Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Prop 8: PR Disaster for Mor(m)ons
When your biggest negatives are that people think you're pushy, rich, secretive, weird, and hell-bent on imposing your seemingly-cultish way of life on them, the last thing you should do is use gobs of money to force your views on millions of others. It's not clear what the Mormons were thinking, but in the process, they may have made a few friends on the religious right - friends who still think the Mormons are a cult, mind you (even the Mormon's evangelical "allies" have this to say about them, "Our theological differences with Mormonism are, frankly, unbridgeable") - but they've just convinced millions of other Americans that they're hateful heavy-handed bigots.
And it seems we're not the only ones who are thinking this way. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Mormons around the country are now being forced to deal with the fall-out from their ill-fated decision to become hate's banker.
Although they live a continent away from California, LDS Church members Gregory and JaLynn Prince, of Washington, D.C., still have felt the backlash from their church's involvement in the traditional marriage initiative known as Proposition 8.
Their daughter, Lauren, a Boston University student, has lost friends over the issue, while their son, an LDS missionary in San Bernardino, Calif., has had a disproportionate number of potential converts cancel appointments.
About two weeks ago, during a first-ever class on Mormonism at Wesley Theological Seminary, where the Princes have built bridges for years, students pointedly asked them: "What was your church thinking?"
"We are not taking sides on the issue, but the way this was done has hurt our people and the church's image," JaLynn Prince said. "It reminds me of the naive public relations strategy we had regarding the Equal Rights Amendment."
In some minds, the so-called "Mormon moment" heralded at the start of 2008 has stopped short.
Stopped short? Try, set you back 150 years. In one fell swoop, the Mormons just convinced somewhere between 10 million and 30 million gay Americans, and their 40 to 120 million friends and families, that the Mormons are filthy rich bigots who want to come into your town, take over, and force you to live under their rules (rules which include accepting Jesus as a polygamist who married his mother and was the brother of Satan, rules which include being forced to convert to Mormonism against your will), or else they'll destroy your families and ruin your lives.
Hell of a way to stop people from hating you.
Also, Prop 8 Mormon money investigated.