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We don't wanna jail your preachers, Matt. Your straw men are another story

by Jeremy Hooper

Deceive. Deceive. Deceive. Deceive. Deceive.

Sorry. Go read this little quip that Matt Barber has written, and then we'll get back to you:

In short, this bill places newfangled "gay rights" in direct conflict with our enumerated constitutional rights. It becomes the first step in the official criminalization of Christianity. It's a zero sum game and someone has to lose. Ultimately, what we lose are our First Amendment guaranteed rights to freedom of speech, religious expression and association.

But the threat is not just some shadowy phantom looming in the near future. It's a clear and present danger.
While debating the notion of "conspiracy to commit a hate crime" in the last Congress, Representative Artur Davis (D-Alabama) admitted that the legislation could be used to prosecute pastors for merely preaching the Bible under the concept of "inducement" to violence.
Separate but unequal protection [ONN]

Okay. So ever since the so-called Traditional Values Coalition put out a deceptive press release back in May of 2007, the far-right has been using this alleged Artur Davis moment against proponents of inclusive hate crimes legislation. However, if you look at the ACTUAL HOUSE TRANSCRIPT rather than the one they pulled from their arses, you will see the deception at work:

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.

Chairman Conyers. The gentleman's time has again expired.

Mr. Gohmert. And he answered no before the time ran out.
Bill Number H.R.1592 for the 110th Congress [Thomas/LOC]

You see the difference between Matt's presentation and actuality? Yes, Congressman Davis (D-AL) affirmed for Congressman Gohmert (Staunchly R -- TX) that this legislation could be used to prosecute preachers. But he was not doing so in a way that says, "yes, absolutely -- all preachers everywhere will be targeted." He was simply saying that no, he cannot guarantee that charges could "in no way could that ever be introduced against [a] minister." And he's totally right to do so. Anyone who's being responsible would have to say the same about the frickin' Pope, if asked. Because faith leaders, while held in great esteem by their faithful, are human beings who could, in theory, incite violence! And if one of them specifically told a congregant to go kill a gay dude, then they would be rightfully hauled in for questioning! It would be beyond silly (and dangerous) to deny this! We would hope that even the most foey of homo foes would still want to see a genuinely murder-inciting pastor punished, regardless of his seminarian scholarship!

But the far-right takes this, strips it off all rational explanation and nuance, and says, "
SEE -- PREACHERS ARE ALL GOING TO JAIL IF HAYE CRIMES LEGISLATION PASSES!!!!!" Hell, the Traditional Values Coalition even went so far as to flip the question so that is sounded like Davis was giving an affirmative "yes" rather than his actual "no." Because that is what our opposition so frequently does: Take perfectly logical situations that are meant for thorough exploration, and oversimplifies/misrepresents them in a way that most conveniently (and often anti-intellectually) helps their cause!

Well we're sick of it. As we enter into yet another year of hate crimes debate, we sincerely hope that the spirit of this new era will lead to a staunch rejection of these tired attempts to turn perfectly understandable mole hills into fear-mongering mountains. We know they won't stop making these claims -- but here's hoping we make them come across as ridiculous as they deserve.

*RELATED: Will lies about hate crimes legislation ever die? [HB&HM]

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Your thoughts

Who says "newfangled" anymore?

Posted by: Sykler | Apr 21, 2009 1:58:15 PM

These 'hate crimes' are utter bull, me and my congregation have a right to preach that blacks are the scum of the earth, deserve no rights and constantly hint that their subhuman and 'something' needs to be done about them. To take away that right is an attack on our faith in the Church of the Aryan Nations!

Wait, were talking about gays? I got stuck in a time warp to afew decades ago.

Posted by: Penguinsaur | Apr 21, 2009 3:15:45 PM

They conveniently forget that there are already laws against inciting violence that can be used against them.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Apr 21, 2009 5:19:25 PM



Posted by: RTHORNE | Aug 14, 2009 10:48:13 AM

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