it when statists shorten their lives voluntarily -- and that his rights to smoke are being violated. But I notice some hypocrisy in his “rant”. Schubert says “attacking smokers is the only remaining acceptable discrimination out there”. Some people who just got stripped of their right to marry might disagree with Frank.

How about: “If there is one thing the Constitution of the United States stands for, it’s the principle of equal protection for all. It’s not just the favored who enjoy constitution rights. Or the privileged. Or the rich. Or the popular. It’s all. Yes, even smokers.” But apparently “equal protection for all” doesn’t include gay couples. These people are shamelessly inconsistent.

And there was one other area where the Mormon-led campaign was intentionally dishonest, one of many I might add. The campaign said that they had no desire to strip gay couples of some rights. Even the Mormon church magnanimously announced that they were not opposed to gay people being allowed to visit their partners in hospital. But documents on how the Mormon Church had been planning to assault the rights of gays for over a decade show this is merely strategy and not the recognition of rights for gay people at all.

A Mormon document prepared in 1997 for Elder M. Russell Ballard mentions a “preliminary meeting at Church headquarters” to discuss strategy at how to prevent gay couples from receiving legal rights regarding their relationships. Ballard is told:

Elder Oaks was the first to recognize that in the political process that in order to win this battle, there may have to be certain legal rights recognized for unmarried people such as hospital visitation so opponents in the legislature will come away with something. This is proving to be the case.

Mormon “recognition” of the right of gay people to visit their partners in hospital has nothing to do with actual rights retained by individuals. It is clearly a strategy meant to placate “opponents in the legislature” so they will “come away with something” so that the Mormons can “win this battle”.

By the way this same document was the one recommending that the Mormons do their dirty work behind the scenes and putting Catholics at the forefront of the campaign instead. It said “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.” By the way, considering the scandals that have raked the Catholic Church for years one must have a pretty low public image to be superseded by the Roman church.

Apparently even something as fundamentally decent as allowing people to visit their sick or dying partners in hospital, is not a right according to Mormons. It is only a necessary concession to prevent gays from obtaining other rights.

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