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08/02/2007

TVC takes baby step towards 'slightly more truthful'

by Jeremy Hooper

SealSo you might remember that back in May, we found the Traditional Values Coalition deliberately misrepresenting a certain section of House debate involving federal hate crimes protections. Since that time, we have seen numerous "pro-family" types repurpose TVC's version of events (which they sent around widely via press release). And wanting to correct the record, we've meticulously contacted virtually everyone we've found to be propagating TVC's misrepresentation, hoping that eventually the actual House transcript would be seen as more trustworthy than TVC's interpretation. Some have responded and made the change. Some have responded and told us to piss off. TVC, however, has remained mum.

Well, despite their lack of direct contact, we're happy to report that TVC seems to have somewhat, kinda sorta, gotten the message. Here is how they relay the House exchange in question in their latest press release (brackets are our own -- you'll see why later):

Futhermore, Representative Davis admitted during the markup that the legislation will not protect a pastor from prosecution under this bill. During the debate, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a former judge, forced Representative Artur Davis to admit that [if a minister preaches that sexual relations outside of marriage of a man and woman is wrong, and somebody within that congregation causes bodily injury to a person, that the sermon or teachings could be used in evidence against the minister.] (From the transcript of the hearing, 4-25-07, page 205)

So rather than use their original twisted version, they are directing people to read the actual markup transcript (pdf -- though it's actually page 206, not 205 ). That's progress. However, we do want to point out that TVC is still leaving out some key points from the actual transcript. First off, Mr. Davis is not giving an affirmative to anything, but rather he is simply saying that he cannot give Mr. Gohmert the guarantee he is seeking. But the main thing they overlook is that Mr. Gohmert specifically stated that in order for charges to possibly be brought to a minister, the convicted has to say "that that minister counseled or induced him through the sermon to commit that act." If you compare the bracketed part above with the below bracketed part from the actual House markup transcript (pdf), you will see how boldly TVC excises that section in their up-to-that-point word for word recitation:

Mr. Gohmert: Even with your amendment, you still have to go back to the "rule of evidence" at page 15 of the underlying bill. And it says that these things may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial unless the evidence specifically relates to the offense.

And if I understood the gentleman's amendment—and I will put the question back to you—[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?]

Mr. Davis: No.

This is a VERY BIG oversight, as a situation where a minister is said to have "counseled or induced" a criminal act is a VERY DIFFERENT situation than one in which a minister simply breached Romans I to someone who later went out and committed an act of violence on his own volition!!

So thanks TVC for not being so bold as to completely twist the words and put those paraphrases in quotes so as to make it seem as if they are factual. Now we only need you to go to the next step: Presenting ALL OF THE INFORMATION so that people can see that this situation is a little more complex than you make it out to be, and one that requires reason and analysis rather than just knee-jerk cries of "gays hate religion!"

Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) Misleads Voters On So-called ‘Hate Crime” Vote [TVC Release]

***For all things TVC: Good As You: Traditional Values Coalition Archive

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