Thursday, November 13, 2008

Should We March On Churches?

Yesterday, 10,000 people marched and rallied against the Mormon church in New York City angry about the loss on Prop. 8.

I think it's a mistake.

When we start making villains out of other people, we are no better. When we call them names, we are no better.

I love the energy. I love the protest and the 10,000 people. But we said we wanted marriage equality. We said we'd never make any church recognize our marriages. It was about equal access to an institution recognized by the government.

And yet there we were, protesting at a church that does not want to recognize us.

Should the church be allowed to plow 18 million dollars into a political campaign? No. Should any church be able to preach specific political action? Not and keep their not for profit status.

That's a different battle.

We will not win this fight by being angry and bitter against those who hate us. We need to educate people. We need to remember that every person who sees the way in which it is discrimination does not go back to being close minded.

My eleven year old son, Zachary, said to me when he heard about the loss in California, You mean, people think gays and lesbians are different so they shouldn't get the same rights?


Don't they understand we are all different? I mean... no one is the same.

No, they don't.

We are all different. People pray at different alters, and some are places we will never create change. That doesn't mean we need to stoop to their level.

Rally, organize, march, light candles, write, cheer- and remember we are about justice.


For everyone.


Blogger said...

I don't know-- I'm glad they protested them and am sad that I wasn't able to make it.

Mormons (catholics too but not to their degree) got their noses involved FAR too deeply in our business.

I think so long as it's peaceful we should bring our opinions to their door.

They need to visually see how many of us their H8 harmed.

If they simply advised their members to vote Yes on 8 it would've been one thing -- but these people made it their mission to destroy our families.

I think a few thousand people at their door reminding them there were actual people behind that little bubble they bamboozled people to fill in isn't a bad thing.

But that's just my 2 cents. :)

2:03 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

I was one of the 10,000 (it didn't seem like that many people to me, though. hmm), and while maybe it isn't as clear in the news coverage, it was very clear to the participants why we were protesting the Mormon Church. My sign, like dozens of similar signs, said "I vote you lose your tax-exempt status." One sign I saw a lot was "No to $20 Million Tax Deduction for H8," others were "Separation of Church and State" and some about it being civil marriage and the church should stay out of it. Chants included "Tax the church!"
We're not saying the Mormons have to marry us. We're saying they can't pour church money and resources into fighting us and stay as a tax-exempt organization.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t understand why some feel it’s negative or discriminatory to talk about who funded the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. Call it what it is – the Mormon Church who actively organized with other churches, was a leader in funding the Yes campaign, funding deceptive ad campaigns, and they stripped millions of Californians of their civil rights. Mormon contributions account for more than $20 million of all donations received in support of Prop 8. It is not Mormon bashing to point out facts—this is fair game in politics.

This is not bigotry against a specific religion; this is criticism against a powerful force. Criticism that was never fully communicated by the No on 8 campaigns. For comparison if you look at several other Propositions that were on the CA ballot they were able to defeat their measure by effectively and clearly communicating who was funding those campaigns. This occurred with Prop’s 7, 10 and Prop D in San Diego. The anger we see today is the frustration that political strategists on the No campaign did not make this clear to the electorate. I don’t think it’s hateful or mean to point out who funded the Yes campaign of terrible lies. I don’t advocate for hatred or violence towards these groups but an understanding and clarity of those groups overall political agendas.

3:28 PM  
Blogger phil_in_ny said...

Thank you Sara, I've been saying this all along.

We need to start a dialog with those who have these feelings towards us, feelings enough to vote against or best interests.

Although protests are a good way to be seen, I'm not so sure we should put a period there.

4:20 PM  
Blogger MLC said...

I agree -- I don't think we should protest churches either.

They can have their freedom of religion (it's their civil right).

And I would like *all* of my civil rights which includes the right not to pray and if I choose to get married (and civil hall is fine).

I am not thrilled about prayer at rallies either - like ours here on Saturday. I'll be there but I am not there for religion ...I am there to ask for my civil rights.


5:42 PM  
Blogger Sue J said...

I agree with you, Sara. Marching on the churches can leave the perception that the protest is against the church, when really it it about their lobbying.

I'm glad to hear that people were holding signs about separation of church and state and tax exemption. But I'm not sure that that is the impression that many folks outside our community were left with.

My fear is that people will be left with the impression that someone cannot be gay and Christian. The thing is, you can be gay and any religion -- or no religion. And appearing to protest religion does nothing for our cause.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I think we're walking a very very fine line here.

I'm not comfortable with it. I think education is better than picketing their church.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

I think you're right on, Sara. I love what Abe Lincoln once said: "Am I not destroying my enemies, when I make friends of them?"

I think we'll go a lot farther a lot faster by doing that. Yes, protest. Yes, hold vigils. Be visible. Be open. Be kind. And don't make it personal to any individual or group.


8:20 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have to say I am very torn about this issue.

I do feel that for the moment, the protests are reasonable. I hear people saying we should protest the lobbying but not the religion. Well, how do you do that exactly? Soon, and very soon, we need to harness this energy into more direct action--education and boycotts. For the time being, these protests are nurturing a movement and as long as they don't get out of control (and they may be, with "white powder" being delivered to LDS temples now) they should continue--but not for much longer.

I have to say though that my support of the protests at churches has less to do with my being gay and more with my being Christian. I am sick and tired of my religion being defined by hate-mongers. Fundamentally, people who call themselves Christians and yet throw all their energies behind abortion and gay marriage, are bad Christians practicing bad theology.

I've had the opportunity over the past week or so to meet a lot of new people. I rode a bus to Sacramento with total strangers for the rally at the Capitol last Sunday. It's shocking how even people who have left the church, or renounced the existence of God altogether, are so interested in learning about a welcoming congregation or just talking matters of faith generally. I've written about in my blog

If I protest in front of a church (and I have yet to do so, in my town we might get shot) it will be because these people need to see the faces of people for whom they have destroyed the gospel. They need to be confronted with the statistics of LGBT teen suicides and asked how this fits into their "pro-life" schematic. They need to be challenged by the question of "who would Jesus hang out with?". They need to be confronted by their own acceptance of divorce, poverty, and oppression -- things Jesus specifically addressed -- and why those things are not worth a $30 million dollar campaign.

I'm sure that I'll be joined by people who simply hate the church, who just want the church out of the public square. As far as I'm concerned, the church has earned that wrath and needs to deal with it. No, it can't go on forever, nor should it. But the church needs to see our faces, the faces of our children, the faces of our straight parents and allies and know that their activities have not only a political, but a spiritual cost to millions of families.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

well written, one and all! keep the dialogue civil and positive.

12:40 PM  

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