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June 30, 2008

Mormons Use Pulpit To Campaign For California's Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Last week, my partner (who was Mormon but has since resigned his membership) made me aware of a directive issued by the leadership of the Church Of Latter Day Saints that was sent to every Mormon Church throughout California. It said that it was "To be read in the sacrament meetings on June 29th, 2008."

It went on to deride the California Supreme Court's reversal of a 2000 proposition passed by voters that defined marriage as being valid only between a man and a woman. Then it informed it's followers of the proposed California Constitutional Amendment to restore that narrow definition of marriage that will appear on the November 4, 2008 ballot and told them that the Church will work for its passage.

It closed by saying:

"Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man an a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."

At first Peter and I were, of course, incensed at the arrogant disregard for the, until recently, time-honored concept of the separation of church and state and saw this as a clear violation of that conviction. I decided that if they want to disregard the clearly stated intentions of our forefathers then I wasn't going to sit back and let that happen without a fight. After all, it's only a matter of time before they come here to Arizona to do the same thing.

I sent the following message to my Congressman:

Dear Congressman Mitchell,

As far as I understand the restrictions of intermingling religion with politics, isn't preaching a specific political endorsement, whether for a politician or a targeted piece of legislation, from the pulpit supposed to be prohibited.

Clearly, the wisdom of our forefathers, as expressed both in the constitution they wrote and in their private letters to each other, left no doubt that they passionately believed in keeping religious beliefs and the governance of our country separate from each other. Otherwise, as they themselves pointed out, the entire nation could ultimately end up being ruled by the single most politically and monetarily powerful religious sect to the exclusion of all others.

If my understanding of this matter is accurate, then why is the Church Of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) allowed to preach, via a directive sent from the office of the First Presidency, a specific political endorsement from the pulpit of every church they own in California (and no doubt soon to be sent to every mormon church throughout Arizona). And, in so doing, outright direct (or in this church's case, "demand"), again from the pulpit, every one of their followers to "...donate their means (money) and time..." to assure passage of the church's endorsed legislation.

Wouldn't this be grounds for a full congressional investigation of this particular church's questionable practices with the possible end result of revoking their tax exempt status?

I also sent him a copy of that directive as it was sent to their followers. If you would like to see it yourself go to: sunshinepress.org. By the way, feel free to copy and paste the body of my above email into an email to your representative if you don't have time to write one out for yourself. Of course, it's always better to put something in your own words.

I'm not sure how far this will get but since Congressman Harry Mitchell has long been a supporter of GLBT rights here in Arizona it may, at least, spark an investigation by the IRS and make things a little more difficult for the Mormon Church.

If enough people did the same thing and also expressed these concerns to their congressional representatives then maybe, just maybe we could make the religious extremist think twice before getting so directly involved in politics.


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