Prop 8 and the politics of H8

templesign

Those Episcopalians who now fancy themselves Anglicans have learned a bitter lesson.  The Mormons this week have learned the same one:  Those who differ with the gay community will be accused of hate. In a time when escalated language is de rigeur, the accusation of hatred is not enough, so it is made more graphic by associating the opponent with a heinous act.  Cue Matthew Shepherd.  So Mormons and Anglican by differing with the gay community, are now often accused of complicity in the murder of Matt Shepard, the countless murdered gays through the ages, gay bashings, Hitler.  It always goes back to Hitler, doesn’t it?

Today I am shocked by one thing only:  that nothing shocks me and that being called worse than Hitler is a kind of badge signifying that someone was actually listening to what I said.  Phony outrage is a rhetorical weapon as old as the hills, but the gay community has mastered the craft.

Since November 5, when it became clear that Prop. 8 passed in California, the gay community has become unglued, focusing its rage against the Mormons.  How interesting that we now have two formerly persecuted tiny minorities vying for influence over a public debate which is central to the identity of each now playing out their persecution narratives on each other, each waiting for the other to back down out of shame.  The gay community fully believes that their protests will shame the Mormons and embarrass them into passivity.  But, the Mormons are strong on this issue.  Marriage and family is the very core of Mormon life.  They will not back down especially because they understand what it is to be persecuted and to fight for their existence.

Similarly, the Mormons expect that the gays will become embarrassed enough by their own bad behavior including threats to burn down a Mormon temple.  But, for they gay community, hating (or h8ting) Christianity and bashing Christians is their stock in trade.  Their only power is to hook the anti-authoritarian/libertarian strain of the American psyche.  Crying for the separation of Church and State (or Church and Hate), the gay community is making reference to the situation of the established Church of England in colonial times and its oppression of all who disagree.  The Mormon church could not be more unlike the Church of England in the 18th Century.  The Mormons make up only 1.7% of Californians.  They hardly dominate anything.  The Methodists are a zillion times more dominant in California, if they could only take a stand on something.  That Mormons organized and raised funds independent of the church is their civil right.   Mormons do not have less rights for being Mormon than, say, blacks or even gays.

For the moment, I dont think either side is capable of embarrassment for their positions.  Neither side is likely to back down in California or anywhere else.

But, there is more that is odd about the demonstrations of the past week.  As A Simple Sinner has observed, “When was the last time you saw an outraged protest after a ballot issue?”  I can’t think of one.  The demonstrations also appear to me to be largely misdirected.  It is well established that the African American turnout for Obama is most responsible for the Yes on Prop. 8 result.  I doubt that the arguments for Prop 8 were as influential among black voters as the moral matrix of the black Christian Churches.  The gay community obviously felt that they could not demonstrate against the black community, especially in the week the first black President was elected.  So, the target that was selected, the Mormon churches, was at least in part chosen for the relative respectability of being anti-Mormon.  This is American identity politics at its ugliest.  It is understandable that gays could mock the sacred undergarments of the Mormons but could not get away with mocking black sexuality in any way.

Another thing that strikes me about the gay marriage demonstrations is their tantrum-like quality.  Enraged taunts and placards and chants as well as calls for the burning of Mormon temples strike me as forms of hate speech all the while denouncing Mormons for being haters.  The projection going on here would  make a thousand therapists spin in their chairs.  The tossing around of the “hate” word reminds me of the flares of rage common among adolescents revolting against authority.  Mom to son:  “No, you cant take my car to a rave and stay out all night.” Son to mom:  “Why do you hate me so much.  You know I really hate you.”  The adolescent who quickly runs out of rational arguments resorts to epithets, mockery, accusations, insinuations and so often the “h8” word.  Rather than give in to such irrationality as if those words had a power of their own without reference to the reality they fail to represent, the electorate ought to just calmly move on.  The charge of hate is empty.  It is untrue.  And, it has only the power we give to it.

So, buck up, Mormons.  You will take a few hits from among those you had no hope of converting and you have raised the admiration of those who share your principles.  Welcome to the public square.  Now that you are here, roll up your sleeves.  We need you on the abortion issue and many others as well.

For an example of the irrational and vehement hatred of Mormons and others against gays:

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9 Responses to Prop 8 and the politics of H8

  1. happy says:

    I have spent a good amount of time clarifying Catholic misconceptions with my friends and family(as best I can and as much as I know!) as I proceed into Catholic Conversion. On that same note this is a statement put out by the Methodist Church from the Bishop.(RE: “if they(Methodists) could only take a stand on something”)

    “On Sunday, October 19, 2008, a non-United Methodist organization, Church Within A Church, held an ecumenical worship service which they called an ‘extra-ordinary ordination.’ Church Within A Church shared that two United Methodists, one of whom is a ‘self avowed practicing homosexual,’ were ordained. The United Methodist Church is clear that it does not ordain self avowed practicing homosexuals (United Methodist Book of Discipline, paragraph 304.3).

    “This ‘ordination’ has no effect within The United Methodist Church and was not approved by any annual conference, or by any Board of Ordained Ministry, or by any cabinet.

    “Ordinations are ecclesial actions. We believe these ordinations belong to Church Within A Church and therefore have no official status within our denomination and will not qualify individuals for appointments within The United Methodist Church.”

  2. Fr. J. says:

    Thanks, happy, for the comment and welcome to TBC. It is refreshing to see the UMC take a stand on gay ordination. However, it still strikes me that the Methodist are not known for taking a stand on critical matters of the culture wars in the public square.

  3. happy says:

    Yup, I agree. A little lukewarm. Part of the reason for my personal change. This is a comment I have seen quite a few times(not so much on this site). I do have hundreds of friends and family whom are Methodist and I don’t agree with the trend that they are just kind of wishy washy and tolerant of whatever. Most of the ones I know are very devoted Christians, with strong family values. Kindess and respect should not be mistaken for acceptance.
    Thanks for the welcome.
    Enjoy the site so much .
    Blessings

  4. Thanks, happy, for the comment and welcome to TBC. It is refreshing to see the UMC take a stand on gay ordination. However, it still strikes me that the Methodist are not known for taking a stand on critical matters of the culture wars in the public square.

    Perhaps more of a struggle still, is that the Methodists are without recourse to a final binding arbiter of authority.

    Recently at a Coming Home Network conference I was speaking with a woman on the journey to the Catholic Church who plainly and succinctly stated the problem she is noting in the UMC that is so little today like the denomination of her childhood in so many respects… (and this is NOT unique to the UMC) – All of the cultural battles being fought at annual, bianual, triennual conventions are being fought over and over again at each convention with the margins getting slimmer until the “progressive group” wins. IT is a war of attrition. The UMC conventions will be voting on gay ordination and same-sex blessings UNTIL the pro-gay ordination/same sex blessing crowd wins. The book is never closed, that chapter is ungoing.

  5. happy says:

    asimplesinner,
    Sadly, could very well be true.

  6. Tito Edwards says:

    It is pretty sad that when you seperate yourselves from God to satisfy your most carnal lusts you become what we have witnessed these past few days. The Gay community should be ashamed of themselves for the way they have been behaving. Unfortunately they don’t care now do they.

    They need our prayers. But we shouldn’t sit idly by as they begin thier thuggish tactics. We need to put the spotlight on their behavior such as what you have done Fr. J.

  7. Joel says:

    More important than Prop 8, Prop 4 was supposted to require a 48 hour notification to parents before a minor receives an abortion. I found it interesting that 8 passed and 4 failed. When I looked at the results I found that 224,138 people who wanted to protect marriage did not want to protect the unborn or minors considering abortion as a solution to a problem pregnancy. I find that to be quite odd! I passed the Planned Parenthood building while on the freeway this morning and saw a big sign that said: “Protect children, vote no on 4”!! How exactly does keeping parents in the dark about an imminent abortion protect a child? Something Planned Parenthood won’t tell you is that abortion raises your chances of developing breast cancer and that abortions seriously endanger future pregnancies. How is that protecting children?!

  8. John says:

    I decry the way that abortion has become a part of our life as a nation. But…..why do we not have bishops that refuse communion to politicians that support the death penalty?
    Is this not a right to life issue? Particularly as practiced in Texas?

  9. Robert says:

    John,

    The death penalty is not intrinsically evil, and may indeed be justified. Public support for some action which is possibly justified is not grounds for denial of communion. It’s much easier to deny communion based on intrinsic evils because regardless of what they think (i.e., they could be subjectively inculpable), as [putatively] good Catholics they must at least reform themselves once the Church’s authority tries to correct them. It’s at this point that communion is denied. But since Church authority cannot flatly regulate the application of a teaching in the realm of prudential judgment, I don’t think the stage of denial of communion would come up.

    But that doesn’t mean, of course, that consciences don’t need to be formed… I think they’re merely taking on the most and overwhelmingly important issues before the relatively more minor ones.

    God bless,
    Rob

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