I have watched the documentary 8. the mormon proposition twice in the last few days. The first time I saw it I was alone and sat on my couch getting angrier and angrier that any group would oppose the right of two people to marry. The fact it was largely funded by a Utah based church with a history that would qualify it for an Oscar in hypocrisy made it all the more obscene. Here is a trailer for the film that I would urge everyone to see – it isn’t just about California – it is about how religions, protected by tax free status, can use their power to justify the continued inequity being meted out to one group of people.
The second time I saw it was the very next day when one of my best friends Alvin joined me for my evening walk and then came home with me to have dinner. I told him he had to see it and I watched it again with him. I saw him getting more and more irate and asking questions about the mormons ( I refuse to dignify them with a capital letter) to the point that I worried about any mormon who happened to be in his path as he headed home afterwards. Alvin is a strong and rare activist for the gay community in Trinidad and doesn’t seem to give a damn what people tell him. The film hurt him deeply and he is now getting even more active in raising his lone but loud voice to deal with the issues. I think it is important that we see films like this and read as many blogs and news sources as we can. The problem is not a California problem - it is a worldwide problem. As a Canadian I could say that equality is part of my constitution and forget the rest of the world – that would be plainly wrong. As long as there is a single person in the worldwide family who feels he or she is a second class citizen none of us should sleep easy.
Back to the film. It details the fight of the LGBT community in California ,who had only recently been allowed to marry,having to face a ballot proposition that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It was a measure that the mormon church took very seriously as it was personally threatened by the notion of two people who love each other getting married. The film notes the irony of a church ,which is based in Utah solely because other Americans chased them there as they believed in polygamy , challenging another group over marriage. It is well constructed and shows the reality of lives being crushed without wandering into manipulation. The financial actions of the mormons were appalling and shamelessly secretive as illustrated by documents obtained by the filmmakers.
Prop 8 is still awaiting a court decision but I would urge anyone to join the NOH8 Campaign even if you don’t live in California. Sometimes worldwide support can help change things. Also, I don’t believe that religion has any special protection from criticism when it makes no sense . With that in mind I would like to point out that mormons have some seriously warped beliefs. God talks to your church elders personally? Really? The book just disappeared? Sure it did. Polygamy in the afterlife? Ummmm.
Hatred is an awful thing. I have no idea why people don’t see discrimination against the LGBT community as exactly the same as discrimination against any other group. Perhaps if they had an LGBT child they might understand. Whenever I see arguments using words like “choice” or “lifestyle” my blood boils. Seriously, why would anyone choose to be part of a group that suffers such prejudice? I would encourage anyone who thinks about using the choice argument to read some actual medical studies. Also, if you want to pick your fave Old Testament passages and use them as ammunition please ensure you read all the other weird things in there and follow them yourself.
As I was driving to my walking area this evening I actually saw two mormon missionaries in their short sleeved polyester shirts walking along the road – I am not one to hate but it was all I could do not to yank my Ford’s steering wheel in their direction. That is the sign of a good documentary. Or it could just be a sign of my hatred of white polyester shirts.
For the rest of us we can do small things. Let’s show NOH8 that the world cares, let’s write about teenage suicide and show how it reflects on a lack of acceptance and let’s just reach out and show that we care. This month has two big days coming up. October 11th is Coming Out Day – I think people should do that only if it is safe to do so and if they have a strong support network of friends.
More importantly to me, by far, is Spirit Day on October 20, 2010. To celebrate all the lives lost to suicide because of bullying and we have the sad deaths of six kids lately to make that a reality for all of us. Wear purple on October 20, 2010 – let’s show that the concern is worldwide.
Spirit Day on Facebook
And as always support GLAAD – as a media person I take them very seriously.
And the brave souls in Utah who work in the belly of the beast.