Monday, September 7, 2009

Mormons Booted Out of Guyana & Maine?

A group of forty Mormon missionaries have been expelled from the South American Republic of Guyana:

GEORGETOWN, Guyana - Authorities in Guyana grew "uncomfortable" with the presence of Mormon missionaries who have been ordered to leave the South American country, a governing party leader said Thursday.

About 40 missionaries were briefly detained Wednesday and told to leave within a month as authorities said their travel documents were out of date.


"While we tolerate all religions, it appears that some officials had become uncomfortable with them around," said [Donald] Ramotar, the [ruling] party's general secretary.

Ramotar declined to elaborate. But some government officials and party members said privately that leaders felt the Mormons were too close to opposition figures and also were wary of the church's independent charity work in the interior.

The government of the South American nation is reportedly “uneasy” about “perceived links” between the Mormon missionaries and the country’s opposition party.

The Guyanese expulsion gives the impression that the Mormons are not limiting their political involvement to domestic state-level campaigns against same-sex marriage.

Frank Schubert, who helped the Mormons — and others — pass Prop 8 to eliminate the right of same-sex, California couples to marry last year, is now running the campaign against marriage equality in the State of Maine. Schubert told National Public Radio the Mormon Church will not be involved in the campaign to eliminate marriage equality in Maine.

Responding to Schubert’s announcement, Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, said, “It was interested to see that Frank Schubert who bragged about all the Mormons did to pass Prop 8 in California now doesn’t want all their money and help in Maine. I wonder if that is really true?”

Recent statements, by a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a Washington Post article imply the Maine campaign might still be an issue in which the church has an active interest:

A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York, except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the “divine institution” of marriage between man and woman. The faith holds that traditional marriage “transcends this world” and is necessary for “the fullness of joy in the next life.”

According to Karger, “It sounds like the Mormon Church is still involved in Maine to me.”