As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prop. 8: The Relay Fast

It's hard to get a handle on the efforts of the Yes on 8 people because they're so haphazard. They vow to produce a million yard signs but then get delayed because the signs are "in route" from China. They try to make their campaign seem to be about ordinary couples who want their traditional aw-shucks marriage, and then the virulence of their intolerance is revealed, over...

I am a Mormon High Priest. My bishop is a long-time family friend, and he has come to see me a couple of times recently, but each time he has come by assignment of his church supervisor. On the first visit, my bishop offered me a chance to resign my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I declined, he told me a church disciplinary council would be held. On the second visit, just a couple of days ago, he brought me a letter informing me that I am charged with conduct unbecoming a member of the Mormon Church, and being "in apostasy."

...and over again...

Turns out the aptly-named "Church of the Divide" in faraway Placerville had sent a group of hate-mongering protesters to the church where (Sacramento mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson) and his family worships, complete with signs blaring "SODOMY" (and worse), to protest Kevin's decision to oppose Prop 8. They also flew in Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson from Los Angeles as their Rent-A-Hack.

What has become cleear is this: the Yes on 8 movement is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fundamentalist right, an alliance of various religious sects who are coming together to try and impose their will on the people of California. They've certainly been successful financially, outraising the no side to this point. To be sure, there are liberal religious leaders coming out against this measure, like the California Faith for Equality coalition. But the level of participation by many groups, particularly the Church of Latter-Day Saints, is profoundly unsettling:

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have contributed more than a third of the approximately $15.4 million raised since June 1 to support Proposition 8. The ballot initiative, if passed, would reverse the current right of same-sex couples to marry [...]

The top leadership of the Mormon Church, known as the First Presidency, issued a letter in June calling on Mormons to "do all you can" to support Proposition 8.

Mormon donors said they weren't coerced. "Nobody twisted my arm," said Richard Piquet, a Southern California accountant who gave $25,000 in support of Proposition 8. He said Mormon Church leaders called donating "a matter of personal conscience." Some Mormons who declined to donate said their local church leaders had made highly charged appeals, such as saying that their souls would be in jeopardy if they didn't give. Church spokesmen said any such incident wouldn't reflect Mormon Church policy [...]

The prominence of Mormon donors in the Proposition 8 fight has also led to alliances with evangelical Protestant groups and other Christian religions, some of which have deep theological differences with Mormons.

Jim Garlow, pastor of the evangelical Protestant Skyline Church near San Diego and a leading supporter of Proposition 8, said, "I would not, in all candor, have been meeting them or talking with them had it not been for" the marriage campaign. Rev. Garlow said he had developed a "friendship" with the Mormons he met, although he feels the theological differences remain "unbridgeable."

Certainly there is a broader movement among the religious spectrum beyond just the Mormons; the Family Research Council is heavily invested in the measure, and is spreading lies about the consequences of same-sex marriage to their members (Christians will be jailed!!!). But what is going to be the focus of their efforts to get out the vote and pass the proposition? Apparently, fasting and praying (I don't buy the 100,000 figure below, by the way, it sounds like more bluster):

Hundreds of pastors have called on their congregations to fast and pray for passage of a ballot measure in November that would put an end to gay marriage in California.

The collective act of piety, starting Wednesday and culminating three days before the election in a revival for as many as 100,000 people at the San Diego Chargers' stadium, comes as church leaders across California put people, money and powerful words behind Proposition 8.

Some pastors around the state and nation are encouraging their flocks to forgo solid food for up to 40 days in the biblical tradition.

Well, not quite. In a remarkable catch by skippy, this 40-day fasting period, scheduled to begin today, would be somewhat unusual.

the gathering, called the call, will conclude a 40-day fasting period for california that begins sept. 24. christians are being asked to fast in some way, either the entire 40 days or perhaps by using team relays to cover the entire 40 days. running parallel to the 40-day fast is a 100-day prayer effort, which was scheduled to start july 28.

Um... team relays?

Let me get this straight. If I last from lunch to dinner without a morsel, then tag off to my partner in prayer, I can go ahead and eat dinner then? Is that really a fast, or is it, I don't know... just not snacking?

Well, the religious right can't be the only ones to get in on this fun. That's why, starting today, I am calling on every liberal and progressive to take part in a counter-fast for equality. The goal is to get enough people involved that we only have to chip in about 15 minutes or so of fasting apiece. I'm blocking out September 29, 4:30-4:45. I'm not eating a thing. We're talking commitment!!!

More on this tomorrow.

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