Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mutual Respect and Civility

So we went last night to the rally at the public park but left before the march (my dad said he was going regardless and so we had to tag along to keep him from getting into a fight ;-)). I was absolutely amazed at the turnout (the paper says about 3,000). In all, it seemed to go well, peaceful. I only saw a couple signs on our side that made me wince, which is much better than I can say for what we heard from the counter protesters.

The atmosphere was actually very pleasant, and there was a wonderful sense of solidarity and community, with people from all walks of life from infants to senior citizens; I recommend you read the article on it for specifics. I also see you can watch one of our fellow moho's on tv :-).

In response, the LDS church put out one of their characteristic press releases. It could stand a closer look:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Let me try to help explain.

The LDS church isn't experiencing a backlash for "speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election." We are all for your rights, to speak, vote, marry, have equal treatment from our government, and so on. Try, though, to think of the difference between speaking up in favor of, say, tax reduction for everyone verses speaking up in favor of tax reduction for white people. Maybe think back to when it was racial integration that the LDS leadership was speaking out against. There is a difference.

Simply, what has people upset is your hope to use your vote to take rights away from others. That is bound to cause some constitutionally protected "speaking up" to come back at you, and it's disturbing you find that exercise of free speech "disturbing".

As for being singled out, can you really not see the irony? Of all the problems with marriage, you pick on such an easy target as us, such a perpetual minority as our families and make fighting our marriages just under the importance of tithing. Most of the churches fighting against and for marriage equality do not have a centralized leadership to protest, but the route by which most LDS money got into making all those deceptive pro-proposition 8 ads (which you could have denounced) is clear. The cause can be traced to downtown Salt Lake City. If we lived in the Vatican and it was part of the US there would be protesters there too, but, come on, it's too late to deny the LDS church didn't have a big hand in this, right? You worked hard and did "all you can" to do what you did to our families, right? I mean, your argument isn't that you shouldn't be held morally responsible because other churches were doing it too, is it?

Furthermore, in Utah, the LDS church and many of its members have been behind a whole host of anti-marriage and anti-adoption laws for our community; history here doesn't start with Prop 8. Prop 8, where you took rights we had away, just pushed it over the edge. If not for your "speaking up" (which, yes, of course, you have a right to) our families would be in much better shape here; many of our children could get health insurance and our stay-at-home parents would have security.

We have a right to speak out in our public streets, and at least we aren't wanting to legally restrict your marriages in your private homes and churches, as you've done to us. To me, that would be unconscionable, and so I hope you can rest assured.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

They did. Millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation voted against Proposition 8. The difference is that those who voted for Prop 8 voted to take away some of those "sacrosanct and individual rights," which you finally seem concerned about. Now it's kind of odd you feel entitled to ask for respect for them when you hold them. You'll get it nonetheless--we'll stand up for your right to vote and your right to equal rights--but it's just odd you don't see the irony.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Again, really? You think people are mad because you were "part of the democratic process"? You have no concept that your actions hurt, in real legal, financial and emotional terms, real people, families, parents and children? You don't see that you've targeted the most sacred institutions for us? Being upset because people gathered at a public park and then walked on public streets around your headquarters, seems to show an absolute lack of empathy and understanding for what you've done to what is sacred to us.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

I wish you believed that. I wish the LDS church acted in "mutual respect and civility" in the first place. But we all know what's been said about our families, and we all know what you've done, and it was far from respectful of us or our families. You can't be taken seriously when you hit a guy and then call "no hitting", right?

Anyway, I hope that clears some things up for the PR department ;-).

16 comments:

Amanda said...

My favorite statement is actually out of the Catholic camp. A cardinal said: "Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society."

Really? You think so? I guess the LGBT community doesn't exist. Good news. It's all in your head.

That statement, as well as many of the others being made right now, are made in the height of naivity or ignorance. Either way, they're digging a deeper PR hole for themselves.

Ophidimancer said...

This just makes me so angry.

That they would act the martyr when they're trying to destroy families.

Won't somebody PLEASE sandblast those scales from their eyes so they can see what they're doing?

Proposition 8 should never have been part of the democratic process in the first place, so it's not about singling the church out for taking part in democracy, it's for supporting a measure that fundamentally goes against the US Constitution.

C. L. Hanson said...

Re: That is bound to cause some constitutionally protected "speaking up" to come back at you, and it's disturbing you find that exercise of free speech "disturbing".

No kidding. I can't even believe they would make such a complaint. Yes, the LDS church is just exercising its democratic right of free speech, and so are the people who disagree with the church's stance. Duh. Crazily enough, the Mormon church isn't the only one with constitutional rights like freedom of speech.

Then, after using the church organization to politically organize for prop 8, they complain that people would dare to hold a political demonstration around church-owned buildings? That's too rich.

This reminds me of the time when Sarah Palin complained that the media criticizing her was an example of the media taking away her first amendment rights...

J G-W said...

I'm glad to hear the protest stayed peaceful, that protesters (largely) stayed focussed on the issue -- i.e., protecting our families from efforts to target us and single us out.

I do think that, long term, in order for the marriage equality movement to succeed, we will just need to do good, old-fashioned education and persuasion. After all, Mormons are only 1-2% of the population in California. Large numbers of Californian moderates and liberals voted in support of the measure, as shown by the difference between the 61% who voted for Obama and the 48% who voted against Prop 8.

Efforts need to be made, for instance, to reach out to the African American community, who will probably be more amenable than most to arguments about civil rights, but who voted overwhelmingly in support of Prop 8. If we focus solely on the role of the LDS Church, I have a feeling we'll miss the boat...

Beck said...

The "mutual respect and civility" will go farther in getting this message out to the public at large, and to the Church members at large moreso than anything else.

Jeremy said...

The targeting the most sacred places is ironic, considering this (which is actually one of my favorite statements in the standard works); it's part of the definition of "temple" in the Bible Dictionary: "A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

The insane amount of hypocrisy in that PR release astounded even me, who is rather cynical about the church.

The church really though we were going to crawl back into our holes and let them take away rights. They couldn't have been more wrong, and now they are reaping the consequences of their open persecution of GLBTQ people. We are fighting back, and they weren't prepared for it at all.

angryyoungwoman said...

I only left the church this year--and I wasn't angry when I left. I wasn't angry until they started this whole stupid "support prop 8" campaign. Even then, the anger was tempered. Now that prop 8 has passed and they are asking us to respect them (when they refused to respect us) and the mormons where I live are acting absolutely gleeful at "winning," I am angry, disappointed, hurt. I feel so betrayed.

Cadence said...

so I was thinking about all this and I wonder if the church is releasing these things for the members and not for everyone else, if I was a blind follower and I heard the church saying these things I would be like see the gays are evil etc. im sure the church knows that the statements are hypocrisy but they're not saying them for the general public but for their members to hear indirectly (to feed the fear)...?????? does that make any sense or does it only make sense in my head... I guess when I read the churches statements whit that in mind thinking like an average member that is what I get... anyway ill shut up now... but I thought overall the protest went well and now I just need to work on my coming out so I can be a good example to represent the gay community...!?!?!?!?

Scot said...

Amanda:
"My favorite statement is actually out of the Catholic camp."

Oi, and their talk of religious bigotry too... When they take away our rights and say our children should have different parents, that's okay though.

What's funny is that I can remember many horrible things said by LDS about the Catholic Church from my youth. Even now, on election day I had to listen to a LDS lady go on about how bad they are.

If they didn't have us, at least they'd have each other as enemies again. :-)

Ophidimancer:
"Won't somebody PLEASE sandblast those scales from their eyes so they can see what they're doing?"

I'm still wondering how or if that is happening. Do they see us yet? Are they starting to?

C.L.
"This reminds me of the time when Sarah Palin complained that the media criticizing her was an example of the media taking away her first amendment rights..."

Well, at least we dodged a bullet there :-).

J:
"If we focus solely on the role of the LDS Church, I have a feeling we'll miss the boat..."

You're right on. We do have a lot of work to do that has nothing to do with the LDS church.

In Salt Lake the issues are different, though. We've had LDS backed legislating aiming at us for years, and, for the local community, the LDS are the big players and the big issue.

Beck:
"The "mutual respect and civility" will go farther in getting this message out to the public at large, and to the Church members at large moreso than anything else."

If only we could have begun that way. I really don't know what the right response is; it seems past movements used for the good cop and bad cop.

Jermey:
Welcome, and that is interesting. At least no one wanted to ban the legality of their weddings in both their homes and places of worship.

Craig:
"They couldn't have been more wrong, and now they are reaping the consequences of their open persecution of GLBTQ people."

I just wonder if they care; part of me wonders if they'd rather have reason to feel persecuted.

A.Y.W.
I share your frustration. One of the signs we had was "Respect is a two way street"

We also had "We're Not Anti-LDS, We're Pro-Family" :-)

Cadence:
I think that is a great point.

Jeremy said...

I guess my point wasn't clear. The irony (and hypocrisy) I was pointing out was the church's statement that their most sacred spots shouldn't be targeted for protest despite the fact that they targeted a place equally sacred according to their scriptures-- the homes of all these families.

Granny said...

Hi Scot.

You don't know me but I'm an online friend of Daddy, Papa and Me who linked to your post. I live in Merced, CA. My son married his partner Juan just under the wire on Wednesday while our county was still issuing licenses. I was there.

Oh, and I'm a charter member of PFLAG here.

My husband is Mormon and anti-Prop 8. Made for some interesting moments when the missionaries stopped by and saw our No on 8 sign.

I agree with everything that's been said. What boggles my mind though and what doesn't seem to have been said is that the LDS don't realize that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. The groups like the AFA, Focus on the Family, etc. hate the LDS almost as much as they hate gays. The church was useful to them and lunatics like Howard Ahmanson temporarily but eventually it will be their turn in the barrel.

Amanda said...

Scot, to be totally honest, I grew up Catholic. By the time I was 14, I knew this wasn't the religion for me. That's when LDS missionaries stopped by my house the first time. I took three lessons from them before my mom apparently asked them in secret not to come back. I did what the missionaries asked - prayed about the church and asked if it was true - and the answer I got back? The LDS church is exactly like the Catholic church, except with a different dogma. That's when I lost interest in the LDS church. It wasn't until I was 25 that I tried to investigate again. Of course, I only lasted two years before I went inactive...

Scot said...

I got'cha Jeremy... I guess my response wasn't clear; damnable internet limitations :-).

Granny, Welcome!

"Oh, and I'm a charter member of PFLAG here."

I just have to say how much respect I have for PFLAG. You all do so much good that the gay community could never do on our own.

"...that the LDS don't realize that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. "

That's a great point. I know some of these groups in their coalition put out some pretty nasty anti-LDS videos even.

Amanda "The LDS church is exactly like the Catholic church, except with a different dogma."

At least the LDS have much less standing/sitting in their dogma. We went to an episcopal service the other day, which is catholic-like, and I felt like I got a workout.

Guy said...

Nice to see you here, too, Ann!

Scot
At least the LDS have much less standing/sitting in their dogma.

Hmm...you haven't been to the temple, have you, Scot? :) You'd be surprised.

Scott said...

... much less standing/sitting ...

...

... you haven't been to the temple, have you ...?

As of a few months ago, there's a lot less standing and sitting than there used to be.