Michael Otterson, Managing Director of Public Affairs for the LDS Church, continues to make one strange move after another. Here are just three that I find difficult to swallow:
- Blaming Down: In many bureaucracies, it is standard behavior to blame down to the lowest organizational level, and for upper management to refuse to take responsibility. So who is responsible for the LDS Church’s current feminist problem? According to Otterson, it’s the local Bishops: “Bishops are extraordinarily busy, but like local leaders, should be particularly aware of how easy it is to come across as patronizing or dismissive when a woman wants more than anything to be listened to and feel as if she has truly been heard.” (I’m surprised that he didn’t mention PMS.) Given the recent widespread use of censure and excommunication in the Church, it is becoming increasing difficult for me and others to believe that these activities aren’t, in some way, being encouraged and/or coordinated in SLC.
- Patronizing Women: So who does Otterson put at the forefront of confronting the media and others concerning feminist issues? Women, of course. He parades out Ruth Todd, Jessica Moody, and Ally Isom. Where’s Otterson? Where are the men on his staff?
- Persecution Complex: When all else fails, talk about how you and your staff are being persecuted. “Occasionally, as we have seen in recent weeks on some feminist blogs, those who are spokespeople for the Church and therefore are required to put their names out in the public square find themselves in the cross-hairs of critics. Sometimes those critics are highly cynical and make things personal. In recent weeks, I have seen some of our staff ridiculed by some feminist commentators, called disingenuous or, worse, accused of lying.” Otterson, you are in the public relations business, those things happen. Deal with it. But playing the persecution card doesn’t work any more. Move on. By the way, how do you think Kate Kelly feels?