Mormons Have Donated 40% of Funds for Anti-Gay Marriage Prop 8 in California

It’s passing strange that the Mormons, of all people, are so bothered by the idea of same-sex marriage that they have donated 40 percent of the funding — almost $11 million — to promote Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that would amend the California Constitution to make it illegal for gays to marry.
If you don’t like to be reminded that your grandparents were polygamists, why entangle yourself in another group’s struggle for marriage rights?
You might think that Mormons would be more tolerant than others toward nontraditional marriage practices, since their antecedents practiced polygamy for more than a century after the church was founded in the 1830s. The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) stopped sanctioning plural marriages after 1904, but existing polygamous arrangements were allowed to continue, and many of these lasted until the 1950s. Polygamy is still practiced among Mormon splinter groups like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS.

The fact that many mainstream Mormons are embarrassed by their polygamous heritage makes their activism in California appear not only intolerant and mean, but also clueless. Entangling themselves in another group’s struggle for the right to marry is bound to bring comparisons with their own.

Even so, the good guys are winning the money race, but just barely. With just 10 days to go before the vote, the no-on-8, pro-gay marriage side has raised $31.2 million. But anti-gay forces are nearly even, with $27.5 million.

Fittingly, one of the largest donations to the pro-marriage cause came from WordPerfect founder Bruce Bastion, a gay ex-Mormon who gave $1 million, in part to counter the efforts of his former co-religionists.

On the other hand, this leader of a wealthy and powerful homophobe organization apparently didn’t get the memo that the majority donors to the cause were members of a former polygamist sect:

From his base in Tupelo, Miss., Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Assn., said his group gave $500,000 to the Yes-on-8 campaign for moral reasons.

“We believe in the Bible, and the Bible teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said. “That is how the human race continues.”

Wildmon said he fears that if the initiative doesn’t pass, children will be taught about same-sex marriage in schools. And he worries that other things might follow.

“If you change the definition and have no moral standard, then honestly what is wrong with polygamy?” Wildmon asked. “On what basis do you deny three men getting married, or a man with five wives?”

Wildmon is lying, of course. The Bible does not teach that “marriage is between one man and one woman.” Quite the opposite. Polygamy was practiced by Abraham, the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and by both King David and King Solomon, among others.

And as Wildmon surely knows, current laws against polygamy will not be affected by Prop 8, one way or another.

Update 11/10/08: The final tally shows that as much as 70 percent of Prop 8 funding from individuals came from Mormons.

11 Responses »

  1. reij October 26, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

    Minor correction, the LDS Church stopped sanctioning plural marriages in 1890 – not 1904.

    Furthermore, you are correct in that some biblical prophets did have multiple wives, however, you must have overlooked the fact that the bible condemns homosexual actions, see these verses:

    Leviticus 18:22&26 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Ye shall . . . not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you”

    Romans 1:26-27 “even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

    LDS church members love those with homosexual inclinations just like everyone else; however, accepting them does not mean we condone wrong actions. We believe marriage between a man and a women was ordained of God.

  2. badjoke October 27, 2008 @ 12:28 am

    @reij

    The bible also condemns eating shellfish.

    Leviticus 11:9-12
    9These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

    10And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

    11They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

    12Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

    Deuteronomy 14:9-10
    9These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:

    10And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

    The bible is just as much about the ancient tribal culture as much as it is about how God wanted people to act; these were written by humans after all. Shellfish held bacteria and were generally considered dangerous and “unclean”. Do you condemn people that eat shrimp as well? The old testament also forbids eating pigs due to the danger of stomach parasites from not cooking them enough.

    It would not have been wise to be homosexual in biblical times because children were an asset and essential to survival of livestock or whatever business the family was into.

    My point is, you can’t pick and choose which passages you want to believe because people’s choices offend or scare you. You can’t call them “wrong actions” when your God made them that way. Does he also hate shrimp and pigs?

    Don’t try to force your morality on others. If it’s not harming you, let people be happy.

  3. Ike October 27, 2008 @ 8:25 am

    How much taxes do they pay again?

  4. CB October 27, 2008 @ 8:56 am

    Here’s an idea. If you believe that a group of jews came over here around 2000 years ago, yet you have no idea where, then claim that they split into two groups, which of only one god favored and cursed the other’s skin dark, then claim to know this as a fact, except all rational and scientific evidence points otherwise, then you are an idiot and your views on life should not matter, let alone the views of how others should live their lives.

    I’m sorry, but Mormonism (next to Scientology) takes the win here in stupidest religion ever. It thrives on the clearly racist story of a known huxter, Joseph Smith, and provides no rationality to the clear scientific understanding that what their books say is not only unproven, but shown to be false.

    Religion poisons everything. -Christopher Hitchens

  5. Jon October 27, 2008 @ 11:35 am

    rej – I have written about this topic extensively in this site. See “Abominations: You Could Be Committing One Right Now, Even if You’re Not Gay,” for starters.

    As I wrote yesterday in response to a commenter on the “Abominations” article who incorrectly claimed that Paul gave Christians a pass on eating shellfish in his letters to the Corinthians:

    Corinthians does have this word of warning for women, however:

    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

    Therefore women who speak in church are going into the eternal fondue pot, right along with the rest of us. (Look, there’s Joyce Meyer!)

    Misogyny and homophobia were acceptable when these letters were supposedly written 1,900 years ago, as was slavery. (Ephesians 6:5-9: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”)

    Despite its biblical seal of approval, slavery is no longer acceptable. Increasingly so, neither are misogyny and homophobia.

    Besides which, Paul, the purported author of the letters to the Christians in Corinth, was even more damning of extramarital sex than he was about homosexuality — which means that all you adulterers and sexually active unmarried couples are going into the broiler with the rest of us. Forever.

    Look, using the biblical proscription against gay sex as an excuse to restrict the rights of gay people is a bunch of hooey. Christians of a certain ilk reflexively exaggerate the importance of these Biblical injunctions, making it seem like anti-gay edicts are a central theme of the Bible. They are not. Gay sex is referred to only twice, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other sins that are as grievous or worse.

    When the day comes that these Christians start advocating restricting the civil rights of these other sinners — adulterers, fornicators, liars, people who eat shrimp and who work on Sundays — then I’ll believe their use of Scripture to justify restricting my rights is sincere. It will still be wrong and irrelevant since we live under a civil government, not a theocracy — but at least it will be sincere.

    Otherwise, I believe people who use Bible verses to excuse their obsessive hatred toward gay people are lying to themselves. They need to look in their own hearts and ask themselves what they are truly afraid of.

    One correction: Marriages are not ordained by God. Weddings can be blessed by God, but marriage is an institution of government. Proof: When marriages break up, couples don’t go to church to get divorced, they go to court.

  6. Intolerant Faith October 27, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    The Prop 8 vote in California has been polluted by the influence of the Mormon church. Elders from the LDS in Utah have been organizing an elaborate propaganda campaign meant to support this bill. They are acting to foist their own religious morals onto others, and take away their right to equal treatment under the law. What a hateful endeavor to pursue.

  7. Alex October 28, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

    So, intolerant faith.. if it is against your view, it is “polluting influence,” if it supports your view, then it’s ok… it’s balance?

  8. Cesar November 2, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

    Read the definition of marriage, then give your opinion

  9. Maria Makiling March 6, 2009 @ 2:08 am

    I am a mother of wonderful kids and married to a man I love . I feel that my life has a great purpose and the way that I live my divine heritage has such a great impact on my happiness. Each one of us I am sure has experienced these spiritual awakenings if we are in tune. Call me old-fashion, but true happiness can only come from living a morally clean life. You can never deceive yourself.

    One can appear happy externally but can never deny the loneliness of self-doubt or remorse after the party is over.

    There is no malicious judgment here . I have known gays and appreciate their talents in many ways. I respect them as Children of God but I truly feel that marriage between man and woman is what God has intended. They bring out the best in each other and out of that union come out more of God’s spirit children. That is the way it should be.

    I admire the strong Catholics and Mormons and other groups who stand for the right despite all the criticisms. If they do not do it, who will protect my children and the generations that will follow ?

    I have also seen in our society a lot of evildoers who kill and steal and commit adultery and they are worse than the gay group. And some of these people , unfortunately, sit in the higher places .
    The gays are admirable for their desire to love and be loved but people who only take advantage of others through their corruption and greed really deserve the vengeance of a just God.

    My hope is that all of us can introspect and find answers as to why we as a nation that God favors so much are ripening for destruction. It is not too late, or is it ?

  10. Jon March 6, 2009 @ 7:30 am

    Maria – There’s a disconnect here. First you say, “There is “no malicious judgment here,” and then four paragraphs later you say, “The gays are admirable for their desire to love and be loved but people who only take advantage of others through their corruption and greed really deserve the vengeance of a just God.”

    That is a “malicious judgment,” and judging others is a mortal sin much graver than being gay, which makes you — as the one casting the stone — as vulnerable to the vengeance of God as anyone.

    Last October, I married the man I have loved and lived with faithfully for 30 years. We are surrounded by family and friends whom we love and who love us. I believe we have a natural purpose to be together and keep each other nurtured and well.

    There is nothing corrupt or greedy about us. On the other hand, hypocrisy is a form of corruption, and in that regard, perhaps you should look in the mirror. I believe Mormons and Christians are hypocritical and completely without moral standing on this issue.

    I offer as proof of this the fact that neither Mormons nor Christians target the civil rights of other sexual sinners — fornicators and, especially,adulterers — the way they target the rights of, as you say, “the gays.” Adultery is a far worse sin than being gay. It’s in the Ten Commandments, for one thing, while being gay is only mentioned in obscure references and, as I noted in a comment above, is in a class of sins with eating shrimp and ham and women wearing pants. Mormons and Christians have collectively decided that it is perfectly acceptable for adulterers to have the right to remarry and to work in any profession they choose, including teaching, where they can influence young children, and holding high office. Mormons and Christians do not raise millions of dollars to repeal the civil rights of adulterers.

    Aside from biblical injunctions, adultery, unlike gay marriage, is an actual threat to traditional marriage. It leads to single parent homes, which can lead to poverty and other social ills. In addition, I strongly believe that people are born with their sexual identities intact. I think the debate about whether being gay is a “choice” is silly — who would “choose” to be part of a despised minority? — but there is no debate about this fact: Adultery is a choice.

    And yet, Mormons and Christians do not persecute adulterers the way they do gays. Why is that?

    If one of your children strayed into adultery, would you want that child to be forbidden from remarrying, to lose his job or to be evicted because of his status as a sinner? If not, then why is it okay with you if our mothers have to endure the heartbreak of seeing that happen to us at the hands of people like you, especially since our families don’t interpret those 5,000 year old Abrahamic texts the way you do?

    Please look in your heart. Why are you so sure it’s right to strip gays of their civil rights while letting adulterers enjoy all the rights, privileges and happiness that our society allows?

    It appears that anti-gay moralists are being dishonest with themselves, that they are using a few tattered Biblical references as a fig leaf to hide their own personal prejudices. Mormons and Christians have a right to be prejudiced, but they absolutely do not have a right to insert that bigotry into the civil laws of the United States as they have done in 30 states. These laws are theocratic, which makes them undemocratic and unconstitutional. If this is allowed to continue, the United States will become a theocracy like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

    Maria, I have posted a response like this to comments by Mormons similar to yours on this site at least 20 times and have never gotten an answer. I take the lack of response to mean that these people have tucked tail and slunk away — but I wish someone on your side would explain how you can justify persecuting gay people because they are sinners while you give de facto approval to the adulterers’ “choice of lifestyle.” I’m not talking about demanding their repentance. I’m asking why Mormons and Christians do not actively seek to have adulterers’ civil rights repealed as you collectively have done mine.

    Please explain.

  11. Jon March 7, 2009 @ 11:35 am

    No response from Maria. I’ll take that as another confirmation that anti-gay Mormons and Christians are, in fact, motivated by bigotry, not morality. Sean Penn was right in his Oscar’s speech. These bigots will be embarrassments to their grandchildren one day.

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