Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake… for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets… Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
-Jesus Christ

When I got out of school at 5:30 today I had the strangest feeling. Being in law school is like being in a cave, especially since I don’t bring a laptop. It probably started with all of the helicopters that I noticed hovering above Beverly Hills as I walked down Hilgard Avenue. As I got in my car and started driving I had the strongest felling that I should go to the temple. I can’t quite describe it but I could just sense that there was something going on there. It was a feeling of foreboding. It was probably my subconscious putting the pieces together. Mormons have been singled out among Prop 8 supporters as an appropriate target. There was a Time article on the Yahoo home page arguing that the Mormons were the reason that 8 passed. And finally there has been a lot of anger and frustration in the LBGT community since Prop 8 passed two days ago.

I decided to change course and swing by the temple which is pretty much on the way home from school. I came up the back way and the first thing I noticed was greater number of people walking around and a higher number of cars parked on the residential streets. As I pulled up by the driveway I saw a row of dark figures blocking the entrance to the temple. As I got closer I could see that they were cops.
I decided to park the car and walk around to see what was going on. Most of the protesters were around the corner in front of the temple along Santa Monica Blvd. The only words with which I can describe the atmosphere are: hate and anger. My apologies for the quality of the photos it was already getting dark by the time I arrived.
There were signs spelling the word Mormon with swastikas, signs advocating that banning of Mormon marriage, one sign saying “get out! This is our state!”, others calling Mormonism a cult (an old favorite), and of course the old polygamy axe.

Here's a story about these protests.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-protest7-2008nov07,0,3827549.story

Here is some pretty good local news coverage And below is the Church owned Utah based news coverage of the protest. You can see the protesters marching along side the Westwood Chapel which is behind the temple and where April and I attend church.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com


I should point out that the the majority of money for the yes on 8 campaing did not come from Mormons (about 40% came from Mormons) but rather Mormons gave more than any other singe group.



As long as these demonstrators are peaceable they are within their first amendment rights. It is always hard to hear your values and faith vilified but this of course is nothing new. I hope that members in my faith will not respond in kind.

I began this post with a quote from Jesus Christ to his followers but he didn’t stop there. He had further counsel for those that would follow him. I’ll end with the remainder of the quote:

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”

6 comments:

betsey said...

Steve,

Richard and I have talked a little bit about this, but I'm curious to hear what you think. Our church has become the "spokesperson" for the religious Yes on 8 activities. Even though other religious groups also publicly support Yes on 8 (Catholics and Evangelicals, I believe). We end up with all of this (demonstrations, a negative public image) and the other religious groups reap the benefits. I feel that we get used sometimes by other religious organizations to do the dirty work and then take the heat from it. (EX: Christian Right utilizes Mormons to vote for Rep, but when Mitt Romney was running it was no way no how).

Additionally, there is a really great Time article about why Prop 8 lost. I think that the Gay community made many misteps. Here is the link.
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1856872,00.html

It is a heated issue. My dear friend from grad school (who is a lesbian) spent all day Wednesday crying. It hurt my heart.

I really appreciate your thoughtful posts on this issue. Thanks!

SGarff said...

Betsey,

I enjoyed your comment. This is something that I have been thinking a lot about for the past few days. On Monday the J. Rueben Clark Law society hosted a speaker at the law school that argued in support of prop 8. Obviously it was a heated issue though the discussion was much more amicable then I had even hoped for. Afterwards a few of us had a conversation with a professor here who is both a Mormon and an advocate for the LBGT community. She brought up basically the same point, that Mormons are being used as a shield by the Christian Right. I personally am disappointed that we have not been defended more by these groups. I hope that the will speak out to defend us in these attacks and offer public solidarity Not long ago the relationship between the Catholic Church and the conservative Christian churches was much the same as the current relationship between Mormons and these churches. One of the things that changed this was when the Catholic Church teamed up with conservative Christians in the fight against abortion. Nothing makes allies like a common enemy. Unfortunately this same acceptance has not yet seemed to be granted to the Mormons for their support on the current issue. Perhaps we are taken for granted or perhaps the old prejudices and animosities run so deep that we are simply seen as a means to an end, an expendable resource.

There is something about Mormons that make them fair game. Imagine the consequences if these protesters replaced the word “Mormon” with “Jews,” Catholics,” or “Christians” (all groups that have supported prop 8, Mormons having a much smaller presence in California). Imagine: “stop the Jews,” “Christians = cult,” and “ban Catholic marriage.”

I agree with you. My heart goes out to my gay friends. I hope that none of them believe that I think any less of them as a result of this issue. The anger these protesters are expressing though it may be a little misguided is more than understandable.

Kevin said...

Steven, I have been reading that many speculated that Prop 8 would lose with the large number of minorities that would get out and vote for Obamaa(epecially blacks and hispanics). The opposite was true as nearly 70% of blacks voted for Prop. 8. In fact Oscar Dale the senior pastor of the Bible Way Christian Center in San Jose said that it may have rankled some African-Americans to hear civil rights for gay and lesbian people compared to the civil rights struggles of blacks in the 20th century since most African-Americans are very conservative when it comes to moral-social issues. I believe Mormons have received the brunt of the protests because they know where to find them and many of the other Christian churches do not have the central organization the Mormons have. My girlfriend in Camarillo that was working on Prop 8 frantically emailed many friends etc. to ask their pastors to have a sermon on last Sunday to support Prop. 8. The Mormons are well known for their effective organization from the top and their unequal ability to get the job done and quickly. MoM

Judy said...

But the Catholics are defending us! Bishop Weigand of Sacramento released a statement (Des. News 11/8) calling Mormons his brothers and sisters. He decries the bigotry towards the LDS and calls upon supporters of same sex marriage to be tolerant of religion. "Politics" makes strange bedfellows!

Aunt J.

SGarff said...

You’re right Aunt Judy the Catholics are coming out and showing their solidarity. Also yesterday Bishop Frank Stewart of the Zoe Christian Fellowship of Los Angeles, a local African American congregation, made the following statement to a local news reporter: “The Mormons didn’t do it by themselves so if you are going to be angry, be angry at all of us.” I sent the Zoe Fellowship a letter thanking them for this support and I applaud both the Zoe Cristian Fellowship and the Catholic Church for their show of unity towards the members of my faith during this turbulent time.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/politics&id=6495050

betsey said...

Thanks for this Steve. It is going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.