Marvin Perkins: We are one.

Marvin Perkins

Marvin Perkins is described by Mormon blog Times & Seasons as “a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African-Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions.” Here’s Marvin at T&S:

Even couched in kind tones, today we find many in the church who utilize labels of separation like your people, our people etc. We are one.

And here’s Marvin attacking misconceptions as a Yes on 8 campaigner:

“… They can’t reproduce, so they got to recruit. And they’re trying to recruit our kids. They’re trying to promote that lifestyle to our kids and I say NO. And then they bring it under a civil rights issue. It’s not a civil rights issue, it’s a moral issue.”

How does Marvin know they are out to recruit his kids?

Because his gay friends told him so:

This tension was especially pronounced when less-polished speakers — like, say, Marvin Perkins, a forty-ish African American introduced as a “community leader” — took the microphone at the rally. “They’re trying to compare this to the black struggle for civil rights and to interracial marriage,” Perkins told the crowd. “And it’s like, there were no civil unions for black and white couples, so, you know, you don’t have a leg to stand on.” If such reasoning caused some puzzlement — was he saying that civil unions would be sufficient for mixed-race couples? — Perkins had another argument for the crowd to consider. “I was talking to a gay friend of mine, and I said, ‘What’s the story? Come on. You have civil unions. Why are you pushing this?’ And they said, ‘Marvin, it’s simply recruiting. We love to recruit.'” It struck me as a testament to Marvin’s magnetism that he was able to elicit such candor from his close gay friends about the recruiting conspiracy.

Memo #1 to Marvin: Your gay friends hate you.

Watch the whole thing, but catch Marvin in action starting around the 3:15 mark:
Memo #2 to Marvin: Your biracial friends probably hate you, too.

Why is marriage equality not a civil rights issue?

Because separate but equal wasn’t available for interracial couples back in the day.

CNN’s Stan Wilson: Wasnt there a time when interracial marriage was illegal? How do you respond to that?

Marvin Perkins: There was. Interracial couples were told they could not marry or have any of the rights of marriage. Same sex couples in CA have the same rights with domestic partnerships. There were no domestic partnerships for interracial couples.

Facepalm.

The OP at that Times & Seasons link goes on to describe Marvin as “… one of the foremost scholars in the Church on the topic of race and the scriptures and has done a tremendous amount to help put an end to doctrinal folklore.”

Memo #3 to Marvin: This is me LMAO at your “scholarship” and your ridiculously homophobic self. We are one, Marvin, but what are you? Looks to me like you’re one big liar, just another Paul H. Dunn, telling whoppers for the Lord.

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Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

23 thoughts on “Marvin Perkins: We are one.

  1. You know, the word “homophobe” is becoming so overused that it’s starting to lose whatever impact it ever had.

    I’ve taken to ignoring it as basically meaning nothing more profound than “your mother wears army boots.”

  2. If Chino had said Marvin was a poopy-pants, that would be name-calling. “Name-calling” is when your argument has no other substance than putting the name on someone.

    In this case, there’s plenty of substance. Homophobic bigotry harms people, so calling out homophobic bigots for what they are serves a protective function.

    This isn’t “name-calling”. It’s “classification”.

  3. Ha, well. In other news, Dallin Oaks is finding everything he can to make gay marriage out to be a violation of the First Amendment (Article, quote:

    “Said Elder Oaks: “Along with many others, I see a serious threat to the freedom of religion in the current assertion of a ‘civil right’ of homosexuals to be free from religious preaching against their relationships. Religious leaders of various denominations affirm and preach that sexual relations should only occur between a man and a woman joined together in marriage. One would think that the preaching of such a doctrinal belief would be protected by the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion, to say nothing of the guarantee of free speech. However, we are beginning to see worldwide indications that this may not be so.”

  4. Religious leaders of various denominations affirm and preach that sexual relations should only occur between a man and a woman joined together in marriage. One would think that the preaching of such a doctrinal belief would be protected by the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion, to say nothing of the guarantee of free speech.

    We could start with the obvious point that gay marriage in no way interferes with any church’s right to preach whatever they want. But what I think Oaks is getting at is the corner the brethren painted themselves into when they decided to use the legal, civil marriage contract as a fundamental component of their church’s doctrine. Despite the fact that legal marriage varies from country to country (in terms of rights, responsibilities, regulations, recognition, etc.), Mormon doctrine uses this legal contract as the point where God separates sex from being a sin-next-to-murder to being something holy.

    The trouble it’s not the rest of the country’s fault (or problem) if the Mormons decided to base their doctrines on the particulars of civil law. The Mormons don’t have to reference civil law in their definition of what is and isn’t sexual sin. Joseph Smith didn’t.

  5. As more people speak in the public sphere about supporting gay marriage as an ethical, moral and religious position (generally because of preexisting families), Oaks will increasingly not be able to hide behind this notion of “protecting religious speech.” It will sound like anti-miscegenation religious speech did in the 70s… it will be protected but will sound bigoted and will be shunned. And the reason for this will not be because of an erosion of “freedom of religious speech,” but because the grounding for his particular religious speech (that is, the tying of what is being said to actual facts on the ground) won’t make sense. Marvin’s notion of “gays recruit because they can’t reproduce” is a prime example. If gays couldn’t reproduce, then where did their families come from?

  6. Dallin Oaks thought these “indications” meant it might lead to that.

    To summarize: a church was successfully sued for not hosting a gay marriage, a policeman was demoted for preaching in church about how wrong homosexuality is, two candidates for a masters in counseling were penalized or dismissed for their views against gay marriage, and two professors were fired or disciplined for expressing their personal convictions about the sinfulness of homosexuality.

    There’s more that I didn’t mention:

    “Religious preaching of the wrongfulness of homosexual relations is beginning to be threatened with criminal prosecution or actually prosecuted or made the subject of civil penalties. Canada has been especially aggressive, charging numerous religious authorities and persons of faith with violating its human rights law by impacting an individual’s sense of self-worth and acceptance.”29 Other countries where this has occurred include Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.30

    I do not know enough to comment on whether these suppressions of religious speech violate the laws of other countries, but I do know something of religious freedom in the United States, and I am alarmed at what is reported to be happening here.

    In New Mexico, the state’s Human Rights Commission held that a photographer who had declined on religious grounds to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony had engaged in impermissible conduct and must pay over $6,000 attorney’s fees to the same-sex couple. A state judge upheld the order to pay.31 In New Jersey, the United Methodist Church was investigated and penalized under state anti-discrimination law for denying same-sex couples access to a church-owned pavilion for their civil-union ceremonies. A federal court refused to give relief from the state penalties.32 Professors at state universities in Illinois and Wisconsin were fired or disciplined for expressing personal convictions that homosexual behavior is sinful.33 Candidates for masters’ degrees in counseling in Georgia and Michigan universities were penalized or dismissed from programs for their religious views about the wrongfulness of homosexual relations.34 A Los Angeles policeman claimed he was demoted after he spoke against the wrongfulness of homosexual conduct in the church where he is a lay pastor.35 The Catholic Church’s difficulties with adoption services and the Boy Scouts’ challenges in various locations are too well known to require further comment.”

    He seems pretty well-informed by the PR department.

  7. I do know something of religious freedom in the United States, and I am alarmed at what is reported to be happening here.

    I can see how one would be alarmed if they wrap the whole debate in “freedom of religious speech/practice.” But like I said, one can support gay marriage publicly as a religious position. Oaks misreads this position as stemming from “moral relativism,” but as a leader of a religious institution he is doing his constituency an injustice because he rallying feelings of victimization rather than critical thinking skills. It’s like he can’t see the possibility of gender/sexual mores different than those of Mormonism being anything but of the devil. “Religious positions” are being made more “private,” he says, but perhaps what is actually happening is that Mormonism is finding itself more and more outside American gender/sexual mores. I would be more convinced by his argument if his examples didn’t center solely on family law.

    Oaks is not at all prescriptive about how gay couples and their families should be treated under the law. Most of the “dire cases of religious persecution” he’s listed have resulted from sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws in cities/states/countries, which have come onto the books precisely because the idea of homosexuality as “sin” has been detrimental to a sub-population of human beings. So when anti-gay religious folk are penalized under the law, they’re being penalized in the same way that affirmative action programs penalized white people who refused to see their historical privilege. Mormons have an attraction/behavior distinction, and an idea of “same-gender attraction” as a “disabling factor” toward their ideal, but not everyone is Mormon (or Catholic or evangelical or Muslim). So, when it comes to public discussions on the topic of homosexuality, and all Mormons have had to offer over the last several decades is that “homosexuality is a sin” and those with “homosexual feelings must struggle,” then they’re the ones who’ve taken a slingshot to their foot. Hiding behind “religious freedom” now is just a way to continue to not critically examine their own sexual/gender norms. And guess what? Support of gay marriage has come about not because of moral relativism, but because of a critical examination of sexual/gender norms.

  8. In New Jersey, the United Methodist Church was investigated and penalized under state anti-discrimination law for denying same-sex couples access to a church-owned pavilion for their civil-union ceremonies. A federal court refused to give relief from the state penalties.

    This was a slimy example to use, omitting — as it does — very pertinent information. Morris Thurston explains:

    …the OGCMA case had nothing to do with religious property tax exemptions, and surely you know that. It had to do with a specific law providing that an entity could dedicate a parcel of property for public use and in exchange receive a special exemption. If the property is designated for public use, it is not, by definition, a religious sanctuary. Obviously the state is not going to permit an organization, religious or otherwise, to claim a tax exemption for a parcel dedicated to public use and then permit that organization to discriminate. … The New Jersey taxing authority did not revoke OGCMAs property tax exemption for the other 99% of the property it held.

    More in-depth info here.

  9. I’ll see your “slimy” and raise you a “monstrous” …

    In the case of the photographer, Oaks said there might be room for discussion about whether the customers’ civil rights were violated. In the other case, however, he said it was “monstrous” to compel a church to allow its property to be used for something that violated its principles.

    Of course, I’m doubly-glad to link to that LA Times piece because it quotes our very own Kate Kendell responding to Dallin’s latest obtuse obfuscations.

  10. I didn’t find Oaks to be very compelling with his examples either.

    But the blog that posted about his talk updated with a Harvard Law publication that does a much better job of detailing the risks churches could face for teaching or practicing in a way that discriminates against gay people: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No3_Severinoonline.pdf.

    So maybe it is a valid concern for churches who pursue a discrimination against gay marriage.

    I’m somewhat excited at the implications. But also, I’m concerned for the freedom of expression of religious beliefs. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  11. Openminded,

    That’s a very useful document, as I can see what you’re saying. In terms of family law, America has indeed been rather strict, so strict that Congress threatened to dissolve the financial institution known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the end of the 19th century for being polygamists. And then it sent the Army into Utah to confiscate LDS temples. The reason for this is that Mormons were considered to be acquiring capital and heirs in an “un-American” fashion.

    By the 1970s, being anti-miscegenistic was also “un-American” and Mormons felt that, too; they were boycotted because of their refusal to ordain black men.

    By the 2020s, I forecast that being anti-gay will be “un-American,” and groups that hold homosexuality as a “sin” will feel this.

    In each of these instances people cried about freedom of religion, which seems to basically mean, “let us do things the way we do it.” But if you look back at the 1878 Supreme Court case, US v Reynolds, which concerned polygamy, the Court ruled that freedom of religion in the Constitution concerns freedom of belief, not freedom of action. This is why it is still illegal to murder someone even if your faith says you should. When the day comes that discrimination against someone based on sexual orientation is illegal (or the way Judge Walker took it in the Prop 8 case: sex discrimination + freedom of association), then yeah, anti-gay religious folks are going to feel it. Like I said, though, it’s not like they haven’t had input on the subject over the last several decades.

  12. Nobody gives a hoot that Dallin is married to two women for eternity. Maybe it’s time for a nationwide ad campaign congratulating Elder Big McLovin’ …

  13. Speaking of Orwell … Ted Cox is an ex-mormon writer and he’s planning to give a presentation at Cal Poly. Apparently, according to the LDS Cal Poly students who started this Facebook page, it’s “discriminatory” for Ted to speak on campus. These misguided Mormon kids have taken D.H.O.’s argument to its logical conclusion:

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123548724384007

    What a bunch of wannabe brownshirts.

  14. It’s hilarious that the Cal Poly kids’ logo says “Stop discrimination now!” I guess they don’t teach irony (or self-awareness) in Seminary.

  15. Marvin, interesting career you have. I remember you and the Gaskill Jr High lunch room all too well.

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