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05/03/2007

Video: Scene from a hate crimes debate

by Jeremy Hooper

So here is a very short clip from today's House debate on H.R. 1592, featuring TVC's favorite Rep to misrep, Louie Gohmert (R-TX):

Okay, so first off: It's not that those of us on this side of the gay issue just "don't like people that disagree with [us]." It's just that for us, these are not political issues on which we can "agree to disagree," and then go have a beer and laugh about our discourse. Many of those who are staunchly opposed to gay rights want us stigmatized, marginalized, unprotected, legally single, and converted into "ex-gays." While that may sound like a loving Christian heart to those who hold such views, to those of us who have lives and loves and actualities that are gay-oriented, it is offensive to the very core of our beings!

It is also offensive that the religious right feels that they can justify just about any one of their unrighteous stances by testifying that their Christianity makes them a loving individual. Simply saying you are a Christian does not make you a lover! Actions speak much louder than words, and frankly, many of the actions of the "pro-family" movement have come across as deeply mean-spirited.

As for the rest of Gohmert's claim: We are so sick of this line that he keeps trying to work about ministers being held accountable for anti-gay teachings. What we find most disturbing about it is the oversimplified scenario that he continues to present. He's making it sound as if preachers who merely preach Leviticus are the same thing as preachers who genuinely TELL someone to commit an act of violence. The thing is: If a person charged with violence testifies that their minister said to them, "Hey, you need to kill gays," then that minister, like ANY LAY PERSON, must be questioned! However, this is a far different scenario from a religious leader who just preaches that gay marriage is out of line with God's plan.

Mr. Gohmert's testimony makes it sound as if preachers are never, ever, ever responsible for acts of violence because of their occupation. In truth, any citizen -- preachers included -- are capable of inciting violence, and ANY PERSON who is identified by a perp as responsible for their actions, simply has to come into question. This is exactly what we found so telling about the way the Traditional Values Coalition twisted the words of Gohmert in their "Action Alert" to their fans and followers. According to the official transcript from the House Judiciary Committee markup (pdf), this is how an exchange went between Mr. Gohmert and Rep. Artur Davis:

GOHERT: ...If a minister preaches that sexual relations outside of marriage of a man and woman is wrong, and somebody within that congregation goes out and does an act of violence, and that person says that that minister counseled or induced him through the sermon to commit that act, are you saying under your amendment that in no way could that ever be introduced against the minister?

DAVIS: No.

But in TVC's version, this is how it played out:

Finally, Congressman Gohmert asked, “If a minister was giving a sermon, a Bible study or any kind of written or spoken message saying that homosexuality was a serious sin and a person in the congregation went out and committed a crime against a homosexual would the minister be charged with the crime of incitement?”
...
And finally Democrat Congressman Artur Davis from Alabama spoke up and said, “Yes.”

Ya see the difference? In the official version of events, Mr. Gohmert presented a scenario in which a perp "says that that minister counseled or induced him through the sermon to commit that act." But in TVC's version, the minster is merely giving a benign sermon about homosexuality. Also, in the official version, Mr. Davis could not guarantee that a minister could never be called into question, so he answered "No." However, in TVC's version, they presented it as if Mr. Davis gave an affirmative "Yes" to the idea that ministers would def. be charged with incitement. It is clear that TVC wants to muddy the waters between a human being who incites violence (and who happens to be a preacher) and a preacher who does not wish harm on ANYONE, yet doesn't agree with homosexuality.

Alright so this is way too long now. We'll cut it off here and bring you more on today's debate as it plays out. Stay tuned (and keep your fingers crossed).

Gohmert on the Christian heart (HR 1592) [YouTube]

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