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Elder Statesman

Fred Karger is a gay, Jewish Republican, and he’s running for president. His plan is to embarrass the Mormon GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and get the church to drop its support for gay-marriage bans.

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Fred Karger campaigning in Manchester, N.H. (Flickr/Fred Karger)

Fred Karger, a handsome 61-year-old who looks like a Semitic John Slattery, does not actually think that he is going to be the first gay Jewish Republican nominee for president. That does not mean, though, that his campaign is not serious. Karger, who filed with the Federal Election Committee on March 23, has a staff of seven, including an Iowa state director, Nathan Treloar, who was previously the Iowa GOP’s communications director. Karger has visited Iowa half a dozen times in the last year, and he’s made 13 trips to New Hampshire, where he recently won the St. Anselm College Republican Straw Poll. He’s already spent around $300,000 of his own savings on his nascent campaign, and he anticipates raising enough to spend $5 million. A once-powerful GOP operative with a background in attack ads and opposition research, he plans to get himself into the Republican presidential debates, where he’ll be able to call out the anti-gay politics of his fellow nominees. Homophobia blighted much of his life. Now he thinks he can use homophobia against his bête noir, Mitt Romney.

When I met Karger in New York for breakfast recently, he’d seen the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon the previous night. Like almost everyone else, he raved about the joyously blasphemous musical, but in his case it had a special resonance, because his presidential campaign is actually all about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Karger argues, convincingly, that the Mormon church has played a major role in anti-gay marriage initiatives all around the country, and he believes that he can embarrass Romney into getting it to back off. “I want to get the Mormon church out of its opposition to gay marriage,” he says. “And if I can succeed in that, the battle’s over.”

On the surface, his strategy seems a little odd. Romney’s opposition to gay marriage is hardly a liability in a Republican primary. But Karger, who knows a bit about the political dark arts—he helped create George H.W. Bush’s infamous Willie Horton ads—has thought this through. He believes that Romney is eager to deflect attention from his religion. By discussing the LDS church’s centrally planned, lavishly funded campaign against marriage equality, he can do two things at once: remind moderates of the Republican Party’s extreme social conservatism, and remind evangelicals of Romney’s alien faith.

Born into a Republican family in suburban Chicago, Karger has been a political junkie all his life. After a brief attempt to make it as an actor in Hollywood in the 1970s—he had a bit part in Airport 1975 and was in a shaving-cream commercial directed by John Hughes—he joined The Dolphin Group, a Republican consulting firm that did work for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and former California Gov. George Deukmejian. He specialized in opposition research and was particularly adept at painting Democrats as soft on crime. He organized the grieving parents of murder victims in a successful campaign against California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird, who often overturned death sentences. In 1988, Karger played a key role in torpedoing Michael Dukakis’ campaign, convincing the sister of one of Willie Horton’s victims and the husband of another to tell their stories in TV ads and press conferences all over the country. Coming on the heels of Dan Quayle’s disastrous performance in the vice presidential debates, the ads “completely shifted things back to Horton,” he says, calling it one of his proudest moments.

All that time, Karger longed to be a candidate himself, and with his senatorial good looks and glad-handing extroversion, he might have been a successful one. But he had a secret that made a career in the spotlight impossible: He is gay. “I was always the groomsman, never the groom,” he says about his unfulfilled political ambitions. Thoroughly closeted, he lived in constant fear of being found out. Though he was in a relationship for 11 years, he and his partner were officially just roommates. “It was a total double life,” he says. “I was petrified of getting discovered at work and losing my job.” He feared that if his family found out, they’d disown him. “It was a horrific experience,” he says. “One of the reasons I’m being such an obnoxious crusader for my community is because of that. And it’s still a huge problem out there.”

Karger didn’t publicly come out until 2006. He’d recently retired to Laguna Beach, Calif., and wanted to do “something significant” with his time, but had no idea what. When developers sought to destroy the Boom Boom Room, the oldest gay bar on the West Coast and an oasis in conservative Orange County, he found a cause. His “Save the Boom!!!” campaign failed, but it marked his entrée into the gay rights movement. In 2008, he threw himself into the fight against Proposition 8, which sought to overturn the California Supreme Court’s acceptance of gay marriage, founding Californians Against Hate and turning his opposition research skills against the right. And before long, he realized that the major behind-the-scenes force behind Proposition 8 was the LDS church.

While looking into the money coming into the Proposition 8 campaign, he noticed that many of the donors had never made political contributions to any other cause except the Romney campaign. He tipped off the Wall Street Journal, which reported that between June 1 and September 20 of 2008, a third of the approximately $15.4 million raised to support Proposition 8 came from Mormons, who comprise 2 percent of California’s population. The church, Karger discovered, had instructed its members to donate, and some had poured their savings into the effort. It also directed them to volunteer—and Mormons are expert canvassers.

And despite the church’s reputation for being relatively apolitical, Karger learned that it had mounted similar campaigns in the past. Through a source in Salt Lake City, he obtained boxes full of hundreds of stolen Mormon documents outlining the church’s involvement in anti-gay marriage initiatives going back to a 1995 campaign in Hawaii. The documents, which Karger published on the website, make it clear that the LDS church, aware of the suspicion it arouses, orchestrates ecumenical coalitions to hide its political involvement, working to shield the identity of donors. One 1997 letter from a Mormon official to church president Gordon B. Hinckley says, “With regard to H.L.M. [homosexual lesbian marriage] in Hawaii and California, we have followed your initial instructions and in Hawaii the coalition has been able to exert great influence without the Church being singled out.”

Karger was the source for a number of stories about the Mormons’ influence in passing Proposition 8, and he figured heavily in the outraged documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition. Soon there were protests outside the LDS church’s Salt Lake City headquarters and a government investigation into whether the church violated California election law. The church recoiled from the publicity. “For years, church leaders have tried to blunt the assertion that Mormonism is somehow out of the political and cultural mainstream,” said a Los Angeles Times story. “The backlash over gay marriage carries risks and rewards toward that goal.” But that hasn’t stopped Mormons from continuing to play a major role in the fight against gay marriage, most recently in Maine.

“They have driven this with their expertise, which is brilliant,” Karger says. “They have driven this with their money, which is unlimited. And they’ve beaten my community in every place they’ve gone.”

Which is where Romney comes in. “It will be very important for the religion to have an LDS president, and [Romney] is as prominent and respected in the religion as anyone,” he says. If the church’s anti-gay marriage efforts become a public relations liability, he thinks church officials will pull back for Romney’s sake. Citing a lyric from The Book of Mormon, he points out that black people were barred from the Mormon priesthood until 1978, when church leaders had a conveniently timed revelation that God had changed his mind. “Well, I can’t deliver a revelation, but I can put the political pressure on them,” says Karger.

After all, Romney’s Mormonism remains a big obstacle with the evangelicals who dominate the Republican primary electorate. A recent Pew poll found that while Mike Huckabee and Romney are tied for leadership of the Republican field, evangelicals prefer Huckabee over Romney by almost 2-to-1. Karger is betting that even if evangelicals agree with the Mormon stance on gay marriage, they’ll still be turned off by attention to the church’s inner workings. Evangelicals, says Karger, “will make or break the primaries in states like Iowa and South Carolina.” Romney wants the religious issue to go away. Karger wants to make sure it doesn’t.

Thus a gay Jewish candidate is running a race based on leveraging what he sees as his party’s intolerance for religious minorities. Karger’s politics have changed, but his gleeful political bloodlust hasn’t. At one point, he insists that he’s a nice guy, and says, “I just want to bring civility back.” I look at him incredulously. Then he says, “I want to let them know if they go after my community or me, I’m going to respond.”

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Josef Fritzl says:

So his logic is that the Mormons want one of theirs to be President bad enough that they will back down on gay marriage. Somehow I doubt it. From what I understand, the family is the mechanism by which they get to the best level of heaven – that is, a man and woman being joined and going forward eternally. It’s core to their system, and they won’t compromise it that easily.

At least with blacks it was never pivotal to their religion that they were excluded. But heterosexuality IS pivotal.

Duwayne Anderson says:

Karger’s strategy is spot on.

The most effective way to initiate change in the LDS Church is through public embarrassment and external pressure. The church virtually never responds to internal pressure, which (if the church responds at all) is most often met with excommunication or disfellowship. But they are very sensitive to their public image, particularly with regard to issues that might hurt them politically, or that might hurt the flow of converts.

And, lest there be any mistake, Romney is the LDS candidate. As a devout LDS Church member and temple recommend holder, Romney has given a temple oath to do all that he can, in providing his money, time, and talents, to furthering the work of the church on earth. And, as part of his temple recommend, he has affirmed his sustaining support of the prophet of the church. If the prophet were to personally direct a President Romney to do something, there is no doubt that Romney would consider his oath to the prophet as being a higher priority than his Presidential oath.

Duwayne Anderson
Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

It’s pretty dumb. Just as I believe gay people are entitled to their beliefs, Mormons are entitled to their religious beliefs. It’s part of what makes this country free and great.

Opposing gay marriage is “extreme social conservatism?” Not when most of the country opposes it. That would suggest it is mainstream.

Also, in the name of achieving what he sees as increased rights for homosexuals, Karger is going to go after someone’s faith? Doesn’t sound too savory at all.

EnoughIsEnough says:

It’s interesting though that the Mormon faith is one of the only religions that accept and respect the Jews as God Choosen and Holy People. Most Christians, Muslims, and Ismlamics hate the Jews.

In regards to the gay marriage, It is not just the Mormon faith that believes in hetrosexualism. The Mormon’s vote was not 90%, 70% of the voters that voted against it in California… it was less then 1/3.

So what about the majority 2/3 that also voted?

As in regards to the increase in first time contributions, maybe the reason they never contributed before was because of awareness? Contributions has always been part of elections. Just because someone contributes doesn’t make it wrong. Most voters have no idea what the propositions are until they are actually voting. There was a lot of puplicity on this.

It could also be that marriage has been an important part of the family relationship for thousands of years. In order for the world to continue to populate it will need a man and a woman. It is also important that children deserve two parents. (now this isn’t to say a child cant survive and be success with one parent or two same sex parents) but people supported what was and always been the norm. And this is a core belief of most christian religions and it is a FACT that multiple religions encouraged its members to support this proposition through contributions and service.

So I keep wondering why the focus on the Mormon faith?

Staven Moore says:

This is the wrong bet to make. Most Mormons like myself could care less if one of our own is in the oval office. It’s like a really expensive car. Do we all want one yes but does it mean we will buy one, not likely. Do we want a Mormon president sure but to say homosexuality is okay isn’t going to happen. Non-LDS individuals don’t get why people become Mormon. So they think ridicule and shame is going to move us in their direction. And for some Mormons it works but for the vast majority it just strengthens our resolve. It’s a badge of honor to us stand up for what we believe in and not bow to peer pressure. Society can laugh at us and make “joyously blasphemous musicals” about us, in the end most Mormons will shrug their heads and say so what. We get that people think that we are forcing our beliefs on them, but we feel that society is pushing their norms on us. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? It all depends on your perspective.
Krager can do as he thinks is right but he being Jewish he should remember that when people make religion an action point politically. The suffering that it can cause isn’t always contained to the original issue. That is a worldwide truth from Bosnia to China. America’s great society says Mormons are bullies, will in time be the bullies. Crap happens that’s why I have food storage just in case. LOL

I wonder if he is also going to call-out Orthodox Jews or the Roman Catholic Church that opposes gay marriage?

Or is this only about getting Romney off the ballot?

Who is he shilling for?

Beyond the bigotry that he is planning to use in order to fight what he sees as bigotry, his plan will backfire for related reasons of “remind moderates of the Republican Party’s extreme social conservatism, and remind evangelicals of Romney’s alien faith.” He can’t do both at the same time. Not without serious consequences to one group or another against himself.

Moderates might agree with him that homosexuals should have more marriage rights, but they will be aghast at his intolerance of Mormons using Romney who they support more than other candidates. His attack on Mormonism might sound logical for the social conservatives, but it will also remind them that he is gay and Jewish. In other words, this spotlighting of Mormonism can only be done by reminding Republicans of things about him that they don’t like. Lets not forget his winning was in a poll on a college campus and not a statewide count. Other and more widespread polls don’t show him in the running at all.

Daniel says:

This is just what Romney needs to boost his credibility with religious conservatives. The more press this Karger garners, the more likely Romney will win the nomination.

Mitt Romney’s nomination (or lack of one) won’t change The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ position on same-sex marriage.

To Karger, and any commenters that think the Mormon Church changes it stance based on external forces have not heard the full story on changes in the past. Mormons will stand their ground at all costs, including popularity, including a presidential nominee. Since the priority of family and marriage between a man and a woman is at the core of it’s belief system, thinking they’ll change that in order to cow to peer pressure, is like thinking you’ll get Catholics to denounce Mother Mary. I suspect Karger is in it for the attention. Oh and news flash to the journalist here. The majority of the US is against same-sex marriage. Even in California. That isn’t extremism. Frankly, same-sex marriage is extremism.

Bryan says:

To those who talk about the centrality of LDS beliefs not being effected by external, political forces: You have got to be kidding.

Plural marriage was a central tenet of the faith until Utah wanted statehood.

The Church prophets taught that blacks could not be priests in the Church because it was a curse for their actions in the pre-existence and a mark of Cain. This policy was reversed due to political pressure and an athletic boycott of Brigham Young University.

Their views on this matter will evolve when it’s a reality and when they are under pressure to keep pace with social values and norms.

Virginian says:

Does anyone else find it ironic that a gay Jew is attacking a specific religion for its beliefs? Does anyone see the parallels between Karger’s antics and Nazi Germany? And the most alarming part is many media outlets are looking at Karger as some kind of folk hero. This is terribly frightening!

So a homosexual jew seeks to derail a candidate for the *Republican* nomination by attacking him on same-sex marriage???
It would make more sense to me if this story was that Romney’s campaign hired him in order to show that the opponents of mainstream Republican positions see Romney as their biggest threat, hence the Republican’s biggest defender.
I especially like the irony of attacking Romney, given that attacks on his father, George Romney, during his 1968 presidential campaign did nothing to change the LDS Church’s policies.
It’s true that about 2% of California’s voters are LDS. So what about the rest of the 52% majority that passed Prop 8? It would have passed if all LDS voters in Californiat had voted *against* it. (Polls showed that 10% of LDS voters did vote against it).
I agree that others did not contribute their fair share in the Prop 8 campaign. But, by what perversion of my rights am I to be denied making whatever legal donations I choose to make? Am I also to be denied voting for propositions I choose to support?
People seem to forget that the final tally was $44 million raised to oppose Prop 8 and $40 million to support it. LDS donations helped to narrow the gap, still 10% more money was raised in oppostion. A question for those complaining about out-of-state influence: of those amounts, twice as much money opposing Prop 8 came from out of state than came to support it; where are your complaints about it? By the way, total cash contributions from the LDS church were less than $200k.
70% of the black votes in California went for Prop 8. Where are the complaints about that? (Admittedly, this is double counting the black Mormon votes in California).

To review:
Mark Hoffman is arrested for murder and for forging documents that appeared to relate to LDS history. A national publication says that this “rocked” the Church’s foundation. People breathlessly awaited the collapse of the restored Church. Now, nobody remembers him.
And the caravan moved on, healing souls.
“September Dawn,” a fatuous movie claiming to be based upon the massacre at Mountain Meadows is released. People breathlessly awaited the collapse of the restored Church. It shortly was seen as too specious to be taken seriously. Now, nobody remembers it.
And the caravan moved on, healing souls.
“8: The Mormon Proposition,” a fatuous movie claiming to be based upon Prop 8’s campaign and election is released. People breathlessly await the collapse of the restored Church. It shortly was seen as too specious to be taken seriously. Already, nobody remembers it.
And the caravan moves on, healing souls.
(BTW, this is nothing new:

Correct link for last line of previous comment is:

Moxie says:

Good!!! Maybe Mormons will start addressing the 300 abusive polygamous sects in Utah and quit obsessing over gay marriage. You almost have to wonder if the LDS Church isn’t run by a bunch of closeted homos, ie, homophobes.

Marco Luxe says:

Karger is not attacking Mormons. He’s exploiting their prophet’s own embarrassment over being found out as the Wizard of 8.

No one is attacking the LDS religious definition of eternal marriage for women [men can be exempted]. Civilly married gay couples have no effect on LDS theology whatsoever.

I think Mormons have a rich tradtion of family and service. However, I think that since the powerful, rich and controlling hierarchy is controlled by one living allegedly-inerrant prophet, then the LDS has properties of a cult. The LDS prophet is as fallible as any billionaire, white, old man with delusions of grandeur. It is the claim of inerrancy that makes him scary.

If the Quorum thought it could win the White House, it would pressure the Prophet for new revelations that rewrite the D&C all while drinking gallons of Coke. They want it THAT badly.

JFK barely squeeked out a win when his loyalty to the foreign Pope was a concern, and Catholics don’t vote as a block. The Prophet’s near total control of his flock, and Romney’s express loyalty to him ahead of the American people makes Romney’s chances of occupying the White House less than remote.

Kelly Knight says:

Duwayne, your logic is fallible. The LDS Church rarely caves to external pressure, if ever. Prop 8 is a case in point. The Church did not waiver in its opposition to gay marriage. Although it prefers a positive public image, like virtually all religions do, it will not give in on matters of doctrine. And if Romney is true to his faith, he will not, either. His firm stance against your bigotry, and others in the media and public, only serve to demonstrate his firm stance in the face of absurd criticism and ignorance.

friendly_reader says:

Would Moxie tell the Catholic church to “address” the issue of the many Protestant churches who don’t follow Catholic doctrine and practices, yet claim to be more correct? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has little or no dialog with existing sects that claim a common heritage with them. Some of those sects sprang up many years after polygamy was abolished in the LDS church, so how is the LDS church accountable for them?

Bryan says the LDS church was responding to public pressure when it stopped the practice of polygamy in the 1890’s. That’s partly true, but the “pressure” consisted of federal marshals arresting any man seen in the company of more than one woman, of confiscation by the federal government of all Church property (including temples), and of imprisonment of Church leaders for not denouncing polygamy. Read the Edmunds-Tucker act if that sounds far-fetched. Those measures were the result of national outrage based on what were considered moral principles. How do you think that same constituency would have regarded same-gender marriage?

citizen says:

The church has dealt with huge doctrinal bombshell before on polygamy. It was once taught that a man needed to enter into polygamy to receive full salvation, and it required the threat of the government confiscation of all the church’s property to pressure public renouncement of the practice in 1898 (although it was practiced secretly for some time afterward). Now the church generally views polygamy as an embarrassment and shies away from any association with the practice.
The church’s earlier policy of withholding the priesthood (or full fellowship) from black people, was also strongly engrained both doctrinally and culturally, and it wasn’t until 15 years after the Civil Rights act that the policy was finally rescinded amidst intense societal pressure.
Within the next 50 years, it is probable that the church will reverse its stance on homosexuality as the individual members begin to feel embarrassment (as with the priesthood ban) and convert growth slows considerably (this is already the case). It’s obvious the cultural tide is turning, and as the older church members die out, the idea of full fellowship for homosexual church members will become less repulsive to the younger generation. If you’d told a Mormon in 1930 that black people would hold the priesthood in 50 years, they wouldn’t believe you. It’s no different with the homosexual issue. Thank God for continuing revelation.

Dr Wai says:

Mr. Karger, based on his biography, sounds like a truly slimy character. His career is defined essentially by his role as political mercenary, with a “proudest moment ” including a scare ad to manipulate the lowest common denominator of American voter. His primary objective here is self-promotion and maybe some kind of cult status within the gay community. I object to the LDS church becoming politically/financially involved like this, and would prefer political agnosticism. But Karger hurts his cause – launching a hate-driven retaliatory strike in spite.

Solomon Kane says:

This could be a threat to mainstream christian denominations as their members who take issue with sodomite clergy and marriages adopted as “doctrine” to appease the PC minority take hold. Unintended consequence: the population readily recognizes the LDS church’s stand on immorality and finds it closer to scripture while the “sensational-religio-tainment industry” adopts the popular solution. No such thing as “bad” press here.

Will says:

This plan looks prime for back firing…. Romney will end up benefiting from this and the only ones who will be embarrassed will be Mr. Karger and possibly the LGBT community…

friendly_reader says:

I care little whether Mitt Romney benefits from Mr. Karger’s efforts. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is against same-gender marriage because it conflicts with its doctrines about the nature of humankind and the role of families. That makes the issue a moral one to them and any political issues are very secondary. President Boyd K. Packer (president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles) was criticized for saying homosexuality is next to murder in seriousness before God. However, his statement was actually about the “misuse of the powers of procreation” which means any sexual relations outside of legal marriage. The LDS church is consistent in denouncing sexual relations outside of marriage and homosexual acts fall in that category. Granted, there is no allowance for same-gender marriage in the doctrines of the Church but there are many categories of behavior that society expects people to refrain from, even when strong urges are involved. Child pornography is one example. Same-gender marriage should not be justified solely because many people have a desire to enter into such a relationship.

LInda SDF says:

Bryan: The LDS church did not give up plural marriage to get statehood, they gave it up to stop the US government from shutting down the church as an organization. And to keep the men (and even some of the women) from going to prison. And to allow the men who had second and third families to continue to take care of their families, rather than let their women be labeled as whores and their children labeled as bastards.
So much for religious freedom.

Marco Luxe: The prophet does not have sole control of anything. He also has his two counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve.

Also, we do NOT believe him to be inerrant.

And unless you have his financials, I doubt you can prove that he’s even a millionaire, let along billionaire.

Like one poster here said, the church will never compromise on anything just to get one of it’s own into the White House.

In fact, I have a feeling that, because of how people were insisting that the church lose it’s tax exempt status for supporting prop 8 (which it legally could do without jeopardizing it’s tax exempt status), it will bend over back ward to dissociate itself from Romney for POTUS, because to support one candidate WILL cause the church to lose it’s tax exempt status.

friend says:

Please do not be persuaded that laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman are hateful or take away anyone’s civil rights. Society has a right to deem certain behavior morally offensive and limit that behavior, for whatever reason, religious or otherwise. All our laws are formed around this basic principle – that the people decide what is moral and therefore acceptable behavior. Marriage is no exception. It will always be subject to legal limits. For example, we do not allow a man to marry his father or mother, even if they’ll submit to sterilization. Is that unfair? Does that make the incestuous an oppressed minority? Certainly not. Society finds that behavior morally offensive – and it has nothing to do with religion. It simply offends the majority. Why then must society accommodate a man’s desire to marry another man? What is so different or right about that? Can a just and thoughtful society not find that behavior morally offensive? And if it does (as it has by Prop 8), why should society be wrong, rather than the behavior?

The discussion is sometimes clouded by claims of discrimination, that gay couples are being treated unfairly. Well, couples don’t have constitutional rights. Individuals do. Please note that our legal limits on marriage apply equally to all individuals. They are not discriminatory. These limits on marriage have nothing in common with the legalized racial discrimination of the past. Gays are already being treated equally. No laws specifically prohibit them from marriage. Prop 8 does not say, “Gays cannot marry.” They can marry — within the limitations shared equally by all people, one being that a man can only marry a woman. A straight man can’t marry another man. A gay man can marry a woman. How does the existing law treat them any differently? This is clearly not an equal rights issue.

friend says:

So what do gays really want? All the civil rights of marriage are already guaranteed by domestic partnership laws. Among themselves, they could call their partnerships “marriage” and celebrate them the same way. They can dress up and have cake. No-one should have any problem with that. But it’s not enough. What they really want is to force the rest of society to call it marriage, too. They want to believe, even though it’s untrue, that the bulk of society accepts their relationships as normal. (Note how they continually try to change public opinion by intimidation, loudly mocking those who dare to disagree as irrational, evil or sick – even trying to destroy their lives.) Why? Because they are hoping it will cure their debilitating self-esteem issues. They are defying nature, after all. How good and right can they feel during those rare moments of honest introspection? But the true cure for self-esteem issues does not come from changing the opinions of others. It comes from doing the right thing.

AZhombre says:

Regarding Elder Statesman:
To: Will, Solomon Kane, Dr Wai, friendly_reader, Kelly Knight, manaen, Virginian, SixMom, Daniel, Jettboy, eli, Staven Moore, EnoughIsEnough, LB, C, Josef Fritzl…

Thank you for your insightful, logical, and honest comments. Perhaps those seeking truth may be touched. Thank God for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these later days. As stated in the 11th Article of Faith by Joseph Smith: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Perhaps the following declaration by living Apostles and Prophets will help in this discussion:

“The Family, A Proclamation to the World” (Please clink link to see the complete proclamation).

“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” (The world teaches gender doesn’t really matter, and it’s something you can choose). “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.” (The world teaches this life is it. There is no plan. Relationships end when we die). “…marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan. (The world teaches the family is an outdated social construct resulting from the necessities of past generations)….

The proclamation concludes with:…”we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society”.

PS. Mitt Romney would make an outstanding Pres. It’s time for someone with professional economic experience!

Legion says:

OK, let me get this straight. (no pun intended) A confessed hypocrite, who spent his life as an employee of the republican party, lying about his own sexual identity for his entire adult life, is now trying to embarrass a presidential candidate by attacking his church in the hopes that this will change the 14 million member church’s stance on the family and bring them to their knees. Didn’t he try this once already by wasting the expensive mechanism of the California courts to prosecute the LDS church? Result; an astounding fine of some $14k or so was paid by the Mormon Church. This has become Karger’s obsession and could only be tolerated by the wacknuts of that state. Good luck with all that Mr. Karger.

Ken Dahl says:

The army of leadership at the head of the Mormon church are not men with degrees in theology. They are shrewd attorneys, bankers and varied business professionals from diverse corporate backgrounds. That’s who’s running the Mormon church today. Not necessarily men of god in the first instance. Mormonism moved into their capitalistic frenzy in the 1920’s. Prior to that, they were a socialist organization believing in a ‘law of consecration’ where everything would one day belong to the church then return to the membership as their needs were determined by the leadership. Since financial prosperity is the perceived sign of success as a movement, Mormon leadership long ago adopted an aggressive campaign to build their Zion with wealth from capitalistic principals. Outside of Wall Street, you won’t find a self-righteous body of people more focused on money. Mitt Romney fits right in.

The Mormon church was established on a falsehood in 1830. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdrey conceived the whole plan in an era when such imagination was running wild in frontier America. The Mormons would be far more credible, along with the presidential hopeful Romney, if they would dispense with the rhetoric and baloney about their modern day election as god’s chosen few. Get over yourselves, Mormons!

Pessimistic Fred Karger says about Mormon opposition to gay rights, “They’ve beaten my community in every place they’ve gone.”

Not quite every. In the run-up to Hawaii’s 2010 gubernatorial election, almost the only issue that people cared about was gay civil unions. The legislature passed a civil-unions bill, but it was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor. A Jew herself, she was strongly supported in her opposition by the Mormon and Catholic churches, which organized all kinds of front groups and fringe evangelical sects to lobby and demonstrate. (Members of one of the sects attracted attention by wrapping themselves in taleisim and blowing shofars.) Hawaii has the second-highest proportion of Mormons outside Utah, too, and the Catholic Church is so powerful that Good Friday is a state holiday.

Nevertheless, the two anti-gay candidates for governor — a fanatically reactionary Mormon in the Democratic primary, a fanatically reactionary Catholic in the general election — went down to humiliating defeat before a pro-gay liberal, and as governor he has now signed gay civil unions into law.

But as a Republican, Mr. Karger is probably committed to believing that Hawaii is really in Kenya.

The campaign to get the LDS Church to drop it’s opposition to the gay agenda will only cause a brief notice and then other issues of the day will take it’s place. The church is sympathetic to the issue of civil rights and the campaign to not be mistreated and abused and hurt, but that is about as far as it will go. Those who believe that the church is going to open the doors of it’s churches and temples to gay couples who want to flaunt openly their gay lifestyle are in for a big letdown. The church is a straight church and will never support the gay lifestyle EVER, it’s as simple as that, the gay lifestyle goes against everything that this church teaches as doctrine. The people who wish to live the gay lifestyle openly as a couple, had best look for another church to join.

Gene says:

I only looked on this story to take note of a name not to vote for.
I want to be supportive of Jewish life style but mental disfunction of any form should not become a platform for those who would be in leadership.

Pinchas from Boston says:

There’s an old yiddish phrase, er shtip der nuz, “he sticks his nose” (in other people’s business). That seems to be a Jewish specialty, doesn’t it?, and Karger is one more example. I’m surprised he hasn’t invoked the Prophets and the tikkun olam mantra.

Mind your own business, Fred. Sorry about your past miseries, but the fact is nobody is persecuting you. In fact, it’s the ‘establishment” which is getting all the barbs and mockeries– like the Broaway play pannning the Mormons which you raved about. (A Broadway play mocking gays today would be boycotted and called a hate crime. The p.c. media would be climbing the walls!)

Also, society in general is going to hell as it is– do we, as Jews, really need another high-profile Jew undermining society further and calling attention to us and yes, breeding anti-semitism? Think Bernie the goniff Madoff– it’s a wonder that there’s not more antisemitism in the USA than there is!

I like Mitt Romney and I’m not especially riled by the LSD– in fact I like their gold statue of Gabriel tooting his horn high up over Route 2 near Belmont, Mass.–but I digress. My point: the Jews could use some of the backbone that the Mormons have. The Mormons don’t cave in and know how to withstand pressure against core beliefs, like family values. And the Jews..? (that’s a joke, son.)

Jason M says:

I suppose I’ll add my Jewish opinion among this crowd of mostly Mormon ones. I was shocked to see so many comments here, and so many supporting red-herring issues that have nothing to do with the thrust of Karger’s campaign, but it makes sense now.
Karger is not trying to get the Mormon Church to change its opinion. He is trying to make them shift their political priorities. The LDS could always oppose gay marriage but not gift tremendous financial and organizational heft to the political movement to strip gay couples of legal rights. In an attempt to mainstream itself enough for the religion not be a major liability for Romney, the thinking is that linking Romney to the LDS’s powerful, underground political organization could scare off moderate and evangelical voters who already are suspicious of the church. He might very well be working for one of Romney’s competitors, but I will say that nothing unites gay people, to the right and the left, more than the issue of marriage equality.
Unfortunately, the LDS church has almost always been laggards instead of leaders when it comes to the progress of human rights, and sadly, most of its members can’t manage to reconcile its past with present and understand this. There is a minority of Mormons who do, and those are the ones that will not be an embarrassment to future generations of Mormons.

shushan says:

how do you say shonda in Jewish?

Geoff says:

It think this is great. I grew up around Mormons, I like Mormons, but I like my gay brother more and its time we press the cause and win one for a minority more despised than we are in America. If Romney gets toppled in the crossfire, the GOP will just pick a candidate less palatable to the general electorate and it will strike another blow against the hate agenda. I say Kol ha-Kavod and I look forward to seeing him on the podium at the GOP primary debates.

Mr. Karger’s strategy seems sound, yet I can’t help but wonder about his motives. After a very remunerative career as a political operative for people who consider “[his] community” sub-human when they consider them at all, to have this sudden change of heart seems suspect. Being Jewish seems of no consequence at all, except that he adopts the language of victimology that characterizes a segment of the Jewish community.

It seems to me that lack of sincerity, not civility, is the problem with politics today. Our founders built the constitution on an assumption of enlightened self-interest, believing (ultimately incorrectly)that in disputatious matters rational heads would prevail. They never could have dreamed up the contradictory motives of the plutocratic-religious cabal that has become today’s Republican party. Pandering, whether to the right or the left does a disservice to public discourse. Just because Mr. Karger has switched sides on a matter of narrow personal importance, does not mean that he will be able to influence the larger swath of conservatives. Why doesn’t he try to reason with his powerful friends from the inside?

I love being Mormon. I love belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I see lots of good info in the comments, and lots of false info in the comments. If anyone really wants to know what the Mormon Church believes, they have a website at in regards to Mr. Karger. He and Sharpton have striking similarities.

Dani says:

How anyone can say this is not his business is beyond me. He cannot get married because of cruel ignorance rooted in religious intolerance. I am very supportive of this endeavour. Equality is what America is all about and banning gay marriage is just plain old discrimination. Anyone who supports the banning of gay marriage is “sticking their nose in other peoples business”. Judaism IS about Tikkun Olam and this is extremely important. And the fact that anyone would say he shouldn’t be doing this because he was not persecuted obviously did not read the article. And I guess the Jewish Community should not have fought for Black rights either, since most of us are not black huh? Obviously that is ridiculous. Jews should fight for what is just. This is unjust and I am proud a member of our community is taking a stand like Harvey Milk before him.

Les Miller says:

Are we sure there have been no gay Republican presidents?

StopNSee says:

I wonder who came up with the strange notion that a man could marry a man or a woman could marry a woman?

That strange notion has aparantly become quite popular among some groups.

I wonder who came up with the strange notion that homosexual marriage was a civil right?

The same people seem to be pushing that strange notion as well.

Other sexually based communities are advancing their own agendas as much as they dare, using the same type of reasoning about their own predilections. And they are so proud of it all.

Staven Moore brings up an interesting point that hit a familiar note:
“Non-LDS individuals don’t get why people become Mormon.”, and it is this. In 2006,Kevin Phillips brought it up in his book,American Theocracy; and, I was astounded that I had missed the obvious,especially
because I had practically had a tutorial in his previous bestseller,
American Dynasty, which was about,well,Douglas Brinkley called it: A searing indictment of the Bush Dynasty. And Paul Krugman(?),”A convincing case that Bush family crony capitalism is closely intertwined with Bush admininstration policy.” Does this remind you of HBO’s Big Love?

When Phillips is outlining religion’s history in America, it is not just that the Mormons believe in marriage for a man and women, plural marriage, but how dumb of me not to get it previously. Politically,you get the largest influence with your plurality vote. His graphs and charts, not over used, got me right between the eyes that at certain points in our history, the increasing size of their community allowed Mormons to succeed with their votes because their population increase was more rapid than that of other groups. This shines a lot of light on what the radical Republicans are doing today; and I do mean Today!

@ “StopNSee” and “friend” — Once upon a time in the US, the marriage of an African-American and a Caucasian was also illegal. At one time “separate but equal” accommodations were the law of this land. If a black child wanted to attend a mostly white university they could be arrested or assaulted.

Today in the US people can be fired from jobs, humiliated at denied Social Security benefits of a spouse or partner, turned away from desirable housing, their children can be excluded from schools, they can be refused the right of assembly in a college or university and they can be assaulted merely because they are suspected of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

I agree with you that LGBT discrimination is not an issue of civil rights; it is one of human rights. LGBT people do not choose to flout social norms in order to attract attention, or advance the so-called gay agenda or even to assure that you don’t appoint your home with wagon-wheel chairs and cowboy-print upholstery. Gay people are simply being who they are; as G-d in His infinite wisdom made them. Perhaps they are here to test the commitment to dignity, tolerance and justice of the rest of us — a test that we in the US have to our infinite shame failed utterly.

correction: that line should have read “humiliated at the office”

Marco Luxe says:

Correction of my error on LDS doctrine of infallibility:

Mormons don’t use the term “infallibility” to refer to their leaders and readily acknowledge that they are imperfect men. In practice, though, LDS belief comes awfully close to that standard….So much authority is ascribed to the LDS president, though, that quasi-prophet worship by the far-flung members of the 14 million-member faith seems unavoidable.

“We pay lip service to the prophet’s fallibility,” says Edward Kimball, son of late LDS President Spencer W. Kimball. “But when you come down to specifics, we can’t think of any incidents where a prophet was wrong.”

Joseph Smith knew his limitations and said a church president spoke for God only when he was “acting as a prophetBut few Mormons then or now could separate the man from the office[of prophet].” Instead, many have elevated his stature into an impossible realm [of infallibility].SL Tribune 3.25.11

It seems to me that the Prophet acts with de facto infallability, with a loophole “just in case”.

Said Truth says:

“remind moderates of the Republican Party’s extreme social conservatism”

Hate to be the one to call this out–in this day and age, Gay marriage is not a moderate position. Every single time gay marriage has been put to a popular vote it has been shot down.

I love it when people think they have the pulse on the nation.

StopNSee says:

Homosexuals cannot be fired, assaulted, kept out of schools, etc., etc., because these discriminations are a matter of civil rights and human rights. Marriage is not.

Victim Advocate says:

I just had to correct you on what you said. “Homosexuals cannot be fired, assaulted, kept out of schools, etc., etc., because these discriminations are a matter of civil rights and human rights. Marriage is not.”

Not true. The protection of rights for sexual orientation is not in every county, state or nationally. So, yes they can be legally discrimated against. Also, the group that is increasing in sexual assaults is the LGBTQ Community. Just FYI.

Will Edwards says:

Oh my goodness, such a thing! a gay republican Jew??? Is this the textbook definition of an oxymoron or just a moron? How did this person get elected in the first place if his agenda is benefiting his extremely small demographic instead of his whole constituency. Just what we need… a flamer edition of GW Bush.

chicagotist says:

Very good for Mr. Karger. He’s got a very good strategy, I think. LDS doesn’t like the spotlight it rightfully deserves. I give it another 20 years until an LDS prophet will “see the light” and change the official doctrine again.

J Carpenter says:

I am daily astounded by just who the Republican party attracts as leadership potential: Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Christine O’Donnell, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, and now Fred Karger (I’ll withhold judgment on Mitt Romney—he wears his cufflinks more prominently on his sleeve than he does his religion). A surging tide sure brings up a lot of strange stuff to the shores. I don’t see how “gay” or “Jewish” fits within the Republican narrow world-view; I don’t see how being a dirty-trickster/amoral political operative is going to endear him to religious people anywhere on the spectrum.

billyjoe says:

The other day I was telling a friend that one strategy for mitigating the current craziness of the Republican rank and file would be to have gays infiltrate the party with the goal of making these folks less hung up about sexual practices and sex in general. That said, Karge’s quest for the top job makes a lot of sense.

Phil says:

What a joke. He should be running as a democrat. Well, he can only help Romney by calling attention to the fact that he and people like him are as more bigoted than the people they are trying to demonize. He’ll probably wind up rallying republicans to support Romney rather than oppose him. Karger, this so-called “nice guy”, is just another slimy political activist/politician who thrives on demonizing those who happen to oppose him or his political views. He’s expert at it, but what he doesn’t see is that the beam in his own eye obscures his ability to take the mote out of his neighbor’s eye.

Killerbug says:

Mr. Karger is delusional. He is obviously unaware that the Mormons have been around for over 180 years. There has never been a Mormon president in that time and golly gee, they’ve managed just fine in spite of that handicap. The ties between Romney and Mormon political influence is not as strong as he would like to believe. Romney’s political hopes are not dependent on the Mormon Church’s decision to pursue its right to have a point of view on an issue.

I suspect that like anyone who pursues an agenda with an eye toward retaliation for a perceived wrong will find that effort biting them in the ass. Of course in Mr. Karger’s case he likely would enjoy that sort of thing.

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Fnord says:

Brilliant. Its not a presidential bid, its retribution by election. Big raised middle finger to the mormons. Lol, somebody got angry.

What is happening to America? Supposed to be the leader of the free world. They say on their “supposedly Dollar is king” currency that “In God we trust” God stands for morality in the deepest sense. One of the reasons for God destroying Sodom and Genorah was because the people who lived there, practised Homosexuality, (an evil for which FK upholds and defends) I know that there are still many Americans who have not bowed their knees to this evil that is spreading around the world like never before. American rise up and stand for Morality and reap God’s blessing upon your country.

America’s motto “In God we trust” Beware God stands for Morality in the deepest sense. I believe many Americans have not bowed the knee to Homosexuality. A reason why they will not vote for Fred Karger. How can the blind lead the blind lest they both fall into the ditch?

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Elder Statesman

Fred Karger is a gay, Jewish Republican, and he’s running for president. His plan is to embarrass the Mormon GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and get the church to drop its support for gay-marriage bans.

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