Wednesday 13 June 2012

Gay Pride and Religious Prejudice

I just found out about an ad campaign being run by the LDS Church and I think it's a great idea.  I've met a few Mormons and they seem like very nice people.  They always treated me with respect even though I'm not part of their faith.  A lot of people might have misconceptions about them because of their history and some of their, uh...different beliefs.  So I think it's fair that they be allowed to tell the world about who they are.  Here's an example:

Don't you just love the Clarkson family?  Cynical bitch that I am, I got a little choked up there for a minute.  I am literally rooting for this family.  I want them to succeed in life and be happy.  They really don't seem weird at all; they seem like a nice normal family.  Telling a story like this humanizes them.  It reminds us that most people are just like us.  They just want to live life and be happy.

But then I remembered other Mormon-funded ad campaigns.  Like this:

Don't you just want to punch that bitch in the face?  Especially knowing that every word is a slanderous lie that helped pass this odious proposition.

The LDS Church publicly and financially supported Prop 8 with 45% of out of state funding coming from Utah and 80-90% of the volunteers canvassing door to door being Mormon.  Because they already possess that skill set, I guess.  So now I'm confused.  It's a little harder to for me to love the Clarkson family at the moment because ads like the one above really piss me off.

But I do still love them.  Because now I can't forget that they are people just like me.  I identify with them and because I do, their happiness is still important to me even though I disagree with a lot of their beliefs.  I think the issue with how religious institutions feel about gay people is the fact that they don't really know gay people or understand their humanity.  Too often they are taught that being gay is an evil thing (or some variation of that idea).

That's what I think this guy was thinking when he started hanging out with the infamous Shirley Phelps:

Aren't they just adorable together?  Shirley is downright likable here.  Scoops made a series of videos of him hanging out in the Phelps home eating food, singing songs, and planning protests against himself.  How awesome is that?  The Phelps family were very nice to him.  It made me see Shirley with new eyes.

Shirley had probably never really known a gay person before.  Shirley's entire experience with gay people would have been what she was taught by her religion and then the LGBT community's justifiably angry response (which only further entrenched her beliefs).  Watching this makes me think there may be just the smallest of chances that Shirley Phelps could have an "evolving opinion" on how God feels about fags.

And if it could have that kind of effect on Shirley here, why not the LDS Church?  Why not any church?

Don't you think it would be great if there were an "I'm a LGBT Person" campaign?  Because I think a lot of people (*cough* North Carolina *cough*) need to be reminded that LGBT people are just like us.  They are people who want to live life and be happy.


  1. I really never wanted my religion to become part of a blog post, but as a member of the LDS church, I can tell you that nobody is taught to hate gays. We have gays in our church. I have a gay friend. We do believe, however, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. This doesn't mean that we don't believe that gays don't deserve the same respect and rights that other individuals deserve. We don't judge people by their sexual preference, gender, race, whatever. People are people. But marriage will always be between a man and a woman. And on that I'm sure we disagree. But I wouldn't disparage the Mormon church unless I sat down with someone and learned more about its beliefs.

    1. I gave myself a few days to respond to your comment here because I wanted to do so without sparking a debate. First I want to point out that your religion is not part of this blog post. The behaviour of the LDS Church is, and I think that is an important distinction.

      I don't have to know anything about Mormon beliefs to point out that it's wrong for an organization to go out of its way to finance an ad campaign that lies to achieve its ends. I don't have to know anything about Mormon teachings to point out it is wrong for them to go out of their way to support a proposition that significantly adds to the suffering of an already marginalized group, already in a great deal of pain. At no point do I say that Mormons hate gay people but I don't really understand how a group of people who claim that gay people "deserve the same respect and rights that other individuals deserve" can work so hard to strip away their right to legally marry. I also don't have to know anything about Mormon beliefs to point out that it is crazy to legislate religious views onto an unwilling public that does not share those views. If it weren't crazy then we could have laws banning bacon, and I gotta tell you I don't want to live in a world without bacon.

      You see I can say that this behaviour is wrong without knowing anything whatsoever about Mormon teachings. I am simply calling attention to bad behaviour.

      But the thing is I do know quite a bit about Mormon beliefs. I took a couple of Religious Studies classes at University. My professor was a graduate of Brigham Young University. Members of the LDS Church came in as guest speakers on the subject of Mormonism. I have read the entire Bible and most of the Book of Mormon and take every opportunity to speak with the Mormons, online and in person.

      Religion is kind of a hobby for me. I spent two years attending a Church, hanging out with Christians and doing what they do, volunteering for charitable works, praying and studying the Bible with them. I spent another year and a half doing a Bible study with Jehovah's Witnesses and attending some of their meetings. I have the utmost repsect for the good people who accepted me knowing I would probably never join their flock. I think it's fair to say that I am open minded and accepting when it comes to religion. But when a Church, as an organization, behaves badly I will call them out on it, loud and proud.

  2. LGBT aren't just like us, they are us! Check out Believe Out Loud ( You're not so rotten, Mommy!

    1. I love Believe Out Loud! They give me hope for humanity and the future of the Church.

  3. Exactly! So many minds could be changed if people would just put themselves in other people's shoes. For example: When I first heard of abortion, when I was maybe 12, I was against it. Then I got my period and was in the "other" shoes. Changed my mind instantly.

  4. I plan on filing this post in your 15% :) See you tomorrow.