Stephen Stromberg
The Washington Post

The Mormon church has just waded into some precarious political waters, said Stephen Stromberg. Mormons provided at least half of the $40 million and much of the manpower employed to pass Proposition 8, the Nov. 4 ballot initiative in California that banned gay marriage. Now, with gay-rights supporters boycotting Mormon-owned businesses and picketing Mormon temples, “the church doesn’t seem to want to take much credit”—stressing instead that Mormons were merely part of a “broad-based coalition that defended traditional marriage.” The church’s modesty is understandable. With its history of polygamy, and with doctrines that seem strange to many mainstream Christians, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints already “makes a lot of Americans nervous.” Critics even see something cult-like in the church’s highly centralized hierarchy and the strong devotion among adherents. As a result, the church has historically kept a low political profile. But it has now thrust itself into the culture wars. “If the church decides to continue flexing its political muscle,” it can’t expect “to stay out of the political spotlight.”