Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

  • Being The Target

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 06:51 am, November 17th 2008     &mdash      1 Comment »

    Now even the LATimes is singling out Mormons as “the target” in the wake of the passage of Prop 8.  It is hard to get your arms around this bit of “reporting” but I think this is my favorite bit:

    Some have suggested that Mormons might have been eager to cement partnerships with other churches, especially because evangelical voters were particularly distrustful of Romney’s faith.

    But Otterson dismissed that possibility. “That kind of thinking would never even factor into the thinking of church leadership,” he said. “The church couldn’t remain silent on a pivotal issue like this.”

    How could anyone accuse the Mormons of setting themselves up for this stuff just because of the Romney campaign?  Yes, there may be a politically advantageous by-product of all this to a future Mormon presidential candidate, but give me a break here.  If nothing else, Mormon history points out that they tend to withdraw when facing this kind of onslaught, not double down.

    Which leads me to the fact that what I thought was encouraging yesterday is not.   Here we find an anarchist group publicly, but anonymously, admitting to vandalizing a Mormon church.  And in Sacramento, we find the churches laying on extra security measures.

    You know, hate crime legislation is one of the dumbest ideas in recent legislative history, but I am beginning to wonder if it is not time to invoke it!

    Lowell interjects:  I challenge anyone to gainsay this portion of the LDS Church’s statement:

    “People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights,” the statement said. “These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America.”

    Who can disagree with that?  The last time I checked the USA was not a banana republic where people face reprisals for voting the “wrong” way, and election outcomes are met with angry crowds and violence.

    Speaking of Romney and Pundit Inconsistency . . .

    Remember Rod Dreher’s rather silly defense of religious conservatives?  The one in which he failed to remember the whole Romny thing?   Now he remembers?!  Come on Rod, you are trying to have it both ways here . . . .

    Lowell again:  This part of Dreher’s commentary needs a response:

    I find [the attacks on Mormons] sad because the conservative Christians who were all worked up over Romney’s Mormonism earlier this year saw the Mormons carry water for all traditionalist-minded Christians in this Prop 8 fight. And now the Mormons are collectively paying the price for doing what Catholics, Orthodox and Evangelicals ought to have been doing.

    I appreciate Dreher’s sympathy but he has this one wrong.  The plain fact is, Prop 8 would not have passed without Mormon support.  But it would also have failed without Catholic and Evangelical support.  All three groups stepped up, big-time, and every one of them was essential to Prob 8′s success.  Mormons are being slammed because they were the most visible in the final run-up to the election.

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    Encouraging?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:47 am, November 16th 2008     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Just a couple of interesting reads.

    From Meridian Magazine comes an opinion piece by Maurine Jensen Proctor:

    Though opponents of Prop. 8 who seek for same-sex marriage tout that they are the movement of tolerance, their actions mark them as hypocrites, as they send the message through protests, property vandalism and singling out donors for vilification that anybody getting in their way had better watch out. Payback and punishment will follow for those who have exercised their right of political expression to support traditional marriage.

    This, of course, is designed to inhibit and terrorize anyone who opposes redefining marriage, chilling not only discussion of the issues, but political opposition altogether. At the very least, those who support that marriage is between a man and a woman are labelled hateful and bigoted.

    There is much more – read it all.

    And, in my opinion, this weekend’s, “nationwide” protests carried good news.   They were peaceful and largely in civic centers, not religious ones.  Though many there could not help but target religion, and specifically Mormon religion:

    Some of that sentiment was on display Saturday in San Francisco, one of dozens of California cities to host the rallies.

    Hundreds of gay marriage supporters packed Civic Center plaza in front of San Francisco City Hall, many carrying banners protesting involvement by religious groups in the Proposition 8 campaign.

    The Mormon church, which sent volunteers to California and encouraged its members to donate money, was a favorite target. “Leave your church out of my state,” read one sign. Others were more pointed: “You have three wives; I want one husband,” read another.

    Not being a Mormon, I cannot speak for Mormons regardig the polygamy reference, but to me they are just funny.  If they knew anything whatsoever about Mormons they would know that they no longer practice polygamy – a fact that should contain enormous object lessons for our homosexual friends.

    Frankly, I expected protests when the Proposition won.  I did not expect them to be so carefully targeted, nor did I expect them to turn destructive and violent.  We live in a great nation and freedom of assembly is part of that greatness.  Peaceful assembly, even if engaged in ugly rhetoric, is something the nation can handle.   But I think this pullquote from the second link says it all:

    Supporters of traditional marriage said Saturday’s rallies may have generated publicity but ultimately made no difference.

    “The election is over and we won,” said Frank Schubert, co-manager of the Yes on 8 campaign in California.

    Unless, of course, the interference with religious practice, property destruction, and violence resume.  Then we have a problem.

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    Proposition 8: Multi-Faith Press Conference Speaks Out Against Attacks

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 10:34 pm, November 14th 2008     &mdash      4 Comments »

    The ProtectMarriage Coalition held a long-awaited press conference today.  Here are some video excerpts:

    For more, including the related press release, go to ProtectMarriage.com.

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    And Now…Terrorism!?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 11:03 pm, November 13th 2008     &mdash      4 Comments »

    Epithets, protests, vandalism, threats — all intolerant expressions in the name of tolerance.  Could it get any worse?

    Oh heck, yeah!

    First they set fire to a copy of The Book of Mormon on the church steps and now they are sending white powder (can you say “anthrax”?) envelopes to LDS temples.  Of course, now that things have advanced from merely civilly disobedient to downright criminal, these acts are plausibly deniable – it has yet to be established with certainty that they are response to the Prop 8 vote, but suspicions may reasonably run very strong.

    Meanwhile, creedal services are being disrupted, but as yet, have avoided death threats.  I remain both fascinated and repulsed by the disproportionate level of this vile that is being aimed at the LDS, and dismayed that the voices of the traditional church expressing solidarity are being left unheeded in the media.

    We are treated to stories on these events as if the protestors have some right to behave in this manner.  They most assuredly DO NOT.  The specious, dubious, and silly legal challenges are to be expected and within the bounds of American public discourse, but this other stuff simply must be brought to an end.

    Vandalism, threats of violence, simulated acts of violence, and violence itself are not accpetable behavior for any American wishing to express a viewpoint.  We cannot, as a nation, stand for this.  As an evangelical Christian I claim to uphold what is best about our nation, which means I simply must decry this stuff.  I have called on Evangelical leadership to announce proudly their desire to be protested too.

    Well, now we have to take the next step – as the actions have escalated, so must we.  We must contact our government representatives on the federal, state and local levels and we must insist that all the forces of law enforcement be brought to bear on these crimes.   Pastors should be urging their congregations to make the calls and write the letters.

    I also think we should be flooding the editorial pages of our newspapers with letters decrying these actions.  These tactics should only serve to delegitimize the perceived grievances of the malfeasants.

    Again, I call on the Christian, and Jewish, media elite – the entire Salem Radio team, the entire Dobson team, every local radio and TV preacher out there to make this message heard.  Sympathize with the Mormons and our brethren threatened here, but do more – LEAD!  We can prevent harm here.

    And finally we must pray.  Scares have a way of escalating to the point where people actually get hurt.  We have come dangerously close already.

    Lowell adds:  A ProtectMarriage.com press conference is planned for noon tomorrow (Friday, November 14).  You are going to see some remarkable statments made.  Pay close attention to the radio and television news throughout the day tomorrow, and late in the day to YouTube and to the ProtectMarriage.com site.  We’ll link to the video here as soon as it is available.

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    Look Out – They Are Getting Organized

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:05 am, November 12th 2008     &mdash      2 Comments »

    I have assumed since the election last week that the protests in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 would eventually run out of steam as the reality of the fact that the people of California spoke sunk in.  To date, the protests have been relatively ad hoc affairs.  But now they are getting organized.  Which may also be a sign that the effort is slowing down as organization becomes necessary to keep it going.  We’ll see tonight.  But the protests are spreading throughout the nation.

    There is some interesting reading on all this out there.  Jason Zengerle, blogging at The New Republic points out the obvious for this blog:

    When you think about Mitt Romney’s problems in ’08, it seemed as if the biggest one was his inability to convert the enthusiasm social conservative elites felt for him into enthusiasm for him among social conservatives at the grassroots level. If, over the next few years, the Mormon Church becomes the driving force behind the anti-gay marriage crusade, isn’t that likely to change opinions about the LDS among rank-and-file social conservatives? And wouldn’t that be a serious boost to Romney if, despite his friends’ claims to the contrary, he runs for the White House in ’12?

    Anti-Mormon sentiment was wrong in the primary, just as it is wrong now.  What is a shame is that it is taking something like this to turn the tide on that.

    The Mormon Times, which some might consider to be a dubious source for this kind of material,  points out what has also bee obvious to this blog, Anti-Mormonism is playing a huge role in the targeting decision the forces alligned against Prop 8 are making.  The case is well developed from extra-Mormon sources.  Pajamas Media blog Classical Values also points out the obvious bigotry that is behind the actions in the wake of the passage of Prop 8.

    It is interesting to watch a movement, claiming the hertiage of the civil rights movement, act in such a bigoted fashion.  It is sort of like watching a person pull the rug out from under themselves.

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    The ProtectMarriage/Proposition 8 Coalition: A Solidarity Report

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 07:24 am, November 11th 2008     &mdash      3 Comments »

    linked-arms.jpgJohn has been reaching out to the Evangelical community, asking about response to attacks on Mormons for their support of Proposition 8.  While e-mailing with others today, he got the following unexpected response from Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in La Mesa, California.  (Apparently someone, somewhere, forwarded John’s e-mail inquiries to Pastor Garlow.)

    Thought you might want to know some of what is happening re: defense of the LDS.

    I am hosting an event in which Catholics and Evangelicals are meeting with LDS officials so that we may affirm their role in the campaign and . . . discuss how to defend the LDS from the scurrilous attacks upon them, and the mob-like frenzy that is being stirred by those who cannot accept the will of the people on Prop 22 and Prop 8.

    Secondly:  Last Friday (November 7) I put out an email to 7,200 pastors on Friday – to speak boldly affirming the Mormons for their role, and to get their congregations to speak out in defense of the Mormons.

    Thirdly:  I was one of 4 persons signing a letter to the New York Times condemning their attack on the Mormons.  On another note - I was on Dobson three times in last three weeks.  He took pains to affirm the Mormons & their role [in Prop 8].  If I recall – he did it in either two of the three broadcasts – or possibly all three.

    Blessings,

    Jim Garlow

    John takes over:  Pastor Garlow, apparently in response to my comments on Lowell’s post over the weekend also indicated that he was on Jim Dobson’s radio program several times last week.  Pastor Garlow further indicates that Dr. Dobson “took pains to affirm the Mormons & their role.”  I find this very good news indeed.  I tried to find some of the podcasts to hear this for myself, but found nothing labeled for this portion of the broadcasts and did not have time to wade through all the material personal.  Readers with a bit of time on their hands can feel free to sort through all this and send us an email with the button above when you find it.

    After communicating with Pastor Garlow it is clear we have a media problem as much as a protest problem.  Much creedal Christian support is being given to the Mormons on this, but none of it is being heard about.  Unsurprizingly, the protests are drawing the press but the efforts at unity are not.  As with every conservative issue, it is incumbent on the conservative media outlets – talk radio, Christian broadcasting, and blogs – to get this word out there.

    It is not, nor can it ever be, enough for creedal Christians to offer their support for the Mormons, as “the point of the spear” quietly, but let them continue to take the brunt of Prop 8 opposition attacks.  We must overcome the press imposed blackout of the coverage of these supportive efforts.

    I think Pastor Garlow’s email of last Friday was great, and I would urge all recipients to not just ask their congregations for support, but to have their congregations stand up and say to the world “We voted for Prop 8 – We want to be protested too!”  The media should be swamped with press releases from congregations across California – Press releases are easy, here’s a distribution service.  They’d have to write a story then.

    Now bear in mind, so-called “counter-protests” are a bad idea.  We should not be going to the LDS Temples (Oakland and San Diego are getting hit pretty hard, as well as LA)  with our own signs and shouting.  That gives the opposition the coverage and CONFLICT they want.  We instead want to invite the protests to us, we stand in solidarity and make them look like ruffians.

    It is clear the media wants to not only side with the No on 8 forces, they want to target the Mormons.  (Not much surprize there really, we just went through a primary where no shot was too low from them.)  Protests only are effective when they have a target.  The press is aiding the opposition in making the CJCLDS the target.  One way to overcome that is to present them with so many targets that their forces will be too divided to be effective.

    And finally, an apology is due.  During the primary, too many creedals wanted to say things on the order of “Well, Mormons are a ‘cult‘…but…it’soktovoteforone.”  “Cult” was the only message that got through, and that message has helped enable these protests, and worse.  Heterodox, Mormons are indeed (as they think of us as well) but this campaign and their willingness to stand under this assualt should remove any doubt that they do not carry the evil intent implicit in the term “cult.”

    Late breaking from John: I can’t resist, this is almost funny.  That Andrew Sullivan is disturbed on this issue is unsurprising, but he has now taken flights of fancy as he is reports Prop 8 as a conspiracy by Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons.

    The intervention of my own church’s [ed: Roman Catholic] hierarchy in targeting the civil rights of a minority is distressing. But they are still not as plugged into the Christianist network as well as the Mormons – and the LDS leadership was critical in pioneering this.

    [...]

    …this confession by Mitt Romney in September of 2007 that the Mormons and Falwell hatched the scheme long before last June.

    The man has completely left reality – as quite likely have most the Prop 8 protesters.   I don’t think Evangelicals and Mormons could launch a conspiracy to have lunch!  And the implication that the Mormons played Evangelicals on this issue.   Oh please!  Mormons are a little better organized than we are, but that they somehow manipulated us to participate is an idea that can only be born in the mind of someone that has lost touch with reality.  It belies no understanding of anything about Mormons, or Evangelicals, or frankly, about the church he claims as his own.

    When I read things like this, I react mostly with pity.  That such thoughts are being used to incite  vandalism, threats, and near violence goes a long way to negate that pity, but still….

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