Archive for category Greatest Hits

A Day Late And A Dollar Short

My favorite song turned 45 yesterday:

Darn Muslims!

Look here.


I Guess “The Moody Blues” Need A Category Of Thier Own

Perhaps in a Hall of Fame somewhere in a child’s imagination or somewhere else:

Somehow a catolog of great music spanning decades doesn’t measure up to the Rock n’ Roll hall of fame.

If I were they, I would tell them to keep it!

I’m sure The Moodies don’t really want my input here. I once heard a horrible story about people in wheelchairs showing up at their concerts wanting to be healed.

All they were trying to do is enlighten us.


Black President Pulls Rope a Dope on Rich White Guy “Please Proceed Governor” or …Obama Punks Romney

Next time someone says to you, “Please proceed Governor,” check yourself. If you are Romney and that someone is a Black man, STFU.

Someone on Team Liar needs to be fired….after Romney.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The full transcript of the remarks is online, but of particular interest was the president’s vow of “justice” in Libya.

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said. “Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

The president made no reference to the campaign, politics, or his domestic opponents.



Breaking: Ex-Skyline Cheerleader Jane Lyon Covers Take Care

This kills me.



Rocky Anderson vs Sean Hannity. Live Debate at University of Utah – Entire Show – Fox News

University of Utah, May 4, 2007. Two Hours. Moderated by Ken Verdoia.

Rocky laid out a bullet-proof prima-facie case for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Hannity retreated into his hallmark pandering strategy refusing to address the facts in the case for impeachment of Bush. Not one word about Bush, the Constitution, illegal rendition, torture, wiretapping US citizens illegally, or the suspension of Habeas Corpus. Just personal attacks on Rocky as if labeling Rocky will somehow make the fact that Bush is impeachable go away.

Some still support Bush. They need to ask themselves:

Is your patriotism strong enough to hold a president you love accountable for his crimes and impeachable offenses? Or are you making an exception? Are you a full time American Patriot, or does it “depend?”

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Full Show Broadband (137mg) / Smaller Dial-up (37mg) version here
Play or download full high quality MP4 (525MG) here.

Thanks as always to Norm at OneGoodMove for providing this video.

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Cinematic Masterpiece Turns Fifty

Making a musical based on New York gangs is ridiculous, but having that film win ten academy awards and be one of the most beloved films in history is remarkable. Unless I’m wrong, the film played continuously in Salt Lake for at least two years.

The play and movie caused such excitement, that my mother and three sisters were heading to the theater. My mother never took us to see movies and couldn’t see spending any money on them, so I knew this was something BIG. They were heading out the door without me and I just about lost it! I was ten years old at the time, but I had to stand up for myself. They were incredulous that a ten year old boy would be interested in seeing a movie based on Romeo and Juliet, but I was going to throw a tantrum if they left me alone.

I can tell you that this ten year old boy was dazzled by the perfection of the choreography, music and story. I wasn’t as moved by any movie as much as that until I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968.

Also, I haven’t mentioned the name of the movie, because you’ll figure it out.


Move On!!! Pass it Around. Let Take Down Republicrats


Gay Education

Cross-posted at RedStateBlues

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Morris Berman: Dark Ages America

Originally published on OneUtah June 2007.

Morris Berman, a distinguished professor and writer is known as an innovative cultural historian and social critic. His most recent book, Dark Ages America, is not pretty. I first saw him on C-Span book TV. It was interesting because even among the predictably liberal sympathetic crowd in attendance, some got angry.

Why? Why did liberals get angry with another liberal? Because Morris not only describes all the ways we are screwed, but that we are beyond the point of salvation. Kaput. Finito. Buh, bye.

Listen: …An interview you will not forget.


In 1984 Ronald Reagan announced, with characteristic indifference to fact, that it was “morning in America.” A quarter-century later, the twilight, then already perceptible, has deepened. The international financial position of the United States is ruinous. Globally, attitudes toward American policy range from misgiving to loathing. The foreseeable consequences of climate change and environmental pollution range from painful to catastrophic. For most Americans (especially the tens of millions without health insurance), medical care is the worst in any advanced industrial society. Economic insecurity is epidemic; overwork and high stress are the rule rather than the exception; inequality is at an all-time high; trust in government is at an all-time low (though perhaps not low enough, in the present circumstances). The (until recently) governing party openly aspires to permanent one-party rule and a Caesarist executive. Civic virtue, lately renamed “social capital,” is waning; neighborliness has dwindled to the point of near-anomie. Functional illiteracy is rampant: in most non-affluent school districts, the public schools are not merely ineffectual but often unsafe as well. Nearly half of all Americans believe that the earth is 10,000 years old or less and that angels and other supernatural beings regularly intervene in terrestrial affairs. The average American’s day includes six minutes playing sports, five minutes reading books, one minute making music, thirty seconds attending a play or concert, twenty-five seconds making or viewing art, and four hours watching television. And even Americans who don’t watch television are perfused by a stream of commercial messages so intense and ubiquitous as to constitute a culture (in the biological as well as social sense) of consumption. Compared with the imagined noonday brilliance of that vibrant idyll, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas, the prospects for contemporary American civilization are heartbreakingly bleak.


Government, Your Partner in Reproduction: A Modest Proposal

According to Paul “Sorry-ma’am-this-is-my-job-someone’s-got-to-do-it” Mero, chief of Utah’s conservative Sutherland Institute, the state has a vested interest in your sex organs. Your children, you see, are the state’s means of production, and your sex organs, being the means of producing the means, are therefore a national asset subject to oversight. Lots of oversight. The more assets your member produces, the more valuable you are as a member. Biology is destiny. Darwin and the Mormons finally agree on something. Correspondingly, assets that choose not to produce are a threat to the state. Not just the blessed state of marriage, but the blessed STATE, also known as Das Vaterland, ueber, hinter, und inter alles. Non-productive asses, sorry, assets are a threat to the world as we know it.

But I think Paul, with that reticence that is his trademark, is too restrained. The implication of Scripture (“if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”) and hard-nosed, Malthusian capitalism alike is that we need to GET RID of unproductive units and more aggressively reward the productive, especially the White Anglo-Saxon Productive. America for WASPs! The trickle down theory of sex triumphs! Here, then, are a few modest proposals to keep America in the reproductive running (up there in the lead next to such societal luminaries as the Sudan, Iran, and my personal favorite, Pakistan).

First, build concentration camps for gays. If they misbehave, gas them and cremate their bodies in industrial ovens. These people are a menace to society. Not just their way of life but their LIFE threatens not only marriage but the very fabric of society itself. It’s not clear yet exactly how they do this, but we know that they do. Our Gruppenfuehrer, known locally as GAs (Mormon speak for “General Authorities,” “the Lord’s anointed,” etc.), tell us so.

Second, institute a Frequent Fuckers program bankrolled by the state. This is the flagship program of my proposed new Sexcare system (the necessary and inexcusably overlooked counterpart to the present, post-productive Medicare–overlooked, probably due to insidious queer influence). To clarify, this benefit isn’t just for casual, recreational fucking, which the state will aggressively punish, but productive fucking, fucking with a purpose, fucking on a mission. We want more KIDS, billions and billions of them, googleplexes of them. We want an assembly line of kids rolling out of their mothers. Sadly we haven’t yet invented a less organic way of producing them, but Craig Venter and the geneticists are working on this.

There are three levels in this program, Gold, Silver, and Bronze (local variant: Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial).

Gold-Level Fuckers, who produce more than twelve children per woman, who constitute a quorum wherever they go, receive the following benefits:

-A free starter palace in an American suburb of your choice, paid for by the sale of confiscated gay properties (several of them). Why wait for the kingdom which is to come when you can have it here? Palaces come complete with walls, drawbridge, armed guards, imported slave labor (will require optional Spanish translator). Many such palaces are on display on the Sandy bench where Paul lives.

-A free Chevvy Suburban, known locally as the Brigham Brougham, every seven years throughout your reproductive life or age 55, whichever comes last, paid for by the sale of even more gay vehicles (it takes about 2.5 Priuses to pay for one Suburban).

Silver-Level Fuckers, who produce six or more kids per woman (you’re in luck, Paul!) get:

-A one-time get out of jail free card from the IRS. Can be used if your reproductive success threatens to overwhelm you in debt.

-A quiver full of school vouchers, courtesy of’s Patrick Byrne (where he gets his money, with Overstock where it is, is a wonder to us all). You CAN have productive sex and send your kids to Harvard! Mitt Romney has also agreed to chip in to insure that every future GA has a chance to see the edyacated world before returning to Utah, the latter being in but not of the former.

-Lifetime membership in the Sutherland Institute, and a no-risk visit from Mormon missionaries, who will instruct you in ways of eternally increasing your productivity. Imagine it, men, eternal growth! Quality and quantity! Eternal male enhancement! One dizzies just thinking of it.

Bronze-Level Fuckers (this, unfortunately, is the farthest I’m likely to get toward that palace, Paul), who produce four or more kids per woman, earn:

-A free copy of Celestial Fucking. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, forthcoming. In this inspiring, exhaustively correlated and field-tested book, the author, a GA yet to be determined, reveals how patriarchal legends such as Abraham became the fathers of nations and took their first steps on the path of eternal increase.

-A free copy of Mastering Masturbation: Increasing Productivity through Self-Discipline, another Deseret Book masterpiece by the always-inspiring Sheri Dew, who draws on her own experience.

-A free Men on a Mission calendar by Chad Hardy (for her) and a Women Serving Under the Lord calendar (for him), to inspire continued progress in reproductive success. To be used only when you’re together. Publisher’s note: Please never take one of these into the bathroom alone. This is advanced eroticism, for happily married couples only!

-A signed and numbered reprint of Ezra Taft Benson’s famous “Precious Husband” speech that had so many LDS women talking!

-A free copy of the new LDS comedy hit, There’s Something About Martin, a hilarious sendup of gay life. Has audiences in Provo rolling in the aisles (quite a feat given the way some of them are wedged into their seats).

The message to People of Bronze is, “Don’t be discouraged. You are our bread and butter fuckers; we need you!” Fuck for your country! The idea of a new vision for the Peace Corps suggests itself here, but that will have to await another post.

For years, I’ve been wondering how the world would deal with its downward-spiraling population. Paul has the solution. We can no longer afford to leave sex to private enterprise. It needs government regulation. The days of laissez-fuck are over.

Vive l’etat! Sieg Heil! Ad maiorem Dei gloriam!

P.S. Paul, while I have you online, I wanted to remind you that our next Brown Shirt meeting is this coming Thursday. Auf Wiedersehen. Stay hard for your country, man, and your country women.

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Karl Rove: Almost NO Friends Left

Accept the ones that will hang if he talks. Thats how the Republicans are. They suck up to the guy in power, in the moment…and bail at the first sign of trouble. We are presently witnessing the desertion of Bush. But where ever will they run now? Certainly not McCain.

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Artur Davis, Scott McClellan throws Karl Rove under the bus.
Artur Davis, Congressman from Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Selma, is a rising star. He was the best questioner in the Justice Committee hearing with Scot McClellan. C-Span has been playing it twice a day since. It well worth several viewings.

Leaves you with a dark feeling about a hanging in the air.

PS: If anyone can find the entire segment with Artur Davis, please let me know. Its “special.”

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The Growth of Human Rights: The Skunk at the Garden Party

The debacle of the clash of civilizations in the Texas raids upon the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints continues past the point of severe justice. Whatever Samuel Huntington thinks, no one wins such wars.

Savagery exists now, played out with the goading of the news media, in 24/7 mode, driven to make news of the most lurid kind, pouring blood into the water. CNN outdoes Fox in idiocy and sheer fabrication. Their local authority here, the most savage of all, did not learn his facts nor his law in my class in constitutional law, nor from the table of his loving mother and father, my dear friends. Watch out, national talking heads, Look over your shoulder. He has a lean and hungry look.

I’ve lived through seven decades of this drama, and written about the story of polygamy since its Mormon expression. I say “Mormon” expression, because hundreds of millions of people in almost every country and culture on earth practice polygamy, just as huge numbers practice, or at least preach, monogamy. I know and have lived through almost half of the Mormon story. Realizing that Mormons didn’t invent polygamy seems to be an understanding that none of the electronic media, and those who unfortunately rely upon such media for their information, find beyond their reach. My conclusions, for what they’re worth, from two hundred years of the Mormon experience, and my work in most countries of the world, from Tibet and India, China, almost all of Europe and the United Nations, in New York and Geneva and the White House:

First, “family” is an ever-defining fluid thing. Blood? Adoption? Choice? In-law or outlaw? I remember two months in Rome with a Franciscan sister, Rosemary Lynch, Franciscan to the core, still alive in her ninety-second year and, with the Death of my dear friend, Sister Mary Luke Tobin, at ninety-eight years, of the Sisters of Loretto, the only American order of women Religous without European antecedents, for most of a century headed by Luke, and the only woman with speaking rights at Vatican Two (four women there, to balance off 1800 men), arguably the most famous revered and profoundly loved living woman in Christianity. Luke and Rose and I had met as we all battled the existence and the basing of the MX Missile in the Great Basin of the American West. I was giving a series of lectures, several a week, to all the Congregations of Women and Men Religious, headquartered in Rome. I was a year or two away from a divorce that would shatter me after thirty-three years and eight children. Blessedly ignorant of what was just around the corner, I asked Rosie if she ever missed having a family, a husband, children. She treated my naive Mormon question with all the thoughtfulness that is so lacking in today’s national dialogue on the same question. She said, “dear Ed, I have children. Thousands of them. I have biological brothers and sisters, and hundreds of brothers and sisters of the faith, and of scores of other faiths, particularly in the Muslim world, as my father Francis Assisi was especially concerned about his Muslim sisters and brothers, and echoes of Francis still resonate within the Muslim community.”

Rosie’s sister Franciscan for decades, Klaryta, was born of Polish parents, one tortured and murdered by the Germans and one by the Russians as World War Two reached its savage end, after 50,000,000 people had be slaughtered in another clash of civilizations, stretching that word past civilized meaning. Klaryta works mainly with German and Russian immigrants in her ministry, along with many thousands, now, of immigrants here, with or without papers.

As the present drama of FLDS polygamists plays itself out to its bitter end, probably decades from now, if measured by the damage already done to these women, children, men, of all ages, and after growing in my own experience of “family” these past three decades, I see violence as evil and the law, for all but the most limited and heinous of crimes, the least worst alternative. The American culture is reaching out, now, to immigrants of all sorts. This is not without pain and loss. But the gains are enormously greater. These Mormon Fundamentalists should be seen as immigrants, really. ( More on this later in this piece.)

In this country right now, if we were facing abuses in Muslim polygamy, even after 9/11, we would be giving far far greater care to the human rights, the constitutional rights, the international legal human rights, of our Muslim brothers and sisters. Can’t we see these Mormon Christian people in Texas, Utah, and Arizona as similarly situated and protected? Mormons didn’t invent this polygamous system. Think about it, talking heads of CNN. Place this wherever in the world. Hugely more compassion and, just perhaps, a bit more factual reporting would be done. Not just never-ending vitriol. Have we no shame?

When my grandmother, Zina Diantha Huntington Smith Young, and her Husband, Brigham Young, came to this valley of the Great Basin, Brigham claimed an area slightly larger than the rest of the United States. Native Americans were here, as were many of Spanish and Mexican descent. When Zina crossed the Mississippi, frozen but not quite, wagons fell into the freezing water. Zina wrote in her diary of seeing their Nauvoo Temple desecrated and burned by the mobs. Brigham had gone ahead with a few of the men, toward their Zion, the Great Basin of the West. Babies were born and died. They had been forced by murder and rapine into the wilds. When they left Nauvoo, slightly larger than Chicago at the time, they were headed for Mexico and Texas. A war of unmitigated aggression by the United States began against Mexico, as the Mormons were on the march. Brigham was asked to enlist Mormon young men to go to war. The Mormon Legion completed the longest forced march of the American infantry, in response, ending in California, whether owned by Mexico, the United States, Britain, Russia, or Native America. It was all fluid for many decades. Thus the United States seized over one-third of Mexico. And now we are enraged when thousands of Mexicans remained in what was their land, and millions return to a land by all justice they still own.

Zina married Joseph Smith when she was twenty. She loved him very much. She shared his bed in this “spiritual marriage.” So did Emma, but not at the same time. When Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob, Zina, then twenty-three, married my great-great grandfather, Brigham Young. From that union I came to be. I remember going with another Zina, my grandmother and the wife of Hugh B. Brown, First Counselor of the Mormon Church in an earlier time, to see “aunt” so and so, many such, all surviving wives of polygamist men long dead.

In every century before the twentieth, in every land in the world, marriage in the teens existed. John Adams had to threaten his son, John Quincy Adams, with a caning and worse if he did not stop seeing the woman, or girl, his loved, then fifteen.

The Fundamentalist Mormons of four or five clans have been frozen in time, to some extent, by being marginalized, like gays, or at an earlier time, marriage between different racial or ethnic groups, sent into the badlands: geographically, intellectually, socially, politically, and by the hardness of our hearts and the vacuity, the stupidity of our brains. I have known the leadership of all of these groups and I have enjoyed their company in my home and at their table, for seventy years. I have taught many polygamous young women in my forty years teaching constitutional and international law. Many have visited my home and told me why they, as women, favored the polygamous life. Most wanted children, and obviously, and all wanted a career outside the home. Their sister wives, by tending the children, made this possible. I have not met one woman in sixty years of more or less adult life who wanted divorce, or a monogamous life. Obviously some did, but I never met them, and I’ve met hundreds of polygamous women. For whatever reason, in the study of law, in my own experience, my students have almost all been women. So much for stereotypes.

From all that I’ve seen, written, and read of polygamy in the nineteenth century, the system was at least as much matriarchal as patriarchal. Zina ran the home, the farm, raised the children, and presided in most of the healing, today what we would call “priesthood,” since Mormon women then, and now, believe they hold the same through Temple endowment. ( Yes, just like the one raided and pillaged in the name of Texas law. If Texas can do that to Fundamentalist Mormons, when will it be your turn? In your sacred house? church, temple, mosque, or the temple of your home and your body?) Brigham was left to decide upon the foreign policy between Zion, in his Great Basin Kingdom, and Spain, Mexico, Canada, Native America, and yes, the United States, smaller but more heavily populated. So much for polygamy as a device for geometric Mormon catch-up. Even when Mormon evangelical preachers recieved tens of thousands of converts, with tens of thousands of Mormons in Great Britain and Canada; and all would come to Zion at Brigham’s call, more Mormons lived in Canada and England by far than resided in the United States, and though many thousands of emigrant saints marched on foot, in wagons, on oxen and horseback, pulling handcarts whose ruts still remain in the Momon story dug deep into the land of the West Brigham lost, by a nose.

I beieve, strongly believe, that all the leadership of the few Mormon fundamentalist groups now understand that underage marriage is out. Their own precepts forbid abuse, torture, and fraud. Of course all this occurs. But their own legislation forbids all such. The law, with its complete lack of the capacity for subtlety, for fine-tuning, is no place for massive sweeps of thousands of people, hugely most having committed no crime. If this were any of the other candidates for the honor of being skunks at the garden party, there would be national outrage over this criminal misuse of the criminal law. Now, Mormon men and women: lead. Really lead, and in the right direction. Your concept of Zion is flawed. Preserve the parts most holy. This, of course, was the chief givt of St. Paul to the Saints of his time. How could he hold onto the central holiness of the Lord, and still preach a gospel that spoke also to the gentile world?

Leaders in every century face this awful delimma. For the Christian, the model is always taught by St. Paul. It would surely seem to me that such centrality of belief is certainly not found in marriage to underage women or girls. Or young men. Eighteen is still too young, in my book. Consent demands enough years to have real meaning. Mature leaders, men and women, suck it up and follow the myth of Arthur, in Camelot, his Zion. When Arthur learned of Gwenievere and Lancelot, he could have had them killed, but at the cost of Camelot. He said: “This is a time when violence is not strength. And compassion is not weakness. And we shall live through this, together. May God have mercy on us all.” Thus the myth survived. As St. Paul told the faithful in Jerusalem, just before its destruction by the Roman General, Titus, in 70 A.D.: “Here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.'”(Heb. 13-14) All people of the Book, in fact every religious group of which I am aware, including the Tibetan Buddhists with whom I work frequently with His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, in exile in Dharamsala, India, must balance his desire to return to Tibet, over against his exile in India. His heart has broken .Hence his compassion. The story of exile and return, the holy city and the diaspora, plays out in every age and in every community. Brigham, like many thousands of millenarians through time, thought their diaspora would end early in his lifetime. With St. Paul in First Thessalonians, he had to revise and provide for the next generation.

I don’t doubt the Texas ‘judge’s kindly intent. Nor the sadness and the professional care of the police, the Texas Rangers, and surely not the loving kindness of Baptist mothers and fathers who have stepped in to help, as saviors. But kindly intended but ill-informed people can produce havoc and death. Hence, the Buddhist admonition that “if you see the Buddha on he way, kill him.” (Please, my Fundamentalist friends, continue to maintain the moral high ground of non-violence. This buddhist koan is not meant to be taken with fundamtalist literality.) I have very little hope that the sterility of the capacity of the state to match the loving kindness of these children’s real mothers and fathers, sister-wives and all. I’ve lived in this culture. I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of diaries of polygamous women and men. They were no more perfect than am I, or anyone else in the human story. But blood and loving care from sister wives and husands will continue to nurture children far better than Family Service for all but a tiny few. And foster homes are even more seductive in that they may in fact be better than state offices, but that is dying from faint praise.

The Jeffs group’s few thousands are, of course, the last to get it. The last to understand, fully, the change in national acceptance of teen-age marriage, as girls and boys become, unevenly, women and men. This is so because they have been the most persecuted and, by choice or force, those who have found themselves in the badlands of the American West, or for that matter, in Mexico and Canada, where my mother Mary, was birthed by a Zina with another Zina as mid-wife. This was in Cardston, a polygamous community in Alberta Province, though my grandparents, and of course my parents, were monogamous.

Whether or not polygamy was “inspired below a man’s belt,” as my grandfather Brown said to me, as I recorded his lfe, or god-or-satan-sent, really doesn’t matter, now. If indeed polygamy, the Mormon version, was such a mistake, then the Latter-day Saints don’t need another mistake for the next millenia, at least, to render them forever a sect in the eyes of others, really doesn’t matter, either. For here it is. The real question is what do we do about it in this time and this place.

The Texas disaster was the perfect storm. It would have happened, tragically, some place, some time soon. I have no doubt, now, that every fundamentalist polygamous sect of Mormon descent now understands the rules and the consequences of violating them. From this point on, as long as this matter runs its course in the criminal legal system, the only thing that will be accomplished is to punish, likely forever, every person touched by this tragedy. And believing in Karma as I do, I believe savage hurt will come to all who touch this issue with hatred. We batter each other by metaphors. We go to war for metaphors. We launch crusades with metaphors and myth. We have a Mormon Mountain Meadows Massacre, of over one hundred and twenty people. Or on the grand scale, we launch holy wars of five hundred years of Christian slaughter of each other, Roman v. Greek, and huge numbers of Moslems, slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands in the name of metaphor.

And now the Texas judge tells me that “Sarah” is a metaphor? What a ghastly admission of the absolute failure of the Texas system of justice. Is “Texas Justice” to justice, what “military music” is to music? Or for that matter, what “military justice” in this time of a Texan in the White House, is to lady justice? Blind she may be. But she isn’t heartless or brain-dead.

Now is the time for education. By the best the media, as our bully-pulpit for educating us all; by people, our citizens who don’t need lawyers or judges to tell them what their hearts already know. This is not justice. It is the current skunk at the garden party providing us with the test, the very creation of our human rights, the role skunks at the garden party always play. Mormons, Catholics, people of color, immigrants, Muslims. We all get our turn. That is the meaning of karma. Thank God for the skunks at the garden party. How we respond to such people at once creates and defines human rights.

Rulon Jeffs, the father of Warren Jeffs, was my uncle by marriage, and came to be the prophet leader of his people, the largest polygamous sect to separate from the Mormons when they abandoned the practice. Uncle Rulon married my favorite aunt, aunt Zola, my mother Mary’s sister and daughter of Hugh B. and Zina Card (Cardston…back to polygamy)Young Brown. When Rulon decided to follow his father into polygamy, grandfather Hugh Brown took aunt Zola by the hand, just as did John Adams to his son John Quincy when he wanted the hand of a fifteen year-old girl, and accomplished their divorce. But I grew up loving and admiring Uncle Rulon. I asked him to review my chapters on polygamy, in my book, Zion in the Courts: a Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he kindly did. We met in Chuck-a-Rama, not for the food, but as a way of hiding in plain sight. Of course, many scholars, in and out of Mormon culture, also vetted this volume, including my orthodox Mormon former student and now law professor, with an endowed chair, the only endowed chair, in that Roman Catholic university, Collin Mangrum. I spoke with many people of all of the polygamous groups in the American West. Rulon, a tall patriarch of the old school, lived in body and in office too long. He became senile at the end time, and huge mistakes occurred. Now, those chickens have come home to roost. Truly I pray that such energy can run its course with as little damage as possible. That prayer is doomed to fail, I believe.

Texas, Utah, polygamy, and gay rights, are entertwined inexorably. We return to my question to Sister Rosemary Lynch, in Rome. What is family? A group of men and women Religious? Gays? Polygamists, Mormon or by the millions, otherwise? Serial monogamists? ” Spiritual”polygamists who don’t polyg? Or monogamists, perhaps in the Senate or the White House, who don’t monog? God only knows, and she seems silent at this moment.

Four cases, four of several hundred, come to mind. In Loving v. Virginia, so aptly named, people loved and married, in violation of miscegination laws forbidding inter-racial or inter-ethnic marriage. The Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s laws and similar laws in every state in this nation. Before that, as a young man, before Brown v., the Board, I remember well when Ralph Bunche, of the United Nations, and Nobel Laureate, was denied a room at the Hotel Utah, which stately old Hotel now houses the overflow of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ bureaucracy, then and now the owner of Hotel Utah . Lawrence v. Texas is a harbinger, I hope and believe, in the movement toward marriage or civil union between gays and lesbians. Lawrence v. Texas is for gays, and for us all, what Brown v. the Board was to people of color, the flagship of all the human rights flotilla in the United States from the twentieth century, to now: after race, ethnicity; after ethnicity, gender; after gender, sexuality, alienage, and so on. Now, citizens, Loving meets Lawrence meets the U.S. v. Reynolds, the case forbidding Mormon polygamy. These strange bedfellows, not to put too fine a point on it, are all in bed together. Mixing our dangerous metaphors, untangling this rope of many colors and strands is not ethically or intellectually possible, no matter the parsing of the law or the facts.

And don’t forget Dantean greed. There are millions of dollars in land, held by some of the last Christian Socialists, though Mormons, Fundamentalist or mainstream, would wince at the term. Brigham hated capitalism. He thought that was a nice word for greed. In a sense,” Sarah” v. Texas is a case, like those in Utah and Arizona, where millions of dollars in land are at issue. In a very limited sense, and different by an order of magnitude, this is similar to the Japanese Relocation cases of early World War Two. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans lost their land to greedy folk in California and elsewhere. Never mind that no Japanese American, anywhere, anytime, was disloyal. But perhaps in Texas, “disloyal Japanese” is merely a metaphor. And perhaps such stretched hermeneutics is why “lawyers and hypocrites” is hypnenated in the New Testament. And why, for Robert Frost, America’s greatest poet, “the hearse horse snickered as it drew the lawyer away.”

Finally, a suggestion. I said earlier that polygamists, residing in the badlands of the American West, and beyond, are in fact, immigrants. Let’s do the one good thing George Bush the Less suggested in his eight years of horror. He, along with John McCain, briefly, proposed an amnesty for the millions of people who are here without papers. I wonder if Native Americans considered the fact that all those Europeans lacked papers? Or the Mexicans and the Spanish and the Native Americans that were forced off their land by another war of aggression, in the last century? Perhaps we might just extend amnesty to polygamists who just happen to be our neighbors? Surely DNA testing would find, in the polygamist community exactly what it would find in the monogamist community, that is, a lot of in-breeding. Something like Clarence Darrow, in the Scopes Trial, said to his hero, earlier. Like Rulon Jeffs, William Jenning Bryan died too late. His brain and much of his soul had departed before his body gave way. Darrow said to Bryan: when Adam and Eve begat Cain and Abel, just who did those boys marry? A damned good question. Let our sisters and brothers come home, with total amnesty regarding the age of anyone’s marriage. This needn’t and shouldn’t include cases of forcible rape or torture. Of course these people fear forcible DNA samples. Just as hundreds of millions of other people would. In this and in any community.

In the life story of St. Thomas More, an underling of great pretension and little capacity approaches Sir Thomas and prays for employment. He is rejected by the Saint, due to the supplicant’s obvious venality and the lack of a shred of character. Roper, a hot-blooded intimate of St. Thomas More, senses the threat to the Saint from this viper. He proposes that Thomas do him in, regardless of the means. In the jurisprudential world, the ethic of means, not so much ends, occupies our interest. The right to counsel. To keep your home and hearth free of the state. To keep the police from placement under the marital bed. Like the polygamists, we don’t like the state to trespass into our homes, at will and by the entire community being judged, as a metaphor. Thomas says to Roper:”Our island is dotted, and preserved, by a whole forest of mighty trees. Trees that protect the potential malefactor until the actual commission of a crime. Would you have me violate such laws?” To which Roper responds, more or less: “I would cut down every tree, every old oak, every law in England to get this man before he gets you!” Thomas says:”And what would you do then, Roper, when the winds howl? What would you have to protect us all, with all the trees down?”

The palpable violation of many rights guaranteed by the American Constitution: our Bill of Rights, our Fourteenth Amendment, in “Sarah” v. Texas is obvious and huge. Similar restraints on the state exist in International Law. Thank God for the skunk at the garden party. Changing metaphors in this savage game of metaphors, what will we all do when the winds howl, and our own time to be the one left out, the marginalized and stereotyped. wilthout the great oaks protecting our homes and churches from the secular and savage state: For those not allowed within the civilizing city? The town square?

Let us let in our sisters and brothers, without reproach. Religious leaders, grant amnesty and forget the savagry of excommunication. Political and civic leaders, open our businesses and government offices without discriinataionl Never force a polygamist to lie to preserve his job securityl Ditto the military in revision of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” form of slippery ethics and law.

NOw is the time for mercy and justice to kiss.

Ed Firmage
Samuel Thurman Professor of Law, Emeritus
University of Utah College of Law.
Salt Lake City, Utah

Website: ed


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