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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for November, 2010

Mixed news on hate crimes

Timothy Kincaid

November 22nd, 2010

Hate crimes statistics is a difficult subject to correctly evaluate. Reporting by local agencies has, until recently, been voluntary and often subject to arbitrary interpretation, so year to year or location to location comparisons must be considered with the understanding that any specific anomaly in long term trending may not accurately reflect a real or significant shift in either social attitudes or behavior.

I think that it is evident and obvious that hate crimes are under-reported. Behaviors that mirror biases of individual officers are more likely to be treated as “no big deal”, and, as we have seen, even people who see themselves as supportive can dismiss hostility as “a natural reaction.” And, of course, most hate crimes are only known when the victim is willing to come forward and report a crime or file a complaint.

Reporting of hate crimes based on sexual orientation are probably complicated by a greater lack of recognition or by a greater hesitancy to come forward than other animus related crimes. However, with increased social acceptance for gay people, both institutional dismissiveness and fear of recognition have decreased which probably has resulted in a higher frequency of incidents being reported or tracked.

Okay, that’s enough caveats. Now the positive news.

The FBI has released the statistics on hate crimes reported during 2009, and fewer incidents were reported than previous years in nearly every category. (FBI)

While the number of law enforcement agencies submitting data to us increased—topping off at 14,222—the number of hate crime incidents reported for 2009 (6,604) was down from 2008. The number of reported victims (8,336) has also gone down. (“Victims,” in this case, can be individuals, businesses, institutions, and society as a whole.)

Sexual Orientation based crimes were significantly fewer than in prior years. Comparison to 2008 may not reflect a trend, as Proposition 8′s fear-based anti-gay campaign is believed to have generated an increased hostility towards gay people, but with 1,436 incidents, this is lower than both 2008 and 2007.

Hate crimes based on race, religion, and ethnicity were also lower than in the past two years. This is wonderful news.

However, there is also some disturbing news to be found among the data.

When considering just violent crimes (Murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and simple assault), sexual orientation based crimes are up, both in incidents and in percentage of hate crimes. As in prior years, reported anti-gay hate crimes tended to include physical violence significantly more often than those of other reported demographics. This may reflect either a greater degree of animus, or it may demonstrate that reporting agencies are less likely to take non-violent hate crimes based on sexual orientation as serious or worth reporting.

Violent hate crimes based on sexual orientation went from 695 in 2008 to 725 in 2009. This reflects a slight increase in the percentage of violent hate crimes that are sexual orientation related as well as a slight increase in the percentage of sexual orientation hate crimes that were violent.

Additionally, the percentage of populations that are impacted should be considered when looking at hate crime statistics. Hate crimes, especially violent hate crimes, target individual members of the gay community to a greater extent than some other minority communities. (Jews are also disproportionately impacted, with damage and vandalism being the dominant hate crime).

For example, African Americans make up about 12.4% of the population and there were 819 reported cases of anti-black assaults. The GLB community, on the other hand, comprise maybe around 5.5% of the total population and suffered 712 reported cases of assault.

So while it is good news that the total hate crime incidences reported in 2009 – including those based on anti-gay animus – were down, it remains troubling that so many anti-gay hate crimes continue to be violent.

Middle School Student Takes a Stand Against Bullying

Jason Cianciotto

October 16th, 2010

An NBC affiliate in California covered this story about 7th grader Marco Melgoza, a victim of anti-gay bullying at his middle school in Madera, CA. Despite efforts made by school administrators to curb the bullying, Marco reports that it is still happening. It’s amazing to see youth standing up for themselves with the support of their parents.

Eleventh Man Arrested In “Wolf Pack” Attacks

Jim Burroway

October 15th, 2010

The circle of suspects continue to widen in the vicious gang attacks against two 17-year-old gay youths and a 30-year-old gay man in the Bronx to weeks ago.  Luis Garcia, 26, who police say wrapped a chain around his fist and beat the 30-year-old man, is the eleventh arrested suspect in what’s being called the worst gay hate crime in New York City in memory. Garcia will be arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court today.

Tenth “Wolf Pack” Suspect Arrested As Victim Describes Ordeal

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2010

One of the seventeen-year-old victims of the vicious “Wolf Pack” attacks has spoken about his ordeal to New York reporters on Monday. He told reporters at ABC7:

They put me in the middle of the chair. They asked me “are you gay?” I was like “nah”, They was like “you did this?” I said “yea.” “You did this with the gay guy?” I was like “yea.” That’s when they started hitting me. Like beating me up. I was there for like an hour.

…They said, “You a faggot or something?” What’s wrong with you? You crazy?

Surprisingly, the gang members told the victim, who had been a recruit into the gang, not to take the assault personally. They told him that he could still remain a member of the gang.

Meanwhile, a tenth suspect, José Dominguez, 22, was arrested yesterday. He will face charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and aggravated assault, all as hate crimes.

Carlsbad Elementary Gunman: “Kill Obama and kill all the little fags!”

Jim Burroway

October 11th, 2010

Brendan Liam O'RourkeA lone gunman burst onto the playground at Kelly Elementary school in Carlsbad, California last Friday. Two girls were shot, but fortunately neither were seriously injured. Brendan Liam O’Rourke, 41, was restrained by witnesses as he fumbled to reload his pistol. He was arrested and charged with six counts of attempted murder.

The San Diego CBS affiliate covered the schools’ back-to-school rally today to begin the healing process for the shaken students, including the two girls who were wounded. CBS8 also interviewed Stephanie Durkee, a campus monitor who was instrumental in restraining O’Rourke. She told CBS8 what O’Rourke said as he entered the playground:

When he first came over the fence and was shooting the kids, he was screaming, “Kill Obama and kill all the little fags! Death to them!” That’s what he was saying as he was in amongst the kids shooting.

O’Rourke’s neighbor said that he used to repeat a slogan, “‘Christians Unite to Destroy.” The phrases “Christians” and “To Destroy” were found in his apartment bedroom. Of course, we’ve known that some pretty horrific rhetoric has been floating out there, and it has been becoming much louder very recently. But watch them feign surprise and shock — shock, I tell you! –  when someone takes their hysterical rantings to their “logical” conclusions.

Ninth Bronx Assault Suspect Arrested

Jim Burroway

October 11th, 2010

The New York Daily News reports that the ninth suspect in the vicious “wolf pack” assault against three gay men in the Bronx has been arrested. Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, was captured by New York Police today and taken to the Bronx. Details of his arrest have not been released. He had been expected to turn himself in over the weekend, but reneged on the promise.

Bronx “Wolf Pack” Attackers Arraigned

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

Eight of nine suspects in last week’s brutal attack on three gay men in the Bronx were arraigned on Sunday morning in Bronx Criminal Court on several criminal charges, including gang assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment, all as hate crimes. As part of the hearing, more gruesome details of the attacks came to light:

After he had been punched, kicked and stripped of his clothes and jewelry, the 17-year-old man was given a choice: the bat or the pipe.

… Before the night was out, the victims would be tortured with burning cigarettes, box cutter blades, plunger handles and more, prosecutors charged. But first, the 17-year-old had to make his selection.

“I guess the bat,” he said.

The court-appointed lawyer for one of the defendants, seventeen-year-old Denis Peitars, said that his client agreed to testify before the grand jury. A ninth suspect, Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, is still at large.

Eighth Suspect Arrested in Bronx “Wolf Pack” Assaults

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

The New York Times reports that an eighth suspect in what police described as a brutal “wolf pack” style attack against three gay men in the Bronx last weekend has turned himself in to police. Elmer Confresi, 23, turned himself in on Saturday night, while a ninth suspect, Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, reneged on a promise he made through his lawyer to turn himself in. Vargas-Perez remains at large.

The Times included that information in a larger article about the shock and sadness that is reverberating through the Bronx neighborhood where the attacks took place.

The most severely brutalized victim was a gay 30-year-old Hispanic immigrant known in his Bronx neighborhood as “la Reina,” Spanish for “the Queen.” He was playful, flirty and always ready for a party, neighbors said.

…Every day, he stopped by El Tio grocery, the bodega on the ground floor of his building, for juices, sandwiches and small talk, according to the manager, Xavier Peña. “He was a good friend,” Mr. Peña said. “He’s a very, very nice guy. He called me Papi, Papi.”

Many in the neighborhood used female pronouns to refer to the man, though they said he dressed in men’s clothes. “She’s gay, she’s like a woman, we think of her like a woman,” explained one neighbor, speaking on the condition that he not be named for fear of reprisals.

“She’s a very good person,” he added. “If you were ever hungry or thirsty, you could go to Reina, and she would help you.”

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News says that several of the arrested gang members are pinning the blame for the attacks on the gang’s leader, Ildefonso (Cheto) Mendez, who they say threatened them if they refused to participate.

Bronx Gang Tortures Two Teens, Man For Being Gay

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2010
Suspected Bronx Gang members being led to a police station after a series of anti-gay attacks in the Bronx.

Six of seven suspected Bronx gang members being led to a police station after a series of anti-gay attacks in the Bronx.

Nine men ranging from ages 16 to 23 years old abducted two teenage boys, and took them to an abandoned apartment in the Bronx, where they beat them and sodomized one until the boys admitted having sex with a 30-year-old man.They then lured the 30-year-old man to the same apartment, by telling him there was a house party going on and instructed him to bring plenty of liquor. Once the man arrived:

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

The beatings and robberies went on for hours. They were followed by a remarkably thorough attempt to sanitize the house — including pouring bleach down drains, the police said, as little by little word of the attacks trickled to the police. A crucial clue to the attackers was provided by someone who slipped a note to a police officer outside the crime scene, at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights, near Bronx Community College.

The apartment building where the attacks took place

The apartment building where the attacks took place.

Police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, ““These suspects deployed terrible, wolf-pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable.” Police say that that attacks were motivated by hatred towards the homosexuality of the victims, and was not a part of an initiation.

Seven suspects have been arrested on Thursday an Friday, and two are still being sought by police. According to the New York Times, the group were not part of a formal gang, but adopted the nickname of Latin King Goonies. They hatched the plan last Saturday after one member of the group saw the 30-year-old man, who was known as being gay, with a 17-year-old who wanted to join the group. (The age of consent in New York is seventeen).

That first 17-year-old was abducted at about 3:30 am on Sunday morning, taken to an abandoned apartment, made to strip naked, beaten, slashed with a box cutter, and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger, and hit in the head with a can of bear. After the teen admitted having sex with the 30-year-old, the gang let him loose and warned him not to say anything. The teen walked to a hospital for treatment, where he said he had been jumped by strangers and robbed.

Later on Sunday evening, the gang abducted a second 17-year-old and beat him until he admitted to having sex with the 30-year-old. They held him while they lured the older man to what they said was a party. He brought with him ten large cans of Four Loko malt liquor. As soon as he arrived he was seized, stripped to his underwear, and tied to a chair opposite the teen. The gang then ordered the second teen to beat him and burn him with a cigarette. The gang joined in the beating using fists and chains. The beating reportedly lasted for hours as the attackers forced the man to drink all ten cans of malt liquor.The man was also sodomized with a baseball bat.

During that ordeal, five of the gang members went to the man’s house which he shared with his 40-year-old brother. They got inside using a key they got from the 30-year-old, where they found his brother in bed. They put a blanket over his head, beat him, and demanded money. The man complied when they put a cell phone to the his ear and he heard his younger brother on the line who pleaded, “Give them the money.” The brother was then tied with rope and tape.

About three hours later, he was able to free himself and call police, but he left out the fact that his brother was being held. As detectives were later leaving the older brother’s home on Monday morning, they saw the 30-year-old brother on the landing where he  had been dumped. He was passed out from the alcohol, and police say he was unable to tell them what had happened to him. It wasn’t until later on Monday that he began to remember what had happened.

It wasn’t until Tuesday when the second teen went to a Bronx police station to describe a version of what happened. Like the others, he wasn’t fully forthcoming with the details our of fear of reprisal and wanting to keep his sexuality a secret. But the second seen gave the address of the abandoned apartment. Police found an immaculate apartment that had been freshly painted and washed with bleach. One detective called it “the cleanest crime scene I’ve ever seen.” Despite the elaborate attempt to conceal the crime, police were still able to find cans of alcohol and hair at the scene.

The plot fell apart on Wednesday night when someone in the crowd of onlookers provided the name of the man believed to be the group’s ringleader. Later, all three victims gave full statements of the attack. Arrested were Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; Nelson Falu, 18; Steven Carballo, 17; Denis Peitars, 17; Bryan Almonte, 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16. Two others, Elmer Confessor, 23, and Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22, are still being sought. They all face charges of unlawful imprisonment, abduction, assault, robbery, sodomy and menacing, all as hate crimes.

ABC News: New Jersey Prosecuters Considering Hate Crime Charges

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2010

ABC’s Good Morning America is reporting that New Jersey prosecutors investigating Tyler Clementi’s suicide are considering adding hate crime charges against Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, who have been charged with violating Tyler’s privacy after livestreaming video of Tyler’s sexual encounter with another male without his knowledge.

According to ABC News, New Jersey’s state law against “bias intimidation” makes it a criminal offense to invade someone’s privacy because of sexual orientation. The word “because” may be the sticking point. The publicly released information available so far can easily point to this crime being motivated by other factors. Motivations of personal animus toward Tyler fit the evidence just as easily. So does the motivation to simply pull an idiotic and appalling “prank.”

Either way, invasions of privacy are felony offenses. While references to Tyler’s sexuality appear on tweets that Ravi posted to his Twitter account, none of them use anti-gay epithets or indicate overt hostility toward Tyler’s sexuality — at least what we know so far of Ravi’s postings so far. Demonstrating that Tyler was singled out specifically because of his sexuality in a court of law may prove difficult, unless prosecutors have found further evidence that they haven’t made public yet.

Homophobic slur originated in Chambliss’ office; individual as yet unidentified

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

Senator Saxby Chambliss has acknowledged that the slur/threat posted on JoeMyGod did originate from his office. The individual responsible has not yet been identified. (AJC)

“The [sergeant at arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read.

“There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate sergeant at arms.”

It is encouraging that Chambliss appears to be taking the situation seriously and has decided to involve the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

Free Speech for All, Or Just for NOM?

Rob Tisinai

September 16th, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage recently spread a warning that gays want to “discourage or criminalize the expression of certain Catholic beliefs as ‘hate speech.’”

It’s a favorite tactic of the far right in their war against hate crime laws and marriage equality — this fear that it could be soon be illegal to profess simple religious beliefs (about sinful and hellbound gays). They support this by citing cases from outside the US, conveniently ignoring America’s First Amendment.

Now, though, we have a chance to test NOM’s commitment to freedom of expression. The UK has banned an ad because it mocks Roman Catholic beliefs (the faith in which I was raised and the faith of many NOMmers, including Maggie herself). Will NOM speak out against this tyranny?

An ice cream company banned from using an advert displaying a pregnant nun has vowed to position similar posters in London in time for the Pope’s visit.

Antonio Federici’s advert showed a pregnant nun eating ice cream in a church, together with the strap line “immaculately conceived”.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered it to be discontinued, saying it mocked Roman Catholic beliefs.

As it happens, I oppose hate speech laws and have decried their use in other countries. My question is: Will NOM show the same consistency? Will they stand up for the right of people to say offensive things about gays and about Catholics (and about gay Catholics, for that matter)? Are they fighting for everyone’s freedom of speech and religion — or only freedom for anti-gays?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The banned ad

Two more (sultry) ads from the campaign below. Read the rest of this entry »

Tenn. Lesbian Couple’s Home Torched

Jim Burroway

September 12th, 2010

The home of Carol and Laura Stutte in Vonore, Tennessee was destroyed by a fire on Saturday, Sept 4, that investigators are now calling an act of arson. The couple had been harassed and threatened by one of their neighbors for the entire five years that they had lived in the home. An anti-gay slur was spray painted on their garage.

The fire occurred while the couple was away in Nashville with a neighbor, celebrating their fifth anniversary of moving into the home from Oklahoma. Carol’s adult daughter from a previous marriage were also with them in Nashville. Carol says that her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. The home and everything in it was a total loss.

Carol says that, despite the arson, she has been very appreciative of the support from people in the area who have offered to help. The Maryville chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is taking donations of clothing and money for the Stutte family. They can be reached at 865-368-6665.

The Great American Breakdown

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2010

Exhibit A:

A Nebraska man is jail after police believe he tried to spray mace on protestors outside the Omaha funeral of a Leesburg High graduate. George Vogel was arrested Saturday morning a few blocks away from the First United Methodist Church, the location of Staff Sergeant Michael Bock’s funeral.

Officers on duty for the funeral say Vogel drove up in his Ford F-150 pick-up truck and as he was passing by Westboro Baptist Church protestors he extended his arm out the truck’s window and sprayed a large amount of mace into the air from an industrial-sized container.

More than a dozen people were hit by the mace, including one police officer.

Exhibit B:

After a suspected arson and reports of gunshots at an Islamic center in Tennessee over the weekend, nearby mosques have hired security guards, installed surveillance cameras and requested the presence of federal agents at prayer services.

Muslim leaders in central Tennessee say that frightened worshipers are observing Ramadan in private and that some Muslim parents are wary of sending their children to school after a large fire on Saturday that destroyed property at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Federal authorities suspect that the fire was arson.

…The Murfreesboro center, which has existed for nearly 30 years, suddenly found itself on front pages of newspapers this month and on “The Daily Show.” It became a hot topic in the local Congressional race, with one Republican candidate accusing the center of fostering terrorism and trying to link it to the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

Exhibit C:

Salt Lake City Police are investigating an instance of vandalism at the Utah Pride Center. Friday morning, employees of the center and its onsite coffee shop, Cafe Marmalade, discovered an anti-gay slur painted on the marquee in front of the building.

“We realize that often times the purpose of these actions are to cause widespread fear among the members of our community,” Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said in a statement. “That is why today we are speaking out. This will not be swept under the rug. We will not be scared into silence by acts of intolerance.”

Exhibit D:

When Rodolfo Olmedo was dragged down by a group of men shouting anti-Mexican epithets and bashed over the head with a wooden stick on the street outside his home, he instinctively covered his face to keep from getting disfigured. Blood filled his mouth.

“I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t because of the beating they were giving me,” said the 25-year-old baker. Nearly five months later, he is still taking pain medications for his head injuries.

Recorded by a store’s surveillance camera, the assault was the first of 11 suspected anti-Hispanic bias attacks in a Staten Island neighborhood, re-igniting years-old tensions between blacks and Hispanics in New York City’s most remote borough.

Residents of Port Richmond — where an influx of newcomers from Latin America over the past decade has transformed the community — alternately blame the attacks on the economy, unemployment and the debate over Arizona’s immigration law.

The 3 Facts You Should Know about Hate Crime Laws

Rob Tisinai

August 20th, 2010

Maggie Gallagher recently vented — dishonestly — in a column decrying Judge Walker’s “judicial tyranny,” quoting Rush Limbaugh:

Rush Limbaugh had his finger on the truth. In the nearly half-hour speech he gave after the Proposition 8 ruling (“the American people are boiling over!”), Rush said that Walker “did not just slap down the will of 7 million voters. Those 7 million voters were put on trial — a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. … Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That’s what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented.”

Rush is completely wrong, but that doesn’t matter to the anti-gay echo chamber. He might just have veered into over-the-top hyperbole, but now Maggie is repeating the lie in print. It suits her purpose: the big new goal of the National Organization for Marriage is to paint anti-gays as victims of intolerant homosexuals who persecute good, sweet, gentle Christians. If that means telling lies about hate crimes, then so be it. Fortunately, you can refute this sort of paranoia with 3 simple facts.

The 3 Facts


1. Hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal.

Hate crime laws merely provide enhanced penalties for actions traditionally recognized as crimes, but motivated by bias. That’s all. Don’t believe me? Ask the FBI:

[H]ate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias (for example, an offender assaults a victim because of a bias against the victim’s race).

In other words, if it wasn’t a crime before the hate crime law was passed, then it’s still not a crime afterward.

Do you know what people are doing when they claim American hate crime laws will criminalize the Bible or send pastors to jail for preaching homosexuality is a sin? They’re lying. Or, at the very least, speaking from ignorance. They may give you examples from Canada or Sweden or other countries that don’t have a First Amendment, but they don’t apply to the US.

2. Homosexuals don’t get special protection from hate crime legislation.

The Matthew Shepard Act added sexual orientation to the federal hate crimes statute. It doesn’t specify homo or hetero. If a gay man assaults a straight man out of hatred for straights, he can be charged with a hate crime.

Now at some point an anti-gay will protest, “But that STILL gives gays special treatment, because no one assaults straights for being straight!” I hope I’m there, because it’ll be fun to watch him realize what he just said and try to suck those words back into his lungs.

3. Christians are protected by hate crime legislation.

Actually, that’s true for people of all religions. Been true for decades. The religion protection is exactly the same as the sexual orientation protection (at the federal level at least; many states have protection for religion but not sexual orientation). So when pastors say they worry about being prosecuted under hate crime laws for saying homosexuality is a sin? If that were true, I could be prosecuted for saying that the bigotry of Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggart is a sin. But neither of those things will happen because hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal.

Using these facts


It’s amazing how much crap you can refute with just these 3 facts.

Example 1

After the Carrie Prejean/Perez Hilton rumble, a US senator or representative said something like this (if anyone can find a reference I’d much appreciate it): If Perez Hilton had marched on stage and ripped Carrie’s crown off her head, she could have been charged with a hate crime for stating her religious view, but Hilton would have been charged with nothing.

Wrong!

Hate crimes don’t make anything illegal. It’s never been illegal to state your religious views, and the Matthew Shepard Act doesn’t change that. Carrie could not have been charged.

Christians are protected by hate crime legislation. If Hilton assaulted Prejean for her religious views, he could be charged with a hate crime. Ripping a tiara off someone’s head counts as assault, so it’s already illegal regardless of hate crime legislation, and the anti-Christian bias would qualify it as a hate crime.

Example 2

Senator Jim DeMint spread this blatant untruth about the Matthew Shepard Act:

So if someone in effect were to hurt a homosexual, or maybe not hire one, that would become a hate crime, which is punished more than if you just hurt someone else.

Wrong!

Homosexuals don’t get special protection from hate crime legislation. A bias-motivated crime would be treated no differently if the victim were attacked for being gay than if he or she was attacked for being straight.

Christians are protected by hate crime legislation. Hate crime legislation has been around for decades and has never been used to prosecute discriminatory hiring, whether it based on the applicants’ religion, race, or national origin. The Matthew Shepard Act does nothing to change that. And even if it did, you could apply the law in exactly the same way against employers who refuse to hire Christians. In fact, though, this is just a made-up scare tactic, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

Example 3

Representative Jim Pence said this:

Individual pastors who wish to preach out of Romans Chapter 1 about what the Bible teaches about homosexual behavior, they could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical world view on the issue of homosexual behavior.

Wrong!

Hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal. It’s never been illegal to state your religious views, and the Matthew Shepard Act doesn’t change that.

That’ll do it. There are a few other things you might want to remember, like our Constitution’s First Amendment, which sets us apart from other countries and limits our government’s ability to restrict free speech. Also, the fact that the Matthew Shepard Act does have explicit (redundant and unnecessary) free speech protections built into it. Mostly, though, the 3 facts above will help you shoot down our opponents’ lies.

Happy hunting.

A group of kids attack gay Atlanta pastor

Timothy Kincaid

July 6th, 2010

Joshua Noblitt and his partner were sitting on a blanket, playing cards, and finishing up a picnic in Piedmont Park when they were accosted by a group of young men. (cbsatlanta.com, video)

“They walked up to us and asked ‘are y’all gay? We ought to beat y’all for that’” said Noblitt.

Noblitt said that the youths walked off, but returned with a stick and demanded money.

The pastor said that he grabbed the stick from one of the attackers and a fight ensued. The young men then used a cell phone to make a call, and up to 10 others arrived and attacked Noblitt and his partner.

“They came out of nowhere,” said Noblitt.

One of the suspects pulled a handgun and held it to Noblitt’s head, then stole his wallet and cell phone, police said.

The police responded quickly and arrested six suspects. Five of them were minors.

A gay man was stabbed to death in the park last May.

Attacked for beliefs about gay equality

Timothy Kincaid

July 3rd, 2010

Anti-gay activists who wish to operate in the shadows and keep their identity secret sued to have the names listed on Washington’s Referndum 71. They claim that gay people are violent and it is dangerous and life-threatening to be publicly opposed to the rights of gay couples.

From last sunday’s article in the anti-gay (and often loony) World Net Daily:

“We’ve got affidavits from more than 60 people who were targeted, harassed. There are newspaper reports of more cases. This seems to be a concerted campaign … to attack and stifle the opposition through harassment”

The courts refused to toss out the state’s policy, but did tell the opponents of equality that if they liked they could go to court with evidence of significant threat if they like.

So they will go to the lower court to try and argue that the gays are frightening and that decent God-fearing people tremble in their sensible shoes when the see one. Gays will hurt you, and they have examples!!

When the fight over marriage was raging in California, WND reported an angry mob of homosexual activists attacked an elderly bespectacled woman carrying a cross, then shouted her down during a live TV interview.

“We should fight! We should fight!” screamed one protester as the woman, identified as Phyllis Burgess, stood calmly with a reporter waiting to be interviewed.

When she came out to the gay crowd protesting Prop 8 and tried to counter-protest, they shouted her down!! And she was bespectacled!!

And there were people on-line who made outrageous statements! like, “Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE. I mean seriously. DO IT”.

Can you believe it? Someone saying something outrageous in an online comment thead?

Meanwhile, there’s a news report out of Anchorage today (AP):

Anchorage authorities say they’re investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a gay pride float intended for a 4th of July parade.

KTUU-TV reports that witnesses told investigators that moments before the fire began Friday morning they saw someone running from the driveway where the float was being constructed.

The Imperial Court of All Alaska is going to try and put something together and particate in tomorrow’s parade. I think they should just roll the charred mess down the street with a banner about the real threat that gay people face daily. And it isn’t a threat to our styrofoam cross.

Ken Hutcherson has blood on his hands

Timothy Kincaid

June 7th, 2010

bullhorn.jpg

Conservative Christians are often infuriated by discussions which link their anti-gay activism to violence against actual gay people. They will angrily say that they oppose violence and they love the sinner. That Christians are not the ones going around attacking gay people.

But the truth is plain. Cultivate a culture of condemnation and you will soon see hostility. Oppose tolerance and you’ll get intolerance. Dehumanize gay people and soon you’ll find that there are those willing to treat gay people as something other than human.

And a clear example is evident in Washington.

For years, Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, WA, has been fighting to make Mt. Si High School a miserable place for gay students. He’s tried to get teachers fired for challenging him on gay issues and threatened to put another on his list. He’s sent his daughter to monitor Gay-Straight-Alliance meetings. He’s preached that God hates effeminate men and “joked” about beating them. He’s spread the message that the Bible opposes tolerance.

Unable to stop the event, in 2008, Hutcherson took his bullhorn and staged a protest on the Day of Silence across the street from Mt. Si. About 600 of the 1,400 students stayed home that day.

Then this happened:

Johnson said her son appointed himself the protector of a new friend who was being intimidated and followed by a group of boys in the hallways at school. She said the taunts included anti-gay slurs. One night, Johnson said, she found her son texting the other boy, “Just stay by me.”

On Friday, Nov. 6, shortly after noon, the two 14-year-olds came into the locker room to change after PE class. Johnson said the freshman who allegedly led the harassment started taunting the one boy about his presumed sexual orientation.

When Johnson’s son swore and told him to leave his friend alone, a 16-year-old junior stepped into the dispute. He struck Johnson’s son twice in the face, lifted him off a bench, kneed him in the face and, when he fell to the ground, kicked him, according to witness statements to the police. A school-surveillance camera caught the 16-year-old leaving the locker room, shaking his hand as if in pain, said Johnson, who has watched the tape.

Johnson was summoned to the school by a frantic call from her son. When she arrived about 1 p.m., she said her son was bleeding from the eye and nose and was nearly “unrecognizable” on the left side of his face. She assumed that an aid car had been called, but one wasn’t summoned until 1:16 p.m., according to police records.

She also learned that a vice principal had asked the boy to go back to the locker room and search for his missing tooth.

The assault broke his eye socket, two teeth and left him with a concussion. The picked on kid’s conclusion? “I think a lot of people don’t like gays.”

Things like this happen most often when society gives its permission. When preachers and parents and teachers and administrators make it clear that small awkward less-masculine boys are sinful threatening menaces to the community with an evil homosexual agenda. And one man is more responsible for that message at Mt. Si High School than any other.

Am I taking it too far to say that Ken Hutcherson owns some responsibility for this kid’s assault, that he has blood on his hands? No.

The seeds of hatred that blossomed into this violent attack were sown by Rev. Ken Hutcherson. Sown, watered, tended and nourished.

OK Lawmakers Target Gays, Misfire

Jim Burroway

March 26th, 2010

Oklahoma lawmakers are incensed that the Federal Hate Crimes Law signed by President Obama last October extends protections based on sexual orientation. So they decided to do something about it. The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill prohibiting local and state law enforcement agencies from sharing information about hate crimes with federal authorities.

But now lawmakers have found a “legislative error,” resulting in the bill limiting enforcement of the Federal Hate Crimes Law in cases involving race and religion, not sexual orientation.

The bill began life as an education bill before State Sen. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City) offered an amendment on the Senate floor to gut the original bill and replace it with his legislation. It passed the Senate by a vote of 39-6 and is now under consideration in the House. The lone House sponsor withdrew her name upon learning of the wholesale change undertaken by the Senate. But I’m sure someone in Oklahoma will step up and restore the race and religion protections. After all, we can’t expect Christians to give up their special protections, can’t we?

Police deliberately destroy lesbian’s military career out of spite

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

Sometimes I get so angry that it is hard to type. Now is one of those times.

Sgt. Jene Newsome is a lesbian who played the Military’s don’t ask, don’t tell game. She kept her private life private and did not tell her employer that she’s gay. She did, however, enter a relationship with another woman and married her. And the woman she married had a problem with the law.

And when the police came knocking for her wife, Newsome wasn’t home. (AP)

Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.

Well, now, wait a minute. They are the police. And in Rapid City that means that all you non-officer scum jump when they yell “frog”. Ya know, to protect a serve and all that.

And since Newsome didn’t jump high enough, they decided that they would choose to destroy her life.
allender

Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP.

Newsome was discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t annoy the local police in any way.

Oh, but they have their reasons. Yesirreee.

As you read the following, remember that Newsome’s only crime was “not being cooperative”. That is her only connection to “the case”. She was not involved in the theft, and the Air Force was only tangential.

The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.

“It’s an emotional issue and it’s unfortunate that Newsome lost her job, but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license, or not document the license, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it,” Allender said Saturday. “It was a part of the case, part of the report and the Air Force was privileged to the information.”

Now ask yourself if that makes any sense whatsoever. Would a straight couple’s marriage license require “alerting the base” about the sexual orientation of a heterosexual? Or is police Chief Steve Allender just trying to justify an act that is based in the most vile of bigotries, callousness, and abuse of power?

You bet it’s an emotional issue, Mr. Allender. Because you decided to destroy someone’s life. And that makes me emotional.

But I guess you showed us, didn’t you, Mr. Allender. We all better jump next time you say “frog”.

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