Thursday, September 04, 2008

Finishing up the Tool Belt

Before I file away that talk by Elder Petersen about race issues within the LDS church, I just noticed and want to add to that post a couple other tools used back then, which are now being put to work in the marriage/Proposition 8 fight.

Towards the end Elder Petersen writes (my emphasis):
"If a boy or girl comes to me claiming to be in love with a Chinese or Japanese or..."
In both cases of couples of unconventional race and sex, it's important to question and cast doubt on the love. It can't be real human love; it's claimed love or "love" in quotes (for example). Often I've seen modern anti-gay rights activists say something like "gay men don't really love each other" or compare gays to co-dependent sexual or substance addicts, even if they praise the same orientation towards men or women when found in another sex. Ironically, it's very important for them to deny love, and they will do a lot of work to make sure gays, even if they are their children, treat their path to love as more of an addiction, or a sad condition with which they're inflicted, than what it is for every other human: the source of some of the best and most selfless human feeling we can experience. Love, sadly, is made the enemy.

Lastly, I noticed the attempt to pretend to be the victim of your victim was used back then too.
"If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million negroes inter-married with us, where would the priesthood be? Who could hold it, in all America? Think what that would do to the work of the Church!"
In this unfortunate PR game, if you're on top, you must try to take the authentic and right human sympathy from the families being harmed in real ways for yourself. You're the one being harmed, not the guy you're trying keep from better protecting and providing for his family, not the family you won't even condescend to call a family.

According to this member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the LDS church would collapse if they allowed integration with blacks. The church is in threat and at stake here. Similarly, the LDS church says today their religious freedom is at stake by the laws treating same-sex headed families with equal rights and responsibilities. They even used misrepresentation of the Catholic Charities of Boston case to try to take on the role as victim, in their latest press release on the topic. LDS author Orson Scott Card, for another example, makes this method into an art form; I almost feel sorry for his loss of ability to treat my family like second class citizens... almost ;-).

It'd odd that you could hit a man, fight to legally hobble his family in a way you'd never want your family to be treated, and then complain about the threat to you and your rights when someone tries to stop you. Nevertheless, this is one more tool that seems to be effectively used, or at least popularly used in history to justify discrimination.

4 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

Scot, don't forget that science suggests that biologically we all come from the plains of Africa--and if that's truly the case, then it's always been a case of "us vs. them."

And of course skin color, hair color (red-heads in the UK, for ex.) gender, orientation, all of it fall easy prey because they're readily accessible traits.

Sad but true.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

This is very similar to the mentality that led to the holocaust, while different in degree, it is not different in kind.

Scot said...

"we all come from the plains of Africa"

Yeah, Kengo, I thought about that too when I read the "not one drop" comment; a mutation made some whiter in skin to make more vitamin D with less sun shine as we moved north. But before that that'd mean less us v them back then.

My understanding of the theology, science aside, is that black men were made black for a sin of their ancestor.

Craig "This is very similar to the mentality that led to the holocaust, while different in degree, it is not different in kind."

At least it seems these tools are remnants of the great human failures of generations past, instead of signs of things to come.

Andrew Callahan said...

I appreciate the insight that Petersen's awful racist thinking has been only very slightly changed to now fit the pattern of homophobic thinking. I believe in speaking out against this kind of crap, that is why I worked with others to develop the Signing for Something website http://www.signingforsomething.org/blog So far we have more than 175 letters on that site that speak out against the church's position on the Prop 8 issue in California.

I'm glad to see you speaking out here as well.

Best wishes.