Measured Voices Provide Reason, Support Amidst Proposition 8 Reaction
Salt Lake City : 21 November 2008
Following the passing of Proposition 8 in California, the Church released statements urging civility and reaffirming its position on the issue. The Church also noted that two Roman Catholic bishops released statements decrying religious bigotry against Mormons. The Church today points to additional third-party voices that provide useful insights into the reaction following the vote. Some of these individuals supported Proposition 8, and some were against it.
These materials may be helpful to the news media, bloggers, Church members and the general public in gaining a broader view of the aftermath of the Proposition 8 vote. All people of faith have cause for concern when others try to remove their legitimate voice from the public square.
Anti-Defamation League Condemns Criminal Activity Targeting Religious Institutions That Supported Proposition 8
"Although we strongly opposed Proposition 8, its passage does not justify the defacement and destruction of property. We urge Californians to channel their frustration and disappointment in productive and responsible ways to work towards full equality for all Americans. To place anyone in fear of threat to their houses of worship or their personal security because they have expressed deeply held religious views is contrary to everything this nation represents. Our Constitution's First Amendment protects freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion for all of us."
Dallas Morning News Editorial: Protest and Civility in a Democracy
“But a vicious minority is not satisfied with that. Some gay rights protesters have voiced sentiments about Mormons, whose church was active in advocating Prop 8's passage, that if said about gays would be condemned as hate speech. Vandals have struck a number of Mormon temples. Bash Back, a pro-gay group in Olympia, Wash., trashed a Mormon temple there, then issued a statement saying, ‘Let this be a warning to the Mormon church: Dissolve completely or be destroyed.’
“Gay rights extremists should ask themselves the same question. A cause, no matter how just, can only be harmed by thuggish tactics. Our pluralist democracy depends on a citizenry committed to working out differences with civility.”
Michael Barber, Professor of Theology, Scripture & Christian Thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University
“… we found it appalling that in the final days of the campaign, opponents of Proposition 8 ran an ad in which Mormon missionaries were presented as barging into a same-sex couple’s home, gleefully rummaging through their personal possessions and violating their rights. The ad attempted to ridicule people of the Mormon faith, even implying that it was wrong that they contributed money to the election. As a Catholic school, we stand beside our friends in the Mormon Church and of people of faith who work tirelessly to preserve the freedom of religion in America. We also strongly oppose any attempt to ridicule another person’s faith, even faiths with which we have strong historical and theological disagreements.”
The First Amendment Center — Charles Haynes: When the Marriage Debate Turns Ugly, No One Wins
“Mormons are taking the biggest hit from the opposition. But as protests, boycotts and blacklists targeting Mormons proliferate, it’s worth pausing to think about where this collision is headed. … Before this clash escalates further, both sides should exercise caution and reconsider their battle plans going forward.”
The Christian Post — Chuck Colson: So Much for Tolerance
“Two days after the election, 2,000 homosexual protesters surrounded a Mormon temple in Los Angeles chanting ‘Mormon scum.’ Protesters picketed Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, holding signs reading ‘Purpose-Driven Hate.’ Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills was spray painted. Church members’ cars have been vandalized, and at least two Christians were assaulted. Protesters even hurled racial epithets at African-Americans because African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage. What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us!”
Beliefnet.com — Rod Dreher: Stand By the Mormons
“Now is the time for traditional Christians — Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox — to come to the aid of our Mormon friends. They put themselves on the front line of the traditional marriage battle like no other church group. And now individual Mormons are paying a terrible price for standing up for something we all believe in. I don't know how we can stand with them from afar, but at least we can thank them, and speak out when we see them being abused. We might also think again about how we view them. … I have deep disagreements with Mormon theology. But they are our friends and allies and fellow citizens, and they deserve our thanks and support.”
John Mark Reynolds, Philosophy Professor at Biola University – California and Thank-a-Mormon Day
“In the battle for the family, however, traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful. It would be wrong if that support were taken for granted. We are intolerant of the false attacks on Mormon faith and family. We stand with our Mormon friends in their right to express their views on the public square. We celebrate the areas, such as family values, where we agree. A heart felt thank you may not win points from other friends who demand one hundred percent agreement from their allies, but it is the decent and proper thing to do. Thank you to our Mormon friends and allies!”
The Volokh Conspiracy — Dale Carpenter: An Alternative to Anti-Mormon Protests
“Here's my advice to righteously furious gay-marriage supporters: Stop the focus on the Mormon Church. Stop it now. We just lost a ballot fight in which we were falsely but effectively portrayed as attacking religion. So now some of us attack a religion? People were warned that churches would lose their tax-exempt status, which was untrue. So now we have (frivolous) calls for the Mormon Church to lose its tax-exempt status? It's rather selective indignation, anyway, since lots of demographic groups gave us Prop 8 in different ways — some with money and others with votes. I understand the frustration, but this particular expression of it is wrong and counter-productive.”
May I add one more to this. From the blog of author, Laurie LC Lewis:
Friday, November 21st:
"Rising majestically from a knoll set on a bend in the Washington Beltway, the brilliantly white, Washington DC Temple is a landmark familiar to every DC traveler. The radio stations even use it as a traffic marker, so it's no surprise it was an easy find when the protesters wanted to set up shop. Except they picked a really miserable day last Saturday.
"Sometime in the midst of their demonstration, they shifted one driveway down from the Temple's lane to the Visitor Center's drive, and soon thereafter the sky darkened, the winds picked up and the rain began to fall like stinging pellets of ice water.
"Now some people might have gleefully looked upon nature's timely downpour as divine intervention, figuring the protesters were getting their just desserts. But I'm humbled and awed to report that that is not how the missionaries at the Visitor Center reacted. They did what Jesus would have done. They turned the other cheek. . . and more than that, they blessed their adversaries. How? They carried umbrellas out to the protesters so they could stay dry and comfortable while they picketed."
This is a wonderful reminder to all of us, on both sides of the battle, to act according to our faith, as followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and our loving Heavenly Father. Thank you to the many who have stepped forward in defense of all who have been attacked for defending deep moral and spiritual beliefs.
United we stand, divided we fall. This time, we stood.