Jonah Goldberg
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Did you catch the political ad in which two Jews ring the doorbell of a nice working-class family? They barge in and rifle through the wife's purse and then the man's wallet for any cash. Cackling, they smash the daughter's piggy bank and pinch every penny. "We need it for the Wall Street bailout!" they exclaim.

No? Maybe you saw the one with the two swarthy Muslims who knock on the door of a nice Jewish family and then blow themselves up?

No? Well, then surely you saw the TV ad in which two smarmy Mormon missionaries knock on the door of an attractive lesbian couple. "Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" says the blond one with a toothy smile. "We're here to take away your rights." The Mormon zealots yank the couple's wedding rings from their fingers and then tear up their marriage license.

As the thugs leave, one says to the other, "That was too easy." His smirking comrade replies, "Yeah, what should we ban next?" The voice-over implores viewers: "Say no to a church taking over your government."

Obviously, the first two ads are fictional because no one would dare run such anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.

The third ad, however, was real. It was broadcast throughout California on Election Day as part of the effort to rally opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative that successfully repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the state.

What was the reaction to the ad? Widespread condemnation? Scorn? Rebuke? Tepid criticism?

Nope.

The Los Angeles Times, a principled opponent of Proposition 8, ran an editorial lamenting that the "hard-hitting commercial" was too little, too late.

The upshot seemed to be that if the pro-gay-marriage forces had just flooded the airwaves with more religious slander, things would have turned out better.

At a pro-gay-marriage rally in Los Angeles after the vote, chants of "Mormon scum!" were reported. Envelopes containing white powder have been sent to Mormon temples in California and Utah; vandals hit other temples. Lists of businesses to boycott -- essentially Mormon blacklists -- have sprung up on the Internet. The artistic director of the California Musical Theatre resigned because of pressure after it was revealed he gave $1,000 to a pro-Proposition 8 group.

It's amazing. Hollywood liberals, who usually shout "McCarthyism!" as a first resort, see nothing wrong with this. If Jews were attacked in this way for giving too much money to a political cause, Barbra Streisand would already have a French passport.

Never mind that Proposition 8 carried nearly every demographic slice of voters. Put aside the fact that the Catholic Church and scores of other Christian churches supported it too. Discount the inconvenient truth that bans on gay marriage have now passed in each of the 30 states in which they've been put before voters. It's all the Mormons' fault.

The argument is that Mormons used illegitimate power, in this case money, beyond their numerical standing in the population to secure victory for the measure. Golly, wealthy gay liberals would never do anything like that! I bet they're not giving a single dime -- disproportionate to their numbers in the population -- to the effort to overturn Proposition 8 via the courts.

No, it's just that Mormons are the most vulnerable of the culturally conservative religious denominations and therefore the easiest targets for an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.

Traditional religion is the enemy anywhere it runs afoul of complete social acceptance of homosexuality. In New Mexico, a wedding photographer was fined nearly $7,000 for refusing to shoot a gay commitment ceremony. The dating site eHarmony, run by evangelicals, was just bullied by gay activists via the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights into starting up a site for gays. The first 10,000 registrants must get six months free.

It's often lost on gay-rights groups that they and their allies are the aggressors in the culture war. Indeed, they admit to being the "forces of change" and the "agents of progress." They proudly want to rewrite tradition and overturn laws. But whenever they're challenged democratically and peaceably, they instantly complain of being victims of entrenched bigots, even as they adopt the very tactics they abhor.

My own view is that gay marriage is likely inevitable and won't be nearly the disaster many of my fellow conservatives fear it will be. But the scorched-earth campaign to victory pushed by gay-marriage advocates may well be disastrous, and "liberals" should be ashamed for countenancing it.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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