The more I dig down into Proposition 8, the more bizarre the facts are. Like everyone else, I like to follow the money to identify the agendas. Here’s what I know:
Andrew Sullivan notes today that one of the biggest financial supporters of the Yes on 8 campaign is Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, who has pumped $450,000 into the campaign. Broekhuizen is the mother of Blackwater founder and owner Erik Prince and Bush Pioneer Betsy DeVos. She’s also quite the patron of the religious right.
At first blush, the two groups don’t have a whole lot in common besides neighboring real estate in the political spectrum. But as Blackwater continues its unwanted presence in San Diego (spawning aspirants to the throne in Hemet), Michigan resident Broekhuizen is just a big fish in the flood of out-of-state money trying to buy their way into a change to California’s constitution.
Blackwater, you remember them. They’re the contractors hired by the Bush Administration to privatize our military. That money is now being recycled into politics by huge donations to campaigns like the Yes on 8 campaign.
To be clear, that’s YOUR taxpayer money, laundered a couple of times.
From the Salt Lake Tribune
The LDS Church’s campaign to pass Proposition 8 represents its most vigorous and widespread political involvement since the late 1970s, when it helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It even departs from earlier efforts on behalf of traditional marriage, in which members felt more free to decide their level of involvement.
This time, LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church’s built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members’ willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty.
The Mormons have given $8.4 million to the campaign for Proposition 8. That’s the tithes of Mormons, taken out of the church and funnelled into the political process. 8.4 million dollars.
Prop. 8 is on pace to be the costliest race in the nation, except for the billion-dollar presidential election. The Yes on 8 campaign estimates that up to 40 percent of its donations come from Mormons. Some others estimate that Mormons account for over 70 percent of donations from individuals.
Today, the Courage Campaign delivered a petition to Mormon church President Thomas Monson signed by 16,935 people urging the Mormon church to cease funding the Proposition 8 campaign.
I won’t even address how offensive it is to have tax-exempt religious organizations inject money and resources into politics. Whatever their agenda, they are making an effort with a lot of tax-exempt money to shape the political landscape via out-of-state money and resources.
Finally, we have the evangelical movement and I would say most specifically, the Baptists. This boggles my mind, because in other, more reasonable days the Baptists wanted nothing to do with any political initiative, fearing (rightly) that injecting themselves into politics would erode the church/state wall. When Rick Warren of Saddleback Church (and author of the Purpose-Driven Life) endorsed the Yes on 8 campaign, he ignored all of the traditionally Baptist beliefs about keeping church and state separate.
Warren, a Baptist, knows better. The cornerstones of the Baptist tradition are adult baptism (as opposed to infant baptism) and the principle of liberty of conscience and the separation of church and state. Baptists inherited these ideas from Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist tradition in America. And, at least until the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, Baptists have always been watchmen on that wall of separation and fierce guardians of liberty of conscience. Thankfully, Williams’s ideas were incorporated into the United States Constitution, both in the First Amendment, which forbade a religious establishment, and in the recurring principle of respect for the rights of minorities.
In an increasingly bizarre election year we have an incredibly bizarre campaign to discriminate against an entire group in our society, backed by privatized military, and two powerful religious forces who ordinarily have nothing to do with one another.
I’ll end with this: According to the FBI, hate crimes are down. Well, they’re down with one exception: Hate crimes against gays increased 6% in the past year.
Imagine what it’ll be like if Yes on 8 passes. Why? Well, let’s start with the long and ugly campaign where phrases like “don’t let them have this too” and “restore marriage” (implying that GLBT folks are far too low to have such a right, etc) have predominated the debate. Where the Constitution is turned on its head and churches are willing to crawl into bed with the likes of Blackwater.
You don’t think more hate will spring forth? Guess again.
Here are some ways to help:
Because equality is a RIGHT in this country. For ALL. Not the religious or the military only, the righteous and the conservative. It is a right for ALL. Regardless.