by Tom Hall –
In earlier essays, I talked about how a group of for-profit businessmen was promoting Proposition 8 (Proposition Hate), the anti-gay marriage measure to write bigotry into the California Constitution. I pointed out some of their hypocricies and dishonesties. But I didn’t talk much about their finances.
It’s important to understand how these people make their money. And make money they do. Each of the main promoters of this bigotry campaign may personally pocket as much as $10 million or more from the campaign. At the same time, they force the taxpayers to spend millions on the mechanics of reviewing all the signatures on petitions, putting the measure on the ballot, and writing accurate ballot statements to replace the intentionally false statements offered by the promoters.
The promoters don’t pay for all that work by state employees. They make huge personal profits from the measure while forcing the taxpayers to pay the costs. It sheds a whole new light on the “redistributing wealth” complaints we hear from the McCain campaign. McCain is a staunch supporter of the Proposition Hate businessmen. He doesn’t mind spending taxpayer money to help the promoters profit, any more than he objects to Sarah Palin guaranteeing a $500 million tax subsidy to a pipeline company, after the company said it was willing to build the pipeline with no subsidy.
Recent news reports have revealed that the grand poobah of the Mormon Church, in Utah, has driven his flocks to raise money for the California bigotry measure. If the Utah church raises $15 million to promote proposition 8, and the church leadership rakes off only 10% for its “service and consulting fee,” that’s a handy $1.5 million in the pockets of the grand poobah.
But there are plenty of studies on this kind of campaign. The promoters never rake off only 10% as a service fee. Usually, it’s 75 or 80% or more. And most of that money goes into the pockets of the promoters. But they still need to get their campaign fliers and signs printed and distributed. So you figure some of the money goes there, right? Wrong.
If you go to the Proposition Hate website, you’ll see that you can download campaign literature and graphics for free, to spread around as much as you want. The promoters don’t want to print the screeds themselves. That would cost money. So they give their flocks the right to both donate money and then to print the signs, brochures, and graphics on their home computers. The sheeple pay for the paper, the printing, and the lawn signs. And they send in checks! So the promoters collect the money, but they don’t need to spend it on the campaign.
Do the math. Some pundits claim that the campaign to make bigotry the law in California may raise $100 million. If the five top promoters of this measure rake off only 50% percent, each of them pockets a cool $10 million. And that’s if they take only 50%!
Now consider that these men keep campaigns rolling, one right after another. Think about the “pro-life” noise that Sarah Palin injected into the presidential campaign. Remember 2000, when George Bush campaigned on a “pro-life” stance. And again in 2004. And now again in 2008. Not just in California, but across the nation. Not tens of millions of dollars but hundreds of millions, each time they run the campaigns. No wonder they have such beautiful, huge, well funded churches and homes!
But what happened after each campaign? No pro-life legislation, even when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Actually passing Pro-life legislation would defeat the purpose of the campaigns. If the legislation were passed, the sheeple would think that they had succeeded, and they’d stop sending in money. And the promoters wouldn’t be able to rake off their service fees.
One of the multi-millionaire, bigot preachers behind Proposition Hate, James Garlow, head pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, has now published a little bigotry booklet called “God’s Design for Marriage.” It discloses Garlow’s future plan to rake in donations by running a campaign to outlaw divorce. According to Garlow, “God hates divorce.” According to Garlow, God also hates homosexuality and gay marriage. This year, he pockets a few tens of millions in fees and sales related to the Proposition Hate campaign. Then he’ll rake in millions more moving forward on the campaign to criminalize divorce.
Garlow is clear, “As God’s people, we are specifically commanded to honor and esteem marriage.” That’s because, “God intends marriage to be a committed, life long, covenant relationship.” If God wants marriage to be lifelong, mere mortals have no business permitting divorce. So, to honor God, we’ll have to make divorce illegal. And the first page of Pastor Garlow’s fall campaign brochure says “Full permission granted to copy this document.” He wants people to send him money. But he also wants them to handle the job of printing and circulating his hate materials. He doesn’t want to bear the actual costs of his hate campaigns.
It’s hard to imagine Californians supporting Garlow’s campaign to outlaw marriage. Here in California, the elected Legislature decided that when a marriage has completely, irremediably broken down, it can be dissolved, and the parties can each look again for love.
Garlow doesn’t agree. “Individuals will be judged by God” for such immoral conduct. “God intends marriage to be…submission and personal sacrifice” according to Garlow’s campaign brochure. If a husband beats his wife or children, he probably has a good reason. After all, God made man the head of the household, and intends women and children to be submissive and obedient to the head.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter what the Legislature said, or what the voters want. This is business. Whether or not these ballot measures pass, the promoters make millions. And we taxpayers pay all of the costs for putting them on the ballot.
What else can these profiteers of hate build campaigns on? Before he died, Jerry Falwell (shown above) wrote: “If we are going to lift out of the old testament things that are convenient for proving our contentions, we are also forced to accept other things. For instance, we would be forced to stone to death everybody who does any work on the Sabbath, or who commits adultery, or who fails to tithe.”
Really?! So, we can have a campaign for the death penalty for all football players – they work on Sunday. And the ticket takers and beer sellers (maybe they need to be stoned just because of their high prices). Anything related to Sunday football also involves the worship of pigskin, which the Bible also forbids. So Pastor Garlow gets another profitable campaign issue.
If we outlaw divorce, it’s very likely that there will be lots more people committing adultery. A campaign to stone them will certainly be profitable.
As any parent knows, teenagers are horribly expensive and disobedient. Don’t forget, the Bible commands us to kill disobedient children. As Pastor Garlow tells us, we are “specifically commanded” to do what God wants and to kill those whom God hates. Killing off the disobedient teens will also save huge amounts of both school and prison costs.
Interestingly, the televangelists who profit from the Proposition Hate campaign also support the reelection of District 26 homosexual congressman David Drier. As long as Drier remains a strict Republican, no televangelist criticizes him for having gay sex in his congressional office. And no member of the mainstream “liberal media” has raised any question about this with any of the Proposition Hate promoters. Apparently, if you obey the corporate Republican line, we aren’t “specifically commanded” to treat you as God intended.
Tom Hall is a family law attorney. He is originally from Boston, where he grew up in the Cambridge Friends Meeting (Quakers), thinking that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people to participate in highly disciplined nonviolent demonstrations (real disciplined nonviolence is just plain maddening to police forces who count on demonstrators giving them reason to get ‘messy’ during public demonstrations). After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make himself a comfortable life. The Bush administration has shocked him back into social concerns. Tom can be reached at [email protected]
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