Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remembering TVC's lies about hate crimes legislation

Last week, I emailed the Traditional Values Coalition about their usage of a Family Research Council study, Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse .

The problem with this study, amongst other things, is that FRC removed it from its webpage because of "outdated sources."

Despite this, the study remains on TVC's webpage as a part of its Homosexual Urban Legends portion (rest assured, there are plenty of distortions there including citations from Paul Cameron, which I will talk about at a later time).

Including a discredited study is just par for the course when it comes to TVC.

This organization thinks nothing of using the words "she-males" and "crossdressers" as verbal weapons against the lgbt community. So why should a little bad study be a big deal?

That being the case, with hate crimes legislation possibly returning to Congress, a small controversy that erupted two years ago is important to remember.

In 2007 when Congress was considering adding sexual orientation to hate crimes legislation, TVC sent out a bulletin claiming that this action will lead to pastors being arrested for preaching against homosexuality:

Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas moved to remove “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the bill. It failed on a recorded vote of 19 to 13.

Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana offered the important amendment on Freedom of Religion. “Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution.”

A number of Republicans spoke in support of it. But the Democrats Jerrold Nadler, Tammy Baldwin and Chairman John Conyers kept evading the issue.

Finally, Congressman 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.

The Democrats continued to explain why they could not accept the amendment. Lundgren continuously shot down their answer. He said, “What is your answer? Would there be incitement charges against the pastor?”

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

However TVC distorted Gohmert's question. This is what he actually said (and it changes things considerably):

Mr. Gohmert: . . . 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?

On its webpage, TVC now terses the exchange as such:

Furthermore, Representative Davis admitted during the markup that the legislation will not protect a pastor from prosecution under this bill. During the debate, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) forced Representative 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.

In short, Rep. Davis has admitted that H.R. 1592 could be used to prosecute pastors for their sermons if they incite or are an “inducement” to violence. This threat applies to S. 1105.

For example, a pastor can be targeted for prosecution if his sermon somehow “induced” or “counseled” a member of his church to go out and commit bodily injury against a homosexual or a cross-dresser. Bodily injury can be something as simple as touching or brushing up against a homosexual protester. Under both H.R. 1592 and S. 1105, bodily injury is considered violence—and is prosecutable.

With enemies like this, it's going to be a looooong year.

Jeremy from Good As You has an excellent breakdown of what happened.

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