Todd Zywicki is outraged that some protesters are targeting the Mormon Church. Oh, spare me. He notes that Blacks overwhelmingly supported Prop. 8, but nobody is vilifying them. While Zywicki could do to read more Dan Savage, he's missing the point. Yes, Blacks voted strongly against gay equality. But there is no "Black central command" that led the charge in favor of the proposition. Indeed, there really is no Black central command at all, and insofar as there are organizations which can claim to speak on behalf of the Black community (like the NAACP), I'm skeptical that they even supported Prop. 8, much less led efforts to get it passed.
As Pam Spaulding noted, it's clear that the Black community has some work to do with regards to homophobia. But this wasn't their baby. It wasn't Black institutions that were trying to get Prop. 8 on the ballot. It wasn't Black institutions stumping up and down the state to get it passed. If protesters wanted to yell in front of individual Black churches whose ministers pressed for the passage of Prop. 8, that would be fine in my view -- those churches need to be held accountable too. But there is a qualitative difference here that goes beyond the obnoxious whine of "political correctness".
The Mormon Church, as an institution, threw itself headlong into this battle, deciding to intervene with prodigious amounts of money and manpower to promote one of the cruelest examples of state-sponsored evil still extant in America. Are they being vilified for it? Yes. Should they be? Yes. You lie down with the devil, you're going to get called names in the morning.
Of course, now that their campaign on behalf of inequality has succeeded, the Mormon Church (and Catholic Church, for that matter) are all about making nice-y. From the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles:
The coalition of religious communities and citizens who supported Proposition 8 wanted to preserve "the bedrock institution of marriage" between a man and a woman, said Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles.
"Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society," Mahoney said in a written statement.
And from the LDS:
"The Church acknowledges that such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life -- family and marriage -- stirs fervent and deep feelings," church spokeswoman Kim Farah wrote in an e-mail. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."
Ms. Farah, too late. When you promote legislation that seeks deprive a class of human beings of their natural rights, that counts as vilification and harassment. And Archbishop Mahoney, bullshit. This is what's infuriating. Retrograde churches have every right to campaign in favor of bigotry. But they can't get all indignant when people point out, hey, taking away rights from a small, vulnerable segment of the population is bigoted! It is "against [a] group in our society." It's against gays. There is no disputing that.
Are there protests against Mormons and Blacks that go beyond the pale? Umm...yeah. Playing the polygamist card against Mormons would count too (incidentally, Zywicki's point that the Mormon Church's experience being harassed over polygamy should make them more defensive about the "traditional definition of marriage", when polygamy was part of the "traditional definition of marriage", is utterly inane). But the act of protesting, itself, is totally legitimate here. If one believes, as I do, that there is no moral distinction between state-sponsored homophobia, and state-sponsored racism, then the traffickers in the former deserve the same opprobrium that historically was directed to the latter.