Thursday, October 29, 2009

One News Now resurrects old hate crimes lie

It's been an entire day since President Obama signed lgbt inclusive hate crimes legislation into law and no one, pastors included, has been arrested for merely saying that homosexuality is a sin.

But leave it to the American Family Association's One News Now to bring up an old inaccurate story of persecution:

A Christian evangelist who was once arrested, jailed, and charged under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law says the federal hate crimes bill signed into law by President Obama is one of the most dangerous laws in the history of the United States.

. . . Michael Marcavage, director of Philadelphia-based Repent America, was one of 11 Christians who were jailed and charged with a hate crime for carrying Bible verse banners and preaching at a 2004 homosexual pride event in Philadelphia. The charges were later dismissed -- and in 2008, the state's Supreme Court ruled the law had been passed illegally by the Pennsylvania legislature.

Of course One News Now omitted some details about this case.

Marcavage's group (Editor's note - Marcavage is in the picture above) wasn't merely carrying banners and preaching at the Philadelphia pride event. Repent America members allegedly harassed attendants. Supposedly, they began shouting in order to drown out events happening on stage at the events.

When the police attempted to get them to move to an area at the edge of the festival, they not only went deeper into the crowd of gays but also began using a bullhorn to condemn festival-goers.

That was when the group was arrested.

And their behavior at the Philadelphia event was business as usual for Repent America.

Regardless of One News Now's biased tone, we aren't exactly talking about "innocent Christians" here.

One time, according to the organization Philly Pride, in 2003, Repent America members were part of a group of protestors who entered a parade carrying signs that said “God Abhors You” and “AIDS: Judgment or Cure?” Allegedly, they called several people “fags” and told them that they were “going to hell.”

(Editor's note: The above paragraph was changed. The original paragraph contained an error claiming that 11 Repent America members entered the 2003 parade. However this is an error. It is not known just how many protestors entered the 2003 parade or if all of them were Repent America members.  Michael Marcavage of Repent America sent me a letter which said in part:

Repent America members never carried such signs nor ever called people fags as you have cited. In fact, we wholeheartedly oppose such messages and behavior. Philly Pride has been made aware of this and perhaps their website misled you . . .

It is believed that you utilized an article on Philly Pride's website where they strategically placed photographs of "previous demonstrations" to mislead people into believing that it was Repent America . . .

I should also mention that Marcavage said the following in 2005:

 The signs mentioned belonged to a group called the "Street Preachers' Fellowship" . . .  The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, etc. have already printed retractions in regards to similar comments.)

But as I said before, we are not dealing with "innocent Christians."  In August 2004, Repent America members were kicked out of a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game because they raised a banner that told spectators that they were going to hell unless they became Christians.

And while hate crimes charges against Marcavage and his group for their behavior in at the Philadelphia pride event were dismissed, there is another component to this story which One News Now omitted.

When Repent America members tried to sue the city of Philadelphia for violating their rights, they were turned back.

In 2007, a federal judge ruled that the city of Philadelphia did not violate the rights of Repent America members by placing them under arrest. Specifically, U.S. Judge Lawrence Stengel said:

“There is no constitutional right to drown out the speech of another person.”

This decision was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2008.

Picture taken from


The arrest of 11 Demonstrators at Outfest 2004,

Michael Marcavage: Bible tells us to execute homosexuals,, February 11, 2005

Charges Over Gay Festival Disruption Dismissed,, February 17, 2005

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit over Protest at Gay Festival, Southern Voice, January 25, 2007

3rd Circuit Upholds Removal of Christian Protesters at Gay Pride Event, The Legal Intelligencer, July 17, 2008

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Another heterosexual South Carolina public official . . . another sex scandal and other Thursday midday news briefs

Prosecutor found with stripper fired - In South Carolina where they ban gay marriage, heterosexual government officials can't keep their hands to themselves whether it be in Argentina or a graveyard.

Porno Pete LaBarbera Too Hateful Even For Maine's Anti-Gay Haters - Will wonders ever cease?

Three Degrees of Separation: LaBarbera, Gallagher, and Stand for Marriage Maine - But wait. If anti-gay marriage folks in Maine denounce Peter, then why won't one of their biggest donors do the same?

Judge Rules Against Anti-Gay Marriage Group - And it gets better!

School Board Objects to Pictures of Gay Americans - Goodbye Barbara Jordan, Bayard Rustin, Lorraine Hansberry, Alan Turling, Alexander the Great, etc., etc.

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Mr. LaBarbera goes to Maine and no one gives a damn

As I mentioned yesterday, Peter LaBarbera traveled to Maine to butt into the fight against marriage equality.

He took with him such "experts" as Brian Camenker of the hate group Mass Resistance.

Apparently the press conference was very, very sparsely attended:

About eight people held signs at the news conference, which featured Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which is based in Illinois; and Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, a Massachusetts pro-family group.

"I'm here today to address the media in Maine, and to speak to the people of Maine, about the "yes" vote on Question 1, and what we know to be the intimidating influence that radical homosexual groups have had in influencing a 'no' vote on Q1," Madore said.

In response, Jesse Connolly of No on 1 said he's proud of the financial support the campaign has gotten from a variety of groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"Have we received money from HRC and the task force?" he said. "Absolutely. They are wonderful organizations that do a lot of good for a lot of good people."

If you ask me, the Fruedian slip of the millenium occured when LaBarbera made this statement:

Based upon LaBarbera's consistent years of anti-gay activity, one wonders if he is talking about the Maine vote or his personal life.

But since I am not a psychologist, I refuse to speculate on such matters.

The following links give a much better story than I about the entire situation:

The day the hate groups took over the anti-gay campaign in Maine

Audio and video: Peter LaBarbera's anti-gay 'rally' at Maine statehouse draws feeble numbers

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