Only 8 days left until election day in the United States, and some of us will be very happy when the posturing, spinning, campaigning, and criticizing will be over.
The Church has taken quite a bit of heat in some quarters regarding its stance relative to Proposition 8 in California. I know and support the call from the Church for members to help pass the proposition. I also know several faithful members who take exception to the Church making such a call. (Of course, a few other faithful members may take exception to characterizing those exception-taking members as “faithful.” So be it; that’s a nit I am not willing or worthy to pick.)
What I take exception with is the troublesome efforts of one Nadine Hansen, an attorney from Cedar City, Utah, who created the website Mormonsfor8.com. The domain registration for Mormonsfor8 is “private,” meaning that Hansen has sought to protect her identity through the registration. She has, however, allowed her responsibility for the website to be spotlighted in dozens of newspaper articles, such as this one.
Even though the website and Hansen profess “neutrality” in the struggles for and against Proposition 8, it is somewhat telling that the she operates no balancing website called “Catholicsfor8” or “Mormonsagainst8.” The only demographic and position targeted by the site is Mormons, and only if they have donated to the campaign for a proposition with which she disagrees.
Hardly seems neutral to me.
Hansen is no stranger to this topic, however. She long ago took a position in this area. She recounts some of her efforts in her 2008 Sunstone Symposium presentation.
So what do I find troubling about the Mormonsfor8 website? Simply that it targets individuals and invites others to identify individuals’ religious affiliation. What does such an affiliation have to do with the efforts around Proposition 8? Should it matter of a proponent of the proposition was Baptist? Should it matter if an opponent was tall? Or a lawyer? Or a journalist? Would there be an outcry if someone created a website called “Blacksfor8” or “Gaysagainst8”? If there would be, why is there no outcry over a site designed to identify all the donors in favor of Proposition 8 who are Mormon?
Apparently the effort is appreciated for exactly what it is by some people, however. In a recent post on The Daily Kos one correspondent provided a link to Mormonsfor8 and suggested that people “gather dirt” on all the Mormon donors so that it could be used against those people and against the Proposition 8 proponents. There is at least anecdotal evidence that has been coming in to FAIR that some people are doing just that—using the information on Mormonsfor8 to identify the donors, contact them, and intimidate or threaten them. Even some death threats have been proffered.
If Hansen had any real concern for individuals, she should take down her site, and do it right away, before the election and before some idiot uses her information to actually harm those who don’t agree with Hansen’s moral stance.
I should also note that I find it interesting that an attorney—an officer of the court—would initiate and operate a website which can only have, as its implicit purpose, the targeting of a specific religious group and the suppression of donations by potential future donors from that group. I’m not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that religious affiliation is a private matter and “outting” that affiliation may have legal consequences.
Anyway, the next 8 days should be interesting, to say the least.