Prop 8: Churches Behaving Politically Should Expect Political Backlash

Two for the price of one: The Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan opinionizes about targeting the Mormon Church for behaving as a political organization — and he starts off by quoting another fave columnist of mine.

[The Stranger’s] Dan Savage:

When political attacks are launched from churches, political responses will be delivered to churches. If goddamned McDonald’s had organized and paid for Prop 8, we’d be marching on goddamned McDonald’s.

I strongly support civility in this struggle. Religious services and practices should be scrupulously respected. But when a church, like the Mormon church, makes a concerted effort to enter the public square and strip a small minority of basic civil rights, it is simply preposterous for them then to argue that the Mormon church cannot be criticized and protested because they are a religion. I have never done anything – nor would I do anything – to impede or restrict the civil rights of Mormons. I respect their right to freedom of conscience and religion. In fact, it is one of my strongest convictions. But when they use their money and power to target my family, to break it up, to demean it and marginalize it, to strip me and my husband of our civil rights, then they have started a war. And I am not a pacifist.

I do not intend in any way to remove a single right from Mormons. I do intend to protest their imposition of their own religious dogma – that marriage is always between a man and a woman and it is eternal and will be replicated in heaven by the couple physically present – oncivil rights protections vested in a civil constitution.

This is a war of the bigots’ and religionists’ making, and though I am a pacifist — this second-class citizen will fight, albeit nonviolently. The Mormon Church and other religious groups launched this battle, and they’ll have to endure the consequences of their own hateful actions, which hopefully will include the trashing of their tax exemptions. Nothing against churches or religion, per se — if McDonalds had done this to us, we’d be after that company too. But you know the old statement: If you can’t take the heat… don’t turn on the oven.


One response to “Prop 8: Churches Behaving Politically Should Expect Political Backlash

  1. I completely agree. As a member of the LDS Church, I am distressed about my Church’s actions and frankly embarrassed about my affiliation. I doubt it will lose tax exempt status for this (this was a “moral cause”, which churches are allowed to advocate for/against, not a specific candidate or funding issue). At the same time, I think it is very likely a good number of tithe-paying saints will drop off the Church rolls due to this.

    In any case, know that not ALL Mormons are hateful bigots. Even a good number who donated hard-earned money to strip gays of their fundamental right to marriage did so primarily because their church elders told them that it was vital to do so.

    As with many churches, ours continues to be behind the times on civil rights issues. The LDS Church was firmly against mixed-race marriages as well, and for some time was flat-out discriminatory against blacks. I would have hoped we’d have learned our lesson, but I think the fact that *talking* about those embarrassing details of our past is shunned makes us incredibly unlikely to learn from them.

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