Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mormon Strongarm Tactics?

[Danites], a deceptively named group which seeks not to protect marriage, but to outlaw it for many couples, has made an offer to business owners it thinks they can't refuse.

The organization sent out certified letters threatening to expose any business which has contributed to Equality California (the good guys) unless it makes a like contribution to their own organization (the bad guys):
Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to but have given to Equality California will be published.
One of the signatories of the letter was Mark Jansson, identified in an Associated Press story as "a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Way to go, Jansson. You can't buy that kind of publicity for the LDS Church, you know.

The fact that the businesses contributing to Equality California are a matter of public record (the letters were, after all, mailed to EC's donor list) doesn't seem to cross their minds. What they're threatening to do is to spend money republishing information that is already freely available.

What's interesting is what this strategy does reveal about the people who head up
  1. They're hungry for money. Otherwise, why would they resort to desperate extortionary tactics rather than traditional fund-raising practices? I recommend that LDS Church lawyers and accountants look very carefully into the financial records of because, if they're already broke after the church gave them so much tax-free money--not to mention all the generous donations made by church members themselves--there's obviously something squirrely going on. California is, after all, a land full of temptations. How well were the directors of this organization vetted? Who knows where all that money ended up?
  2. They think business owners are stupid. Why would these businesses have contributed to Equality California if they hadn't already read the reams of market research showing that support for these kinds of community organizations is good for business? "Exposing" businesses that support equality isn't likely to drive customers away; it just gives them free advertising.
  3. They have a highly elevated opinion of themselves. They think they're community organizers on par with Equality California, and thus they consider themselves entitled to an equal amount of community support. For years, EC has done lots of good in the community, and is well regarded for its work advocating for the elderly and the homeless. is a recently formed pressure group that will say anything to achieve its singular goal: to deprive gays and lesbians of their existing marriage rights in California.
Knowing that Californians are unlikely to vote for a measure whose only purpose is to deprive others of existing rights, these people have falsely claimed Proposition 8 somehow also accomplishes the positive goals of protecting heterosexuals, children and churches (groups not even mentioned in the amendment). A quick reading of the measure reveals that it does no such thing--all it does is take away the civil marriage rights of some people, based on their sexual orientation.

In order to accomplish their goal, they've tried to convince voters that, under the California Constitution:
  • Children are being brainwashed in public schools
  • Heterosexual marriages are being threatened
  • People are marrying animals
  • Churches are being taxed, and
  • All kinds of other crazy things are going on.
Come on, if a church were ever taxed, or if somebody had married an animal, it would have made front-page news all over the country! These people will obviously say anything to get the ballot measure passed. And it's not out of ignorance of the measure's actual legal implications--they have a lawyer onboard, for crying out loud.

These people are liars. Out-and-out liars.

Based on the LDS Church's response to Texas events earlier this year, it is very concerned with its public perception. Understandably, it doesn't want to be represented by crazy, child-molesting polygamists. So, I ask them: By the same token, do you really want extortionist thugs, liars, con artists and slicks representing the LDS Church to the larger world? To us, it looks like you've annointed the board of as emissaries for your gospel--and you should think very carefully about whom you get to carry your water.

(Brandon Burt)


  1. "The Church" was invented and founded by a slick, lying con-artist so it seems appropriate that they should encourage these bigoted, lying, hate-filled crooks to represent and extort for them now.

  2. I find it hilarious that the church is strong-arming its members to donate money to a group of organizations that hate mormons as much as they hate gays. In a different time and place, they would probably be fighting just as passionately to outlaw mormonism, or to create a constitutional amendment saying mormons aren't christians. I wish members of the church would THINK about the ramifications of their involvement with these hatemongers. But I know that won't happen...

  3. Won't happen, as you said. Mormons don't think about much more than the blessed end of times and the hot little wives they'll collect afterward in the golden celestial space ship.


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