NOM secret documents get mainstream media’s attention.
When I first heard rumblings this week about the infamous “document dump” ordered by a federal judge in Maine against the wishes of National Organization for Marriage (NOM), I was itching to get ahold of the documents. “What must be in them,” I thought, “for them to have needed to remain so secret?”
Having now made it through 112 pages of what has been portrayed as the most telling documents, in truth there is nothing terribly ground breaking in the documents that were ordered released on March 26. (The documents are part of litigation surrounding NOM’s efforts to keep same sex civil marriage from the Pine Tree State.)
The documents basically confirmed many things we knew already from indirect and direct evidence, the biggest bombshell of which is the fact that the NOM’s spells out in internal memoranda its effort to foment anti-gay and anti-marriage sentiment amongst African-Americans and Latinos.
According to one section of the formerly confidential NOM blueprints: “The majority of African-Americans, like the majority of Americans, oppose gay marriage, but Democratic power bosses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans. A strategic goal of this project is to amplify the voice and the power of black Americans within the Democratic Party. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
Another section talks about how NOM wants to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” and to “provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”
“A-ha!” some LGBT activists have exclaimed. “This information will be a game changer because it proves the African-American and Latino communities are being used by NOM!”
I hope they’re correct, but I doubt it. We knew all of this already, based on media buys that NOM has purchased in broadcast and print media targeted toward African-Americans and Latinos, and in the fact that NOM plays up homophobic preachers of color in its in-house media efforts, including its YouTube videos and web site. Why else would they be doing all of this except to influence and drive a wedge between the LGBT community and certain segments of some communities of color? They certainly aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their blackened NOM hearts or a desire to help struggling people of color media outlets.
As for whether some religious African-Americans are being used by NOM, I say: welcome to the world of politics. It’s called targeting your message, and it’s what political media communications are all about. Yes, it’s really unscrupulous to use bigotry to sell bigotry, but it wouldn’t be so easy if there were not fertile ground already for NOM to plant its wicked thoughts about how gays are corrupting the civil rights movement and infecting the communities of color with homosexuality.
There are swaths of the religious African-American community that are virulently homophobic and NOM is simply exploiting that, much in the same way that the GOP has exploited Southern white racism. If there were no Southern white racists, the GOP would have won far fewer elections south of the Mason-Dixon line. There is not much evidence that Southern white racists much care about having been used by the GOP because they are not susceptible to shame around their ignorant beliefs. It’s not so much that NOM is using anti-gay preachers as much as NOM is cooperating with many ministers in communities of color who are then doing the exploiting of fears in their congregations.
I doubt that a huge number of homophobic African-American or Latino ministers are suddenly going to read the NOM document dump, and then get in front of their congregations this Sunday and exclaim, “You know what? We’ve been used by these people in the Catholic and Mormon churches and I’ve seen the error of my ways!” — especially given that there is evidence that many of these ministers are being paid off with NOM funds.
The greatest gain to be had from the NOM document dump is it seems to have woken up the somnambulant mainstream media to deception that has been happening all along. Perhaps reporters will now look at NOM more critically.
Also, the NOM revelations will likely have the happy effect of solidifying our support among the majority of people of color who bear no ill will toward the LGBT community. As Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP said this week, “NOM's underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination. Pitting bigotry's victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together.”
Jeff Epperly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.