How The Romney Money Hurt People

The Republican National Convention was supposed to begin tomorrow, but it looks like Hurricane Isaac has made other plans. And while we’re on the subject of natural disasters, I’d like to suggest to Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer, and all the religious soothsayers who regularly pronounce everything from spree killings to avian flu as God’s judgment on gays, that I will be expecting them to make a similar announcement blaming Christian Conservatives for the storm. This will be the second Republican Convention in a row to be menaced by a hurricane. It sure appears God is making it clear for whom she would vote – if only she had some state issued picture ID.

Of course I am not serious about politically attuned goddesses or pronouncements from the Teahadi crowd. But there was one particular self-serving promotion offered by Ann Romney this week that had me shouting at the TV. Mitt can call me “small-minded,” and tax-obsessed if he must, but I feel compelled to object to his wife’s characterization of their so-called generosity. Tithing to the Mormon Church is not a laudable deed for which Mitt and Ann Romney should be praised or admired. In fact, I think it should disqualify Governor Romney from holding national office.

This week Queen Ann shook her finger in our faces while she scolded us like naughty children for asking to see the royal taxes. If you saw her performance, there is a high probability it aroused in you a desire to chomp down on that wagging digit like you were channeling  the baby in Lemony Snickets. Ann let us know, by royal decree, that they will not be releasing any more tax forms so their enemies can use the information in it against them. Fair enough. But in the very next sentence she insisted we not only take her word they paid their fair share of taxes, but that we also credit them with giving ten percent of their income to the Mormon Church. I am more than happy to ascribe that contribution to them, but “credit” is not a word I would attach to such a gift. I’d go with “blame.”

For years, Mitt and Ann Romney have contributed ten percent of their mega-earnings to the Mormon Church. The Church then used their contributions to defend DOMA and offer gay reparative therapy, and fund Prop 8.  They may want to call it “charity” but Mitt and Ann hurt people; specifically, they hurt gay people. It is important that they not be allowed to hide behind some altruistic notion of the phrase “tithed to my church” like the donation itself is a good thing, regardless of what pain their money caused.

Charitable donations are not the same as tax payments, which the government can use at its discretion. A taxpayer has no choice but to contribute to wars and executions even if he objects to them. But when you give to a Church or a charity, you decide what you want your money to be used for. Mitt and Ann did not choose to save the houses of foreclosed homeowners or provide state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs for wounded vets. Mitt and Ann gave willingly to an organization that has dedicated itself to keeping couples of the same sex from marrying, and denying children all the protections and benefits marriage bestows.

The Mormons have done a sprightly song and dance to obscure the amount and the sources of their Prop 8 funding. At one point they claimed no tithing money went to their Prop 8 campaign, only contributions they raised from individual donors. If that is true, then I’m even more curious to know if Mitt Romney was one of those donors, something his tax forms would tell us. But money is fungible. And the Mormons have not claimed that tithing money didn’t find its way into any of their other anti-gay efforts. The Romneys claiming they support the Mormon Church but not its campaign of discrimination, would be like a donor saying he contributed to the KKK’s choir robe fund, but the Klan promised him none of his money would go to buy rope.

I have yet to hear anyone in the news media ask the Romneys if they are bothered by how the Mormons used their money. If someone should dare, I hope they will not accept a generic “I’m for DOMA, one man, one woman.” as a response. Ask what threat a loving couple getting married in California was to their lives in Massachusetts. Pin them down as to why they gave the Mormon Church such staggering sums, knowing they would use it to hurt people who never hurt them. If Governor Romney’s answer is his faith demands it, ask him if as President he will continue to carry out the agenda of the Mormon Elders. Finally, please ask Governor Romney how he can possibly be president of ALL Americans when he actively funds the effort to discriminate against millions of them.

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