Monday, November 10, 2008

Boycott Mormon Utah . . . Please!

Now that Prop 8 has passed, those who are against it have started to show their true colors. With such radical protests aimed at the LDS Church, there is unintended consiquences that will help and not hurt Mormons. I hope they continue to attack Mormons (politically and not physically) because they are doing themselves some real harm in the long-run. As someone who is against "gay-marriage" that isn't a bad thing.

Probably the least effective is the boycott of Utah. I would hope that they go through with the boycott because it will help the conservative culture living there. What they plan on boycotting is not exactly liked by Mormons anyway. From an Associated Press article:

He is calling for skiers to choose any state but Utah and for Hollywood actors and directors to pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. Other bloggers and readers have responded to his call.

"There's a movement afoot and large donors are involved who are very interested in organizing a campaign, because I do not believe in frivolous boycotts," said Aravosis, who has helped organize boycotts against "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger's television show, Microsoft and Ford over gay rights issues.

"The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," he said. "At this point, honestly, we're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

Probably one of the best things to happen is if Hollywood actors and directors pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. It was instituted partly to antagonize the nearby conservative Mormon population. Seeing the festival go away or at least dramatically decrease would be a cultural sigh of relief. The secondary place that would be effected is Park City, another culturally isolated town. Conservative Mormons might think it is a nice place to visit, but they wouldn't want to buy a house. Salt Lake City is still considered Mormon, but that distinction is become less true. Large as it is, the City has continued to become distinct from the rest of the state. Only its size and history has kept it tied to the surrounding culture.

Calls to find other places to ski might be the most problematic, but even that is not going to destroy much of Utah economy. There are so many locals and fellow Mormons from other states that like to ski that a dramatic shift in visitors will be negligable. After all, not everyone is from California and not everyone who is not Mormon agrees with the "gay-marriage" protestors. The positives are that fewer "gay-marriage" supporters and Californians will visit, to the pleasure of the conservatives and many locals.

The most lasting economic campaign would be to boycott developing or moving businesses to Utah. A few places might get hit, but Salt Lake City would take the brunt of the actions. Not that conservative Mormons would mind much. It is the influx of so many non-Mormons because of big business that have brought Salt Lake City into conflict with the State's cultural majority. Gutting the economy of the capital city would go a long way to bringing it more in line politically.

Probably the most important development to all this protesting is a more positive acceptance by the conservative religious. They are starting to open their eyes to what is happening to Mormons, and starting to come to a defense:

Pastor Chris Clark of the East Claremont Baptist Church in California said, "Unfortunately, I know in the wake of the Prop. 8 passage, the Mormon Church has been targeted, unfairly so."

Clark says the coalition includes Roman Catholic bishops, Evangelical Christians and secular groups such as the National Organization for Marriage and the Liberty Council.

There are those who will hate Mormons no matter what, but that can change for some. At least two Catholic Bishops have expressed outrage at the treatment of Mormons. A few prominant Protestants involved with Prop 8 have also shown support and thankfulness. Even Mike Huckubee stated on Fox his belief that Mormons had every right to participate. Coming from him that is praise.

In the end the idea that this has been a PR disaster for the LDS Church depends on what you mean by disaster. Mormons have gained respect from the conservative community that they otherwise would not have had. Those they have angered never really liked Mormons and have now found an excuse to voice what they have only hinted at before. The more they yell, then the more sympathy will be generated toward those more disposed to conservative and traditional marriage. The U.S. membership might not go up, and in fact shrink because of the increased secularization of the nation, but the LDS Church gained influence in circles that were previously closed. The negatives for liberal leaning might seem huge, but the positives for conservative leaning is worth the fight.