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Other Voices: Thou shalt not lie

Thou shalt not lie: Mormon proponents of Prop 8 resort to Pinocchio politics

Karl Rove has greatly influenced the Mormon hierarchy at their headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, where an intense, out-of-state effort to keep California voters confused and misinformed on Proposition 8 is a high priority. According to the figures from Californians’ Against Hate, the Mormons have bankrolled more than 17 million dollars to support Proposition 8.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a Mormon governing body, reported that their plan to pass the ballot initiative also included tactics like asking each California congregation to commit 30 volunteers each to Prop 8 canvassing and for young Mormons to use social networking sites on the Internet such as MySpace spread pro Prop 8 messages.

This staggering amount of Mormon resources coordinated to deny a minority their freedoms and civil rights usually evokes shock and disgust. Yet, to some, the Mormon efforts might still appear as just good old fashioned, honest Christ-like electioneering. The reality is, the Mormon campaign is quite egregious and smells a lot like the swift boat and Rovian stratagem which utilizes the dissemination of misinformation and outright lies to win.

The cheat-to-win morals of the Mormon Church are best demonstrated by their aggressive waving of a discredited memo titled “The Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails.” This memo, which has become the basis for their platform for their campaign, was written “anonymously,” conveniently removing accountability for truth and accuracy. This should, to the thinking public be reason to dismiss the memos as incredulous, but to the Mormons it is a license to instill fear in California voters and they are running with it. They have been responsible for the memo’s proliferation on the Internet, viral e-mails, and the unrelenting perpetuation of it’s lies via phone banking. Every bullet point in the memo has been discredited by the California legal community, most recently from a surprising source.

Risking excommunication from the Mormon Church by speaking out against Prop 8, Morris Thurston, a highly respected Mormon scholar and Orange County attorney who graduated from BYU and Harvard School of Law has authored a legal response to the memo and distributed it widely for voter examination. The response line by line discredits the talking points in the Six Consequences of Failure of Prop 8 as blatantly untrue when cross referenced with California Law. The memo and the Thurston response can be found widely on the Internet including http://connellodonovan.com/thurston_response.pdf. The California legal community has confirmed what many informed California voters already know: Prop 8 has nothing to do with education. Nor will children be brainwashed into getting “gay married” by their teachers. The Mormon scare tactic is absurd.

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The Mormon memo’s first and key argument claims that non-passage of Prop 8 will mean that children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage. Then the memo goes on to “scare” people into believing that Prop 8’s passage is necessary to overturn an already existing California Education Code, a mandate that is seriously misinterpreted by the anonymous author and subsequently the Mormon zealots who would have us believe that the code currently is a requirement for teachers to instruct students that marriage is between two consenting adults regardless of gender. Thurston’s response and the California legal community’s response hold that these fear tactics to be untrue.

Morris Thurston and California attorneys also refute every talking point in the memo including that Churches will loose their tax exempt status if they refuse to marry same sex couples.

Perhaps the Mormons should be concerned about loosing their tax exempt status, because clearly they are engaging in electioneering albeit slyly and using lots of loopholes to do so.

And if all this Pinocchio politics being perpetrated on California voters by Mormons isn’t enough, now they are engaging in defacto black mail. Just recently Mormon Church member Mark Jansson, admitted to sending out certified letters to businesses that donated to the no on 8 campaigns demanding that the businesses match their donation amounts to the yes on 8 campaign or “risk” being outed as being pro-gay. This is certainly not Christ-like behavior and it seems more likely that perhaps the Mormons are taking cues from organized crime instead.

So why are the Mormons stooping so low? As many speculate, the underlying motivation may well be to gain “respect” among other religious groups who view the Mormons as cult-like, heretical or not Christian at all. Many find the Mormon actions unbelievably unconscionable and clearly see how they contradict the real Christian messages. As one Mormon put it; “relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.”- Morris Thurston.

Darin Barry is the National Field Coordinator for Billionaires for Bush and Lobbyists for McCain. http://www.LobbyistsForMcCain.com. Their work has been featured on CNN, Time, The New Yorker, and most recently, The Daily Show. He is a Nevada City native.