Within the whole of the Bible there are six or seven verses that are used to condemn gay and lesbian people – depending on the person making the argument. At the same time, there are more than 300 verses that admonish us to take care of the poor and do social justice in this world for poor and hungry.
Guess which one the religious right will pour vast amounts of its monetary resources into fighting?
The final tallies show that opponents of Proposition 8 raised $43.3 million in 2008 and had a little more than $730,000 left on hand at year’s end. The measure’s sponsors raised $39.9 million and had $983,000 left over.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been criticized for strongly encouraging its members to support Proposition 8, for the first time assigned a dollar value of nearly $190,000 to its role in getting the initiative passed.
More than half, or $97,000, went to the time staff of the Utah-based Mormon Church devoted to the Yes on 8 campaign, according to the church’s report. Another $21,000 was for the use of church buildings and equipment during the campaign. Most of the rest went to airline tickets, hotels and meals for church officials.
Focus on the Family, the evangelical Christian media empire based in Colorado, reported giving $657,000 in cash and services to promote Proposition 8.
All this money was thrown around by the religious right (forcing the other side to waste money fighting them) that could have been used to improve the lives of the 7.6 million people living in poverty in the United States or the more than 35.5 million Americans who are hungry or at risk of going hungry.
These zealots spend their worldly treasure not on feeding the hungry or housing the homeless. Those issues are not sexy enough and don’t raise enough money from their constituents. Instead they’ll empty the storehouse to ensure that two men or two women who love one another and want to commit their lives to one another cannot call it a marriage or partake of such rights as being able to make medical decisions for their loved ones. They base their efforts and their expenditures on Bible verses like Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” but forget later verses like Leviticus 25:35: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.”
Then again, the religious right doesn’t treat the alien or temporary resident with the respect the Scriptures demand, either. So, perhaps this colossal waste of money is simply par for their course. Their spiritual bankruptcy is complete, then – gays can’t get married in California – and the least of these are still poor and hungry.