Tom Hanks donned his Holy robe and raised his Rod and Staff during HBO television’s Big Love premiere party Wednesday night, calling Mormons un-American for their role in California’s Proposition 8 on gay marriage rights. Tom Hanks is Executive Producer of HBO’s television series Big Love, a controversial show about polygamy. In a statement reported by FOX News, Tom Hanks said,
The truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen. There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here’s what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed, and people can see who’s responsible, and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting Constitution, and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So let’s have faith in not only the American, but Californian, constitutional process.
In a seemingly uncharacteristic attack on Mormons, Tom Hanks’ comments are disturbing on so many levels. After reading Tom Hanks’ comments on Mormons being un-American, I will borrow his personal motto from his Tom Hanks MySpace page that he says “suits almost any occasion”: “Huh? Wha’?”
For the record, I love Tom Hanks the actor, Tom Hanks the devoted faithful husband, Tom Hanks the Apollo space program lover, Tom Hanks the producer of the award-winning John Adams HBO miniseries, Tom Hanks saving Private Ryan, and Tom Hanks the father. Tom Hanks is about as all-American as you can get, but being an Air Force Veteran myself, I take very seriously any comments made by people who call others un-American.
Disturbing to me About Tom Hanks Calling Mormons Un-American
1. First and foremost, Mormons are citizens of the United States with every right to vote on issues they support or challenge. The right for every American citizen to stand up for what they believe was given to Americans in our Constitution. It is called Democracy. Democracy is not un-American.
What is truly un-American is when religious organizations like the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the members of the FLDS polygamy groups break the law and claim (misinterpreted) autonomy under the First Amendment to the Constitution to avoid criminal prosecution for child abuse. (Please read: God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law)
2. To say Mormons are un-American because they discriminate against gay people in their fight to ban legal gay marriage is like saying men are un-American for discriminating against women in Constitutional equality issues such as the right to equal pay for equal work.
In April 2008, John McCain skipped a Senate vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act saying he would have voted against it anyway. John McCain believes the real issue behind women’s equality is: “They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else. And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them. It’s a vicious cycle that’s affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least.” Wow, Tom Hanks: Can you please fix that one in a movie or television show?
3. Polygamy is against federal and state laws everywhere in America. ( Polygamy and the Law, Washington Post, 2008) These laws have been challenged and upheld hundreds of times by the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts. Yet, Tom Hanks produces a television show that promotes an illegal organization of people proven to engage in child and spousal abuse. Is it un-American to promote illegal activity through a television series?
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and thank God we have that right in America, but Tom Hanks is not Holier Than Thou when it comes to casting God vs. Gavel stones.
Tom Hanks Says Mormon Supporters of Proposition 8 ‘Un-American’
FOX News January 19, 2009
Polygamy and the Law
MySpace Tom Hanks
McCain Opposes Equal Pay Bill in Senate
The Huffington Post, April 2008
God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law
Cambridge 2005, 2007; Marci A. Hamilton, Law Professor at Princeton University