January 23, 2009

Tom Hanks' Non-Apology For Anti-Mormon Bigotry

I'm not a Mormon. Indeed, I've made any number of criticisms of Mormon theology and the flawed historical claims of the LDS Church. But never would I argue that Mormons, as a whole, are anything less than exemplary Americans (indeed, as a rule they are exemplary human beings).

On the other hand, Hollywood luminary Tom Hanks recently did exactly that -- based upon the overwhelming support for traditional marriage by Mormons during the election contest over California's Proposition 8.

Now he has apologized -- while not apologizing at all.

Here's his statement.

Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as "un-American." I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination. But everyone has a right to vote their conscience — nothing could be more American. To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are "un-American" creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement. No one should use "un- American" lightly or in haste. I did. I should not have.


Tom Hanks

Let's break that down.

Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as "un-American."

Yes, you did -- and in the process singled out members of a relatively small religion as the guilty parties in the passing of that amendment to the California Constitution. You know, sort of like Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat in the First World War.

I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination.

Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of Americans and courts appear to disagree with you, Tom. Not that the fact you are in such a small minority makes you un-American or anything -- merely out of step with the American people like most of your Hollywood liberal clique.

But everyone has a right to vote their conscience — nothing could be more American.

Thank you, Tom Hanks, for acknowledging that the exercise of a fundamental right under our system of government is not un-American.

To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are "un-American" creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement.

Yeah, it does create more division -- and it is also indicative of the degree of contempt you really have for Mormons, the same contempt you show by making the television series Big Love, with its distorted view of the LDS faithful.

No one should use "un- American" lightly or in haste. I did.

Sorry, Tom, I don't think you are being honest here. Your words seemed to be a rather deliberate, intentional shot at "those people".

I should not have.

You are correct -- you should not have.


Tom Hanks

Sincerely? I don't think so. After all, your "apology" fails to actually apologize for having defamed our fellow citizens of the LDS faith. You don't say that your statement was incorrect, false, and defamatory -- you merely say that now was not the time for people to cast such aspersions. At no time do you actually say that you were incorrect when you made that statement, and express regret for stirring defaming the many fine Americans who are Mormons.

So friends, don't be fooled by reports that Tom Hanks has apologized to Mormons -- because the only apology offered is for the words he chose, not the essential meaning of those words.

H/T Ace, Jawa Report, Hot Air, Don Surber

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Comments on Tom Hanks' Non-Apology For Anti-Mormon Bigotry

His "apology" was not sincere at all. He's a Hollywood foof with no grasp on what it's like to truly live free. He's locked up in his prison of self importance as exhibited by his thinking that anyone really cares what he thinks of their religion or the way they vote. What business is it of his? None. No one sees his face or hears his name and automatically things, "Gee, I wonder what religion Tom Hanks would want me to believe in?" or "Golly, I wonder what Tom Hanks thinks of Proposition 8?" When I hear the name "Tom Hanks" I picture him in a dress and a wig in Bosom Buddies. Not exactly someone you would take seriously.

|| Posted by Mia, January 23, 2009 11:03 PM ||

Your breakdown of what Hanks did hit most of the nails on the head. I remember Hanks playing a major role in a movie that showed a big time Hollywood star could play a homosexual with HIV without destroying his career. That went beyond tolerance of a lifestyle which most people, outside of Hollywood, consider an abomination. He's done damage to society as a whole by endorsing homosexuality as normal.

As you pointed out, Big Love is nothing more than a skewed observation of how some folks think LDS lifestyles are played out. There are a few folks who live "plurality"; however, they are not active members of the LDS Church as they would have been excommunicated for violating a doctrine which was abandoned around the year 1900. Hanks involvement in the production of the series shows his utter contempt for LDS as a whole.

Lastly, you should read Voices From the Dust, by David Calderwood. While nothing can "prove" the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, those who have attempted to discredit it through so called scientific means have been shown to be in error. There are over 150 historical pieces of information provided in the Book of Mormon, archeological facts which could not have been known by Joseph Smith in 1830 which have been shown to be accurate. The statistical odds of such "random creations of imagination" being accurate and true go beyond astronomical. Still, The Book of Mormon requires a leap of faith to accept as the word of God, just as any book of scripture.

|| Posted by T F Stern, January 24, 2009 08:27 AM ||

I'm saddened to see these comments and hostile energy about Tom Hanks apology.

The first reason is the idea that a majority vote has the ability to deny select people rights. Remember that up till 1967 interracial marriage was still illegal in many states. Do you believe that in this day and age just because a majority of people would still believe that to be wrong, it should be illegal. In 15 years, people will look back at those who fought to keep same-sex couples from their right to marry and see them as biggotted traditionalists who see things as "the way things have been" instead of "the ways things should be" according to our constitution.

The second is the comment of that the LDS church was a "relatively small religion" in the process of the passing of prop 8. The LDS church combined for nearly half of the money raised to push the prop through. Without their mobilization of their members i am certain it would not have passed.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, although i am not Mormon, i have many close friends that are. I respect their right to have their opinion on this subject, but am disheartened that they do not see the hypocrisy in their vote. Just like in Mormon history how other religious groups persecuted the Mormons including passing laws against them, they are now perpetuating that same fear and biggotry of what they are ignorant of.

Thank you for posting this, and keeping this topic on the front lines. There is no more important subject than the fact that in America, the most free and amazing country the world have every seen, there is still people being denied their rights.

|| Posted by tom, January 26, 2009 03:02 AM ||

Since when did standing up for values and things you believe in make you a bigot? i also find it kind of ironic how the only critical comment is by a guy named tom...

|| Posted by ashlyn, January 26, 2009 11:16 AM ||

Tom -- some quick points for you.

1) It isn't an apology, at least not to the millions of Mormons he insulted. Read his words -- nowhere does hanks actually apologize to them.

2) Yes, many mormons gave money to the effort against Prop 8. However, so did many other members of many other groups -- and the Catholic Church was quite active in the effort as well. I can't help but notice that Hanks did not attack the Americanism of Catholics. Maybe because he knows that insulting 30% of Americans would destroy his career, while insulting a relatively small religion like the LDS carries no cost -- and has in fact made him a great deal of cash with Big Love.

3) The comparison to interracial marriage is specious. In that case, racial animus was involved in limiting a marriage that would have otherwise been seen as valid under the definition of marriage that has held sway in Western society (and the US in particular) for centuries. On the other hand, same-sex marriages require a redefinition of marriage. Most Americans do not want that redefinition.

4) No one is being denied their rights, Tom. ANy gay man may marry any legally available woman. Any gay woman may marry any legally available man. What they may not do is marry a person of the same gender -- just as I (a straight man) could not do so.

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