They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Hate

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hate Free Zone

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 to the International Bible Reading Association.


D said...

Yesterday, Bush's justification for the upcoming veto complained that the bill does not cover crimes against the elderly, members of the military, police officers, and victims of prior crimes.

Yesterday, Lamar Smith (R-TX), moved to include this language in the bill -- to protect the elderly and the military -- and his request to recommit to committee was countered with an offer to immediately amend the language of the bill by unanimous consent.

He refused. He wanted to send the bill back to the committee, not actually protect the seniors and soldiers. His constituents should be made aware of such political stupidity. I've recorded the transcripts from the Congressional record, if anyone is interested in viewing it, HERE.

Curmudgette said...

Thanks d. The whole thing is so transparent, and the info you provide totally gives the lie.

J Crowley said...

Wow. If this doesn't permanently affix in place the fact that Christians are basically opposed to the message of Jesus, I don't know what does.

And I really don't get the whole 'police' and 'military' thing. It's not enough that police are basically uber-citizens who are granted power but never really the responsibility that should accompany it?

The only way that could even BEGIN to make sense would be if Bush was planning on mandatory firearm ownership for gays.

Curmudgette said...

J Crowley said...

Wow. If this doesn't permanently affix in place the fact that Christians are basically opposed to the message of Jesus, I don't know what does.

I agree with you, in as much as we are talking about members of the Christian right, who seem to have a very old testament world view. Leviticus marries well with an authoritarian world view. The gospels, not so much.

The police and military thing blows my mind. Elderly, I could almost see, as they are victims of an obscene amount of violent crime. I just don't think it's because people "hate" the elderly. It's because they are vulnerable, and in some cases, demanding. But, and I say this as a military spouse, the idea the idea that the military is discriminated against is ludicrous. Unless, of course, you are talking about the evident contempt the Bush Administration has for our troops. Can we legislate against that?!

J Crowley said...

Ah, of course - sorry, I forgot to include the word "conservative" before "Christian".

I suspect that most fundamentalist faith has only a rather incidental relationship to the Bible. I read about a recent study (grr, can't find the link again - sorry) that found that a good majority of people who consider themselves "Christian" show a total lack of familiarity with the actual text of the Bible. Even then, much of it is ambiguous and contradictory enough that it can be interpreted to "support" nearly any viewpoint.

Fundamentalist Christianity, I've found, isn't so much about following scripture or believing in God or Jesus, but about finding justification and commiseration for one's own existing prejudices. Anything you can do to convince yourself you're in the right.

Sad, really.

And yeah, I really wish we could protect our troops from their own government, specifically this administration and the "Project for a New American Century" agenda. *sigh* If only our government were truly representative.