OPUS Fi-NOM-us: It’s time for NOM to acknowledge its Catholic impetus

February 22, 2011 at 9:15 am 95 comments

As usual, a remarkable job deconstructing NOM. A must-read -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

***NOTE: This post is meant to be an exploration. This is a public presentation of what we have learned, which might just result in more questions that definitive answers. So please take it in the spirt in which it is intended: Not as an “accusation” or a period on any subject, but rather as fair exploration of a powerful, connected, highly-financed nationwide network. Our prevailing interest is to get the National Organization For Marriage, an organization opposed to CIVIL rights, to its most transparent, largely faith-based center.

Let’s get started.

***

Examination Point 1: Legatus, a membership organization for Catholic business leaders, first came on our radar during Prop 8. That’s when the National Organization for Marriage’s general counsel at the time, Charles LiMandri, contributed to a Legatus magazine piece meant to rally Catholics against marriage equality:

View this document on Scribd

NOM president Brian Brown is also a Legatus member (Legates, they are called).
Examination Point 2: Another Legate is a man named David LeJeune. David is the Executive Director of Fidesco USA, a Catholic volunteer organization. David is also the managing partner of something called OPUSFidelis, a new media marketing firm.
Examination Point 3: For the past few months, OPUSFidelis has been controlling the National Organization For Marriage’s Social Media properties. That’s why you might have noticed duplicate content popping up in a number of different places within the NOM realm (e.g. NOM blog, Brian Brown’s Twitter, the “Protect Marriage” Facebook page, etc.). It’s all being controlled by a central hub run by OPUSFidelis:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.15.06 Pm

[SOURCE]

Examination Point 4: The person doing most of the NOM Social Hub blogging is someone named Casey Fimian:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.17.04 Pm

[SOURCE]

Examination Point 5: Last fall, this same Casey Fimian hit up all of the prominent Catholic colleges on Facebook…

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.38 Pm

…seeking FIDESCO USA volunteers:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.59 Pm

Yes, the same FIDESCO USA of which OPUS Fidelis’ David Jejeune is the E.D.
Examination Point 6: In the past four years, Casey’s father Keith has unsuccessfully ran for Congress from VA’s 11 District. In both elections, much was made about the candidate’s Catholic outreach and the financing directed his way by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monagan. Much of that conversation, fair or unfair, was due to Mr. Fimian’s prominent role on the national board of directors of — Legatus (which Monagan himself founded).

Exploratory circle=complete.
Okay, so that’s pretty much what we know for now: Lots more Catholic connections from the already canonical NOM. Connections that would be 100% fine, if only NOM would start identifying itself and its cause for what it is. Because they have every right to work from a Vatican-focused place and even every right to use their personal views in their political advocacy, just as long as they do so within the boundaries of law. Obviously. But by not being honest about these deep faith connections, which firm up more and more every day, NOM is doing a disservice to this *CIVIL RIGHTS* conversation and all who engage in it. They owe all of us, both pro- and anti-, a more honest marriage debate.

***

**MORE: Another OPUS Fidelis founder is Joe Giganti, a personality whose lengthy conservative resume includes a stint as strategist of Alan Keyes’ presidential campaign. Here’s Mr. Giganti talking to Focus on the Family about how LGBT civil rights supposedly insult “real civil-rights laws and the people that have struggled…” And when Mitt Romney distanced himself from Gen. Peter Pace’s claim that homosexuality is immoral, Giganti said that Romney’s words “clearly display that he has a complete misunderstanding and does not grasp the moral values on which our country has been founded and that the conservative movement is trying to preserve.

Entry filed under: NOM Exposed, Right-wing.

Montana-style federalism, or lack thereof BREAKING: DOJ announces they’ll no longer defend DOMA in court

95 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lar  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:17 am

    subbin

    Reply
    • 2. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

      sub subbing

      Reply
      • 3. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

        triple sub-subbin’

        Reply
        • 4. Ronnie  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

          times 4…. <3..Ronnie

          Reply
          • 5. JonT  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

  • 6. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Adam, while you are exploring the very deep, very tight ties that NOM has to the Catholic Church, you will also want to look into the Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, CT, and the amounts donated to various campaigns, including Prop 8, in which NOM has had an integral part. Even in some of the videos from last summer’s Tour Tracker, you see 4th degree Knights of Columbus surrounding Brian and others. And yes, the Knights were called upon to not only give money to ensure the passage of Prop 8, they were also very strongly urged to go out and canvass, as well as gather signatures on petitions to get Prop 8 on the ballot in the first place. Opus Fidelis and the Legatus are not the only organizations from the Catholic Church who have close, deep ties to NOM.
    And yes, Adam, I know whereof I speak. Prop 8 was one of the reasons I left the Knights and the Catholic Church.

    Reply
    • 7. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

      Yes, and the Knights of Columbus are the only ones I know of to date that has disclosed how much they have donated to NOM.

      Reply
    • 8. Jenny  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      You’re exactly right. My dad used to be a member of the Columbus chapter of the Knights of Columbus and they were constantly asking him to do things like that. They work under the guise of the Catholic Church but really they are a Republican/socially conservative organization. They devote tons of resources against same-sex marriage and banning abortions but do very little for issues like homelessness, poverty, violence, etc. which are real problems in our city. He complained about this many times and tried to get them to do some real social justice but they basically told him, “if you don’t like it, leave”. So he did. I have zero respect for the KoC (at least the ones here in Columbus- I feel I shouldn’t generalize)

      Reply
    • 9. adambink  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

      This isn’t my post, this is Jeremy’s. But those are very good ideas.

      Reply
  • 10. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Clicking the box might help me to keep up on this thread, might it not?

    Reply
  • 11. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Let’s try clicking again!

    Reply
    • 12. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:38 am

      hehe – a triple mis-clickin’

      Reply
  • 13. Ed  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Very very interesting….
    Over at Nom’s blog, they are putting up links to other articles (nothing new there). But now, the links are .pdf files, not the actual websites. So they are basically trying to filter out opposing views so their followers are not “influenced”. Very crafty and shady……

    Reply
    • 14. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:49 am

      You can easily find the urls of each of those pdf files. The bad thing for NOM is that they are using pdfs from those sites and may get caught up in some copyright infringement…since they are loading the pdfs directly onto their site of url pdfs.

      Don’t mind a bit if they end up spending more of their funds on litigation.

      Reply
      • 15. Ed  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

        I didnt even think about copyright infringement. But yes, great point :)

        Reply
        • 16. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:55 am

          Well, since website WANT traffic, need traffic for SEO, you know many will send cease and desist letters. The easiest way is to find out each one, send the link to the website abuse or webmaster, and it will get the ball rolling.

          Reply
      • 17. NOM WORLD  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

        Maybe a more effective solution is to report the offending posts and links to Google, so that they can remove NOM from their search results.

        http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_legalother&product=websearch

        Reply
    • 18. Shannon  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Very intereresting indeed! Yet the PDFs still have some comments at the bottom, which (if their motive is as you suspect) shows how amateur they are at this.

      Reply
      • 19. Ed  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

        Some comments. But it seems they are catching the sites early on, before too many are posted.

        Reply
        • 20. Shannon  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

          It’s not hard to edit a PDF, at least to delete a few extra pages at the end. Come on, NOM, show us that you’re reading these comments, you can do it!

          Reply
    • 21. NOM WORLD  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:29 am

      It’s also copyright infringement and illegal.

      Reply
  • 22. James Sweet  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:03 am

    My anti-theistic proclivities are well-known, and as such it should be no surprise that I think it rather scandalous that religions are automatically afforded non-profit status. However, I recognize my position is somewhat of an extreme one, at least on the present day spectrum, and so hence I advocate the following (IMO quite reasonable) compromise:

    If you are a religion, and you want your Super Instant Awesome Magic Tax Free Status that religions always get, that’s fine… We won’t even make you prove that you are doing charitable works, just be all religious and stuff, and we’ll give you the free ride. But you have to open your books, just like every single other non-profit organization does. Let us see where the money is going, so we know you aren’t running a con.

    If you don’t want to open your books, that’s fine too — but you don’t get non-profit status. That’s how we do it with charities; why not with religions? Religion still gets its super-special deference, because charities also have to prove, you know, that they are doing good things and not making money, whereas religions are under no such obligation in order to reap tax-free status. We’re just saying, if you want the special treatment that no other financial entity gets, that’s fine, just show us where the money is going.

    Not only is this obviously way more fair than the present system, it would stop bullshit like this dead in its tracks. We’d get to actually see what these religious organizations are up to, rather than having to infer it, and incur (hilarious) accusations of anti-Catholic bigotry when we do.

    If the Vatican doesn’t like it, fine. But they have to start paying the IRS for any money they take in while inside American borders. Seems only fair.

    But what do I know, I have these radical ideas that maybe for an institution to be deserving of respect and veneration, they should earn it instead of relying on false appeals to divine authority. I’m a real extremist like that.

    Reply
    • 23. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

      I don’t think they are radical at all.

      Reply
      • 24. Straight for Equality  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

        I would fully endorse that.

        Reply
        • 25. JonT  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm

          Same here.

          Reply
        • 26. Rhie  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

          Same here. Sounds very reasonable to me.

          Reply
    • 27. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

      I’ve always wondered about the trail of $$ in such secretive organizations, and the reason that the government lets them off scott-free. I like your idea.

      Reply
      • 28. James Sweet  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:43 am

        the reason that the government lets them off scott-free

        I believe it’s a holdover from the times when the primary social safety net was provided by religious organizations. (That still is the case in some parts of the world, unfortunately; there’s a reason Hamas won the Palestinian election, and that’s because their non-militant wing provides the only workable social services to speak of in Palestine) It turns out that in the modern developed world, this is no longer the case: Even the in the United States, where “welfare state”, despite being one of humanity’s crowning achievements, is inexplicably considered a dirty word — even here, government spending on social welfare dwarfs that of religious charities. Which is as it should, ultimately, since a well-regulated welfare state is going to be far more reliable and consistent than an ad hoc network of religious charities; and in any case since tax revenue is legally compelled, you aren’t as vulnerable to the Tragedy of the Commons, etc.

        Anyway, the point being, before the advent of the modern welfare state and its immeasurable benefits to social justice and overall societal well-being and prosperity, the primary vector by which basic social support mechanisms were provided was via religious charities. In that context, it was probably just barely defensible to afford this special automatic privilege.

        Obviously this policy makes no sense whatsoever in the present circumstances. But if you’re a US politician, try voting to repeal the automatic tax-exempt status of religions and then expect to get re-elected. Yeah right. Might as well call your proposed legislation The Compulsory Drowning of Puppies Act, for all the wonderful press it’s going to get.

        In the meantime, folks like me will continue to be unapologetic with our contempt for the special deference afforded to religion in the marketplace of ideas, and hopefully in a generation or so we can actually have this conversation seriously.

        Reply
    • 29. Jenny  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      I agree 100%! But you know the instant anyone brought that up they’d be labeled “anti-religion” and demonized for it. So it won’t be happening anytime soon.

      Reply
    • 30. Maggie4NoH8  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      I completely, totally agree. Except, I am not sure that church’s should *automatically* be granted tax-exempt status.

      IF they can prove XX% of their funding is used for charitable activities, fine (like providing food, shelter, medical care/screenings for the underserved) but if the monies are for the church secretary/preacher’s salaries, and vacation bible school, FORGET ABOUT IT!

      Reply
      • 31. Rhie  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        I would say that XX% better be the bulk of it’s funding, like 70-90%. I can’t see why a real church would mind – it’s what the Gospels teach anyway.

        Reply
    • 32. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      “If you are a religion, and you want your Super Instant Awesome Magic Tax Free Status that religions always get, that’s fine… We won’t even make you prove that you are doing charitable works…

      And we won’t even make you prove your gods are real.

      Sounds like a really good deal, to me!

      Reply
    • 33. Rev. Will Fisher  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:34 am

      As a religious person, I agree fully. Of course, my church already has an open book policy. Transparent finances and accountible power structures are consistent with the Gospel of Jesus.

      Reply
      • 34. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 23, 2011 at 7:03 am

        Rev. Fisher, would that also apply to separation of Church and State? Or am I misapplying Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto G-d what is G-d’s?

        Reply
    • 35. Elizabeth Oakes  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Amen, James, if I may say so.

      And I don’t think your views are extreme; I’ve longtime wondered how granting 501(c)3 status to religious organizations isn’t fascially a violation of the First Amendment. Isn’t that “establishing a state religion”? Just because you establish a bunch of state religions instead of just one doesn’t make it any less objectionable or unconstitutional, IMHO. If people with to be religious, they can do so on their own dime….I don’t believe the rest of America should be forced to subsidize religious orgs with tax breaks when schools can’t get funded for textbooks.

      Reply
  • 37. Michael Adrian  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

    What exactly is a “professional volunteer”?

    Reply
    • 38. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Well, they might be volunteers who are compensated. Like Doctors Without Borders – the doctors volunteer their time, but are compensated for it.

      Reply
      • 39. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

        In other words, to me it means someone who has skills that are needed – hense professional – who volunteer for smaller pay, usually.

        Reply
  • 40. AnonyGrl  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Dear NOM,

    If you would like instructions about how to do what you do in a more efficient manner, please contact us at Prop8TrialTracker. We’ve noticed you often emulate us, by posting links court documents, by attempting to steal our terminology, by trying to place yourselves as victims
    instead of victimizers…even by trying to “reclaim” our symbols (that whole rainbow business, for instance).

    Honestly (a word you may need to look up, I understand) you can do better. You can learn how this marvelous thing called the “computer” works, so that you don’t end up with egg on your face by hotlinking to a cartoon whose creator then substitutes a rainbow flag and a Thomas Jefferson quote. We can teach you how to create a PDF that actually does not let ANY of your supporters have a chance to see that alternate points of view can be well thought out, reasonable, and convincing. We can show you how to edit the materials YOU post so that it doesn’t include contradictory ideas that prove our points better than yours. We can advise you how to find independent pollsters who will not take your money and waste it on polling that no one is buying at all. We can explain why you should not be stealing materials, or pictures of children, to use in your own publicity without permission. We can demonstrate the reasons that weasling out of admitting who your donors are is just a way to allow them to hide their bigotry and hatred behind your skirts, which is wrong, deceitful, and makes YOU look like the bigots, no matter how much you whimper about it, and show you some simple software that makes reporting those donors correctly a piece of cake. We can make you better.

    Call us, NOM. Let us help you stop shooting yourselves in the foot.

    Love and Kisses,
    The Prop8TrialTrackers Who Care

    Reply
    • 41. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:30 am

      Very well put.

      Reply
    • 42. JonT  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Honestly (a word you may need to look up, I understand) you can do better.

      I LOL’d :)

      Reply
      • 43. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        I was just going to quote the same line!!

        But on another note, HOW is it they do SO LITTLE with the money they rake in? Does it ALL go to swollen salaries? Or, are people not actually donating that much?

        Reply
        • 44. Rhie  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

          Salaries and legal money laundering to things like Prop 8 and destroying access to much needed medical services like Abortion.

          Reply
  • 45. NOM WORLD  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Interesting. However, Thomas Peters of the anti-christian and falsely named website “CatholicVote” and his own website, “AmericanPapist”, recently announced that he was joining NOM as their “Cultural Director” (I actually remembered him saying he was going to be their Director of Social Media, but either I was in error, or the post has been updated). Regardless, It’s just more proof that the National Organization for Marriage is a Vatican front group. Is there any employee that isn’t Catholic?

    (google “from rome and at home” and “CatholicVote” and his announcement will come up.)

    Reply
    • 46. Kate  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Hola, Tomas.

      Reply
  • 47. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Facebook supporting gay rights:

    Single? In a relationship? It’s complicated?

    The latter used to be Facebook’s catch-all status for those whose relationships didn’t fall into conventional categories. But the social networking site has now taken what’s considered a major step in support of gay rights in the U.S. by offering the status options of “in a civil union,” depending on the state the user lives in, and “domestic partnership.” (In Canada, Facebook offers the option “in a civil partnership.”)

    More: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/facebooks-civil-union-status-what-do-you-think/article1915997/

    Reply
    • 48. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Oh, and be sure to take the poll ; )

      Reply
    • 49. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      Great!

      I just watched The Social Network last night. David Fincher is such a fine director.

      BTW, what’s everyone doing for the Oscars?

      Reply
      • 50. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 23, 2011 at 7:12 am

        When are the Oscars?

        Reply
        • 51. Ronnie  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm

          The Oscars are on Sunday (Feb.27th)….I can’t wait…glamour night…everybody all dressed up…Love it…<3…Ronnie

          Reply
  • 52. Jon  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    “duplicate content popping up”

    I think you mean duplicate expression; verbatim copies.

    If it were merely the same content expressed in different ways, it would be less of a “tell”.

    Reply
  • 53. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Now, I have “Fee fi foe nom” stuck in my head! (all of the spelling is the way I intended it hehe)

    Reply
    • 54. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

      lol

      Reply
    • 55. AnonyGrl  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

      I’d spell it fie, as in fie on you… which of course means “shame on you” or “curses on you”.

      :)

      Reply
      • 56. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        I was being sarcastic, referring to all the fees nom collects. Moi? sarcastic????

        Reply
        • 57. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

          note to self – read the post – it was referring to the fi! Now everyone may think I’m sarcastic! LOL, andAnonyGrl, you caught my spelling error

          Reply
          • 58. AnonyGrl  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

            And I was reading (punctuation added in my head) “Fee? Fie, Foe Nom!” to mean “Shame on you for being an enemy only interested in the money, NOM!” which is what I was sure you had intended.

            It is quite brilliant, and I may borrow it at some point, if you don’t mind… :)

          • 59. Ed Cortes  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

            go ahead!

  • 60. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Let me float an idea regarding the backlash for supporting Prop 8. I think it’s greater for the Mormons (and hopefully will make their leaders rethink meddling with politics) than for Catholics because general orders were given to donate to the yes-on-8 movement, and relatively speaking, a very high percentage of LDS members complied. I would hazard a guess that there are far more “cultural Catholics” who really didn’t care much about Prop 8, Question 1, etc. Admittedly, I don’t have the donation statistics, this is just a hunch. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • 61. RAJ  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      I meant to reply to your specific post. See my response below.

      Reply
    • 62. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      I have no idea what the church rolls are like as far as membership, but I imagine the Catholic Church can go through all the backlash in the world and it won’t be effected in any substantial way.

      I mean, if rampant child abuse and cover-ups spanning generations and continents doesn’t faze anyone in there…some funding for anti-homosexual politics is?

      The current pope was a Nazi Youth member, for cryin’ out loud.

      Reply
  • 63. Kathleen  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Reply
  • 64. JoeRH  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    It’s amusing how that Giganti(c) twirp compares the LGBT use of the term civil rights insults those who have been discriminated against in the past due to race, color or CREED. How can you deny one group the right to compare their struggle to civil rights when you defend a group whose common characteristic is a CHOICE? Hypocrisy, as is usual with religious fanatics.

    Reply
    • 65. Rhie  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Yup. That’s what I always bring up with people who think LGBT is a choice. Usually trying to argue that it’s not a choice doesn’t work for lots of reasons that pretty much boil down to brainwashing. What does work is pointing out that religion is a choice and it’s protected so even if LGBT was a choice that’s not a reason for it not to be protected by law.

      Of course that only works if you aren’t arguing with a Calvinist/Presbyterian.

      Reply
  • 66. RAJ  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I was involved in tracking Mormon donations for prop 8 and I can tell you with near certainty that the 50% statistic widely accepted with respect to percentage of Yeson8 donations, is conservative — VERY conservative.

    The backlash is greater for Mormons because individual Mormons were overwhelmingly responsible for producing cash (and canvassers) FAST, reliably and at time-critical points in the campaign. Also, being masters at organization —(you have to give them that)— they essentially ran the campaign, especially in the latter stages, and they ran it very effectively. Mormons, generally speaking, are a more cohesive, top-down group. Catholics, by contrast, though more numerous, cannot be counted on to reliably follow marching orders.

    Reply
    • 67. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      That mirrors my suspicions; thanks for the info, RAJ.

      Reply
    • 68. Steve  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      As easy as it is to call all religious sects a cult, the Mormons really are one. Catholics aren’t.

      Aside from having a “prophet” who claims to speak with the voice of god, they are a socially tight-knit group. Everything is done with other cult-members.

      And one of the bigger tool of social control are these interviews with church leaders (who usually are really just random people and not in any sense priests with theological training). People get asked all kinds of stuff to determine if they are good little sheep. If they aren’t, their social privileges are revoked and they are no longer decent members of the community. So it was very easy to blackmail them into giving money and time.

      Reply
      • 69. NOM WORLD  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        Really Steve? Catholics follow the Pope, an anointed ruler, whose personal opinions and edicts are deemed “infallible” and the “word of God”. They believe that a cookie wafer and wine are magically transformed by their priests into the *actual* body and blood of a man that has died long ago because their priests are blessed with some other-worldly power. If you dare disobey the edicts of the Pope or his rulers, you are kicked out by “excommunication”.

        Sounds like a cult to me. The only thing missing are space aliens…

        Reply
        • 70. Steve  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

          I don’t really know how many people really obey the Mormon prophet, but I guarantee you, hardly anyone takes the Pope seriously. Whatever authority he has, it’s only over the direct church hierarchy. Certainly not over the common believers. No matter what the doctrine says. This isn’t the middle ages.

          John Paul II had lots of followers in Poland and interestingly many were quite young. There was a lot of adoration when Benedict assumed the office, but that has died down. Hardly anyone came when he visited the UK and Spain recently. The child abuse scandal certainly hasn’t helped that.

          Religion in Europe simply isn’t like in the US. Most people are only in it for the traditional aspects. Many only go to baptisms, weddings and funerals. Or big holidays like Christmas. Few take religion seriously. People who do (at least young ones) are often considered a bit weird.

          Reply
        • 71. RAJ  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

          I’m not disagreeing with your basic point. I generally have an aversion to all organized religion, so, six of one, half dozen of the other, as far as I’m concerned.

          But, isn’t it true that for Catholics, the excommunication of lay members (the ordinary Joe) is quite rare? With Mormons, on the other hand, excommunication is very often visited upon ordinary members and visited upon them PARTICULARLY for defying authorities, or publicly speaking ill of authorities.

          Reply
      • 72. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm

        I don’t know that the LDS is a cult…as we have Mormons here who do not seem to be under its influence to that extent. I would say there are cultic aspects to it, however.

        The word “cult” is often misapplied. For instance, some (uninformed) people will say that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult…which it is not. (People can come and go, no money is required, you’re told to “Take what you can use and leave the rest,” etc.)

        I can’t remember all the points, but features of an actual cult include:

        * A charismatic, omnipotent leader
        * Required financial dedication
        * The group’s true purpose — i.e., making money or winning power for the leader(s) — is withheld from members.
        * Members are isolated, and required to break with former friends and family outside the group.
        * The group emphasizes total commitment to its particular dogma, rather than encouraging member to grow and fulfill themselves.
        * Group pressure is specifically bombarded on those who question the leader, or their dogma.
        * Covert influences (such as sleep deprivation and other brain washing techniques) are employed.
        * Members are not allowed to leave easily, and may be hunted down if they do.

        There are other aspects as well…I got these from a good, very LARGE book called Cults in Our Midst (I think?)

        I’ll look the author’s name up.

        I WISH I COULD REMEMBER THE COMPLETE LIST!

        Reply
        • 73. Carpool Cookie  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm

          Book’s author is Margaret Thaler Singer. I agree with one of the editorial reviews at amazon that her approach can get a little hysterical as she discusses the threat of modern day cults, but there’s also an awful lot that’s informative in the book.

          http://www.amazon.com/Cults-Our-Midst-Continuing-Against/dp/0787967416/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1298443727&sr=1-1

          Reply
        • 74. Steve  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:14 am

          The Mormons certainly aren’t a cult in the sense of Scientology, which really does employ things like psychological and physical torture and encourages the complete break with one’s family.

          They don’t actively forbid contact with the outside world of course, but there is nonetheless a very strong social cohesion that you don’t find in many other mainstream Christian sects. They prefer that people do everything with other Mormons and offer all kinds of services to facilitate things from recreational groups to dating. The group pressure and indoctrination can be immense.

          It’s possible to not be part of that, but for people or families who are really deeply embedded in the community, the threat of having to leave that is a huge one.

          Reply
  • 75. JoeRH  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    More hypocrisy. I looked at that pamphlet pushing anti-gay paranoia and this guy Mark Daniels says this: “What it boils down to is this: if a sacrament of your faith is declared to be a form of hatred under law, it sets in motion an inexorable logic. This leads to the silencing of your faith.”

    Let’s turn this around: “What it boils down to is this: if a church declares you to be immoral , it sets in motion an inexorable logic. This leads to anti-gay legislation.”

    You don’t like to be silenced, but you sure feel it’s ok to do it yourself. I can never take religion seriously. There is just too much to prove it’s an asinine concept.

    Reply
    • 76. Leo  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      What it boils down to is this: if a sacrament of your faith is a form of hatred, then the silencing of that portion of your faith is a good thing.

      Reply
    • 77. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      Such nonsense. They can place any restrictions they want upon who participates in rites within their church. They just can’t impose it on the rest of society.

      Reply
  • 78. Bob  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    kind of off topic,,, about church rites,, anyone follow the case against the Catholic church in Philedalphia,,,, they are reopening the case against 37 priests, and they are going to run into the situation where the church dogma, rites or what have it, intefered in the past case,,,,,,
    they’re working at getting it so childrens rites trump church rituals,, and dogma,,,,

    Reply
  • 79. MJFargo  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    This isn’t exactly “breaking news.” But if the news organizations would expose who their backers are, it would be a better reflection of who the sides are and why they are pushing for they’re point of view. But the Catholic Church has been given a free pass to hide their resources and assets and behavior, and the media needs to get nailed for colluding with it.

    Reply
  • 80. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Two points. There needs to be greater clarity on the differences between a religious organization (a church), a charity, a non-profit organization, a social service organization, an educational institution, a hospital, a political organization. These things overlap, but they are not the same.

    And it is impossible to control or prevent politically motivated spending by organized religion. It is way too easy to launder money by directing it through individuals and religiously based non-profit organizations that are not churches. It can be disclosed, as this post does, but it can’t be controlled. And for some reason, political spending is synonymous with free speech.

    Reply
  • 81. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Upbeat article. ‘Paradigm Shift’ has a nice ring to it.

    Paradigm Shift on Gay Marriage in Evidence in Rhode Island

    http://elections.firedoglake.com/2011/02/22/paradigm-shift-on-gay-marriage-in-evidence-in-rhode-island/

    Reply
  • 82. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    This may have been posted before… detail of the PPP poll in RI. Good questions, meaningful drill down on the vote.

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/gaymarriagetoplines.pdf

    Reply
  • 83. Rhie  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Catholics and Mormons…talk about odd bedfellows…

    Reply
    • 84. Kathleen  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:18 am

      Don’t forget the Southern Baptists. They were also part of the trio of religious orgs that played a major role in passage of Prop 8.

      I’ve said this before – I yearn for the good old days when all of these religious groups devoted a lot of their time and money to condemning one other, instead of joining forces to attack us.

      Reply
      • 85. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:28 am

        If they went to their separate corners and focused on charity and volunteer work – heck, if they teamed up on such projects – it would be like night and day. The amount of money, time, and suffering wasted over this debate is staggering. Follow the Constitution, already!

        Reply
        • 86. Elizabeth Oakes  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm

          Well, you know SA–religio-political movements like Prohibition were so effective, they just couldn’t resist.

          Reply
        • 87. Rhie  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

          And their own Bible for that matter – any of their Bibles actually. They all have the bit about love = charity and Christianity = love.

          Reply
    • 88. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 23, 2011 at 7:01 am

      Kathleen, you just reminded me of a joke I heard many years ago, but I will email it to you privately because there are some here who would take offense at it. However, it does have some truth to it, and I think you will get a laugh out of it.

      Reply
      • 89. Elizabeth Oakes  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm

        Um…is it the one about “under long enough”? I think that was Molly Ivins.

        Reply
        • 90. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

          No, it is one about Methodists, Lutherans, and Southern Baptists, where St. Peter tells the guy he is taking on tour that he has to be quiet as they near the third room of heaven, because that room is filled with Southern Baptists, and they think they are the only ones there!

          Reply
          • 91. Elizabeth Oakes  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm

            What truth is hidden from humor, as the poet says. :)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jerry Limnent, Googlyfish Jobs USA. Googlyfish Jobs USA said: USA Job News OPUS Fi-NOM-us: It's time for NOM to acknowledge its Catholic … http://ow.ly/1bsanW […]

    Reply
  • 93. Ed  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Very interesting debate out of Maryland on marriage equality.

    http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/listen.asp

    Reply
  • 94. Nyx  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

    OT

    Per NY Times….

    Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Wed, February 23, 2011 — 12:50 PM ET
    —–

    Justice Department to Stop Defending Federal Law on Gay Marriage

    President Obama, in a major legal policy shift, has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act – the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages – against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional.

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday sent a letter to Congress to inform them that the Justice Department will now take the position in court that the Defense of Marriage Act should be struck down as a violation of gay couples’ rights to equal protection under the law.

    “The President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law” a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, Mr. Holder wrote.

    Reply
    • 95. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Nyx, we just got a new thread about this very thing. I hope you have been notified of this new thread.

      Reply

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