Dan Savage, SLOG: When you donate $1500 to a political campaign to strip other people—people who are not your co-religionists—of their civil rights. Richard Raddon is, or was, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. All hell broke loose after it emerged that Raddon, who is Mormon, had donated $1500 to the "Yes on 8" campaign. The LA Times:
After Raddon's contribution was made public online, Film Independent was swamped with criticism from "No on 8" supporters both inside and outside the organization. Within days, Raddon offered to step down as festival director, but the board, which includes Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker, Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg and Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice, gave him a unanimous vote of confidence.
Yet, the anti-Raddon bile continued to bubble in the blogosphere, and according to one Film Independent board member, "No on 8" supporters also berated Raddon personally via phone calls and e-mails. The recriminations ultimately proved too much, and when Raddon offered to resign again, this time the board accepted.
Raddon released a statement that said, in part, "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights." Except for when they're not—and Raddon also believes that the religious should wield a veto over other peoples' civil rights. He goes on to whine about being a "devout and faithful Mormon," and about how his contribution to "Yes on 8" was a "private matter." Uh... no. A donation to a political campaign is a public matter; and civil marriage rights for same-sex couples did not infringe upon the religious freedom of Mormons, devout or otherwise.
Bill Condon, the gay guy who directed of Dreamgirls, attempted to get Raddon's back: "Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs."
No. No. No. Raddon lost his job due to criticism of his public political actions, not his private religious beliefs, and his public political actions were a part of the public record. If Raddon wanted to go to church and pray his little heart out against same-sex marriage, or proselytize on street corners against gay marriage, or counsel gay men to leave their husbands and marry nice Mormon girls instead, that could be viewed as an expression of his "privately held religious beliefs." Instead he helped fund a political campaign to strip a vulnerable minority group of its civil rights.
"Millions of Californians definitely lost their civil rights," says John Aravosis. "But I'm not hearing a lot of concern about any of those victims, only sympathy for their attacker. When you use the power of the state to rip away my civil rights, and force me to live by your 'values,' you are no longer practicing your religion. You're practicing politics."
In the wake of Prop 8 millions of gays and lesbians all over the country have decided that we're no longer going to play by the old rules. We're not going to let people kick our teeth down our throats and then run and hide behind "Nothing personal—just my private religious beliefs!" That game's over.