EDITED TO ADD: Since I initially wrote this post, they’ve made major rewrites to their site, and it’s a big improvement. Good for them!
Original post follows:
I don’t like Mormons Stole Our Rights dot com. Here’s a sample of what’s on their site:
To understand the mind of Mormons we must first look at their history as Americans.
What kind of Americans are Mormons?
The Mormon people, themselves a minority, have been antagonists of American culture since their beginning more than 150 years ago. The Mormon people were unable to live peaceably with their American neighbors when they were founded in 1840, and isolated themselves in Utah. They proudly practiced polygamy and stopped only due to the intervention of the Federal government. They believed that black people were cursed by God, and only renounced this evil belief in the 1970s. They capaigned fiercely against women, and argued that women should not be allowed in the workplace. They fashioned themselves as champions of families, yet it is in Mormon sects that polygamist colonies flourish and the most brutal abuse of young girls takes place to this day.
The tone and language seems, frankly, bigoted. Ugly. Exclusionary. And what’s with talking about “the mind of Mormons,” as if individual Mormons can’t disagree on issues?
It’s right to criticize the Mormon Church for its bigoted policies and actions, and it’s also right to criticize cultures in a general manner for bigoted institutions or attitudes. But language and tone matter; criticism done right doesn’t dehumanize or “otherize” particular religious groups, nor does it treat a diverse group of individuals as if they were a mass mind.
Of course the Mormon Church, as well as many (but not all) individual Mormons,1 have shown themselves to be anti-gay bigots. Anger at the organized Mormon Church, and at everyone who contributed to or supported proposition 8 and the other anti-gay ballot measures, is completely justified. I can’t criticize anyone for being 200 degrees beyond “mad” at the Mormon Church, in this circumstance. (I’m furious myself.)
And an investigation into if the Mormon Church broke the rules and should lose its tax-free status may be completely appropriate. (I know nothing about the laws in question, but the way that the Mormon Church gets to use its funds tax-free to fight gay rights, while supporters of gay rights generally pay taxes, seems unfair.)
But the language of dehumanization and otherization is dangerous, especially when used as an organizing tool. It shouldn’t be used by anyone organizing against bigotry. Not even when they’ve been treated like shit by a bunch of hateful bigots.
And yes, the opponents of equality for same-sex couples often use exactly that tone and writing style when talking about lesbians and gay men. All the more reason not to use it.
* * *
I’m not interested in hearing from anyone who opposes same sex marriage in comments, so if you’re not a supporter of same-sex marriage, and if you didn’t oppose proposition 8, don’t post on this thread.
- And individuals who aren’t Mormon as well. [↩]
- Proposition 8: No, Churches will not lose their tax exemptions if gays can marry
- The Republican Platform: Anti-Same-Sex Marriage and Anti-Civil-Union
- More anti-women-having-sex and anti-comprehensive sex-ed from the Rightwing
- Study: Ugly Children Get Shortchanged by Parents
- Having two parents is anti-child?