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15 November 2008 @ 07:28 pm
It's not that I disagree with the message, but is this the best way to go about it?  
On the one hand, if you wanna protest Prop. 8 I totally support going down to City Hall and going nuts.

On the other hand, I feel like it's totally barking up the wrong tree if you're protesting in front of a church. I mean, yeah, a lot of the people who go to church voted Yes on Prop. 8, but waving signs and yelling at people as they walk by (and disrupting church services, which is really uncool) doesn't really help anyone 'see the light.' I mean, how effective are pro-life protests outside of Planned Parenthood, right?

A lot of Christians I know were conflicted about this issue going into the election. It's not like all Christians think gay people are the Ultimate Evil, but there was a lot of misinformation floating around and pastors were telling people to vote 'Yes' on 8. So I think that at this point, the gay activist community should be working to educate, not intimidate people. Like, instead of these mob protests outside of churches I would recommend just having two or three people outside, just asking if they can talk to people for a minute and then sharing just how Prop. 8 affects them and impacts their lives, that would actually go a lot farther to helping the cause along then the divisive shouting.

I'm reminded of something that happened here in San Jose a few weeks before the election. A man put a very large "YES ON PROP 8" sign on his house. A lesbian couple parked their car in front of his house with the words BIGOT painted on the back, and left it there for a few days. That was a childish, foolish move that did not help the situation at all. Politically, it accomplished nothing. Well, I take that back; I guess it might have helped rally those opposed to Prop. 8.
But did it make the Mormon voters change their minds? No, it pissed 'em off. And I worry that ultimately, that's what these protests in front of Saddleback Church and Mormon churches are doing: just making the people inside angry. Angry people just dig deeper and close up instead of listening and potentially changing their minds.

The ugliness will only continue to escalate on both sides if someone doesn't let up.


Edited Nov. 16th: This letter printed in the Mercury News this morning is a perfect example of the backlash from the protests:

I am a moderate conservative who believes in less government and not policing the world. I am also someone who was on the fence relative to my vote on Proposition 8. In the end, one of the actions that convinced me on the way to cast my vote was highlighted in the Mercury News on Oct. 21. The article told the story of someone who felt a need to call out on a parked SUV "bigot's live here," "stop bigots" and "God hates haters" in front of a home that supported Proposition 8. That type of strong-arm harassment and intimation is exactly what convinced me to vote in favor of the proposition. Even after voting, I was not completely sure I had done the right thing. However, since then I have seen wave after wave of backlash, hate mongering and intimidation toward those that helped to support and pass the proposition. My resolve is now even stronger that I voted properly. Trying to bully or threaten opponents of same-sex marriage will only strengthen the forces against them.
Y. D. Conn, San Jose

Had Y. D. been reached out to differently before the election, he/she may have changed their mind and voted 'no' on the Prop. 8. But now, because of everything that's happened, Y. D.'s position on the issue has been cemented.
Zthez on November 16th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC)
I think the idea behind the original protests was to draw attention to the fact that the churches (esp. the Mormon churches) have tax exempt status and yet spent so much money on political campaining. I suspect that then others jumped on the wagon and thought "CHURCH PROTEST" without any thought as to why.

The Mormon voters themselves are a lost cause, and I really doubt that any protesters were or are trying to change their minds. The new focus is shifting towards moderate voters who don't understand the difference between civil and religious marriage, and things of that nature.
Suzik00kaburra on November 16th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Does a church's tax exemption status depend on the fact that they are not political? (Genuine question, because I don't know.) I mean, The NRA and the Sierra Club are both tax-exempt organizations that are also highly political. What makes churches different?

The way I understand things (and I may be wrong on this, because I am basing this understanding off of Wiki) is that while churches cannot instigate a political movement - like, the Mormon church could not submit the bill or run the campaign for Prop. 8 - they can lobby for a bill/prop. as long as they do not spend a 'substantial' part of their resources. So they can give money to the Protect Marriage organization, who will then run the campaign.

Although if what saru_kage says down there is true, there's a whole lot of screwed up going on with what the churches are trying to do by getting so politicized.
Z: SCIENCE! is a robot rock godthez on November 17th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
Link! http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html

An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it[....] advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

There is leeway for "voter education" and whatnot, and as you mentioned there is the middleman organization, both of which are reasons why this isn't so clean-cut.

Definitely interesting yet befuddling if it's all on purpose.
Zthez on November 17th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
Also, re: edit: while I agree that the church protesting has to stop, I'm a bit suspicious of the letter. In my experience, people who write "well now I'm glad I voted the way they did because look at the reaction" are people who are just looking to justify a decision they already stood by. The whole attitude really reeks of 1950's "Well look at all these uppity negros rioting; and they wanted to be given the same rights as us?"
Danny Darko: My Best Girlsaru_kage on November 16th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
After many years of attending many protests it seems to me that a pretty convincing argument could be made that protesting anybody (or anywhere, for that matter) doesn't actually accomplish much of anything--aside from making the people protesting feel like they've done something useful to further a cause they believe in. But yeah, I tend to agree with you. Nothing like a pissed off mob of gay people storming your prayer service to cultivate religious tolerance of homosexuality, right?

Pursuant to what Thez said, I don't know if you noticed how so many churches and Christian organizations have taken a much more overt political stand in this election than they usually do, but I've heard from an Episcopal deacon whose radio show I listen to, and personally from a few other people I know who are deeply involved with their churches, that there is an agenda among several churches and tax-exempt Christian organizations to try and actually get themselves in trouble for being openly political. Apparently they really want to have this out with the Supreme Court. I don't know a lot of the details yet, whether the goal is to clarify their position under the Constitution, or whether it's to knock a hole in the wall between Church and State, but I have a strong suspicion that a good deal of this Prop 8 stuff is part of it, and that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

At any rate, I don't like where this seems to be headed. It looks like the rational part of a lot of people's brains have shut down and they're letting themselves be guided by their anger, outrage, or ideology, and that never ends up being a good thing. This strikes me as a situation which could get really ugly. Of course, if there's any truth to the paragraph above this one, that might actually be the plan.
Suzik00kaburra on November 16th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I have noticed the strong political stands at my church and others in this area, but I would not have guessed that they would be trying to escalate things to the Supreme Court. That seems like trouble and doomed failure for the churches.

I really do think this is heading down an ugly path. As everyone's emotions get riled up I keep thinking of Matthew Shepherd, and wonder if we're going to reawaken some sort of lynching mentality or jihad movement amongst fundies on either side. It's frightening.
~ * flurr sprite * ~nkicroft on November 16th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)

i am outraged that prop 8 passed... but seriously? huge protests in front of a church?
Suzik00kaburra on November 16th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
And picking on Pro-8 protesters. Also not cool; they're entitled to the same free speech that allows the Anti-8 protests in the first place.

At one point, four counter-demonstrators appeared across the street carrying "YES ON 8" signs. Three members of that group fled when they were swarmed by about 30 demonstrators from the rally, but one man defiantly stood his ground, a sign in each hand. Two police officers protected him from any further encroachment, but a young woman did manage to get close enough to angrily give him the finger before stalking off.
Relia: UL - cruel to be kindneherenia on November 17th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
That type of strong-arm harassment and intimation is exactly what convinced me to vote in favor of the proposition. Even after voting, I was not completely sure I had done the right thing.

That's because you didn't do the right thing, you fucking asshole. At no point is it fair or right to say, "you know, I don't like the way you're voicing your opinion, so I'm going to vote to take away equal civil rights from you."

This was not voting against giving someone funding because you think their actions (or just the actions of a frustrated few oppressed people) mean they don't deserve it. Marriage is a right everyone deserves, and to vote against it just because -- point blank, even from this "fence-sitter" -- it makes you uncomfortable does not make you the better person. It makes you fucking petty and deplorable, and stop patting yourself on the back about it.

Finally, the "bullies" in question did not enact violence on their victims, did not deface their property -- from what I understand of your post, the woman parked her OWN car in front of his house. Harsh words were said; harsh words are difficult, but frankly the GLBT community isn't trying to force the government to take equal right away from people they don't approve of.

It is not the method I would have taken, and I understand the concerns about not becoming radical extremists (which by no means do I advocate!) -- but I cannot act like it's the LGBT community's fault that some sanctimonious dickwad lacked the moral fiber to put justice ahead of his or her idea of "polite protesting."