More than 3,000 people, including longtime Mormon critic James Dobson of Focus on the Family, have signed an online petition thanking the LDS Church for its efforts on behalf of California's traditional marriage initiative known as Proposition 8.
"Anyone who participated in this process has come to admire the competence, diligence and moral courage that so many members of your faith community displayed as part of this coalition effort -- as Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons and people of other faith communities all came together to fight this great battle for marriage," says the petition, which is addressed to LDS President Thomas S. Monson.
The petition condemns recent protests against Mormon temples and members, saying: "It is deeply unfair, and contrary to the best American traditions, that any faith community, much less a minority one, should be singled out and attacked in this way by powerful, well-funded political forces determined to 'make them pay' for participating in the normal political processes of democracy."
The online effort was created by the National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit group in Princeton, N.J., organized to lobby, organize and collect donations on behalf of ballot measures defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
"We wanted to do something to show we are united in our condemnation of religious bigotry of any form," Brian Brown, NOM's executive director, said Tuesday.
The organization includes people of various faith groups, including Catholics, and Evangelicals. Matthew Holland, son of LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, is on the board of directors.
The letter to Monson was written Nov. 15 and signed by representatives of several pro-family groups in addition to Dobson's, including Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of Free Congress Foundation, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Gary Bauer of American Values. It was presented to Monson almost immediately.
This week, organizers posted the petition at abovethehate.com and invited the public to sign.
"We've been amazed by the outpouring of support," Brown said. "People are so grateful that we are standing side by side with [Mormons]."
Organizers will continue to collect signatures for another month, he said, and present the final list to Monson sometime after that.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Monson, offering "prayerful support and steadfast solidarity" to the LDS Church for its efforts on behalf of Proposition 8.
"We have been especially troubled by the reports of explicit and direct targeting of your church personnel and facilities as the objects of hostility and abuse," the bishops wrote. "We pray that prudence and healing may prevail."