Friday, January 16, 2009

And the Lies Continue to Pour Out: LDS Church and Donations to Prop 8 Campaign

News is breaking on many websites the past two days of strong indicators that the LDS church, in its official face, has an extruding nose as 2009 arrives. The Mormon church claims to have spent only a few thousand dollars fighting gay marriage in California.

This American News Project documentary video offers substantial reasons to doubt the LDS church’s official report about its outlay of money to defeat gay marriage: and

As I watched the ANP video scrutinizing the Mormon contributions to the campaign for prop 8, I was struck in particular by this claim in the text accompanying the expensive media items the LDS church produced to win the prop 8 battle:

“This is not a matter of civil rights. It is a matter of morality.”

And this is a lie. The battle to safeguard and promote the human rights of anyone is a moral battle, an intrinsically moral one.

Morality is hardly confined to sexual issues. Morality has to do first and foremost with how we treat other human beings, with whether we acknowledge their shared humanity and accord them the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.

The Jewish and Christian scriptures constantly insist that believers will be saved on the basis of how they have dealt with others—on whether they have dealt with others lovingly and justly. Sexual morality is not the primary focus of traditional, biblical Jewish and Christian thinking about moral issues.

The claim that the human rights of gay persons can rightly be placed in a special sub-category, apart from the rights of other human beings and apart from moral consideration, runs through the lies told by the religious right about gay human beings. The pastor Mr. Obama has invited to give his inaugural invocation, Rev. Rick Warren, mouthed precisely that lie in a statement to his church indicating his support for proposition 8. Rev. Warren stated, "This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about" (

This is the same lie—not a matter of rights but of morality—that runs through the various Vatican statements about gay human beings I have been highlighting in the new year.

This lie permits those who tell it to imagine that their immoral behavior—discrimination, denial of human rights to selected groups of human beings—is permissible, because the human rights they are denying to gay persons are “special” rights, and not the same rights people of faith defend in general.

By removing the question of human rights for gay human beings—of how we treat gay human beings, of the special, inferior status to which we relegate gay human beings within the human community—we permit ourselves to posture as defenders of morality when we do what is fundamentally immoral. Watch for the religious right to continue in 2009 promoting the lie that the question of gay human rights is not a matter of morality . . . .