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08/06/2007

Hey opposition: Preachers are not above the law!!

by Jeremy Hooper

While the following statement will likely fall on the typically deaf ears of our opposition, we are going to try to say this one more time in hopes that maybe just maybe they will someday start to value logic that is actually logical, and not simply pulled from their asses. Our statement:

Pastors are not given an automatic pass simply because they have trained in the religious arts! If a religious leader actively tells a parishioner that they should literally beat the hell out of a gay person, then they can and should be called in for questioning regarding their connection to the beating. One is not above the law simply because they wear a black robe and are employed by God.

We say this for the umpeenth time because our organized opposition simply will not stop working the tired prediction that if federal hate crimes protections for the LGBT community do eventually pass, then pastors will be hauled into court for simply preaching Leviticus to someone who later commits a violent act against a gay person. In a new piece for Focus on the Family, analyst Ashley Horne says the following:

In this country, anyone who ‘induces’ a federal crime can also be charged under federal law,”...“So, if a parishioner who listened to his pastor’s sermon on the biblical view of homosexuality later committed a violent act against a homosexual, the parishioner could be charged with a federal ‘hate crime,’ and his pastor could be charged federally for ‘inducing a hate crime.’

But see, this is just the sort of short-sighted reasoning that our opposition loves and regularly employs, because it presents just a base-level, surface-scratching, overview that is not TECHNICALLY 100% a lie, but rather is merely flawed in its lack of transparency and full disclosure. Because ya see, our side cannot, will not, and should not deny that if, like mentioned above, a preacher is said to have actively induced a parishioner to commit a heinous act, then they might be questioned by authorities. They likely would be called in, just like a mother, father, teacher, doctor, atheist, or ANYONE ELSE who a perp cites as a motivator will also be hauled in for questioning. That is simply the way criminal justice works. However, unless that mother, father, teacher, doctor, atheist, or religious leader truly played some sort of an active role in inducing a crime, then they have nothing to worry about. Ms. Horne and her buddies are acting like under hate crimes protections, there is going to be some sort of system wherein justice is thrown out the window in favor of "The Gay Agenda™" and its irreligious leanings. That is simply not the case.

Nobody can stop a criminal from falsely accusing someone of inducing their behavior. The Son of Sam killer said his dog was the motivator behind his serial killing. However, when the dog was hauled in, "Bow wow, wow wow wow, arf arf, ruff wow wow" was not found to be the true root of the homicide, with batsh*t craziness instead the likely culprit. On that same token, if a man beats the shit out a lesbian and then says, "Oh, well, my preacher said it was okay. Uhm, yea, he told me to do it!" only a preacher who barked out an actual call of violence would need to worry. And while its optimistically idealistic to imagine a world wherein all preachers are righteous upstanding citizens who could not harm a fly, such is an unfortunately short-sighted point of view. Every profession has a few apples so bad, even Eve wouldn't want to be around them.

No matter where you stand on hate crimes protections, you have to look at this issue with reason. However, since such is not conducive to our organized opposition's campaign on this matter, they instead rely on superficial bits of duplicitous information to frighten their followers into viewing gay activists as dead set on destroying religious freedom in this nation, and this legislation as a a bomb that would help do just that. We've even seen these kids completely ignore specific parts of lawmaker testimony in which it was specifically mentioned that the minister "counseled or induced" the perp, so as to make it seem like the theoretical preacher simply carted off to jail for presenting his interpretation of Leviticus. And they use such methods because they understand that measures like this hate crimes legislation WILL change the world. However, the passage would not create the sort of environment wherein people of faith are unfairly shat upon, but rather it would (ideally) help facilitate the sort of state where gay lives are less targeted. You want to accuse us of inducing that sort of scenario? Well, guilty as charged!

'Hate-Crimes' Laws Ultimately Drag Christians into Court [YouTube]

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Your thoughts

as long as you get it - that nowhere in the new testament are christians called to beat the shit out of sinners. A preacher stating clearly from the pulpit that God seems to condem homosexuality as sinful conduct, seems to me to be a lot different than encouraging someone to beat up a gay person. As long as we're all clear on that, I think most of us would agree that anyone in a position of authority - a Mullah, a Rabbi, a pastor, a grand dragon, a congreeman, etc., who incites someone else to comit a crime can be punished as an accomplice to that crime.

That, however doesn't seem to be the defination of a hate crime. It seems to me a big mistake for any free and lawful society, and especially American society, to enact special penalties for hate crimes. The logic of providing extra punishment for unlawful behavior based on intent not only doesn’t form any solution to address rude vicious behavior, but the whole idea is flawed on several counts.
All crimes against persons or any criminal disrespect of another’s rights and property flow from bad (even hateful) motives. Does anyone really understand how or why some perverse act is conceived and executed? Why a specific victim is chosen? All crime is a hate crime. Hate crime legislation puts government into the area of thought crimes, and this is not a place for government to legislate and enforce. As Americans, we should be satisfied with the effective punishment of real crimes where the perpetrators only legal defense is that - “I didn't do it.” I don’t think we can afford to care about whatever twisted reasoning lead someone or group to beat up a white guy and steal his wallet or beat up a black guy and steal his wallet or beat up a gay and steal his wallet. We shouldn’t care - we should just punish the crime.
If you believe that some motives for criminal activity are worse than others and therefore should be more severely punished ( I guess as a deferent), then this logic leads one to reason that some criminal hateful acts may be justified by more pure ( and therefore less hateful) motives. i.e.,
The bombing of weddings in Lebanon or Shea pilgrims at a checkpoint in Iraq or Israeli school children - the provenance for these unbelievably brutal acts leading back to real or perceived unjust acts by the Zionists or Western oppressors. There are large numbers of persons who believe there are good reasons for very bad acts, but these people are just wrong - There are no good reasons for hateful crimes.

Posted by: H A lewis | Aug 6, 2007 2:10:13 PM

HA.: Yours is certainly one outlook, even with some in the gay community. However, as for your example in terms of crimes, I think it's a little bit of a flawed way to look at it. All of the things you mentioned seem to be bias-motivated incidents, which all under the category of "hate crimes" legislation. I think what you have to compare are bias-motivated incidents against random acts of violence. While the victim of the latter may be left with the exact same damage as the victim of the former, if it is determined that the intent of the former was to send a threatening, terrorizing message to an entire sect of people, then that is a different crime than one in which personal gain, a disagreement, or some other personal situation was the motivating factor.

As for the preachers: Yes, it is VASTLY different to preach against homosexuality and to actually induce a crime. The highlighted problem is that we're NOT "all clear on that." The religious right has tried to confuse people on this point in order to make it seem like preachers will be hauled into court for simply conveying their personal faith views.


Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 6, 2007 4:57:58 PM

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