LaBarbera’s Incoherence on Hate Crimes

Jim Burroway

July 30th, 2008

Peter LaBarbera thinks that the media attention surrounding the Knoxville shooting “proves” that hate crime laws aren’t necessary. According to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow:

The pro-family advocate adds that the homosexual movement gets favorable treatment within the media, and LaBarbera says with that type of coverage there is no need for special legislation to “give more attention and better treatment to this case.” He adds that with the media spotlight on the incident, “it proves our case” that hate crimes laws are not necessary.

The tortured logic behind this statement is astounding. LaBarbera constantly complains that gays are getting “favorable treatment” in the media. Now he says that gays don’t need hate crime protections because of that treatment. But if the media acted the way LaBarbera wants them to act — by only portraying gays and lesbians in a negative light — would he then agree that maybe hate crime protections are warranted? Don’t count on it.

Besides, here’s a news flash for LaBarbera. The FBI is already investigating this as a hate crime.

Why? According to Stacie Bohanan, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Knoxville division, “Anytime someone uses force to obstruct another person in the free exercise of their religious beliefs, that becomes a violation of the federal civil rights statutes.”

And according to police reports, it certainly appears that Jim David Adkisson targeted the church because of its “liberal” beliefs, which just happen to include a safe and welcoming haven for gays and transgender people.

So ironically, if authorities decide that Adkisson is guilty of a hate crime, it will be because he committed a crime based on the victim’s religious beliefs, which is protected. It’s the same protection that everyone enjoys, not just religious minorities. In 2006, the FBI recorded 62 anti-Protestant hate crime incidents. Last I checked, Protestants were hardly a persecuted minority. But when the law covers religion, it covers all religions — even atheists.

But if this same shooting had happened instead at an LGBT community center, the FBI would nowhere in sight. The same crime targeted against a different community would be treated very differently under the law.

Now if people like LaBarbera were arguing that there should be no hate crime laws period, then that would be different. But I don’t see him arguing that. He’s only arguing that existing laws should not be extended to cover violent and property crimes motivated by sexual orientation. He claims that doing so would be some sort of “special” treatment under the law.

Well, as the law stands today, it is special treatment. LaBarbera’s religious beliefs are protected under current hate crime laws.

And even if the law were changed to extend protections based on sexual orientation, LaBarbera would still be protected — perhaps even moreso. Because if he is ever straight-bashed in a violent crime or a property crime — as 28 other heterosexuals were in 2006, then the law would be there to protect him too.

But as long as The Peter continues to agitate against hate crime protections based on sexual orientation — and let’s add gender identity and expression while we’re at it — while complaining about “anti-Christian” persecution, then the only thing he’s interested in is keeping “special protections” all for himself. And with that argument, he’s either showing his ignorance or his hatred. Pick one.

JJ in Chicago

July 30th, 2008

Good points made…

I got a theory why Pete goes bonkers over hate crime laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity.

He wants to denigrate all of us with impunity, both on his website and at his periodic press conferences (where about 6 people show up).

In other words, if an act of violence based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity were to occur and it could be traced back to AFTAH, he could liable (or so I believe he may think).

Whether he would truly be criminally liable, I don’t know. But civil penalties certainly could be levied.

Often times, during a hate crime attack, words are spoken that indicate the bias, and he’s very aware of that.

It’s people like Peter LaBarbera who fuel the bias against gay and trans people. He’s quick to distance himself from physical violence, but he continues the lies and distortions that fuel the raw hatred, as if that absolves him of any liability. This is a very passive/aggressive behavior.

He knows that hate crimes are linked between the violent acts and the words that may have driven the act to occur (and by extension, the person who spoke the words, such as Pete).

My $.02 …

Jane Know

July 30th, 2008

One other point is that The Peter seems only concerned with hate crimes from a “how the media portrays gay people” standpoint. The true purpose of a hate crime is to deter people from committing it in the first place. If hate crimes laws are not needed, then why are gay people and supporters of gay people still being attacked and killed on the basis? Peter’s focus on media attention is a mere distraction.


July 30th, 2008

Tortured logic is right! Good grief!

But it just reveals how unstable and unintelligible those that utter this nonsense are.

I don’t know if a class in logic could even work this puzzle out!


July 31st, 2008

These laws protecting race and religion, to which LGBT’s only want to be added, have been on the books since 1969. I would like Peter to show me how they have been used to prosecute “thought crimes” in the last 40 years, while he’s getting to work on that campaign to have his own special protections revoked.
Part of Peter’s argument is that people should only be charged with crimes they actually committed, not those they intend to commit. So should we also do away with Attempted Murder, Intent to Sell, and restraining orders?

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