Thursday, July 23, 2009

WWJH? (Who would Jesus handcuff?)

When Mormons use the phrase "enemy of the Church" they mean someone who attacks the Church. What phrase do we use when the Church attacks, when it's the Church that does the destroying and the defaming? What do we call those the Church wishes to harm? Can we also call them enemies of the Church, that is, enemies the Church itself has chosen?

I promise I'm going to let my outrage over the Main Street Plaza kiss fade, but in the meantime I feel as if this incident shows that the Church has set its sights on gay people and calmly pulled the trigger. They made the kill, but who wins? Certainly not the Church-- the PR fallout was definitely not worth whatever they gained by establishing the former Main Street sidewalk, the sidewalk they promised to keep open to the public, as a straights-only zone.

I love the 11th Article of Faith. I see the right to free exercise of religion as fundamental. I mean the Church and its members no harm, and I understand that religious views differ. I'm pretty sure, however, of the Church's contempt and ill will toward me. I guess that does make me their enemy.

8 comments:

Quinn said...

Isn't it fair to say that the gay community has also set its sights on the church?

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Quinn: No, it would not be fair to say that.

The LGBT community is simply fighting back and defending itself.

The Mormon church is trying to rob us of our civil rights and constantly slanders and maligns us.

If the church were to treat us with respect and tolerance and leave us the hell alone, the gay community would leave them alone.

We're not the ones who started it. They've decided to persecute us, not the other way around. We're simply telling bigots who are trying to force their version of morality on the rest of the world that we won't have it, that there are consequences for bigotry and homophobia, and we're just as human and equal as they are.

The church is not in any way, whatsoever the victim. It would be laughable if it weren't so harmful that old, straight, racist, sexist, homophobic white men are trying to pretend they're somehow being persecuted because the gays won't lie down and politely allow their rights to be taken from them. The "How dare those gays be so uppity? We're right to force them into subhuman status! Jesus told us so!" - mentality is ridiculous and insane, and anyone who really thinks the church isn't wholly at fault isn't living in reality.

It's bullshit, we know it, and we're not going to let the church get away with it.

MoHoHawaii said...

Hi Quinn,

Craig already answered your question, but I'll just chime in, too.

No, I don't think the situation is in any way symmetric.

The struggle for marriage equality and civil rights for LGBT people more generally is not about religion. No one in that movement has ever suggested that churches be required to officiate any marriage they did not want to.

Disagreement with or criticism of the Church’s political actions is legitimate political debate. If you enter the political sphere, you should expect to be debated and you should expect to be exposed if you engage in sleazy campaign tactics. Full stop.

I have not personally met any proponents of gay marriage who care about LDS doctrine in the slightest. They don't care about the Jesus/Lucifer canard that the Evangelicals love to bring up or the Chandler manuscript's incoherence with the Book of Abraham. Gay marriage supporters have no idea what the King Follet Discourse is and wouldn't care one way or the other if they did know. I just don't see how people with absolutely no argument with LDS doctrine can be lumped in with anti-Mormons who challenge LDS beliefs.


I think there are really only two categories of anti-Mormons: sectarians and ex-Mos. The first group are conservative Christians who object to LDS doctrine and want to 'save' us from error. The second group are former insiders whose sense of betrayal motivates their zeal to expose what they perceive to be a hoax.

Besides these two groups, NOBODY CARES about Mormons. Despite the bunker mentality inside the Church, 99.95% of the world's population has little interest one way or the other about things Mormon.

Using the anti-Mormon label as a cudgel against gay people who protest the treatment they receive from the Church misses the mark. This label just doesn't apply.

Philip said...

MoHoHawaii,

Thanks for providing the info on the land swap.

I now get the LDS Church did a land swap for Main Street in order to stifle protest on Main Street unless, of course, the protest is acceptable to the Church.

Am I correct in assuming the Mormon Temple is so close to Main Street that the LDS Church feared protests in front of the Mormon Temple?

Which brings me to another question...

I can understand why the LDS Church would be concern about protest now after Prop 8 but why was it concerned about protests ten years ago?

Regards,
Philip

MoHoHawaii said...

Hi Philip,

I think the whole project was part of the church's plan to integrate Temple Square with the block just east of Temple Square that includes the Church Office Building, administration and the former Hotel Utah. It was controversial primarily because of the increased traffic congestion caused by blocking off a major arterial route in the center of the city.

Once the church had decided to make a pedestrian plaza out of what used to be a roadway, it entered into negotiations with the city about the public's use of the new plaza. The city's planning dept wanted the property to have the same use as a public park. The church dug in its heels and insisted on unconstitutional restrictions on free speech. For example, under the initial agreement the LDS Church was permitted to do things like distributing pamphlets on the property, but the general public was forbidden from doing this. It wasn't just about protesting. The arrangement had many serious constitutional problems and eventually was invalidated by the courts (as it should have been).

So, the Church retaliated and made its shills on the city council to cede ALL RIGHTS to the property. (This is perfectly legal.) As a result, you currently don't have the right to cross Main Street anymore in Salt Lake City if the church doesn't like the way you look.

This is one of those festering situations that will never really be resolved.

CLARK JOHNSEN said...

I'm very upset about all of this stuff. I am so heartily disappointed in the church, and like you MOHO I see absolutely nothing that the church has to gain by any of this. It is utter nonsense. Sometimes I just think that the church is trying to find its place in the 21st century.. trying to keep from fading into total irrelevancy the way that many other churches have. What I don't understand is why they are using this stance to attempt to make themselves feel important in America today. It must be obvious to anyone with basic common sense that marriage equality is an inevitability. Why would the church choose to deliberately be on the losing side? Or, if they think they are not on the losing side, are they really that unaware of current events? Since they are going to lose this war anyway, (they may win a few battles, but no the war) why persecute a minority group in the process? Why alienate and hurt a large number of mormons and families not to mention people outside the church by choosing this path? It just makes no sense to me. If there was EVER a moment when I felt personally convinced that an all knowing being is NOT running this or any other church, its now.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

I'm quite certain that the church leaders are deluded enough to actually think 1) far more Americans are far more homophobic than they actually are, 2) this strategy they're pursuing is actually a good idea and will in the long run prove wise, and 3) most people, (regardless of whether they're pro-gay rights or not) don't see Mormons as totally weird, backwards, standoffish, and cultish.

I think the internal (in the church office building and even in the church at general) perception of what the external non-Mormon perception of Mormons is, is quite unrealistic. I honestly think the church is confused as to why, for example, it baptising people for the dead is so offensive to non-Mormons (cause of course they're just trying to send people to heaven!).

The church is stuck in a mindset that is at least 20 years in the past and still hasn't realised it. It's reactions and press releases make that ever clearer that they aren't ever really expecting the kind of hostile reception and criticism they get nearly daily. They don't realise their mantra of "saving marriage" rings very, very hollow for most people, and alienates far more people than it entices.

Eventually the church is going to irrelevant itself out of existence if it doesn't have a convenient "revelation" like it did in 1978. Of course, it loves power and influence and money too much to give it up so I expect it will eventually come around and pretend it's virulent homophobia was never "official doctrine", but just the teachings of men.

CLARK JOHNSEN said...

Exactly. It is going to be so embarrassing for them to have to have another "revelation" but it seems like that is going to be their only way out of the situation at this point. I can just see everyone at fast and testimony meeting talking about how THIS is why we are so lucky to have a prophet (profit).

Youre so right too about unawareness of the real perception of outsiders. Baptism of jews was such a great example of that disconnect. I have also heard so many mormons talk about how they were so victimized by the prop 8 stuff. Long diatribes emerged about how church buildings were vandalized etc. I love how people can turn an all out attack on another minority group into a chance to become supposed victims.

If another "revelation" does come, it will just then be a matter of rewriting history like they often are known to do.. pretty soon they can act like they were never homophobic and its ridiculous that people ever had that perception.