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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pictures From Today’s Protest

posted by on November 9 at 11:01 AM

Fifty people picketed the Mormon church in Ravenna at 8 AM today to protest LDS-financed attacks on same-sex couples and families.


“Most churchgoers waved while driving or walking by,” writes Chris, who attended this morning’s protest with his wife and daughter. “I hoped for more dialog with churchgoers, but most of them just walked by and said hello. We tried not to get in the way of normal church operations, staying on the sidewalk and not blocking church traffic. We chanted protest slogans (‘2-4-6-8, Churches shouldn’t legislate!’ ‘All families matter!’), and many people driving by were supportive and honked their horns.

“One female churchgoer thanked us profusely for what we were doing before walking in. The other I talked to was a young male concerned that we were making such a strong show of ‘hate’ against the church. He said that he was strongly against prop 8. I asked him what kind of internal dialogs were going on in the church about gay rights. He said that church officials preach that homosexuality is wrong. When pressed, he wouldn’t comment about the contradiction between his beliefs and those of church officials.”

Four out of every five dollars raised for the “Yes on Prop 8” campaign in California was raised by the Mormon church. The Mormon church is, as I said before on Slog, the villain in this piece.

Utah is the new Coors.

RSS icon Comments


Funny how accepting mainstream fundamentalist Christianity is of the Mormons now that they hate gays so openly!

Seriously though, when did the mormons become so acceptable to the ridiculous right? Aren't they barely christian or some shit?

Posted by Walrus | November 9, 2008 11:13 AM

I love the "Would you rather I marry your daughter?" sign.

Posted by Darcy | November 9, 2008 11:15 AM

Hey I don't care if you do as long as you produce bodies for the housing of souls, I need my fucking asteroid.

Posted by Mormon Dad | November 9, 2008 11:17 AM

@ Mormon Dad: Your shit is funny.

Posted by Lucky | November 9, 2008 11:28 AM

If they get to be exempt from paying taxes, they shouldn't be allowed to raise millions of dollars to influence elections and public policy.

Posted by Tax the Churches | November 9, 2008 11:29 AM

Now imagine these same people picketing a black church in the South End because of an exit poll of 200 African Americans in California, and you'll get a visual representation of why Dan Savage's race-baiting has been so misguided.

Posted by Trevor | November 9, 2008 11:33 AM

Man, I really should have found out what news station that guy was from who interviewed me. Ah well. I know for sure Channel 13 Fox News was there. Also, I would like to thank that woman (referenced above) that stopped by crying and hugging all of us as she went in for church telling us all "Thank you so much for being here!" She made all of us tear up.

Posted by Dikla | November 9, 2008 11:34 AM

I don't get the 4/5 dollars comment. I've heard the Mormons donated $15-20 million. That's only 2/5 to 1/2 of the $40 million generated. Where does the 4/5 come from please????

Posted by idaho | November 9, 2008 11:41 AM

How come folks wont protest at any of the black churches in the ghetto? The ones where there is open anti-gay language used frequently?

Oh right...much easier to protest in safer white areas.

Posted by shoop-da-woop | November 9, 2008 11:50 AM

I don't get the freaking out about Dan noting what others have noted: a depressingly large number of African American voters backed discrimination. I read Dan's original post and he didn't blame African Americans for the passage. He's written more posts on Slog blaming the Mormons.

Lots of publications have noted the African American vote going so heavily for Prop 8 in California. I've read about it on Slate and in the dailies and on lots of other blogs. The freaking out in Slog comments about Dan noting it too seems really psycho.

Posted by Reading Comprehension | November 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Thanks Dom for showing up and taking pics, and thanks to all who came out. I had hoped the message would be more about the LDS tax-exemption, and the need for the IRS to investigate and less about 'shame on the church' and 'stop preaching hate', but there was a substantial presence there nonetheless.

Posted by happy renter | November 9, 2008 12:01 PM
Posted by hyperlinker | November 9, 2008 12:08 PM

As a member of the protest I was there to say that a large corporation.... yes this church is a corporation.... should not be tax exempt and be able to donate so much money to legislation and elections. It seems that it is a little backwards.... representation with out taxation.
As far as protesting at a black church... well... I was protesting the corporation not the people. I am how ever embarressed that the black community so quickly forgot what is like to have a law on the books denying you a right. It is a sad day but the focus should be on how the church bought this election. Not on how any individual decided to vote.

Posted by Ry | November 9, 2008 12:11 PM

Dan pointed out that there's homophobia in the African American church. Word is that there's homophobia in *other* churches, too. Pointing out what's regularly accepted among people of color themselves shouldn't open one up to condemnation. And that's what Dan did. He just pointed out that, as a group, a large majority of African Americans apparently voted against gay marriage.

It's not blaming blacks for the passage of 8 to point out that there's homophobia in many of the African American churches. There just is. Even Barack Obama has called out African American churchgoers about this.

What does it say to me? It says we have a long way to go to gain our rights and to work with others to gain those rights. What we do from here on out will be extremely important.

Protesting the Mormons is a good beginning.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | November 9, 2008 12:17 PM

My favorite part was the "standing ovation", given to the woman who had been tearfully thanking us, as she walked up the steps to her church. She has more power than all of us combined.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 9, 2008 12:18 PM

Yes Violet, absolutely. That made my whole morning.

Posted by Dikla | November 9, 2008 12:20 PM

Guys, if you're interested in ending the church's tax-exempt status, you're going to have to do better than demonstrate that the church and/or its followers simply donated funds to the Yes on 8 effort. As Fnarf and a few others have pointed out several times now (and what I didn't realize at first) is that, while 501(c)s are prohibited from endorsing candidates, they are not prohibited from lobbying to influence legislation. I believe the wording of the law is something like "no substantial part" of the organization's public charity can go toward political lobbying--and I'd be willing to bet that even with the millions that Mormons poured into the Yes on 8 effort, the amount spent by the church itself doesn't even approach the money it's spent in other areas.

You can ask the IRS to investigate the LDS Church all you want, but understand what you're actually asking them to look for. And understand that if you're pushing for religious institutions to lose their 501(c) status altogether, you then open up the door for progressive non-profits to lose their status as well if they engage in political lobbying.

Posted by Darcy | November 9, 2008 12:21 PM

I agree it is sad that we don't have unity from all minorities. How can any minority group get the rights they don't have with out the support of a majority? We need unity. A well organized tax exempt group like LDS can really swing a vote something should be done to limit what they can contribute.

Posted by Equality 4 All HUMANS | November 9, 2008 12:23 PM

Happy Renter: My understanding of the money trail is that the initiative came from preachers, encouraging the congregation to donate. The money came from from private hands. They have the infrastructure to do this. Here's an example (from, about Alan Ashton, Mormon and co-founder of Wordperfect):

" Then, Ashton declined to talk about his donation because of his assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This time, he said he was prodded to give, like all Mormons, by letters read from the pulpit this summer. His money was used as a challenge grant for California donors and was only disclosed a few days before the Nov. 4 election.
"I wanted to make sure the future is good for my children and grandchildren," he said. "That's why I gave." "

Posted by Chris | November 9, 2008 12:24 PM

dont be such a Darcy-downer.

Posted by wtf did U do this morning? | November 9, 2008 12:24 PM

Protest at Mount Zion Chruch tonight at 6 PM!

Posted by todd | November 9, 2008 12:30 PM

@20: Wow, okay. I guess the last thing we want is a reasoned understanding of the laws we're trying to challenge.

Posted by Darcy | November 9, 2008 12:32 PM

Jesus, you guys really are good at embarrassing yourselves and the movement. Leave it to dramatic queers to delegate blame instead of coming up with an actual PLAN. Fucking douchebags.

Posted by p | November 9, 2008 12:33 PM

Am I missing something about the "tearful woman"? I mean, she still entered the church. She's still a member of the church. She still tithes to the church. She still supports the church.

She didn't stand with you.

Posted by Tracy | November 9, 2008 12:34 PM

"Four out of every five dollars raised for the “Yes on Prop 8” campaign in California was raised by the Mormon church. The Mormon church is, as I said before on Slog, the villain in this piece."

Yes, but don't forget the Moral Majority of Catholics and Anglicans in your protests. For decades they've been scheming to steal liberties from all of us! The "main stream" religious right are more villainous. They're the ones, for the last eight years, who've pulled the puppet strings of the Bush administration. Mormons may be responsible for Prop H8 (and 102) but the other Jeebus freaks should be held accountable for their interference into our private lives! We should be picketing all churches and demanding they lose their tax exempt status!

Posted by yucca flower | November 9, 2008 12:40 PM

Anyone who complains about the actions today I have two questions... Where were you this morning? And What have you done to make a difference.

The woman is a step in the right direction it's an in someone who is open to dialouge

Posted by equal rights 4 all | November 9, 2008 12:41 PM

@23: Here's one plan: When a church advises, via a man who has been declared to be a prophet, its member to give their time and money to a campaign to write discrimination into a state constitution, file a complaint with the IRS about the church's tax-exempt status. You can do so by completing and faxing, mailing, or e-mailing this pre-filled IRS form 13909.

From one organizer of this plan:

First, submission of an unprecedented number of complaints may convince the IRS to investigate the matter and clarify the “no substantial part” test and whether churches’ instructing their members to engage in substantial activity to influence legislation means those members act as agents of the church. Under certain tests, an expenditure of $20 million qualifies as “substantial”, and such an expenditure by church members at the direct instruction of church leaders may constitute prohibited activity. And, are members of a church, who attend services, donate money to the church, and obey church leaders in conducting their personal lives, agents of that church when they engage in substantial activity to influence legislation at church leaders’ instructions? These gray areas would benefit from clarification, and a large number of complaints may lead to that.

Second, a massive peaceful outcry against the Church’s activities may convince Church leaders that its political activities have a negative impact on the Church’s reputation in the world. The LDS church works hard to maintain a positive, uplifting image, through its humanitarian work, the appearance of its buildings, the conduct of its members, and even uplifting television and radio advertising.

By maintaining respectful but vocal discourse opposing the Church’s political activities, particularly in a way that demonstrates that the Church’s reputation has been damaged, Church leaders may be less likely to engage in political activism in the future.

Finally, sufficient interest in this activity could lead to support for amending state and federal regulation of tax-exempt entities. Perhaps this does not merit revocation of the LDS Church’s 501(c)(3) status today, but perhaps the Church’s activities have highlighted the issue in an unprecedented way. Now, there may be enough support to change tax law so that endorsement of and opposition to ballot initiatives are prohibited, just as these entities are prohibited from endorsing or opposing a particular candidate.

Posted by Phil M | November 9, 2008 12:45 PM


Um. . .I don't think anybody expects religious people to immediately abandon their church and join a picket line. If she can be a dissenting voice in her church, she's planting seeds. And making church leadership nervous.

I understand why people are cynical about protests. I have mixed feelings myself. But seeing people blush and look down as they walked into their hateful church . . . worth it. Seeing kids who will later ask their parents to explain bigotry and discrimination in terms they can understand. . .worth it. Forcing Corporate Mormonism into a defensive posture . . . worth it.

Giving a person who had the balls to stop and thank us and hug us -- and walk into a building where she would have to explain herself as an ally -- a warm pat on the back . . . worth it!

Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 9, 2008 12:50 PM

All very good points, #26 & 28. Thank you.

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Posted by Pit Bull in Forks | November 9, 2008 1:00 PM

Check out all these Coors ads on Slog.

Posted by Linus | November 9, 2008 1:05 PM

beat me to it @31. if coors is so evil, then maybe the stranger might want to discontinue running their advertisements on their website??

Posted by bitch, please. | November 9, 2008 1:22 PM

@24: The woman who thanked the protesters and then entered the church for services could be the beginning of an internal dialogue within the congregation that probably did not take place. Change within religious groups have to come from inside, especially conservative groups who believe that outside opponents are agents of a devil-figure. If this woman gets others in her congregation thinking about the stands taken by her leaders then maybe some positive change will happen.

Posted by RainMan | November 9, 2008 1:36 PM

Looks like you got a hellhound on your trail there, Dan. Take my advice: try a hunk of raw meat marinated in cyanide. Over the fence. Hi, pit bull! Bye, pit bull!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | November 9, 2008 1:36 PM

Pointing out problems in the black community is the third rail among liberals. Anti-Semitism, homophobia, umm, let's change the topic, let's talk about how whites are anti-Semitic and homophobic too.

Liberals think they're doing the black community a favor when they shield them from criticism, but they're actually initializing them. Treating the black community with respect means criticizing that community, in a respectful way, when it fails to stand up for what's right.

Posted by bob | November 9, 2008 1:37 PM

err, damn spell check. That was supposed to be "infantilizing them" not "initializing them".

Posted by bob | November 9, 2008 1:40 PM

Not everyone agrees with everything their church advocates. Didn't we all agree with Obama when he made that statement about his home church in Chicago?

Individual Mormons aren't the enemy - especially the individual Mormons that are in your favor. Don't make them the enemy, you need friends that have different beliefs than you if you want to make any progress.

The individuals that are throwing glass bottles at protesters in LA? They're the enemy. These people are giving you hugs and thanking you for protesting. Painting them as "just like everyone else in the LDS church" is a total dick move.

Posted by scotlanded | November 9, 2008 1:44 PM

#37 - If they're giving hugs outside the church and then tithing their money which is going to support homophobic legislation then they aren't that different from the enemy.

Posted by honestly | November 9, 2008 1:53 PM

In case you did not know...And this has nothing to do with your sexuality or whatnot, this is the ugly of ugliest politics in play, as well as a theological war in which homosexuals are both pawns and operatives.
Christian Orthodoxy VS. Talmudic Judaism and political Zionism. First, chew on this short clip of Dave Chapelle talking to Oprah Winfrey, it helps outline what i am referring to.
Simply put, Jews push homosexuality on the gentiles.
Now, what percentage of homosexuals are Jewish, and what percentage of these Jewish homosexuals voted for Barack Obama? Are you Jewish Mr. Savage?

Posted by Shootingsparks | November 9, 2008 1:54 PM

I have a feeling that the crazies brought in from the publicity over the Hell Houses article will be with us a long time on the Slog.

Posted by bob | November 9, 2008 2:00 PM

#33: I think you're right on this. A good Mormon friend tried to introduce me to Mormonism in high school. These people do discuss things and are educated and fairly logical. A lot of young Mormons saw the protest and will ask questions of their parents and friends. Gentle exposure to the opposing view can only stimulate dialog, which is a good place to start.

Posted by Chris | November 9, 2008 2:16 PM

@41: I

Posted by L | November 9, 2008 2:18 PM

A minority who looked for white support them get civil rights and a minority who looked for whites to help their citizenship cause were sure quick to find a minority they could control in this election. It is disgusting and they should all be ashamed of themselfs. Everyone that voted this way. During the civil right acts our gay votes weren't turned away. They welcomed them. What a shameful fearful act.

Posted by fire back | November 9, 2008 2:19 PM

You all just picked the most gay Friendly Mormon Stake in America to picket.

Good or bad, I can't say, but I am sure they will roll with it.

Seattle has its own way in all things, in the Seattle Stake there are many openly gay folks, much support and warmth.

And Mormons have never traveled to Olympia to testify against gay rights. Compared to the The Catholic Bishops, three of them, who have sent spokespeople for years.

I think you all have been stampeded to the wrong church - what is that all about?

The LDS Church is tiny, with little real votes or voting power, compared to Catholics and the anti gay Pope.

After backing Romney so well, I think the Mormons went over the edge in California. They have opposed gay marriage since Hawaii, so it is no surprise they were involved.

If Queers want gay marriage in America, the key is the Pope.... and Southern Baptists, and the other Mega Churches of America, and anti gay Republicans.

I do support the protests, show your grit, but there needs to be a long term real strategy, not just two weeks of anger. And the anger needs to include all the culprits.

Which in Washington State, the culprit is the very openly homophobic Republican Party - transcends all the churches as far as standing in the way of any social or political gain.

Picket Republican Hq. in Bellevue, give them something to worry about. Remember dear Dino said he didn't like civil unions and while in the legislature he VOTED against the gay rights bill.

WOW. The real political enemy and it looks like the same old elephant.

Posted by Holy Shit | November 9, 2008 3:46 PM

#38 - Unless I am misunderstood (which is possible) the individual doesn't control where their money goes. Churches do a whole lot of charity work, the LDS church included. I don't blame people for tithing on Sunday mornings. Yes, some of those dollars go to funding antigay legislation. Those dollars also fund their building, the staff necessary for it, etc.

As I said before, if they're putting money in the basket with the hope that it goes towards funding anti-gay legislation, that's a separate matter entirely.

You can fight the higherups in the LDS church for funding the legislation, you can fight the homophobic Mormons that are rude and violent to you - but making our friends out to be enemies? Not good.

Posted by scotlanded | November 9, 2008 4:09 PM

Fact: The Stranger supports anti-gay groups.

Protest these ironic bigots too?

Posted by Stop taking Coors money, OK? | November 9, 2008 4:46 PM

Above - get on the clue bus. That is the old supporting the far right Coors.

The last decade changed everything as new young Coors family - Scott Coors took over.

Coors has paid for ads in major news papers supporting gay marriage. They get 100 per cent in non discrimination index ratings. They give tons of money to AIDS, run ads in gay papers, etc.

The boycott on Coors ended about ten years ago - every gay bar in Seattle serves it.

Kind of moot - Coors Brewing is now owned my Moulson Of Canada, sold last year.

Posted by George | November 9, 2008 5:45 PM

Small, but significant, correction: The Mormon Church gave no money to fight for prop 8 (no tithing from members was spent on this). The church (strongly) urged members to donate. When you hear the stats about how much the Mormons donated it was not the church, but rather individual LDS church members who chose to give.

Posted by Wesdf | November 9, 2008 5:57 PM

@47 You are allowed to be a dumbshit.

Posted by Stop taking Coors money, OK? | November 9, 2008 8:20 PM

@33, @41

To the hopefuls who believe that "internal dialogue will instigate change"--the Church does not change its position on morals according to the will of the people. The Church is governed by a living Prophet who receives revelation from God.

So stop wasting your time. Your comments only show how little you know about the LDS church.

Posted by aec43 | November 9, 2008 8:29 PM

Well, righty then! Someone post the name, address, and telephone number of the Living Prophet of the LDS, and we'll get right on with educatin' ourselves.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 9, 2008 11:00 PM

"Utah is the new Coors"...
40% of Utahns aren't mormon.

Posted by palerobber | November 10, 2008 9:17 AM

50 people showed up?!? I used to live on Broadway on Capitol Hill in Seattle...there are a ba-zillion gays there, and they only had 50 protestors?! Oye.

Simply put - the Mormons have proved with their complete obsession with PROP 8 to be a Tax-Exempt Hate Group.

Heterosexuals - You better wake up. Instead of pondering a cerebral concept like how gays want the “1,138 rights of marriage”, you need to educate yourselves about the CONSEQUENCES when one or more of those 1,138 rights are denied. GOOGLE “Freeheld” or “Tying the Knot”; watch the DVDs. Write it down now.

Your laws HATE us, and we’ve had it! Yes, I did said HATE - I stand by it. Because how else can you explain these 3

A police woman loses her life in the line of duty; her wife of 13 years is denied all pension benefits.

A rancher loses his husband of 22 years; his inlaws evict him and try to take the home he built and lived in with his beloved.

A detective spends 25 years risking her own life while protecting society; she has to spend her remaining days on this earth worrying whether her earned pension will be transferred to her wife (while living with terminal cancer).

YES, H-A-T-E. And your silence on this matter is a serious affront to our families’s safety and security. FAMILY - isn’t that a cherished concept in the U.S.A.?

So now after decades of disinterest, some of us in the LGBTI community have AWAKENED. And we will refuse to pay one penny of income tax to the IRS until the government (i.e. - you) decide you WANT our tax dollars as EQUAL CITIZENS.

This ain’t a vote.
This ain’t a debate.
This ain't a popularity contest.

You will PAY OUR TAXES until we have what your family ALREADY HAS; your apathy is costing you money as you read this. GAY TAX PROTEST!

Posted by John Bisceglia | November 11, 2008 3:40 AM

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