Prop 8 opponents target Mormons for smear campaign

As Maggie Gallagher says, this is “disgusting.” Prop. 8 opponents are deliberately trying to smear Church members for daring to disagree with them politically.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

62 thoughts on “Prop 8 opponents target Mormons for smear campaign

  1. Given the large number of contrarians who visit and comment on this board, it’s probably a good idea to comment on why I find the actions by the Daily Kos people disgusting.

    I have absolutely no problem with them organizing their “No on Prop. 8″ campaign with phone banks, going door to door, raising money for ads, etc. That’s part of the normal democratic process.

    But where they have crossed the line is in calling out individual Mormon “yes on 8″ donors and specifically asking commenters to come up with dirt on them. Presumably, that dirt would then be aired publicly in an attempt to discredit the “yes on 8″ side.

    To understand why this is a very bad thing, let’s travel back to the late 1940s and early 1950s and consider the phenomenon of McCarthyism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

    I hope we can all agree that Communist agents working for the Soviet Union or China who were deliberately trying to overthrow the United States should have been tried and thrown in jail. But the greatest evil of McCarthyism was the hysteria that surrounded leftist beliefs and caused people to be persecuted simply for their political thoughts. There is nothing wrong with putting on trial somebody who has leftist beliefs and is planning to overthrow the government while being paid by another government — there is something very wrong for persecuting people because they hold leftist beliefs and are peaceful, law-abiding citizens and are trying to work within the system. Truth be told, thousands of people lost their jobs and were shunned, put on trial, etc., simply because of their political beliefs during the McCarthyism period.

    What the Daily Kos people are doing is the worst characteristic of McCarthyism — they are singling out individual people and asking them to be publicly humiliated, shunned and put on trial before the public because of their political beliefs. That is, in a word, disgusting. Have they no shame or knowledge of history?

  2. I am a liberal and I am voting for Obama. And I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with you that this tactic is completely sickening. The “Kos” people rightly decry it when the Republican supporters scream “Terrorist.” But they can’t see the beam in their own eye when they use the exact same tactics of smearmongering.

    I am so sick of the “us vs. them” mentality in this country.

  3. Well said, James.

    My Bishop and I had a conversation about the many wonderful Church members who have been or are now members of the Democrat party. We spoke of our mutual frustration with the attacks and smearing taking place on both sides. I am ready for this election season to be over. I will gladly support whoever wins the election and do my best to be an active participant in the political dialogue after the election.

    I would hope that both sides of the issue of same gender marriage could just agree to disagree with one another and stick to the issues.

  4. My mission comp is on the list and I am going to check in with him to see if he has had any problems. He and his dad are pretty high profile so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  5. In the interest of fairness, it’s worth pointing out that at least one commenter on Daily Kos understood the problem. His comment says:

    “Why are we going after them personally? Do the ends really justify the means? Senator Obama challenged us to change the world. By doing this we are no better than the Repugs.”

  6. That’s true and I was glad to see it. Unfortunately there have been other posts about Prop 8 on Daily Kos that have had extremely inflammatory remarks against the church.

    I read Daily Kos back in 04 during the last election. But not since specifically because of their move to the radical left wing. I abhor the radical left as much if not more than the radical right.

  7. Sorry. Let me clarify: their were inflammatory remarks in the replies to the original post. I’ve never seen anything extreme in the original posts.

    At least until now…

  8. We should distinguish between attacks on the church and attacks on individual members.

    The church is the main driving force in the “yes on 8″ campaign. Church members are providing the majority of the funding and groundwork, and the effort is being coordinated partly through the church organization. Mormons are a small minority that is making a major push to influence public policy. Of course this will attract criticism, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    But attacks on individual members should be out of bounds.

  9. OK. Yes, first reaction is creepy.

    Second reaction is…

    Hold for a moment. Are the DailyKos people suggesting creating forgeries or lying about these donors records? Not from what I can tell. The only reason this stuff hasn’t been possible before now is the difficulty in cross-referencing materials. Their using public records in a (extremely invasive) way.

    So, we can complain about it but I don’t see any way to roll that information back without severely compromising the disclosure laws, which I think are very important.

  10. Geoff,
    This may not come as a surprise, but I think that your analysis is completely off here. The issue is not about singling out people who disagree, a la McCarthy, for public humiliation. If that were so, the publicly available list would be enough to condemn them. This isn’t a “political” disagreement, as you know. The church has insisted that this is a moral disagreement, suggesting that those who oppose Prop 8 are “immoral” while those who support it are “moral.” The Daily Kos author says:

    “Here’s the bottom line for me: if someone is willing to contribute thousands of dollars to a campaign to take away legal rights from some very dear friends of mine, they had damn well make sure their lives are beyond scrutiny–because I, for one, won’t take it lying down.”

    I think that there is a fair argument here. If the proponents of Prop 8 want to claim a moral high ground, then they should be able to withstand the scrutiny put on them. I have seen plenty of pro Prop 8 material that suggests all sorts of terrible things about who is “really” behind the “gay agenda,” and if that kind of fear-mongering isn’t out of bounds, I am not sure why checking out the people who have donated is problematic in and of itself. The issue is not about disagreement on this issue, as you suggest, but about seeing if those who support Prop 8 on “moral” grounds actually are moral people.

    It seems that if those who are funding this Prop 8 initiative are terrible, scary people, the public has every right to know about it. I suspect that most members of the church will be able to handle this scrutiny just fine. The investigation of donors is nothing new to political campaigns, and we shouldn’t be upset that this tactic is used against us.

    I do object to the article’s singling out of Mormon donors to investigate, though I understand why. Given that we are by far the largest donor group and seem to be single-handedly carrying this initiative, it makes sense to focus on high profile people here.

  11. TT, you make your argument very well, and you are disagreeing agreeably, for that I salute you.

    I don’t think you have thought this through very completely, however. Let’s say there is an initiative on a ballot to define life beginning at conception (as in CO today). And let’s say the proponents of that initiative decided to use tactics akin to what Daily Kos suggests, ie instead of going after Planned Parenthood, etc, they went after individual donors, picketing their homes, trying to get them fired, calling them murderers, baby killers, etc. I’m pretty sure you would be among the people condemning those tactics, as would I, regardless of whether I supported their position.

    And in fact even though I oppose abortion in most cases I don’t support extremist abortion opponents because their tactics are sometimes repugnant.

    It just crosses a very important line in public discourse to pursue individuals rather than organizations. It would make our current political environment even more tense and ugly. I think it’s incumbent on everybody to try to tone down the rhetoric and avoid campaigns to destroy each other just because of our political beliefs.

  12. I have seen plenty of pro Prop 8 material that suggests all sorts of terrible things about who is “really” behind the “gay agenda,” and if that kind of fear-mongering isn’t out of bounds, I am not sure why checking out the people who have donated is problematic in and of itself.

    ANY fear-mongering by either side is out of bounds.

    For me it’s not entirely what they are doing, buy how and why that makes me recoil.

  13. Geoff, I hear what you are saying about crossing the line into personal harassment, but I don’t see that as what is being done here. The Daily Kos has asked people to research donors using legal methods online to find out what other political contributions they have made and what organizations they belong to, and to collect personal, verifiable information. I didn’t see them suggest that people be harassed in any of the ways you say. Again, they are not interested in opposing people in general who have contributed to Prop 8, but to those whose lives/activities/political affiliations are morally suspect.

  14. And, given that the presidential race is being hung entirely on this stupid Bill Ayers association, I think we can all acknowledged that such discourse is neither out of bounds, nor is it ineffective.

  15. James, some might say that the entire pro-Prop 8 strategy is based on fear mongering, since it is all about potential future threats, none of which resembles anything close to the actual state of affairs in countries or states that have supported gay marriage. Again, I don’t think that we can condemn the opposition for using such tactics when they are politically useful, especially because we are using the exact same tactics!

  16. TT, here is what the Daily Kos is specifically asking for:

    “Use any LEGAL tool at your disposal. Use OpenSecrets to see if these donors have contributed to…shall we say…less than honorable causes, or if any one of these big donors has done something otherwise egregious. If so, we have a legitimate case to make the Yes on 8 campaign return their contributions, or face a bunch of negative publicity.

    There are a crapload of donors on this list–so please focus on the larger ones first. $5,000 or more is a good threshold to start with.

    Feel free to use Lexis-Nexis searches as well for anything useful, especially given that these people are using “morality” as their primary motivation to support Prop 8…if you find anything that belies that in any way…well, you know what to do.

    If you find anything good, please email it to:

    equalityresearch at gmail dot com.

    Here’s the bottom line for me: if someone is willing to contribute thousands of dollars to a campaign to take away legal rights from some very dear friends of mine, they had d– well make sure their lives are beyond scrutiny–because I, for one, won’t take it lying down.”

    So, bottom line: if you have ever done anything, like, for example, gotten divorced, your personal life is suddenly fair game just because of your political beliefs. I find this kind of tactic despicable. I would oppose it on the right as much as I do on the left. And I think any thinking person should stand up against it.

    To claim that the Church is using the exact same tactics is as wrong as can be. We are supporting the “Protect Marriage” cause, which has supported a number of commercials pointing out what gay marriage has already wrought in Massachusetts. And the very supporters of gay marriage want those same things in California. This is not fear-mongering — it is simply pointing out facts that supporters of gay marriage find inconvenient because they destroy their arguments and make them lose support.

    TT, a warning: unlike other blogs, this one supports the Church’s position and builds up the Church. Please be careful with your comments. Comments that denigrate the Church in any way — for example claiming that we are using the despicable tactics of Daily Kos — are simply not welcome here and will be deleted.

  17. While I agree with you that there may be some people who are pro-Prop 8 who are using fear mongering, and there may be some individual Mormons who are doing so, the Mormon church as an organization has not.

    The LDS church has gone out of its way to make sure it strongly states that gays and lesbians are not to be condemned or vilified in any way as a result of this proposition. Neither is the church against any of the other issues that the gay community has brought up as important. Only the single issue of marriage is at issue with the church.

    As for future threats, my belief is that they are not potential at all but will be a sure and logical result of the legalization of gay marriage. Such events have already transpired with Massachusetts for example.

  18. TT,

    Again, they are not interested in opposing people in general who have contributed to Prop 8, but to those whose lives/activities/political affiliations are morally suspect.

    Translation: “So you want to support Proposition 8 do you? Well, I certainly hope you don’t have any skeletons in your closet because we’re gonna dig up any dirt we can find. Maybe it would be a better idea for you to just shut up and keep your political beliefs to yourself.”

    And, given that the presidential race is being hung entirely on this stupid Bill Ayers association

    Senator Obama is running for President. Joe the Plumber is not. This is an ugly road we’re heading down. Such tactics are going to backfire.

  19. Geoff B,
    I take it that your quoting of the Daily Kos is meant as a concession that your first characterization is inaccurate. As for your second characterization, I am not sure how you derive that when they ask them to investigate campaign and other contributions, that this means that they will use people’s divorces against them. Besides, I am not sure that claiming that so-and-so is divorced really qualifies as the vilifying moral inadequacy that they are looking for.

    I think that my comment about fear-mongering may have been misunderstood. There is no need to “warn” me. I was responding to James’ claim that fear-mongering in itself was unacceptable. I didn’t mean to suggest that the Church was using identical tactics as those suggested by the Daily Kos, but rather that mobilizing fear was a part of the Church’s strategy. Whether or not the fears about not passing Prop 8 are justified is beside the point that fear is being used as a tactic.

    (Just a factual point that none of the stated fears have transpired in MA. LDSFS still operates. The church still enjoys tax benefits. The temple still can marry whomever it wants. Schools are not required to teach that SSM is right, only that it exists. Parents are allowed to teach their children whatever they want with regard to sexual morality.)

    Aluwid,
    I agree somewhat with your translation, though most personal skeletons are simply politically irrelevant here. In general your point is correct: If you want to get involved politically, you open yourself up to investigation. That is the whole point of trasparency laws that require political organizations to keep records of who is donating and how much, so that people can research who is behind certain movements. If you want to be anonymous and keep your personal life out of the public eye, don’t donate to campaigns.

    Honestly, they seem to be looking to find people who are donating to racist or sexist causes, or something along these lines that will allow them to make those who are giving large amounts look “radical” in some way. I am sure that a nice, juicy, embezzlement case would work too, but doesn’t do the same job. Just like Bill Ayers and Joe the plumber, radicalizing them serves to radicalize the supporters in general. Senator McCain has brought both of them into the campaign and argued that their personal lives are relevant. While I think it is a rather lame political tactic, it is certainly effective on a certain gullible portion of the population.

  20. TT, no, no concession taking place. I stand by what I’ve written. No reason to go round and round on this — you don’t want to see it, so you won’t. That’s OK — reasonable people can disagree. Glad to hear you’re not accusing the Church of such tactics.

  21. Geoff,
    Of course reasonable people can disagree, but I am not sure what you are disagreeing with me about. Your quotation of the Daily Kos doesn’t seem to support any of your interpretations, and you haven’t give me a reason why you are interepreting it the way that you are. You offer two different readings of this request for information:

    1. ” Truth be told, thousands of people lost their jobs and were shunned, put on trial, etc., simply because of their political beliefs during the McCarthyism period.

    What the Daily Kos people are doing is the worst characteristic of McCarthyism — they are singling out individual people and asking them to be publicly humiliated, shunned and put on trial before the public because of their political beliefs.”

    Here, you seem to be suggesting that they are singling out people simply because of their beliefs. I have suggested that this is not the case. What they are really doing is investigating the “morality” of those with these political beliefs. That is a normal political practice done all the time by all kinds of organizations and not at all like McCarthyism. Are we agreeing on this point?

    2. “So, bottom line: if you have ever done anything, like, for example, gotten divorced, your personal life is suddenly fair game just because of your political beliefs.”

    I have suggested that divorce doesn’t really constitute a moral failure, at least not one that would convince people on the left or the center that the proponents of Prop 8 are radicals. Again, since they don’t ask people to find out if the donors are divorced or not, but to look at their political contributions, I am not sure why you think that divorce is somehow the dirty secret they want to publicize about people. This doesn’t seem likely, and isn’t supported by the actual request made by the Daily Kos. Do we agree on this?

    While the first says that people will be persecuted on the basis of their beliefs alone, the second says that people will be persecuted if they are divorced. Again, neither of these seem to be accurate understandings of what this political tactic is about. Where is our disagreement?

  22. TT, I’ll try this one last time.

    No we don’t agree.

    1)It is unclear what exactly Daily Kos is looking for. The post talks about morality and says “anything that belies that in any way” and talks about making sure that donors have lives that are “beyond scrutiny.” It seems pretty obvious to me (but apparently not to you) that that could include anything, including divorce, having been convicted of jay-walking or something more serious. You have faith that somehow the same people who are asking their readers to dig up dirt on individual Mormons will then hold back on not disclosing and trying to humiliate individuals based on whatever they can find when in fact there are being encouraged to publicize “anything” and making sure that people have lives that are “beyond scrutiny.” Your faith appears to me extremely misguided.

    2)Based on this criteria, I can easily imagine a scenario where Daily Kos decides to announce that such-and-such a person, who contributed $5000 to the Yes on 8 campaign, was in the middle of a nasty divorce in which his spouse accused him of once yelling at her in front of the children!!! The shame!! How can this person claim to be moral and support heterosexual marriage when he was once divorced?

    TT, your tactic is to grind a discussion into the ground in lawyer-like fashion, pretending to ignore the obvious points in front of you with feigned ignorance. It is a tedious tactic. Unless you have anything new to add, I ask you respectfully to move on.

  23. Geoff,
    Not to belabor a point, but you’re the one who raised this issue in a public forum for discussion. In my experience, the way that most intelligent conversations progress is that one person makes a point and the other person makes a counterpoint, and so on, until clarity is reached. Perhaps I have assumed too much when I decided to engage you. I am sorry that you feel like I have feigned ignorance about something by asking you to provided clear evidence for your claims, and to understand what seem to me to be contradictory assertions on your part. The stated reasons for digging up dirt are to force the Prop 8 people to give back the money to embarrassing donors, and if not, to expose these embarrassing donors. As I have suggested, this is an extremely common political tactic done by all kinds of organizations, and the very purpose for transparency laws in a democracy. I have yet to see a reason why the Daily Kos is engaged in anything uniquely insidious here that differs fundamentally from, say, the Bill Ayers strategy.

    I think that you are suggesting the the opponents of 8 would try to create an ad like this:

    “Dun, dun, dun! (scary, sarcastic voice…) The funding of Prop 8 proponents, who claim to be “moral people,” are actually people who have been divorced and have jaywalked! Mormon Person X claims to protect marriage, but can’t even protect his/her own. Vote No on 8 and avoid the tyranny of these hypocrites!”

    I guess that my misguided faith is that such an ad is stupid, doens’t actually constitute humiliation of any individual Mormon should either divorce or jaywalking be revealed about them, and fails to convince the target audience that the funders of Prop 8 are bad people. As I said, I am confident that the overwhelming majority of LDS who have contributed will be able to pass any level of scrutiny that would cause embarrassment to the cause.

    If you want to drop this issue, that is fine, but if the worst case scenarios that you can think of for exposing Mormons personal lives are divorce and jaywalking, I’ll keep my faith in the ability of Mormons to pass this level of scrutiny with flying colors. I wish that you shared my faith in our coreligionists.

  24. If we are going to drop this, let’s check back in two weeks after the election to determine whether or not my faith was misguided or not. Do we agree on that?

  25. On a lighter note, how long before the anti-Prop-8 folks lose patience with digging for dirt on such very boring people?

    “Ah ha! Molly Mormon has three overdue library books! She donated $100 to protect marriage, quick put out a press release, now we’ve got them!”

  26. I just got an e-mail from a friend of a friend in California. Protesters upset about the Yes on 8 campaign surrounded the Oakland temple recently and attempted to prevent Church members from entering. They yelled epithets at them and blocked traffic, all because the Church dares to disagree with them politically. I’m afraid the fascist left is just started in its attempt to intimidate the Church.

  27. I’m afraid the fascist left is just started in its attempt to intimidate the Church.

    Well, thank goodness they are just starting. The fascist Right already has a good head start. They’ve been picketing temples, harrassing attendees at general conference, and disrupting President Hinckley’s funeral for years. In fact, once they have taken our money, time and effort for prop. 8, I expect that they will start right up again on November 5.

  28. Mark, that must be why the Church is telling us NOT to contribute any money or time to Prop. 8. Oh….they are? Well, maybe the Lord understands the big picture a bit better than most of us. Or maybe nearly all of the Yes on 8 crowd is just like us Mormons and people opposing the Brethren’s efforts are just looking for any reason at all to justify their actions.

  29. Ah, it is nice to see conservatives decry the use of fearmongering. I just wonder where they were back in 2002… there sure was a lot of fearmongering used back then.

  30. This is a cheap attack, yet public facts are what they are. Criminal convictions are the public’s business, and it is up to others to judge those convicted as they deem appropriate. Divorce is also a public matter, whose publicness is very related to why Prop. 8 is on the ballot. I suppose the investigators will find a handful of $1,000 donors who have been divorced a few times, and a couple of donors who were convicted for blameworthy acts. Then, they’ll trumpet those discoveries and try to sidestep questions about how many names they had to sift through to find those few questionable individuals.

  31. The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of Prop. 8 opponents devoting their free time to researching the lives of Mormons for the next two weeks. Some of them may switch their votes to “Yes.” Some may even give the missionaries a call.

  32. “The fascist Right…have taken our money, time and effort for prop. 8, I expect that they will start right up again on November 5.”

    You got that right. If the fundies could find a way to do a modern form of the Edwards-Tucker Act they would do so in a heartbeat.

    As much as some Mormons would like to believe, Focus on the Family etc. are certainly NOT our friends.

  33. maybe the Lord understands the big picture a bit better than most of us.

    Agreed completely, Geoff. Make that ALL of us.

    nearly all of the Yes on 8 crowd is just like us Mormons

    Again, agreed completely. I would go even further and say that those on both sides of this proposition are just like us Mormons, that is to say, decent people trying to figure out and do what is right.

    On the issue of donor scrutiny, I disagree with you. It may seem unfair to us at the moment, but in a democracy, the reason we require disclosure is so that we can make sure everything is above board. For instance, in this last primary season, the Edwards and Obama campaings examined the donors to HRC’s campaign and found that there were unusual patterns involving people with Chinese names. Further scrutiny revealed that big gobs of money were flowing to her from very small neighborhoods inhabited by people who were poor, for the most part. If you or Magie G. objected at the time, I must have missed it. In fact, as I recall, NR wrote several in-depth stories about this.

  34. As much as some Mormons would like to believe, Focus on the Family etc. are certainly NOT our friends.

    Amen to that! It was only a few years ago that Mrs. Dobson refused to allow the LDS church to participate in their National Day of Prayer.

    Unfortunately I think that in the future the church will become more of a target from both the far right and the far left. But as I see it, if you have both radical camps against you, you must be doing something right.

  35. I wrote a comment that seems to have disappeared in which I suggested that we should not be upset that when we get involved in “mere political opinions” that “mere political consequences” like protests and investigating donor lists. While I believe that protests outside temples is counterproductive because it instantiates Mormon fears that homosexuals want to interfere with their religious freedom, I am not at all shocked or even upset by the fact that it occurs.
    I personally know LDSs who have picketed gay events, including elementary school field trips that had some exposure to gay families. The pro-Prop 8 crowd has valorized the MA guy who was so out of control in his son’s elementary school that he had to be arrested. I know for a fact that gay weddings are routinely picketed. Nothing controversial when it happens to us.

  36. I personally know LDSs who have picketed gay events, including elementary school field trips that had some exposure to gay families.

    Sigh…

    That is not what the LDS church teaches. In short, having homosexual tendencies or inclinations is not a sin. But actively participating in homosexual sex is. Just as looking at another woman when you’re married is not a sin (if she’s clothed), but committing adultery is.

    But I don’t see anyone picketing adulterers! Why not? Isn’t it the same?! (This double standard drives me nuts.)

    As I had mentioned above, the LDS church has tried to go out of its way to make sure that homosexual men and women are not vilified or attacked by it’s members. The LDS people you know are not following the examples of the church’s leaders. The LDS people you know are wrong in the methods they are using. The church teaches that you should love your neighbor, not picket them.

  37. I wrote an email to the author of the original post at Daily Kos. My critique was that a call for this sort of investigation was not the best way to approach this issue, and that it would increase the division and rancor present in politics, and that we should follow the attempts to bridge the gap into a less divisive approach.

    What I got back was the standard screed about how our actions were taking away rights, this was hateful and showed the mormons bigotry, etc. It took 3 replies, each saying I wasn’t attacking the substance of his argument, merely his methods. Finally I got this back on the third reply.

    “My intent with my diary, since you’re talking about methods, was to do what a lot of campaigns do: research the donors and figure out if there can be any pressure put to return some of those major contributions. All campaigns do that, if they can devote the resources to it. It provides a good media angle, distracts the opposition, and defunds the opposition. I’m not hating. I’m playing politics.”

    I then asked him why his post singled out members of the LDS Church. “There is a list of a bunch of Mormon donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign”.

    He has not responded. He has also not responded to where he would draw the line on exerting pressure on donors. I asked him if it was permissible to send hate mail to supporters, send letters to an employer and other various techniques going from mild to strong, to which no response was given.

  38. James, I couldn’t agree more!

    Jay, that is cool that you took the time to talk to the author. I personally think that you got the answer to your question. As he told you in the email and as was stated in the original article, the goal is the same goal of any political organization that looks into donor lists. They aren’t trying to personally harass people, but to try to find lightning rod donors who would embarrass the overall cause.
    I agree that focusing on the Mormon donors alone seems problematic, but I do understand why. Mormons make up a disproportionate number of this “coalition,” and I suppose that the anticipated scandal might make things uncomfortable. I expect, as I have said, that no such scandal will be found and that the pedestrian “infractions” like jaywalking and divorce are not really what they are looking for. They want to find a former unrepentant terrorist, but they aren’t going to.

  39. TT 0 perhaps I didn’t make myself clear – but I only got that confession after several rounds of bluster and personal attacks.

    I don’t understand why the foucs on mormons. Sure, if you focus on donors alone, by the size of the donations, you are going to get some members of the LdS church brought in. But WHY SPECIFICALLY target mormons?

    The author says that when we say we aren’t “hating the gays” that isn’t true and he doesn’t believe us. he says “i am not hating, I am just playing politics”. Do we mirror his response?

    TT – I only got this confession after painting the author in a corner, when he realized that his original intent of going after the donors wouldn’t fly.

    The original post was clearly an attempt to pressure the donors into silence. As i stated he refused to draw a line as to what was appropriate and what was not.

    If you see the types of tactics I am reffering to – go search abovethelaw for orrick or proposition 8.

  40. Jay,
    The original article states the purpose of this investigation:

    “Use OpenSecrets to see if these donors have contributed to…shall we say…less than honorable causes, or if any one of these big donors has done something otherwise egregious. If so, we have a legitimate case to make the Yes on 8 campaign return their contributions, or face a bunch of negative publicity.”

    The second explanation which he gave to you in email says the same thing:

    “research the donors and figure out if there can be any pressure put to return some of those major contributions.”

    In both cases the express purpose is to attack the campaign, not the individual donors themselves. Where are you drawing your conclusion that personal harassment was on the table at all?

  41. So is turnabout now fair play, Geoff?

    A threatening letter has sparked a new controversy here in San Diego surrounding the gay marriage debate. Donors who gave money to the No on Prop 8 campaign say they received blackmail letters demanding money, and the Yes on 8 campaign now says the letters were sent by their employees.

  42. And at least one Latter-day Saint has some explaining to do, if you read the wire reports.

    I’m willing to vote yes on a measure like this – though how one votes on anything, including something like this that the Brethren are backing, is ultimately between that person and the Lord. I’m not willing to resort to this or some of ProtectMarriage’s other crawl-through-the-mud tactics.

  43. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_10796847?nclick_check=1

    The letter was signed by four members of [ProtectMarriage.com's] executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com. A donation form was attached. The letter did not say where the names would be published.

    Brother Jansson is the Church’s representative on ProtectMarriage.com.

    See also http://www.cbs8.com/stories/story.144185.html

  44. The “No on 8″ folks are obviously playing hardball with their list of businesses whose employees have contributed to the “Yes on 8″ folks. One way of looking at the referenced letter is saying, “if you want to remain neutral on this issue we welcome your donation. If you don’t want to remain neutral, we will publish the name of your company, just as the “No on 8″ folks did to our contributors.”

    Let’s see a copy of the actual letter (the link doesn’t work).

  45. Wow, not too smart. Big mistake, in my opinion, and not an acceptable tactic.

    I emphatically agree. It seems to me that this is getting way out of hand.

    I’ll reserve my final judgement until I know more about it, but on the surface this looks horrible.

    John Taber, if you could please update the bad link from your post above, I would appreciate it.

  46. I don’t think it is an acceptable tactic for either side, but you will have to admit that “the left” uses boycotts, and intimidation more frequently than do churches and pro-family folks.

    Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire (“Johnny hit me first”)

  47. “The “No on 8″ folks are obviously playing hardball with their list of businesses whose employees have contributed to the “Yes on 8″ folks. ”

    It seems to me there is a slight difference between, say publishing a list of publically available donor lists on the internet and this sort of threat, which came directly from the Protect Marriage campaign.

    “Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error,” reads the letter. “Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. … The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081023/ap_on_el_st_lo/gay_marriage_1

  48. I don’t think it is an acceptable tactic for either side, but you will have to admit that “the left” uses boycotts, and intimidation more frequently than do churches and pro-family folks.”

    Huh? Really? I especially like your characterization of “the left” as excuding “churches and pro-family folks.” Be a surprise to many.

  49. Would it be a surprise to you that the Unitarian “Church” is organizing the “No on 8″ campaign? That “Church” is actually a “Fellowship” and has a tenuous tie to Christianity.

  50. If you don’t understand the difference between publishing a publically available list of contributors on the web, and sending the sort of letter that Protect America sent, one (publishing on the internet) is a legal action that happened, as the names were publically available;

    the other, the letter, is a threat, and as it states in the letter, that the amount requested is over $10,000, it just might be a federal offense. Words such as extortion, blackmail, mail fraud, may be bantered around (i’m not sure of the actual legal definitions here, but they do seem to apply, any criminal attorneys in the cyber room?) and the implications could get really interesting if the Mormon member of the committee was seen as acting on behalf of the Mormon church.

  51. You know what is even more hypocritical than sending letter from the official campaign while complaining that the opposition is legally looking into donor backgrounds?

    It is when Mormons say stuff like this:

    “That “Church” is actually a “Fellowship” and has a tenuous tie to Christianity.”

  52. It is when Mormons say stuff like this:

    “That “Church” is actually a “Fellowship” and has a tenuous tie to Christianity.”

    No member of the LDS church ever said anything remotely like that, unless the person never spent one minute inside the four walls of an LDS chapel.

  53. With just over 24 hours to go, I just wanted to give you some time to let it sink in that I was right about both the goals of this attempt to research LDS donors, as well as the results of his investigation. Sorry that both the church members and the opponents of 8 failed your expectations of both bring evil. :)

  54. TT, as for the results, we were all fortunate that they apparently did not find the dirt they were looking for. That is a testament to the integrity of (most) Church members, and if you want to take credit for that, well, I guess there’s no way to stop you. As for the motives of the Daily Kos smear chiefs, well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on their motives. I continue to maintain that if they had come up with anything at all, including ugly divorces, etc, they would have shouted it from the rooftops.

    Interesting to note that you are full of condemnation for Yes on 8 supporters (see your comment above) who cross the line but only full of defensiveness for No on 8 people who call for smear campaigns. Consistency is not your middle name.

    I on the other hand continue to condemn both sides for such ugliness. Yes, you can call me Geoff “Consistency” B. :)

  55. Geoff,
    If pointing out that you both misread a text despite a clear indication of the text’s actually stated motives and pointing out your false prophesy to “mark your words” makes me of something, at least it is not what you’re full of! :)
    In all seriousness, I am glad that nothing happened. Best wishes to those in CA tomorrow.

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