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10/04/2010

'Satan's many substitutes' (and he's not referring to that string of awful fill-ins from when your fifth grade teacher was on maternity leave)

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in the height of the Proposition 8 battle, a Mormon official by the name of Boyd Packer sent a letter to to the presidents of the California Mormon dioceses (or stakes). It was a thoroughly political document that laid out a timeline of events leading up to the vote, including plans for yard sign distribution, fundraising, and get out the vote efforts, showing a clear, demonstrable link between LDS leadership and the larger vote to strip gays and lesbians of their civil rights. (Read an archived copy of the letter here, and read Chino Blanco's take on it here)

So why do we bring this historical pockmark back up now, more than two years later? Well, because Brother Packer is back in the news in a big way because of new comments he delivered to LDS General Conference, wherein he compared gays' unions to "Satan’s many substitutes and counterfeits for marriage":

SPEECH:

LOCAL NEWS REPORT:

More, including transcript: Will this hateful rhetoric continue once Boyd K. Packer has passed on? [Main Street Plaza]

Don't be fooled: This is the kind of rhetoric that put Prop 8 on the books. The kind of nonsense that has muddied this civil rights conversation with personally-held faith condemnations. The kind of messaging that duped well-intentioned people into thinking that gays posed (and continue to pose) a threat. The kind of unconstitutional overreaching that was rejected in Judge Walker's court, and that we expect will be rejected as the matters moves all the way up to SCOTUS (Mazel tov on your first day, Justice Kagan!)

Bottom line: There is simply no excuse for anyone invoking Beelzebub in this modern civil rights debate. If our opposition really wanted to do a service to this fight, they would reject the Satan in their leaders' condemnations and instead put the devil in the actual details of this *civil* marriage fight!

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