um, was I right?

discrimination Hate Immigration

In this earlier post I suggested that calling the Mormon Church a hate church may get them to change their position on same-sex marriage. I didn’t get a lot of takers on that position, but I have to wonder if maybe I was right. Turns out that the champion of the Arizona immigration law is a Mormon, and that fact is turning off potential converts as they believe Mormonism produces people filled with hate. From the article:

“I decided I did not want to expose my kids to a religion that has members that hate other people because they are different,” Corral said.

Two issues:

1) Was I right about calling it a hate church?

2) What’s up with Mormons bashing immigrants?

15 thoughts on “um, was I right?

  1. 1. Yes, you are correct. While some teachings may be contrary to hate, at the end of the day, they view the world as Us vs Them. If you’re not with us, you must hate us, and therefore we are justified in hating you.

    2. The bashing is unfortunately a result of the Church’s implied support for the conservative movement. By taking no action against men like Glenn Beck, who flaunt their Mormon status, but promote hate, they are in effect promoting his message.

    Interestingly enough, when similar legislation was proposed in Utah a year or two back, the Church sent Reps to Capital Hill to send a message that they would prefer a loving and careful approach. The basic message was… Don’t kick out the illegal aliens, because then we would lose all the leadership in our Hispanic branches. But the message was very cryptic and they tried to keep it low key.

  2. I agree with Koda, especially point #2. I’m sure the faithful will come here and point out that the problem is with the extreme right — not with the Mormons. But it’s problematic that Mormonism seems to promote/encourage the most xenophobic elements of the far right.

    It makes me want to call out May Day! May Day! 😉

  3. This really doesn’t make the same point you were making before. All that seems to be happening is that certain people who were not Mormon (or who were not deeply Mormon) are being turned away from the church. As one member quoted in the article said though, longtime members — even longtime latino members, probably won’t leave the church.

    Plus, since the church hasn’t established a position on illegal immigration, and a bill that just happens to be sponsored by someone who happens to be Mormon does NOT equal official church backing, you can’t say that the “backlash” is causing the church to change its position.

    So, it doesn’t carry over to your argument for gay marriage. Who were the people turned off by finding out the church opposes gay people? Gay people themselves and liberal allies. Oh wait, though…these are already people who probably would not have bought the church’s message in the first place…so not much has changed, and there isn’t much incentive for the church to change anything.

  4. I’m no fan of the LDS Church, but I don’t remember any anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from church. So I’m reluctant to pin this on the church.

    I’d go along with Koda — this is conservatism unchecked. I’ve noticed that when a religious doctrine runs up against prevailing cultural norms, the norms always win. (e.g. meat v Word of Wisdom, beliefs about not beating children v scriptures about beating children)

    I remember a talk at Sunstone symposium, to the effect that there are ‘intrinsic’ believers (who use their internal moral compass) and ‘extrinsic’ believers (who go with the rules). The speaker said that the extrinsic believers are less racist in ways where the church tells them not to be racist, but not in areas where it doesn’t. Intrinsic believers tend to be less racist overall. Perhaps what we’re seeing in the LDS Church now is that the intrinsic believers are getting shaken out or leaving in disgust, leaving only the extrinsic ones behind.

  5. The claim is stronger wrt PropH8 than immigration. WRT gay equality, the Church organization was attacking the civil rights of a group over which they have no claim to authority.

    WRT immigration, nothing is up with the Church bashing immigrants because the Church doesn’t give a rats ass about immigration status. There are bishops and even stake presidents who are illegal, and the Church routinely sends missionaries who are undocumented – knowing full well and handling their travel arrangements such that they are less likely to be discovered.

    As far as individual Mormons go, particularly in the Intermountain West, a substantial number of white Mormons are right wing nut cases whose views on immigration align with the teabagging xenophobes. Salt Lake has called for moderation and compassion in dealing with immigration issues, but has not been, IMHO, loud or forceful enough.

    As for missionary work in Arizona, moderate tones in SLC are of little comfort when the local reality for Hispanics in Mesa is you feel under siege and surrounded by people who don’t want you there.

  6. There are bishops and even stake presidents who are illegal, and the Church routinely sends missionaries who are undocumented knowing full well and handling their travel arrangements such that they are less likely to be discovered.

    That’s a good point. In fact, there was a big brouhaha over this on the ‘nacle (which was quite amusing because it involved the most conservative elements questioning the Brethren).

  7. From the article:

    Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City, said in an e-mail that elected officials who are Mormons do not represent the position of the church. She said the church has also not taken a position on immigration, which is “clearly the province of government.”

    Immigration is clearly the province of government and a church has no business making a statements about it, but secular, civil marriage somehow isn’t.

    Oh the irony.

    I agree that the church itself probably isn’t to blame on this one, but rather the fact that most Mormons in this part of the country are politically very conservative and allow their opinions to be largely informed by the far right wing.

    It is interesting though that with this issue, (white, conservative) Mormons are being pitted against other (Latino) Mormons.

  8. Craig — True, it’s quite interesting. It reminds me of Seth’s point about Brazil and the ProfXM’s response that there is no gay Brazil. The CoJCoL-dS doesn’t want to alienate the American far-right, but they don’t want to alienate the Latino Mormons either.

  9. It’s not just about alienating those Latinos who are already Mormon. But also those who could be Mormon. Missionaries are refused by whites who are like “Ugh, not those Mormons again,” whereas immigrant Latinos are like “Hi, who are you, and why are you being so nice to me?” The influx of immigrants gives the Church its happy feeling of expansion that it desperately needs, but it also changes the demographics of the Church. In turn, provided that white and Latino church members increasingly share the same wards and pews, I think Mormons will be more open to positive immigration reform. Race-based reform in the Church happens primarily through proselytizing encounters, I think, because the Church is so insular. The 1978 revelation for black men, for example, was more because of proselytizing in Brazil than the Civil Rights movement in US.

  10. My question is this: does the constitution and US federal code not matter to these people at all? Or are they just too stupid to realise they’re violating federal law as well as the constitution?

  11. does the constitution and US federal code not matter to these people at all?

    I’m not an expert, but I don’t think it’s clear in federal law whether babies born to “illegal” immigrants are for-sure citizens. For example, that 1898 case in the article kuri posted was negated by legislation a few decades later that made it illegal for any Chinese immigrant to enter the country. Conservatives look to those eras and don’t see racism, but see the “American right” to “protect the border” at times deemed necessary. It’s basically racism disguised as nationalism, and whenever there’s economic issues, these things flare. Not sure how ugly it will get this time… If legislation were passed that negated the citizenship of children born to undocumented immigrants, then I could see a nasty campaign through use of public education records. Hopefully, it’d be like gay marriages in California, though, and not be retroactive.

    I don’t think conservatives know what they’re doing. This kind of ideology just doesn’t work nowadays.

  12. From the outside it seems to obvious to me that this is almost completely motivated by racism, xenophobia, and extreme ethnocentrism. I often wonder what it looks like from the inside of conservatism. Is naked racism really a justifiable means to “national security”? Do they even admit to themselves the possibility of racism?

    Both conservatives and Libertarians seem obsessed with imaginary threats to their civil rights (from gays, feminists, etc.) and yet they don’t seem to recognise the inherent danger this kind of legislation poses to all American citizens, regardless of race.

    I dont think conservatives know what theyre doing. This kind of ideology just doesnt work nowadays.

    Indeed. Pre-Reagan, American conservatism wasn’t nearly either so rigid, nor so extreme. The problem is that the American right was hijacked by the religious right in the 80s. Since then they’ve become increasingly extreme and unreasonable because to them it’s not just their political and philosophical beliefs, it’s religious. And religious beliefs are generally unassailable.

    Like the LdS church, as American conservatives have become more extreme and obsessed with ideological purity, they’ve made themselves increasingly obsolete and farcical. It’s only a matter of time before they either implode or are forced to abandon their obsession with uniformity.

  13. A little side-by-side reading exercise:

    From the BCC sideblog: The incestuous relationship between LDS politician Russell Pearce and the American Nazi Party

    From the recent tribute to Karl-Heinz Schnibbe posted at the LDS Newsroom blog:

    This week in Germany, Church members join with the rest of their nation in recognizing the cost of freedom and the importance of truth.

    Germans are remembering a small group of young teenage boys who fought against the Nazi regime from within Germany during World War II.

    Gah.

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