Saturday, November 15, 2008

God Is Not Gay

The marriage of Church & State is nowhere more evident than the concerted attempt by the Mormon, Catholic and evangelical Churches to outlaw gay marriage in California.

Rather than staying true to their mission of faith, and spreading god's word, these churches have bastardized Christianity, making religion a mockery of the fundamentals of faith. I somehow don't think God is too happy -- or gay -- about how he has been co-opted in this way.

I wrote about this issue earlier this week, see Wedding Bell Blues. However, it appears that the passage of the same sex amendment in California and elsewhere has worked to galvanize opponents of the ban.

Rallies support the repeal of Prop 8 are being held in cities across the country today, including here in Philly at City Hall across from Love Park. See Taking It To The Streets. See also, Join the Impact for information on rallies across the country.

The intensity of the effort which the Mormon & Catholic Churches put forward is astounding, by contributing time and money to ensure that the ban was passed. The NYTimes describes it, in Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage:

As proponents of same-sex marriage across the country planned protests on Saturday against the ban, interviews with the main forces behind the ballot measure showed how close its backers believe it came to defeat — and the extraordinary role Mormons played in helping to pass it with money, institutional support and dedicated volunteers.

“We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

The California measure, Proposition 8, was to many Mormons a kind of firewall to be held at all costs.

“California is a huge state, often seen as a bellwether — this was seen as a very, very important test,” Mr. Otterson said.

First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.
The Catholic Church has long been a haven for haters, starting with the clergy. Apparently, forced celibacy has many downsides besides the obvious -- it certainly doesn't help foster love and kindness. A few years ago, the Catholic church in Boston decided to stop adoptions as part of its Catholic Charities mission, rather than place kids with gays. See Jesus Weeps. And since the election, the Church is penalizing members who supported Obama. SC's Father Newman says whoever voted for Obama shouldn't receive Holy Communion. See also, U.S. Bishops Urged to Challenge Obama. As I mentioned the other day, the Mormon Church also has a long history of bigotry. And apparently, it has secretly been involved for many years with the Catholic Church to try to oppose gay unions. Prop 8: DEVASTATING internal memo from the LDS Church. Perhaps that's why the Catholic Church is experiencing such a loss of members and why "unaffiliated" or no religious preference is gaining in this country, according to a recent Pew study on faith. See Swing Shift.

Along with the rallies scheduled for today, there have been numerous protests and boycotts of business that supported the ban. It apparently took many of the Mormon and other business who contributed to the cause by surprise that there would be repercussions for their actions. The Economic Learning Curve For Businesspeople Who Supported Prop 8. See also, Marriott or Sarah Palin? You decide.

I say this is The Way. Change occurs through the pocketbook much more than any appeal to fairness, justice or morality. The protests to open private clubs like the all-male Union League in the 80's never got anywhere until women got smart and started boycotting such discriminatory venues. As I said in another context, sometimes an ecomonics lesson is needed:

Way back when, when the private clubs still excluded women from membership, what got the clubs to change was not the protests or complaining by women about discrimination. These were conservative men who felt totally justified with their exclusionary policies. They sat in their female-free lounges, drinking hot toddies while discussing freedom of association. No, what finally worked was the boycott of the clubs. Women convinced their employers and colleagues not to hold events or frequent places that banned women. They ended up changing the policies because of the economics of it all -- it hurt business -- rather than because it was the right thing.

Finally, perhaps in an attempt to distract from the underlying religious support, there has been an attempt to suggest that the huge black turnout in favor of Obama is responsible for the passage of the Prop 8 ban. For example, Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic's Daily Dish made this argument, see New Obama Voters And Prop 8. However, Nate Silver of, the go-to guy for election projections, reviews the statistics on black turnout & finds that the result was age, not race. As he said in Prop 8 Myths:
At the end of the day, Prop 8's passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two. It appears that the generational splits may be larger within minority communities than among whites, although the data on this is sketchy.

The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that -- and there's no polite way to put this -- the older voters aren't going to be around for all that much longer, and they'll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era. Everyone knew going in that Prop 8 was going to be a photo finish -- California might be just progressive enough and 2008 might be just soon enough for the voters to affirm marriage equity. Or, it might fall just short, which is what happened. But two or four or six or eight years from now, it will get across the finish line.
Of course, the last word on this issue is best presented by Stephen Colbert, in an interview with Dan Savage:


Mary Shaw said...

Thanks for a great article. The Colbert clip was an excellent touch.

Anonymous said...

The people have spoken twice!That my friends is what democracy is all about. Not tolerence to submit to ones will through intimidation.People are not ready to give up a 5000 year old definition to appease a minority of rich militants.