Christian leaders are up in arms and our born again President is threatening a veto. It would be the third for a President in his second term. What congressional extremus has inspired such impassioned disapproval? Why hate crimes legislation of course.
Christian leaders have launched a campaign against a hate crimes bill passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, saying it violates 1st Amendment rights if a religious leader or pastor speaks out against homosexuality.
The bill, passed by a 237-180 margin, extends coverage of hate crimes to include anyone victimized because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The bill, if approved by the Senate, would tie the hands of church leaders who say the hate bill is really about "thought crimes", which violates church leaders' freedoms of speech and religion.
While the hate crime bill was intended to strike down violations against gay people in civil circumstances, police say it helps clarify who is covered, a coalition of Christian organizations has launched a campaign to fight the hate bill and thanks to Democrats actions, many Christians may now think twice about backing Democratic politicians.
Yes, terrified that they may no longer be able to preach hate from the pulpit, religious conservatives are forming a united front to keep America safe for baseball bat wielding gay-bashers.
Now it may seem a trifle disingenuous to make assertions like this:
But Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that the true intent of the bill was “to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality.” If you read the Bible in a certain way, he told his broadcast listeners, “you may be guilty of committing a ’thought crime.”’
When hate crime legislation does not curb speech, only acts:
“It does not impinge on public speech or writing in any way,” countered Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., pointing out that the bill explicitly reaffirms First Amendment and free speech rights.
Not to be outdone on sheer audacity, the White House has threatened to veto the bill because it does not include such frequently marginalized groups as the police, the elderly, and the military. Come on. We've all heard of the gangs who comb the streets at night looking for GIs to beat the crap out of.
The White House also argues that the bill is unnecessary because of state and local laws already on the books. But local enforcement has failed in the past.
Federal investigators could step in if local authorities are unwilling or unable to act. The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay rights group, said this federal intervention could have made a difference in the case of Brandon Teena, the young Nebraska transsexual depicted in the movie “Boys Don’t Cry” who was raped after two friends discovered that he was biologically female and then murdered when local police did not arrest those responsible.
One in six hate crimes victims are targeted because of their sexual orientation, yet Randy Thomas decries the passage of this legislation as "a sad day for those who esteem equality in America."
In a bizarrely related story, the Jeff Gannon lead "Bible Reading Marathon" drew a sparse crowd to the West Front of the Capitol; filling 37 of 600 seats.
Gannon, actually a pseudonym for James Guckert, had earned fame in 2005 representing a conservative Web site at White House briefings until it was revealed that he posted nude pictures of himself on the Web to offer his services as a $200-an-hour gay escort.
Let us pray for the power to understand how Gannon made his way from HotMilitaryStud.com to the International Bible Reading Association.