Fair. Balanced. American.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Mormon takeover of California's democracy

Proof of what almost everyone knew already: 1) that the Mormons were the principal fundraisers and organizers of Proposition 8, and 2) that they didn't want anyone to know, since most people hate hate Mormons far more than they hate homosexuals.

On Wednesday, January 20, in a federal courthouse in San Francisco, plaintiffs in the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger trial challenging the legality of California’s Proposition 8 introduced two documents (over strenuous objections from the defense) indicating close but cautious coordination between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Yes on 8 campaign.

The documents, according to plaintiffs’ witness Gary Segura, a professor of political science at Stanford University, indicated a desire on the part of the Church to create “plausible deniability or respectable distance between the church organization per se and the actual campaign.” [...]

There was nothing plausibly deniable about the Church’s relationship to the Proposition 8 campaign when, in Sunday meetings on June 29, 2008, a letter from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas Monson was read over the pulpit of every Mormon congregation in California urging Church members to “do all you can” to support the ballot measure.

Early donations from Mormons were solicited in July, when letters read in Sunday meetings of men’s and women’s church auxiliaries conveyed a $10 million fundraising goal for July and August and instructed Church members to donate exclusively to protectmarriage.com. [...]

The Church-coordinated fundraising drive intensified in late August, when select LDS Church members identified as potential large donors were invited to participate in conference calls with members of the Quorum of the Seventy, a high-ranking Church leadership body. [...] On the conference calls, high-ranking church leaders encouraged potential large donors to individually contribute $25,000 to protectmarriage.com.

That’s when Nadine Hansen, a Mormon veteran of the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, initiated an effort to document the extent of Mormon funding for the Yes on 8 campaign. During the ERA campaign, Mormon feminist Sonia Johnson had shared with Hansen fundraising disclosure sheets from an anti-ERA group that had raised money in California. Using church directories, Hansen was then able to identify “all but one or two” of the ERA donors as Mormon. Sensing that the Church was pressing ERA-era strategies into service once again, she prepared to undertake the same donor-identification project for Proposition 8 at the Web site mormonsfor8.com. 
In early September, a surge of $25,000 donations began to appear in campaign finance records compiled by the California Secretary of State. Hansen and a crew of Mormon supporters of same-sex marriage began to comb large donor records to identify Mormon Church members. By Election Day, mormonsfor8.com volunteers had successfully identified more than 50% of the large donors as members of the LDS Church. “And we know that we did not identify all of the Mormon donors,” Hansen relates. “You can see that in some places virtually all the money that came in came from Mormons. It’s a safe bet to say that Mormons contributed over half the money. It might be as high as 75%.”

Mobilizing highly centralized and hierarchical ecclesiastical structures, Mormons also contributed as much as 80-90% of the volunteer labor for the campaign. [...]

Mormon volunteers were coached to avoid disclosing their ties to the LDS Church. “When we went to our training meetings, they said, don’t bring up the fact that you’re Mormon. Don’t wear white shirts and ties; don’t look like missionaries. When you go out [canvassing], bring a non-member friend. When you’re calling people, don’t say I’m a Mormon,” says Laura Compton.

1 comment :

omen said...

it's either hbo or showtime who occasionally runs documentaries featuring gay couples raising children. color me a rube but the movies were a revelation to me. i've never seen a gay family featured before. this even though i have a gay brother-in-law. i thought it too bad this was segregated to pay cable. this needs to be disseminated to more commonly watched channels. if more people saw fufilled couples raising healthy, happy, bright children so clearly beloved, this would go a long way in squelching fear against gays.

part of the reason prop 8 won was because they ran ads spreading lies that inferred if this was voted down, children would be preyed up, indoctrinated and steered into adopting a gay lifestyle. if the public had images of happy gay families, a lot of this fear kicked up (also partly fear of the unknown or unfamiliar) would be dissipated and not as effective.

professional political campaigners were hired to run the anti-8 effort. they did nothing to address the fearbaiting using children. they seemed afraid to broach the issue. not to address the elephant in the room only allowed it to grow in power. how hard would it have been to showcase a happy gay family in an ad?