Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Traditional Values Coalition and the distorted quote

I hear that a lot of legislators are getting phone calls about the hate crimes legislation vote from fearful constituents. Apparently these folks are buying into the lie that their freedom of speech will be at risk if this law passes.

And I think that I can pinpoint why.

Due to a distortion of a quote, some people believe that pastors will be arrested for speaking out against homosexuality

My online friend Jeremy at www.goodasyou.org pointed out what is going on. Allow me to simplify the situation.

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition sent out an action alert to the members of his group after last week's House Judicial Committee meeting about the legislation. According to him:

Congressman (Louis) 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?”

Gohmert was attempting to clarify and emphasize that the legislation would have an effect on the constitutional right to religious freedom and thus the Pence amendment was needed to protect religious speech.

And finally Democrat Congressman Artur Davis from Alabama spoke up and said, “Yes.”

Friends, that is what we have been warning you about and our legal advice was correct. It is evident what HR 1592 is about. It is not about homosexuals and cross dressers suffering with no food, shelter or jobs, it is about preventing Bible-believing people and pastors from speaking the truth.

And that is the lie that is scaring so many people.

This is Congressman Gohmert's actual quote with a bold emphasis on the portion Sheldon's action alert omitted:

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?

Sheldon and TVC distorted Congressman Gohmert's quote to fit their agenda.

Nothing is saying that a minister would be arrested or prosecuted for speaking out against homosexuality. Of course if someone commits a murder and claims that someone else (be it a minister or not) told him to do it, that charge must be investigated.

And it does not mean that the minister in question would be arrested.

From what I understand, this action alert went out to countless blogs and so-called "pro-family" sites, leading to a bunch of phone calls to legislators.

I have already talked to the office of my legislator clarifying the matter and I suggest that everyone reading this do the same.

It is amazing what lies TVC will stoop to in order to further their agenda.

Lastly, I would like to point out that all I am doing is breaking the situation down for clarification. It was the web page www.goodasyou.org that did the research and digging to find out what the Traditional Values Coalition did.