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Ministers Commit False Witness About Hate Crimes Bill

And a challenge: Show me in the bill's text where it infringes on the First Amendment.

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2007

When the US House took up the “Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007,” we saw a lot of blatant dishonesty from far-right opponents. We saw them completely make up bogus hate crime statistics out of thin air. We saw them falsely claim that the legislation would “punish some crimes more severely against gay people than they would against any other person.” And we saw them putting forward the “thought crime” canard, even though the proposed legislation deals strictly with actual violence.

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support, and now the Senate is about to consider the measure. And once again, we’re seeing anti-gay extremists cranking up the False Witnessing machine once again. This time, they are renewing their arguments that the proposed hate crime legislation will compromise their freedom of religion. A group of African-American church leaders, including pastor Kenneth Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church who has been stirring up trouble in Riga Latvia, have appeared in an advertisement featuring a gagged African-American pastor to claim that hate crimes legislation would “muzzle our pulpits.”

Christian clergymen and people of faith are making a stand today for religious liberty. WE OPPOSE S.1105, “The Matthew Shepard Act.” We believe prosecutors and anti-Christian groups will use loop holes in this proposed legislation to muzzle the church. Unnecessary lawsuits will bring a chilling effect to the free speech and religious liberty of our churches and of our members.

Klan rally at the Minnesota StatehouseNo law can usurp the First Amendment, and the sad thing is that these ministers should know that better than anyone. Despite enjoying hate crime protections for a number of years, the African-American community continues to be the target of constitutionally protected hate speech whenever the Klan wins approval to hold rallies on courthouse squares and statehouse lawns. Nothing in the existing hate crime laws has succeeded in muzzling their First Amendment rights to free speech.

Morris Gulett, leader of the Church of the Sons of YahwehAnd nothing has muzzled anyone’s First Amendment rights to freedom of religion either. There are at least thirty seven racist Christian Identity groups active across America. Some even operate radio broadcasts and “prison ministries.” As patently offensive and dangerous as some of these groups may be, the First Amendment has protected their outlandish religious beliefs despite existing hate crimes legislation on the basis of race.

And like a broken record, I’ll repeat this one again: The law protects everyone equally. If you check the FBI’s latest statistics from 2005, you’ll find there were 935 anti-white hate crime incidents recorded, 58 anti-protestant hate crime incidents recorded, and 23 anti-heterosexual incidents recorded. They all deserve — and receive — protection as well.

Focus on the Family, Exodus, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, Mission America — all of them have repeated some serious outright lies about what the proposed legislation would do. And several individuals associated with these organizations have done the same.

And so here’s a challenge. I have posted the actual proposed legislation in full on my web site. You will find the text after the jump below. I dare them to do the same. And I challenge them to point to any part of the bill which would usurp the First Amendment. In fact, I challenge them to point to any part of the bill which even comes close to limiting speech. The bill only mentions violence, and it only extends penalties to acts of violence.

Unless placing additional penalties on violent acts somehow limits these pastors’ freedoms of religion, this bill won’t have any affect on them whatsoever.

So where is it folks? Tell us. Is it in the bill or are you lying as God is your witness? Pick one, because it’s either one or the other.


As of June 16, 2007, this is the bill’s text:

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1105

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 12, 2007

Mr. KENNEDY (for himself, Mr. SMITH, Mr. LEAHY, Mr. SPECTER, Ms. MIKULSKI, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. MENENDEZ, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. BROWN, Mr. KERRY, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. DODD, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. HARKIN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. BIDEN, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. BAYH, Ms. CANTWELL, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mr. REED, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr. OBAMA, Mrs. BOXER, Ms. KLOBUCHAR, Mr. AKAKA, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mrs. CLINTON, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. ROCKEFELLER, Mrs. LINCOLN, Mr. CASEY, Mrs. MCCASKILL, Mr. INOUYE, Mr. NELSON of Florida, Mr. SALAZAR, and Mr. JOHNSON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

1) The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.

(2) Such violence disrupts the tranquility and safety of communities and is deeply divisive.

(3) State and local authorities are now and will continue to be responsible for prosecuting the overwhelming majority of violent crimes in the United States, including violent crimes motivated by bias. These authorities can carry out their responsibilities more effectively with greater Federal assistance.

(4) Existing Federal law is inadequate to address this problem.

(5) A prominent characteristic of a violent crime motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim and the family and friends of the victim, but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.

(6) Such violence substantially affects interstate commerce in many ways, including the following:

(A) The movement of members of targeted groups is impeded, and members of such groups are forced to move across State lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence.

(B) Members of targeted groups are prevented from purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or participating in other commercial activity.

(C) Perpetrators cross State lines to commit such violence.

(D) Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such violence.

(E) Such violence is committed using articles that have traveled in interstate commerce.

(7) For generations, the institutions of slavery and involuntary servitude were defined by the race, color, and ancestry of those held in bondage. Slavery and involuntary servitude were enforced, both prior to and after the adoption of the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, through widespread public and private violence directed at persons because of their race, color, or ancestry, or perceived race, color, or ancestry. Accordingly, eliminating racially motivated violence is an important means of eliminating, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics of slavery and involuntary servitude.

(8) Both at the time when the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States were adopted, and continuing to date, members of certain religious and national origin groups were and are perceived to be distinct `races’. Thus, in order to eliminate, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics of slavery, it is necessary to prohibit assaults on the basis of real or perceived religions or national origins, at least to the extent such religions or national origins were regarded as races at the time of the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

(9) Federal jurisdiction over certain violent crimes motivated by bias enables Federal, State, and local authorities to work together as partners in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.

(10) The problem of crimes motivated by bias is sufficiently serious, widespread, and interstate in nature as to warrant Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes.

SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF HATE CRIME.

In this Act–

(1) the term `crime of violence’ has the meaning given that term in section 16, title 18, United States Code;

(2) the term `hate crime’ has the meaning given such term in section 280003(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (28 U.S.C. 994 note); and

(3) the term `local’ means a county, city, town, township, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS BY STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.

(a) Assistance Other Than Financial Assistance-

(1) IN GENERAL- At the request of State, local, or Tribal law enforcement agency, the Attorney General may provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that–

(A) constitutes a crime of violence;

(B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or Tribal laws; and

(C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws.

(2) PRIORITY- In providing assistance under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall give priority to crimes committed by offenders who have committed crimes in more than one State and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary expenses relating to the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

(b) Grants-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General may award grants to State, local, and Indian law enforcement agencies for extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

(2) OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS- In implementing the grant program under this subsection, the Office of Justice Programs shall work closely with grantees to ensure that the concerns and needs of all affected parties, including community groups and schools, colleges, and universities, are addressed through the local infrastructure developed under the grants.

(3) APPLICATION-

(A) IN GENERAL- Each State, local, and Indian law enforcement agency that desires a grant under this subsection shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by or containing such information as the Attorney General shall reasonably require.

(B) DATE FOR SUBMISSION- Applications submitted pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be submitted during the 60-day period beginning on a date that the Attorney General shall prescribe.

(C) REQUIREMENTS- A State, local, and Indian law enforcement agency applying for a grant under this subsection shall–

(i) describe the extraordinary purposes for which the grant is needed;

(ii) certify that the State, local government, or Indian tribe lacks the resources necessary to investigate or prosecute the hate crime;

(iii) demonstrate that, in developing a plan to implement the grant, the State, local, and Indian law enforcement agency has consulted and coordinated with nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs that have experience in providing services to victims of hate crimes; and

(iv) certify that any Federal funds received under this subsection will be used to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds that would otherwise be available for activities funded under this subsection.

(4) DEADLINE- An application for a grant under this subsection shall be approved or denied by the Attorney General not later than 30 business days after the date on which the Attorney General receives the application.

(5) GRANT AMOUNT- A grant under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any 1-year period.

(6) REPORT- Not later than December 31, 2008, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report describing the applications submitted for grants under this subsection, the award of such grants, and the purposes for which the grant amounts were expended.

(7) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

SEC. 5. GRANT PROGRAM.

(a) Authority to Award Grants- The Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice may award grants, in accordance with such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, to State, local, or Tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.

(b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO ASSIST STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice, including the Community Relations Service, for fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010 such sums as are necessary to increase the number of personnel to prevent and respond to alleged violations of section 249 of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 7 of this Act.

SEC. 7. PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN HATE CRIME ACTS.

(a) In General- Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`Sec. 249. Hate crime acts
`(a) In General-

`(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person–

`(A) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

`(B) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–

`(i) death results from the offense; or

`(ii) the offense includes kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

`(2) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY-

`(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person–

`(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

`(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–

`(I) death results from the offense; or

`(II) the offense includes kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

`(B) CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are that–

`(i) the conduct described in subparagraph (A) occurs during the course of, or as the result of, the travel of the defendant or the victim–

`(I) across a State line or national border; or

`(II) using a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce;

`(ii) the defendant uses a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A);

`(iii) in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A), the defendant employs a firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or other weapon that has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or

`(iv) the conduct described in subparagraph (A)–

`(I) interferes with commercial or other economic activity in which the victim is engaged at the time of the conduct; or

`(II) otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce.

`(b) Certification Requirement- No prosecution of any offense described in this subsection may be undertaken by the United States, except under the certification in writing of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or any Assistant Attorney General specially designated by the Attorney General that–

`(1) such certifying individual has reasonable cause to believe that the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person was a motivating factor underlying the alleged conduct of the defendant; and

`(2) such certifying individual has consulted with State or local law enforcement officials regarding the prosecution and determined that–

`(A) the State does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise jurisdiction;

`(B) the State has requested that the Federal Government assume jurisdiction;

`(C) the State does not object to the Federal Government assuming jurisdiction; or

`(D) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.

`(c) Definitions- In this section–

`(1) the term `explosive or incendiary device’ has the meaning given such term in section 232 of this title;

`(2) the term `firearm’ has the meaning given such term in section 921(a) of this title; and

`(3) the term `gender identity’ for the purposes of this chapter means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.

`(d) Rule of Evidence- In a prosecution for an offense under this section, evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense. However, nothing in this section affects the rules of evidence governing impeachment of a witness.’.

(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment- The analysis for chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`249. Hate crime acts.’.

SEC. 8. STATISTICS.

(a) In General- Subsection (b)(1) of the first section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by inserting `gender and gender identity,’ after `race,’.

(b) Data- Subsection (b)(5) of the first section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by inserting `, including data about crimes committed by, and crimes directed against, juveniles’ after `data acquired under this section’.

SEC. 9. SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.

Comments

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Marti Abernathey
June 16th, 2007 | LINK

What bothers me most is not their Christian rhetoric (ie. anyone that’s GLBT is going to hell). It’s that what they are saying about the hate crimes bill is all LIES. If they spoke against homosexuality, I could appreciate that (although I’d disagree). But they are spitting in the face of Christ by being deceitful and corrupt in their words and deeds.

What Charles C. Hayes of the First Amendment Center said hits this right between the eyes. He said:

“More than threats to free speech, it is the mainstream acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that many Christian conservative groups most fear.

That’s why victory bells on one side are answered by alarm bells on the other.”

Timothy Kincaid
June 16th, 2007 | LINK

I agree that they are breaking the commandent about bearing false witness.

But they are also breaking this commandment:

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

When you stand in front of others and claim the mantle of God as authority for what you say, you had best be certain that you are right. Lying under the authority of God will result in God not holding you guiltless.

In addition, I can think of no clearer example of violation of the commandment of Christ: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

These ministers claim the privelege of protection (both for their race and for their faith) yet they seek to deny that exact same protection to their neighbor.

These men should fear for their immortal souls. Of the 10 commandments given by the Father and the 2 given by the Christ, they have managed to break at least three.

Phoenix Woman
June 16th, 2007 | LINK

These particular ministers almost certainly know that what they’re spewing is wrong. They HAVE to know.

The only reason they’re spewing it is because they a) hate gays and b) want to pretend that ‘the downlow’ (the black gay male subculture) doesn’t exist in the black community.

PW
June 16th, 2007 | LINK

I live in a conservative state, ‘churches on every corner’ as the saying goes. This state has a hate crimes law, it’s been in place since 2001. And not once have I seen, read or heard of some pastor or minister being sent to jail for preaching against homosexuality. I know of no court cases. In short, in a highly religious part of America, the law is not muzzling free speech at all. And that means these organizations and individuals are in fact, lying through their teeth.

The Hypocritical Party « Universal Health
June 18th, 2007 | LINK

[…] by N=1 on June 18th, 2007 Phony christianist fundamentalism unmasked as domestic terrorism.  WWJD?  Well, these phonies aren’t good samaritans.  Jesus would […]

Kat Rose
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

It is ‘bearing false witness’ so long as it is merely lying. Anyone soliciting money based on this (or any) lie is committing fraud.

When will those who are profiting off of this fraud be prosecuted?

Kat

Kevin
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

The number and the increasingly shrill use of these lies indicates something else about these charlatans. . .and perhaps that is the real danger sign we must examine. Perhaps their real fear is that they WANT to increase the volume and the rhetoric of their hate to such a level that it DOES directly incite violence – and in doing so could be held responsible for such action.

If there is one thing we know about these people, they hate taking any responsibility for their own behavior. But if we also examine the incidents of violence encouraged by Russian orthodox anti-gay extremists and the recent violent protest by extreme Right Jewish orthodox protesters in Jerusalem, I think we start to get a picture of what the ministers on the Right truly desire in this nation.

There is not a single civil rights protection proposal involving the GLBT community which these people will not oppose – none. A simple domestic partner registry? Let the people vote – and if they vote for the gays, take them to court. Employment protection? Hate crimes bills? Make up a pack of lies and scream it from the pulpit as “christians” being “victimized.”

The truth is becoming increasingly clear – and they don’t call this a “culture war” for nothing. Their fear isn’t about protecting their right to free speech – they KNOW what the proposed legislation says. . .their fear is that they truly want to use that speech to directly instigate violence and believe they should have a special right to do so at will.

We should not forget the many times that con-servative “Christians” have used the judiciary as their own version of activist judges to dehumanize the GLBT community. Historically, in nearly legal case for decades, they have used their “religious” beliefs to conduct hate crimes in the court rooms. Alleged “Christian” activist judges never had any problem distinguishing between the rights of “moral” Americans as opposed to members of the gay community – that was directly used when members of the GLBT community were physically attacked or murdered by self-rightous heterosexuals.

When a straight man is the ONLY minority in this country who could get away with the “gay panic” defense (women and blacks certainly could never use a “straight white men” defense effectively before a majority straight white men judiciary). . .the rationale for giving the perpetrator a lower sentence was that the gay victim was somehow less than human. Roy Moore isn’t one of their poster models for nothin’.

Right wing “Christian” organizations want their special right to persecute gays – including physical acts of violence – protected. The very fact that these groups are desperately trying to lie about the context of hate crimes legislation underscores why they feel “threatened” by the legislation. It isn’t about them preaching from the pulpit that their interpretation of Scripture believes homosexuality is wrong – it is about preaching that every law, every court, every code and every behavior of every citizen must be based on their dictated interpretations.

That is a far greater threat to freedom of religious expression than their manufactured paranoia that their desire to crank up the direct attack rhetoric might eventually link them to violence. They believe they are entitled to that violence, despite some of them pretending they have no desire to see anyone harmed.

If there is one reason why the American people are being polled as in favor of these hate crimes laws, it is because the number of violent incidents against gay people in this country is on the increase – and (I don’t have the figures with me here) I think it has been documented that, when those hateful constitutional amendments are being forced on the voting public, incidents of violence rise against the gay community during those campaigns.

This ain’t a coincidence. And the American people, who are subjected to the shrill whining and hand wringing and over-the-top obsession with gays from the “religious” Right, aren’t so stupid as to not tie the rhetoric to the increase in reports of violence.

There is a reason for the lies emulating from every anti-gay “religious” political action committee. And it has nothing to do with Christianity.

“replace the lies with truth” » Blog Archive » Hate Crime Legislation Update!
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

[…] Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin offers a challenge: Focus on the Family, Exodus, Family Research Council, Traditional Values […]

Mad Professah
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

Great post on the hate crimes act, and even better comments, above!

I love the direct challenge to the ministers “show me where it says you’ll be muzzled!”

Wow, I got to this blog via Pam’s House Blend, but I’ll be back!

Keep up the great work.

pdrydia
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

You muzzle a dog to keep him from biting people. If this legislation honestly would “muzzle” any of these “preachers,” it’s more than needed.

Jim Y
September 27th, 2007 | LINK

Isn’t murder wrong for everybody? Why does it need to be more severe when it involves gays? The only reason I can think of is that certain people are trying to force acceptance of the gay lifestyle down our throat.

Here’s an example of how hate crime legislation is abused. What about that is a lie?:
In Philadelphia, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the Pennsylvania state “hate crime” law was used to justify the arrest and jailing of nearly a dozen Christians On October 11, 2004, homosexual activists were celebrating “National Coming Out Day” at a street fair for an event called Outfest. The Christian Group Repent America peacefully and Legally walked into the gathering, singing hymns and carrying signs encouraging homosexuals to repent. They were surrounded by a self-described group called “The Pink Angels,” who blocked their movement with large cut-outs of angel shapes. Police then arrested 11 Christians and none of the Pink Angels. Ranging in age from a 17-year-old girl to a 72-year-old grandmother, the Christians spent the night in jail. The next day, five of them, including the teenager, faced eight charges-three felonies and five misdemeanors-stemming from Pennsylvania’s “hate crimes” law: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways. If convicted on all charges, the Christians could have faced a total of 47 years in prison. Despite a videotape that showed no criminal activity, the prosecution refused to withdraw the charges, and characterized the group’s views in court as “hate speech.” In February 2005, a judge finally dismissed the charges, saying that she found “no basis whatsoever for any of them.” However, a liberal government openly hostile to Christians was able to use the “hate crimes” law to send a message of intimidation toward people who oppose the promotion of homosexuality.

Timothy Kincaid
September 27th, 2007 | LINK

Jim Y,

You seem to have accepted a pack of lies as being the truth.

The Christian Group Repent America peacefully and Legally walked into the gathering, singing hymns and carrying signs encouraging homosexuals to repent.

Well, not really. They were shouting through bullhorns trying to drown out the speaker. And:

Contrary to their portrayal to the press that they were merely quoting the Gospel and singing religious songs, on three [3] separate occasions, a transgender female was berated on the bullhorn and told “your mirror lied to you this morning . . . you have a 5 o’clock shadow.”

http://www.phillypride.org/news5.html

Despite a videotape that showed no criminal activity…

The police video showed that the activists were disorderly and failed to obey police commands.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/inpublic.asp

The next day, five of them, including the teenager, faced eight charges-three felonies and five misdemeanors-stemming from Pennsylvania’s “hate crimes” law: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways.

None of those charges “stemmed from” the hate crimes law. Hate crimes laws are enhanced sentences for other crimes. Had Marcovage and his merry band of bigots not broken any laws and obeyed the police and moved from blocking the vendors, they would not have been arrested at all.

However, a liberal government openly hostile to Christians was able to use the “hate crimes” law to send a message of intimidation toward people who oppose the promotion of homosexuality.

But the real story of this case is how well the criminal justice system worked. When a judge reviewed the charges, she properly recognized that what had occurred was not a hate crime – and she dropped the charges. The actions of the protesters, though confrontational and offensive, were not typical of the kind of conduct which hate crimes laws were designed to address. Far from demonstrating the infirmities of hate crimes laws, the Outfest case actually serves as a demonstration that these laws will be properly applied.

http://www.hrc.org/issues/4856.htm

Ya know, it’s funny how anti-gays have such difficulty in telling and/or believing the truth.

Jason
September 27th, 2007 | LINK

“However, a liberal government openly hostile to Christians was able to use the “hate crimes” law to send a message of intimidation toward people who oppose the promotion of homosexuality.”

BUZZ, wrong.

If anyone was using hate crimes law to send a message of intimidation, it was the prosecution and possibly the police.

However a judge decided that it didn’t apply, because hate crime laws are not intended to address speech.

Course you’re also leaving out that Repent America then tried to sue the organizers of the street fair and the city. The case was decided in favor of the City and Outfest, citing past legal precendent, with the judge noting, “facts that are not in material dispute show that the plaintiffs’ interaction with the crowd was not peaceful. . . . . the plaintiffs did not just communicate passively with signs. The plaintiffs amplified their voices and spoke to the crowd and sang songs to communicate their message. Plaintiffs’ attendance at Outfest cannot be classified as peaceful. One plaintiff communicated through incendiary language, including remarks that ‘Jesus Christ’s blood was not HIV positive’ and ‘that one transgendered participate would ‘go to hell.’

Jim Y
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

I suppose the proof is in the video isn’t it? The Christians were walking peacfully and the homosexual group came along them with blow-horns saying things like “Stop harrassing queers you mother F***ers.” “I am a homosexual and I’m F***ing proud of it.” “Get the F*** out of here.”

You decide who was militant:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1955358014595466177

Jim Y
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

The videos and the fact that all charges were dropped against the christians prove that what they were saying is true and not lies as others on this site have suggested.

But no one has really answered my original question. Why should it be more illegal to kill a grandma than a homosexual? Why should there be more punishment for beating a homosexual than beating a child?

The only answer I can think of is the world is trying to shove homosexual legitimacy down our throats.

a. mcewen
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

Jim,

that question is a serious dodge and a crafty anti-gay industry talking point. Hate crimes protection do not place crimes against gays on a higher level than say a crime against a grandmother or a child.

You see hate crimes protection already exists in matters of race and religion. What if I asked a question like:

“Why should it be more illegal to kill an evangelical Christian than a grandmother? Why should there be more punishment for beating a black person than beating a child?”

Do you see how this game is played?

Timothy Kincaid
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

You mean the two minute snippet released by Repent America? Un-huh, that’s what I call proof. Chortle, chuckle, guffaw.

The reason, Jim, that attacks based on race and religion and sexual orientation are prosecuted more than others are two fold:

1. They are attacks that are based on an attribute of a person rather than on something they may have done.

If you hit someone because they insulted your wife and called your kid names, it is battery and illegal. But it is also something they contributed to. However, if you hit them just because they are black and you hate black people, that is not something they can avoid.

2. They are used to intimidate communities of people. Just as burning a cross on a lawn or painting a swastika on a synagogue serve to frighten or intimidate a minority, so too do crimes based primarily on the victim’s identity within a group serve as a crime against that entire group.

Now some people make a principled stand against all hate crime legislation. (Personally, while I favor hate crimes tracking, I’m not a fan of enhanced sentencing.) But those who do so do not pick and choose which groups they don’t want subjected to hate crimes legislation.

But you, Jim Y, seem only to dislike hate crimes when they apply to violent crimes against gay people. This suggest to us that you are not at all principled, but instead are showing animus against gays.

Idealogues I can understand. But I find haters, bigots, and homophobes to be weak minded insecure people who seek to deal with their own feelings of inadequacy by lashing out at others. They are rather pathetic.

Jim Y
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

>But you, Jim Y, seem only to dislike hate
>crimes when they apply to violent crimes
>against gay people. This suggest to us
>that you are not at all principled, but
>instead are showing animus against
>gays.

I don’t think it should be elevated based on any group, religion, or race.

It seems simple to me that your thoughts don’t matter. It’s your actions. If you commit a crime you should be punished for it equally whether you did it against a Christain, grandma, or gay person.

>You mean the two minute snippet
>released by Repent America? Un-huh,
>that’s what I call proof. Chortle,
> chuckle, guffaw.

To repeat:
The videos AND the fact that all charges were dropped against the Christians prove that what they were saying is true and not lies as others on this site have suggested.

There is a complete 30 minute video on the event that was used in the trial to acquit the Christians. The law says it’s true, why not you?

Jim Y
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

>Idealogues I can understand. But I find
> haters, bigots, and homophobes to be
>weak minded insecure people who seek to
>deal with their own feelings of
>inadequacy by lashing out at others. They
> are rather pathetic.

Right. Look at the videos. Who is being polite and who is calling the other group “Mother F***ers”?

Who is insecure? Why can’t gays do whatever disgusting things they need to do in their homes – just like adulterers? After all, adulterers are just like gays – they were born that way and can’t help themselves.

Just because we disagree with what gays are doing makes us insecure? Weird.

Martin Lanigan
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

Jim Y

“Disgusting things”? Are you mad?

Does it not occur to you that some people may find what you do in your bedroom equally disgusting? An individual’s personal “disgust” with a sexual practice is not a satisfactory basis upon which to base social policy or human rights.

Regardless of how revolting we might find your sexual practices, we do not denigrate you for it. We do not attack you, and we do not lobby to deny you equal treatment under the law.

If you are so principled about hate crimes legislation in general, then why are you not trolling Christian sites and demanding that religion be removed as a grounds for protection? Honestly, you insult our intelligence!

Jim Y
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

The facts are. The Christians have not lied, as stated here, about what can happen to Christians when hate crimes laws are in effect and Christians speak out against the homosexual lifestyle. The videos prove that. You have your opinion on whether they lied. I have mine. And then there are the videos used in a court of law.

Sorry logic and facts insults your intelligence.

Jason
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

Jim, you’re forgetting the police also had video that supports that they were not “just peacefully demonstrating” They intended to interrupt and usurp the message of a public event.

The charges were dropped because a judge felt they did not apply. That merely means that what they were charged with, and the hate crime enhancement tacked onto those charges, were found to be without merit. It does NOT mean they were being completely peaceful and nonthreatening. However, it DOES suggest one thing:

What they did was not peaceful, but also not against the law.

The fact that the charges were dropped only means that a judge decided based on the evidence that the charges against them were baseless. That in NO WAY means that Repent America told the absolute truth about what happened that day. Your attempt to connect these two different things is a fallacy.

You seem to be ignoring the fact that Repent America took Outfest and the City to court for damages and that a judge found in favor of Outfest and the city.

From the philly pride website article:
“In October of 2005, the Repent America protesters brought a federal lawsuit against Philly Pride, and personally against its executive director and senior advisor, as well as various police officials alleging, among other things, that the Philly Pride defendants had conspired with the City of Philadelphia to violate Repent America’s First Amendment rights.”

A judge ruled in favor of Philly Pride commenting :

” . . . facts that are not in material dispute show that the plaintiffs’ interaction with the crowd was not peaceful. . . . .”

Did you read that? A Federal judge basically says they are lying when they say they were merely singing hymns and holding signs. That’s the lies we’re talking about.

The judge also said,
“Defendant Philly Pride had the right to exclude plaintiffs and their contrary message from their expressive, permitted event.”

And on what grounds? A little SUPREME COURT decision called: Hurley v Irish-American GLBT Group of Boston (1995).

In that case the Supreme Court found that an event organizer does not have to include, tolerate, or make space for a group who it believes is counter to it’s own message. Or to put it in the words of the article, “The Court recognized that it was essential to the protection of free speech rights to give an event organizer the right to shape the message of its event.”

Rather than peacefully protesting outside the event, Repent America chose to bring themselves, their signs, and bullhorns into the event.

Imagine you are watching Shakespeare in the park, perhaps you bought tickets. Perhaps there are vendors present to sell related merchandise. Would it be fair for someone who dislikes Shakespeare to interrupt the performance? Would it be right for them to head to the stage with a bullhorn and try to drown out the actors?

Had Repent America stayed outside the festival and protested, they wouldn’t have run into so much trouble. But since they felt it necessary to disrupt someone else’s freedom of speech, they were doing something wrong,(but not illegal) and can’t sue because organizers took measures to have them removed.

http://www.phillypride.org/news5.html

Martin Lanigan
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

Jim Y,

While we are on the topic of intelligence, kindly note that Jason has already shown you that your Philadelphia example actually disproves your point that hate crimes legislation does not work. In the case you cited, no one was convicted under it.

Ken R
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

Who is insecure? Why can’t gays do whatever disgusting things they need to do in their homes – just like adulterers? After all, adulterers are just like gays – they were born that way and can’t help themselves.

Just because we disagree with what gays are doing makes us insecure? Weird.

You showed your true colors right there Jim Y. You have great animosity towards gay people and do not wish to see hate crimes legislation protect gays in any way. If those on the Right that claim that we didn’t need any hate crime legislation whatsoever, they would be the first to howl about “religion” being removed from the books.

Personally, I disagree with those that bible worship and its offensive to me but I don’t desire to commit a crime against them or feel insecure in my faith because they do so.

Barack, I have a bone to pick with you. « break the terror
December 17th, 2008 | LINK

[…] Jim Burroway points out: This is the same Rick Warren who recently said that the relationships of his “many gay friends” are no different from child rape, incest or polygamy. He also jumped on the paranoia bandwagon surrounding same-sex marriage by falsely claiming that Prop 8’s failure somehow would have overturned the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and religion. (It can’t. No law or state constitution can.). […]

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