One of the benefits derived from living in a free speech society is the liberty to use debate and assembly to sway the majority or the government’s opinion. The civil rights movement was a fine example of how successful this process can be. However, the use and misuse of this right can also cause the opposite reaction. This is especially true when the minority interested in changing public opinion allow their passion to get out of control and they resort to victimization, vindictiveness, and violence. One sure way to damage your cause is to pitch an angry fit when you fail to move the populace to your way of thinking.
California’s Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman, passed by a margin of 52 to 48 percent, sparking outrage from gay-marriage supporters. In the immediate aftermath there were legal challenges and violent reactions. The targets of these dangerous outbursts were mostly Christians exercising their own First Amendment rights. One of the first reports of vengeful mob mentality was an attack on an elderly woman in Palm Springs. Phyllis Burgess was attending a gay rights protest to voice her support for the newly passed Proposition 8. Apparently, there were people in attendance that disagreed with her opinion. Their overreaction was to assault her and smash the foam cross she was carrying.
Another incident occurred in San Francisco’s Castro district only a few days later. In this case a group of Christians were attacked by another anti-Proposition 8 mob with hot coffee, shoving, and death threats. One young girl named Christine Cloud was physically assaulted with her own Bible.
An L.A. restaurant, El Coyote Mexican Café, isn’t the only business targeted by opponents of the proposition; an entire blacklist has been published. However, most of the hatred and intolerant reactions were targeted at Catholics and Mormons:
“Burn their f-ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers,” wrote “World O Jeff” on the JoeMyGod blogspot today within hours of California officials declaring Proposition 8 had been approved by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. Confirmation on voter approval of amendments in Florida and Arizona came earlier.
This kind of reaction is a reflection of what has actually been happening since Proposition 8 passed. Because of their large campaign contributions to the measure, Mormons have especially been targeted.
In the nearly four weeks since Election Day, gay activists and thousands of their supporters have rallied outside Mormon temples around the country, protesting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ support for California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to make same-sex marriage illegal in the Golden State.
Some have called for a boycott of the the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah; others have called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah. In Arapaho County, Colo., the Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible hate crime — the torching of the Book of Mormon on a church’s doorstep.
Before a single vote was cast on Proposition 8, opponents already had Mormons in their sights. One example of how incredibly insulting were their overreactions to Mormon opposition comes via this ridiculous ad that ran in the state prior to the vote. The ad is a disgusting display of bigotry, stereotyping, and over-exaggeration. However the outrage of most liberal newspapers in California is absent. Instead, they say it was too little too late. Vandalism of Mormon temples, blacklists, death threats, and even envelopes of white powder sent to Mormons have been reported.
Jonah Goldberg writes about the over the top ad in the Los Angeles Times:
It’s amazing. Hollywood liberals, who shout “McCarthyism!” as a first resort, see nothing wrong with this. If Jews were attacked in this way for giving too much money to a political cause, Barbra Streisand would already have a French passport.
Never mind that Proposition 8 carried nearly every demographic slice of voters. Put aside the fact that the Catholic Church and scores of other Christian churches supported it too. Discount the inconvenient truth that bans on gay marriage have now passed in 30 states. It’s all the Mormons’ fault.
Even the state of California is getting in on the harassment of the Mormons, giving credence to an investigation of their tax exempt status over their financial donations to the proposition’s campaign.
Jonah Goldberg describes the hypocritical summary of all of this:
It’s often lost on gay-rights groups that they and their allies are the aggressors in the culture war. Indeed, they admit to being the “forces of change” and the “agents of progress.” They proudly want to rewrite tradition and overturn laws. But whenever they’re challenged democratically and peaceably, they instantly complain of being victims of entrenched bigots, even as they adopt the very tactics they abhor.
Goldberg makes the point that because they were the most vulnerable target — and least likely to fight back — Mormons were singled out. One of the arguments advanced in favor of targeting the Mormons was that they gave money out of all proportion to their numbers. As Goldberg points out, couldn’t you say the same of gay liberals?
Advocates of same sex marriage may not agree with the Mormons or other opponents’ opinions and actions against what they perceive as their rights, but their violent tantrums are only showing America the face of intolerance. It begs the question, “Whose rights are really being violated?” Only people not blinded by the passion of their ideologies should attempt answering that question.