On Friday leftist movie critic Stephen Holden reviewed "8: The Mormon Proposition," a documentary detailing the role of the Mormon Church in passing Proposition 8 in California, the 2008 ballot initiative that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.
Holden apparently found nothing too partisan or out of balance in the pro-gay, anti-Mormon propaganda piece, merely hinting that it was "highly emotional" and that it "dives angrily into the fray."
Holden appreciates left-wing screed-filled documentaries like "8." Too bad he doesn't get as exercised when it comes to movies about the danger of Islamic fundamentalism, as opposed to the very mild form of Christian fundamentalism powering California's Prop. 8: Holden's review of "The Stoning of Soraya M" dismissed it as "lurid torture-porn."
Reed Cowan's polemical film "8: The Mormon Proposition" examines the successful campaign against gay marriage in California that was heavily financed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is implacably opposed to homosexuality. The highly emotional documentary is narrated by Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter for "Milk," who, like Mr. Cowan, is gay and grew up in a Mormon household.
The film dives angrily into the fray. It uncovers the classified church documents and the largely concealed money trail of Mormon contributions that paid for a high-powered campaign to pass Proposition 8. The Mormon involvement, the film persuasively argues, tilted the vote toward passage, by 52 percent to 48 percent, in its final weeks.
That involvement was concealed under the facade of a coalition with Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians called the National Organization for Marriage. Mormons raised an estimated $22 million for the cause. In the final week of the campaign, the film says, $3 million came from Utah. The money financed a sophisticated media barrage that involved blogs, Twitter and YouTube videos, as well as scary (and, according to the movie, misleading) television ads, and an aggressive door-to-door campaign whose foot soldiers were instructed on how not to appear Mormon.
Holden's criticism concluded on this polemical note:
The reason Utah's suicide rate is the highest of any state, the movie suggests, is the Mormon church's absolute rejection of homosexuality, which one church elder calls "contrary to God's plan." Chris Buttars, a proudly homophobic Utah state senator, compared male coupling to bestiality. The movie shows the depth of religion-based loathing of homosexuality, like that of abortion, to be primal.
In the meantime the struggle to repeal Proposition 8 is under way.
In his rush to link the Mormon Church to the vote, Holden also skipped
over the inconvenient-for-liberals fact that it may have been the black
vote - the same vote that helped put Obama in the White House - that
carried the measure to victory (a CNN exit poll indicates the black community favored Prop 8 by 70%-30%).
At Newsbusters, Sarah Knoploh documented how even other liberal media critics (save Holden) felt obliged to admit the one-sided nature of the movie.
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