Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday musings - hate crimes legislation, One News Now whiners

Apparently the hate crimes legislation vote has been delayed until tomorrow during today's Judiciary Committee.

Some Republican senators kept tacking on ridiculous amendments in an effort to undermine the bill.

Strange though how none of them offered up an amendment to eliminate religion as a protected class under hate crimes legislation.

Tomorrow will tell whether or not this was a stall tactic or just sour grapes.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

And while those fingers are crossed, I've seen something that is sure to put a smile on your face.

Right wing writer Michelle Malkin has written a very interesting piece in One News Now today that's sure to set conspiracy theorists on their asses.

She links several controversial incidents (including the Miss America controversy and the mocking of teabaggers ) to the election of President Obama.

Feel free to read it if you want because I won't go into detail about it. I just think it's sad that Malkin is obviously running out of material to write about.

Maybe too much teabagging has affected her?

Anyway, some of the comments to her article are positive and some (including mine) are negative. One comment in specific caught my eye:

I am so confused. Lately on OneNewsNow, which is a Christian news site, and the AFA, a pro-family, Christian organization, there are all these comments that are from non-Christians. There seems to be a massive infiltration happening. I certainly don't surf liberal or gay web sites looking to stick my nose into their business. I would appreciate the same courtesy but, as I type, I know who I'm dealing with (yes, you) and know that that will not happen. Civility is only civil when you want it for yourself.

Now that just brings a smile to my face. Am I being juvenile? Maybe. But then again probably not.

One News Now invites people to comment on articles It's obvious that many of us have been taking advantage of this courtesy to remind the phony news service that sometimes it conveniently omits crucial portions of current events in an attempt to stigmatize the lgbt community.

I'm guilty of it and I will do it every chance I get.

In fact, more of us should.

But please be respectful. None of that Perez Hilton type of name calling. State your facts accurately and courteously.

As long as One News Now extends the courtesy, lgbts and our allies have every right to take advantage of it.
Wednesday midday news briefs

The Globalization of Gay Bashing - This is damned scary - that's all that needs to be said.

Orson Scott Card Joins NOM Board - It's like the hydra. One head drops and another one takes its place.

More Republicans embrace gay equality - It's about time, too!

Perez Hilton vs Dennis Prager on Marriage Equality - Because I'm all obsessive-compulsive about completing things, I am including this. When I first heard of this debate, it reminded me of those Lucio Fulci movies where zombies ate people alive. I was only hoping that Hilton would get away with only one body part chewed up. From what I hear though, he did rather well. That doesn't mean my opinion has changed about him, but I admire his tenacity to fight in a situation he unnecessarily exacerbated.

ACLU demands LGBT website access for TN students - Because according to One News Now, when anyone is looking for lgbt-related information, it's ALL ABOUT SEX!
Will lies about hate crimes legislation ever die?

As Congress gets ready to take up the issue of adding lgbts to existing hate crimes laws, the religious right have quietly been trying to rally the troops against it by using the same old inaccuracies.

Yesterday, Matt Barber wrote a piece in One News Now which was full of his usual hyperbolic exaggerations. One passage in particular caught my attention:

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.

This in an inaccuracy and I have a feeling that Barber knows this. Let's look at the original transcript passage courtesy of (who broke the story of how Davis's supposed admission was a distortion in 2007 when the incident took place):

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.

Please bear in mind that this exchange said nothing about putting ministers in jail.

If someone commits a crime and blames a third party, then the police have an obligation to question that third party.

Then Barber relates this blatant lie (which was debunked by Pam Spaulding):

But the Christian needn't even touch the homosexual. If the homosexual merely claims he was subjectively placed in "apprehension of bodily injury" by the Christian's words then, again, the Christian can be thrown in prison for a felony "hate crime." The FBI has included mere words – "insults" and "intimidation" – in calculating "hate crimes" statistics and – under the current political regime in Washington – there's every reason to believe they'll subjectively consider "insults" and "intimidation" (read: traditional sexual morality) for purposes of prosecuting "hate crimes."

Spaulding said:

This law wouldn't do anything to stifle free speech. The ACLU's Washington Legislative Office passed along this document outlining that the legislation protects First Amendment rights of free speech and free association:

III. The New Bill Provides Strong Protection of Free Speech

The ACLU has a long record of support for stronger protection of both free speech and civil rights. Those positions are not inconsistent. In fact, vigilant protection of free speech rights historically has opened the doors to effective advocacy for expanded civil rights protections.

Fourteen years ago, the ACLU submitted a brief to the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Wisconsin hate crime sentencing enhancement statute as constitutional. However, the ACLU also asked the Court "to set forth a clear set of rules governing the use of such statutes in the future." The ACLU warned the Court that "if the state is not able to prove that a defendant's speech is linked to specific criminal behavior, the chances increase that the state's hate crime prosecution is politically inspired." The evidentiary provision in the House bill will help avoid that harm.

And I would be remiss if I didn't include one of Barber's personal tactics - making wild unsubstantiated claims:

The entire push for federal "hate crimes" legislation is rooted in fraud. In fact, many of the most high-profile reports have turned out to be false. For example, investigators determined that the very "hate crime" (Andrew Anthos in Michigan) exploited by liberal lawmakers to justify the same legislation in the last Congress, was a false report. It never happened. (See report from Detroit News) And instances of such fabricated and politically motivated "hate crimes" continue to pile up.

If politically motivated hate crimes are truly piling up, then the proof is obviously somewhere in Barber's head because he doesn't elaborate on this point (much like last year when he attacked six Canadian researchers for complaining about how the religious right was distorting their work. Barber said they were under "tremendous pressure" to do such but he conveniently didn't elaborate on that either)

But Barber isn't alone in his pathetic attempt to talk against hate crimes legislation. Regina Griggs of the ex-gay group PFOX wrote a piece also. She should have left well enough alone:

Griggs say the bill puts hatred of ex-"gays" into legislation. "The legislation doesn't protect my organization, and it doesn't protect the rights of former homosexuals to live free, happy out of the closet, if you will, and to be getting their message out to the public and into the schools," she adds. "Change is possible; it's proven scientifically."

God. Where to start in proving that this statement is beyond stupid? First of all the legislation adds sexual orientation in general to exisiting hate crimes legislation; not just the lgbt orientation. This means a group of gays who physically assault a heterosexual simply because of his orientation could be prosecuted under the legislation.

This means it would in fact protect those who call themselves "ex-gays."

And lastly, if it has been scientifically proven that people can change their sexual orientation, then perhaps Griggs keeps that knowledge in the same place Barber keeps his knowledge about the "epidemic" of phony hate crimes.

Really though, if this is the best the religious right has in their attempts to stop hate crimes legislation, then I actually feel sorry for them.