Tuesday, July 20, 2010
8: The Mormon Proposition | Trailer US (2010)
For anyone who has not yet seen 8: The Mormon Proposition and is interested in the influence of religion in politics in the U.S., get thee to Netflix immediately. I finally watched this last night and was again reminded of how hypocritical religious people can be, and also how comfortable they are with their own hypocrisy. For those of you unfamiliar with the story (the trailer explains it pretty well), proposition 8 was a constitutional amendment put on the California ballot in 2008 to forbid gay marriage. Following a heated and well-funded campaign both for and against, the initiative passed by a tiny margin, effectively overturning the right for gay people to marry in California. The "yes" campaign was spearheaded by a "coalition" of Christian churches and other concerned citizens under the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The documentary explains that NOM was basically a front group for an initiative that was organized, directed and primarily financed by the Mormon church.
There are a lot of interesting angles here, such as the fact that the First Presidency of the Church instructed its members to contribute their time and money to the "yes" campaign or that the Church refused to disclose its financial contributions to the campaign on grounds that it is a religious organization or that the Church enjoys a tax exempt status as a religious institution, even though as such they are forbidden to make "substantial contributions" to politicians, PACs or other campaigns.
What I am interested in is the fact that Mormons are so unselfconscious about the irony that they are actively attempting to take marriage rights away from gay people in the same way that anti-Mormons in the 19th century tried to take marriage rights away from Mormon polygamists. You would think there would be a little self-reflection here on that point, but then, absolutist religions are not exactly big on self-awareness, fairness, equality under the law, or any other liberal, democratic principle. Instead, they doggedly pursue what they consider to be The One True Way, which must be legislated for everyone, not just members of that religion. One of the many, many reasons I am not a fan of organized religion.
In the end, it is a losing proposition because gay marriage will ultimately be the law of the land. Way to get on the wrong side of history...