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07/08/2009

When it comes to advancing peace, FRC's motion is loco

by Jeremy Hooper

This story is from 2007:

A boy of 15 lay down in front of a train to commit suicide after being teased at school about his sexuality, an inquest was told yesterday.

Moments before he died, Jonathan Reynolds sent harrowing text messages to his family telling that them they were not to blame for what was about to happen. A passer-by saw him holding the mobile as he lay down on the tracks in front of a train travelling at 85mph (136km/h) through Pencoed railway station near Bridgend, South Wales.

In his last text message sent to his father, Mark, and his 14-year-old sister, Samantha, the teenager wrote: “Tell everyone that this is for anybody who eva said anything bad about me, see I do have feelings too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust 2 me. This is because of them, I am human just like them. “I hope they rot in hell 4 what they made me do. They know who they are.”
...
Although Jonathan had not complained of being bullied at school, Detective Chief Inspector Sandra England, of the British Transport Police, said that weeks earlier he had confided to a friend that he was gay.

The friend, Aimee Murray, told Ms England that Jonathan had been teased about his sexuality by a number of boys at school. She also said that he had been using concealer on his face because of acne.

Boy, 15, lay down in front of train after gay taunts [Times Online]

This incident is also from 2007:

By the time Nathaniel Salerno finally made it home to his apartment on Capitol Hill around 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, his white shirt had turned red, soaked in his own blood.
...
A group of seven young men appearing in age to be 16 to 20 made it onto the train seconds before the car's recorded announcement, ''Doors closing.'' And sometime between 1:40 and 2 a.m., as the train began to move, so did the young men.

''They approached me and surrounded me, standing up, and one of them told me to give them money,'' Salerno says. ''I said, 'No. Leave me alone.' Then I could see it escalating so I stood up to give them my wallet...and that's when the first punch came directly to my jaw line. Another punch came to my eye, and I hit the floor.''

While lying on the floor of the subway car, Salerno says the group of men kicked his head, legs and ribs, as they yelled ''faggot.''

''With every kick it was another 'faggot,''' he recalls. ''I feel as though it was originally meant to be a mugging, but because I'm not a super-macho masculine person, as soon as they realized I'm a homosexual, it kind of enraged them even more.''

The beating and homophobic slurs continued while the train rolled from the Federal Triangle Station to the Smithsonian stop, all of which was caught on Metro's surveillance cameras, during a trip that usually lasts between two to four minutes, depending on the train's speed.

Hate Rail [Metro Weekly]

So why do we bring these two sad, choo choo-based incidents back to light? Well, because when we see images like this one that the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Council is currently running...

Picture 2-252

...we may fully realize that it is actually hate crimes legislation that they are targeting. But based on our own personal harassment and "training," you'll have to forgive us if we find ourselves wishing that it was the bias crimes themselves that they were instead helping us to derail.

We say to them: Get yourselves on the right track now, FRC, before history's reasoned and principled caboose progresses completely out of your sight! Who knows -- maybe that Jesus guy would actually be HAPPY that you were engineering a safer world rather than conducting fallacious trains of thought.

Derail the Hate Crimes Express! [FRC]

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Your thoughts

Y'know, it's bad enough that, no matter how often these people are presented the facts about hate crimes laws, they continue to lie about them. What I also find annoying about it is the sheer narcissism that allows them to worry about how it affects THEM!

Posted by: Bill S | Jul 8, 2009 7:38:52 PM

Probably the most frustrating thing about the religious right's response to hate-crimes legislation has been its immovably defensive stance from the beginning. Instead of speaking out against such violence, the religious right blamed the victims, claiming that homosexual activists were just blowing things out of proportion so they could further their agenda. This is tantamount to blaming the rape victim for the rape.

A church or group that preaches that homosexuality is morally wrong is fully within its rights to do so. That's the painful reality of the First Amendment. As a journalist, I am quite passionate about freedom of speech, be it insulting or uplifting. But a church or group that preaches that homosexuality is morally wrong should also not remain silent when anyone, gay or straight, is the victim of violence and hate. As a Christian, I believe that all human life has merit and value and that God loves all of us. Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said in Matt 5:9, for they will be called sons (and daughters) of God.

Posted by: Brian | Jul 8, 2009 8:22:18 PM

Yay Bill. That was a great point that you just made.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jul 8, 2009 8:25:30 PM

I always have to ask myself why these guys are so afraid of hate crimes legislation that includes LGBTs. The first thing that comes to mind is their demonstrated and acute hatred of everything that in any way acknowledges LGBTs (which only serves as more evidence that it is absolutely necessary).

But, the only other possibility is that they must be actively planning, perpetrating or inciting hate crimes against our community. I mean really (REALLY)! What else could possibly be causing them to oppose this bill? Why do they so vehemently oppose a bill that simply extends protection to a community that is regularly on the receiving end of hate-filled violence?

So, my conclusion is that the only possible reasons for their opposition, revolve around the fact that they are not only happy with, but are actively promoting hatred of LGBTs.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 8, 2009 9:16:47 PM

The pro-hate crimes group, FRC, does not care about the young people in these examples who were harmed by anti-gay thugs. If they admitted that homophobia is bad, they would admit that what they are promoting is bad.

The Bible tells us that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree. The examples you give are the "fruit" of homophobia. Nothing good ever comes from homophobia--just pain, harm, violence, separation and death. Thus, homophobia (and those who glorify and promote it) only creates bad fruit and bad fruit cannot come from a good tree.

Posted by: Michael | Jul 8, 2009 11:08:47 PM

I agree with Michael above.

I've long suspected that groups like the FRC actually want gay people to be the victims of hate crimes out of the hope that a climate of bigotry and violence will drive us back into the closet. That's why they never condemn these acts.

Posted by: AJD | Jul 8, 2009 11:49:28 PM

back in school i beet up one of those homophobic basters they make me Errrr

Posted by: Rio | Jul 9, 2009 1:14:57 AM

"But a church or group that preaches that homosexuality is morally wrong should also not remain silent when anyone, gay or straight, is the victim of violence and hate."

They dont technically remain silent when gays are the victims of violence. The clapping is very loud.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jul 9, 2009 2:17:54 AM

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