You’ve got to feel bad for the Mormon Church: Sometimes homosexuals make out on their property, costing them tens of tens of dollars to erect new signage. So it’s not our fault LDS reminds us more and more of that devil baby Chucky: They’re so cute and adorable, always seeking attention and approval, but will gauge your eyes out just when you offer to share your popsicle. Or maybe LDS is more like Carrie: Always playing the victim, and capable of a helluva lot of damage. Yes, let’s stick with the Carrie analogy, because top Mormon official Elder Dallin Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, just got done explaining how the Mormon Church is the real victim in all this gay stuff.
Yes, LDS has claimed victimhood before, and it was no less ridiculous then as it was last night when Oaks told an audience at Brigham Young University that, uh, Mormon is the new black. Yes, in the aftermath of Prop 8, the gays’ backlash against LDS has pitted the church into the role of African-Americans during the 1960s civil rights movement.
Stop rolling your eyes! Yes, Oaks did just compare his organization — which advocates discrimination — to the plight of second-class blacks during Jim Crow.
In an interview Monday before the speech, Oaks said he did not consider it provocative to compare the treatment of Mormons in the election’s aftermath to that of blacks in the civil rights era, and said he stands by the analogy.
“It may be offensive to some — maybe because it hadn’t occurred to them that they were putting themselves in the same category as people we deplore from that bygone era,” he said.
Some of the most pointed comments in Oaks’ Tuesday address focus on Proposition 8. Oaks said the free exercise of religion is threatened by those who believe it conflicts with “the newly alleged ‘civil right’ of same-gender couples to enjoy the privileges of marriage.”
“Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights,” Oaks said. “The supporters of Proposition 8 were exercising their constitutional right to defend the institution of marriage …”
Oaks said that while “aggressive intimidation” connected to Proposition 8 was primarily directed at religious people and symbols, “it was not anti-religious as such.” He called the incidents “expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest.”
“As such, these incidents of ‘violence and intimidation’ are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic,” he said. “In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.”
We don’t need to flag all the red herrings in Oaks’ argument (particularly about this “alleged” civil right), but let’s make this clear: While Oaks believes the anti-gay sentiment is “directly comparable to the intimidation of black people in the South for asserting their civil rights,” he is, horrifically and unmistakably, wrong.
Black Americans did not endorse discrimination in the 50s and 60s; they (and we) fought against it. Gay Americans do not endorse discrimination (even the religious type!); we are fighting against it.
The Mormon Church, however, is advocating for discrimination, and crying wolf when they get criticized for it. This is very different.
That the nation is becoming less and less a place for hate and divisiveness is a positive thing. It’s just a shame folks like Oaks don’t understand their mentality increasingly exists only on the fringe, and will quickly wind up in the same category as white supremacism and anti-Semitism.