Saturday, July 11, 2009

Inimitable Ineptitude
I know why the caged bird PR rep sings weeps

(UPDATED! See below.)

The Church has got a gift.


It's just uncanny.

How can they take any situation, consider all possible courses of action, and then––nine times out of ten––choose precisely the one that seems perfectly calculated to make the rest of the population hate and fear the Church? Now, to be fair, "the Church" is not a precise term. It rarely refers to "the Brethren" or "the Leadership"; it's not as though we can put all of this insanity on the shoulders of some individual or group of general authorities. However, the fact remains that a black eye for one is a black eye for all. Every member's action, fair or not, tends to reflect on all members.

Here's our newest example in a nutshell:

-Gay couple begins to stroll across Main Street Plaza.
-At one point during the crossing, one man kisses the other on the cheek.
-Church security tells the men to leave.
-Gay couple is offended and challenges that request.
-Church security handcuffs them both and calls police.
-Police charge men with trespassing, and then release them.

So, a kiss on the cheek leads to an arrest. This is problematic on a number of levels.

1. It was a kiss on the cheek, not public sodomy.
2. The men were crossing the plaza; had security done nothing, they would have finished crossing and left Church property.
3. The Church had guaranteed "public access" on the plaza, even though there is currently no public easement.
4. It was JUST A KISS ON THE CHEEK!!! (See 1.)

Church spokesperson, Kim Farah, commented with the following little gem: "Two individuals came on church property and were politely asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior––just as any other couple would have been." Having lived on a farm for some years, I know bull when I smell it, and Sister Farah is redolent. Either she is lying (that is, she knows that couples frequently kiss in the plaza––many in the context of wedding photos), or she is an idiot. Perhaps the reality is a mixture of the two.

Of course we must remember, the property is owned by the Church. They were acting within their legal rights. They are allowed to limit behavior on their own property. Aspects of the trespassing charge are unclear in this case; in Utah, trespassing is defined as "substantially interfering with the owner's use of the property," and I am not convinced that this situation qualifies. Perhaps time will offer legal clarification, but for the moment, let us assume that the Church was 100% within the law.

Being within the law, however, is not the only important consideration. Hypothetically assume, for a moment, that because of some strange confluence of circumstances, you can legally beat a nun to death with a tire iron. THAT STILL DOES NOT MAKE IT A GOOD IDEA!!! If the membership (and the employees) of the Church could but internalize this idea, I suspect the Church would have to spend less money paying to treat the ulcers of the PR firms in their employ.

For more information see here and here.


Just take a look at the reader comments on this Deseret News story. It's really amazing to see the unfounded vitriol and poor reading comprehension skills. It's true that the Salt Lake Tribune can often be a forum for anti-Mormon trolls, but––even at their worst!––they do not come close to the willful ignorance, bigotry, and general bastardry of Deseret News trolls. The irony inherent in their stunning blend of persecution complex and smug self-righteousness is comical in a "Please-God-give-me-cancer-now!" kind of way. I cannot possibly find words that would do justice to my reaction to all this; suffice it to say, I would rather have Ed Decker and the dessicated corpse of Gerald Tanner installed as the exclusive representatives of the Church. They would do less damage then even the most garden-variety example of DesNews troglodyte.

It's true, folks: we DO worship different Jesuses. Theirs must be a real jerk.