LDS Church Further Clarifies Its Role in Prop 8

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following article today on their newsroom site:

Media Reports on Proposition 8 Filing Uninformed

The article is fairly brief but very comprehensive. If anyone still doubts the Church’s financial role in Prop 8, they are just willfully rebelling against the truth. The Church was always very open about its role, they never tried to hide any part of their involvement in Prop 8. LDS Church members were encouraged to vote in the election and to vote in defense of traditional marriage but no one was ever forced to vote a particular way. The LDS Church became involved in the issue because it is an important and fundamental moral issue. Marriage and family are the foundation of society. Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is a radical shift that could have unintended negative consequences on society for generations. It is an attack on the sacred bond of marriage and family.

The LDS Church Contributed $190,000 in “In-kind” Donations to Prop 8

UPDATE: I corrected the figures in this post now that we have the actual amounts. I will post a reprint of the LDS Church’s clarification of news stories about the issue.

On Friday the LDS Church filed a report outlining their contributions to the Prop 8 campaign in California. They spent $190,000 (a GLBT site reports the amount was “more than $190 thousand.” Notice how the amount creeps upward as sites become more pro-homosexual. Note: I don’t know what the actual amount is; news sites have just been rounding the number – some up and some down). $96,000 of that was spent paying some church employees for their time (e.g., designing a website or things like that). The rest came from flying church officials to California (and putting them in hotels and renting cars and similar expenses). The Church did not donate any money directly. When a complaint was filed against the Church in November 2008, the LDS Church stated they would be making all required declarations by the time they were legally required to. They were not required by law to declare their contributions until February 2, 2009.

The articles I linked to generally do not give the LDS Church the benefit of the doubt (searching the related headlines in Google News reveals such biased gems as “Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight”). The news bias is not surprising given that all 10 major California newspapers editorialized against Prop 8. Only the SF Chronicle even bothers to mention the Feb. 2 deadline for reporting contributions. However, those who filed the complaint against the Church believe that the Church was required to report their contributions earlier.

The Yes on 8 campaign spent $39.2 million out of a total of about $41 million spent (Source). Older estimates had supporters of Prop 8 spending $35.8 million with opponents spending $37.6 million (Source). We’ll see what the revised number is once opponents of Prop 8 declare all their contributions (it is likely higher than the $41 million spent to support Prop 8). While LDS Church members donated a sizable portion of the money spent to support Prop 8 (possibly as high as $20 million – but those are estimates are by anti-Prop 8 groups and so may be on the high end of the actual amount), the LDS Church as an entity donated a whopping 0.45% of the total money spent to support Prop 8!

True, individual LDS Church members might have donated 50% of the money spent in support of Prop 8 (again, this is based on unofficial estimates) but church members who donated are citizens and are allowed to donate however they want to. Hollywood celebrities contributed large of amounts of money to fight Prop 8 (for example, Brad Pitt donated $100,000). At least churches are Constitutionally-protected entities unlike Hollywood. The LDS Church encouraged time and money donations but never forced anyone to donate. It’s ironic how some who “fight against hate” hate the LDS Church so much. Where are all the complaints against entities who made anti-Prop 8 contributions?

Showing their intense hatred of hate, Californians Against Hate has a “Dishonor Roll” that includes people who donated more than $5000 to support Prop 8. Way to fight hate! It’s the kind of list I’d like to be on.

Fare Thee Well – Updated

Tomorrow is the end of an era. Pres. George W. Bush – like him or despise him – has left a mark in U.S. history. Some of the most memorable events that occurred during his presidency, such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, were not things that he did but were things that simply happened. Other things, such as invading Afghanistan and Iraq were things that he authorized and pushed for. Most people thought he would be another Bill Clinton-type president, focused mainly on social and domestic issues and quickly forgettable. Bill Clinton was a fair president – he turned out to be quite centrist – but he was immoral and dishonest. Pres. Bush is also quite centrist, even if many people do not want to believe that, but he is far more honest and moral than Bill Clinton.

I’m not calling Pres. George W. Bush a saint, but he stood for something and always tried to do what was right. He is the type of person who cares very little for polls, in a day when most other politicians live for polls as if there is nothing more important than bending to every whim of their constituents.

Pres. Bush’s presidency was attacked by the media and by liberals from the beginning. When the Florida Supreme Court stopped the mayhem of the 2000 election vote recounts, where Al Gore and many Democrats tried to steal the election from Pres. Bush, many people instead accused Pres. Bush of stealing the election. I’m all for fair elections but the endless political maneuvering for more votes had to stop. Al Gore received more popular votes than George W. Bush but he did not win the electoral votes. Many people were so bitter over a small thing called the Constitution that they never gave Pres. Bush a chance. Sure, most forgave him in the days following Sep. 11, 2001 but their praise quickly turned to scorn. The rose blooms wilted leaving only thorns.

Meanwhile, the country was in economic turmoil. This turmoil started in 2000 and didn’t stop until 2002; even then, most of the problems were just postponed until 2007. These economic problems were not caused by any one entity. The root cause of them started many years ago as we became more and more greedy as a people. There is little the President could have done to stop the coming economic storms. Maybe the government should have kept out of the economy even less than they did (especially back in 1999 when the government basically forced lenders to approve mortgages to risky clients).

While I disagree with Pres. Bush on some issues (starting the war in Iraq and all the deficit spending, for example), I agree with his stances on abortion (no abortions except in cases of rape, incest, when the life of the mother is in serious danger, and when the fetus has no chance of viability outside the womb – even in those cases, abortion is not something that should be taken lightly or done without serious consideration of all other options. Abortion is only to be used as last resort). Pres. Bush signed an executive order that disallowed taxpayer’s money to be spent on international programs promoting abortion. He also did other positive things such as promoting abstinence education. He supports traditional marriage and constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage. During his presidency, public libraries also had to install filters to protect children (and adults) from pornography. If that’s censorship, then sign me up for more of that type of censorship. Pres. Bush did increase science research funding as well, even if where funds were allocated changed.

Pres. Bush also signed in a sweeping educational reform bill. I’m not a fan of No Child Left Behind (it was poorly designed and poorly implemented) but it was an example of bipartisan reform (take whatever meaning you want from that). Pres. Bush also dramatically increased funding to fight HIV and AIDS around the world, saving many people’s lives. He pushed for more space exploration – including manned space exploration – as well.

During his presidency the farce of the “assault weapons” ban was repealed. It was a law that did nothing to reduce crime. Handguns are involved in more crimes than assault weapons and not just because there are more of them. I’m not in favor of banning handguns but the ban of assault weapons was nothing more than pure politics based on pathos instead of fact and reality.

Pres. Bush also appointed good strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court. The Constitution is not a “Living Document.” It should not be reinterpreted based upon the whims and winds of social change. Pres. Bush’s appointees will likely serve very well as Justices.

Pres. Bush also is a conservationist. The problem is that he does not attend the Church of Environmentalism so extreme leftists painted him as someone who does not care for the environment. On the contrary, he has set aside large portions of the world for conservation. His ranch in Texas is also more “green” than most of the homes of other politicians who push “green” policies – including the Church of Environmentalism’s spokesman Al Gore. Pres. Bush also signed in fuel economy standards increases for cars; he additionally pushed for more research into alternative fuels.

While I don’t agree with Pres. Bush’s deficit spending, he did push for tax cuts. He also fought for removing the marriage tax penalty as well as increasing tax credits for children. Reducing taxes is almost always the best policy to help the economy.

Now we come back to the wars. Few disagree with Pres. Bush’s decision to topple the Taliban regime. Many people dislike the war in Iraq though. Contrary to popular opinion, Pres. Bush never lied to us to start the war in Iraq. He acted on what was the best intelligence we had on Hussein. That intelligence turned out to be wrong (or Hussein was able to destroy or hide any remaining WMDs) but Pres. Bush did not lie. In any case, if Pres. Elect Obama does not prematurely pull U.S. troops out, there will be a fairly stable democracy in Iraq, something radical Islamic terrorists dislike more than just about anything else. Terrorists have little power in democracies. Pres. Bush stood up to terrorism and never gave in. He spoke back in a language they understand – violence – and they trembled and were afraid. Bin Laden is little more than a figurehead now. He hasn’t been captured but he has very little direct power any more. Pres. Bush demonstrated a fairly mature understanding of geopolitics.

One additional thing that tells you something about Pres. Bush is the fact that he is happily married to Laura Bush. She is a genuinely nice and good person and must have seen and must still see something good in Pres. Bush. Who people marry can tell you a lot about them.

Pres. Bush has been painted by his political opponents and the media as both imbecile and fiendishly brilliant (he is quite intelligent by the way). They don’t, of course, call him brilliant outright but they imply it as they talk about conspiracies (e.g., that the war in Iraq was started to increase his oil profits; or, he drove up oil prices in order to make more money). Pres. Bush has been given both deity-like powers (e.g., he caused Katrina) and been called nothing but a puppet. Many view him as morally bankrupt and a liar, which simply demonstrates their lack of understanding about morals and honesty.

I for one, will miss Pres. Bush. It hasn’t been an easy 8 years but he stood up to the challenge and performed admirably. I believe history will vindicate many of his actions.

Obama a Fiscal Conservative?

Ruben Navarrette Jr. has an editorial on CNN that says many of the things I was thinking during Obama’s speech last night. Here’s the link.

Basically, Obama in talking about economics said many things that sounded like people should work hard and take responsibility for their lives and economic well-being. Much of what he said sounded very fiscally conservative even if he was meaning to imply that the government should take care of people. As Navarrette said, it was a little confusing exactly what he was saying. Then again, that’s what Obama’s whole campaign has been like. I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad it’s just that with that part of the speech Obama sounded very moderate, or even conservative, which his voting history and past statements don’t support.