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Proposition 8 Fallout

13 November 2008

All day I’ve had the following two NYT articles up on my screen:

Theater Director Resigns Amid Gay-Rights Ire
At Mormon Temple, a Protest Over Prop 8

Just the day after the election, I noticed people in California bitterly tweeting about the Mormon Church’s influence in getting Proposition 8 passed. I was uncomfortable with the way many of them were equating Mormons with the Mormon Church (think of the conflation of all Muslims with terrorists after September 11). And when I heard that lists of the addresses of Mormon supporters were being posted online, I got scared. This is exactly what got three doctors killed by crazed right-to-lifers just a few years ago. I did a bit of searching, and it seems they are just listing names and hometowns, which is a little better. (Disclaimer: I’ve seen the site that lists the addresses, but didn’t delve into it, and I’m not going to post a link here because I am still not convinced that this won’t be taken too far.)

What did the Mormon Church do to support Prop 8? Well, according to the AP (via the LA Times), two of the twelve highest members of the church had an hour-long televised strategy meeting, which was shown in church buildings across four western states. Church members outside the state were encouraged to call friends and family in California, and people in California were encouraged to volunteer for the campaign.

To me, this definitely smacks of political action, and I don’t think churches should expect to participate in such activities and keep their tax-exempt status. Make up your minds, dudes — one (political activism) or the other (tax exemption).

As to the theater director resigning, I don’t see it as harrassment. A playwright has the right to deny proceeds of his or her plays to people who don’t think they deserve equal rights. As a consumer, I have the right to use my dollars to either support or reject institutions or their employees whose actions and opinions I disagree with. Heck, we do that all the time: it’s called a boycott. Let’s not paint it as harassment just because it is being directed at a growing sect of Christianity (note: I consider all Christian denominations sects, I’m not picking on Mormonism here).

But I wish I had more faith in the common man — I’m afraid that this will get terribly out of hand. Prove me wrong, people, prove me wrong.

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