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U.S. hate crime bills/laws - 2009

Coverage in the media, cont'd.

Sponsored link.

Conservative religious news sources seem to be in lock step with each other concerning this bill.

If one compares:

bullet

Coverage of bills HR 1913 & S. 909 by fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian news sources with

bullet

Coverage by civil liberties, gay-positive, and liberal or progressive religious sources, with

bullet

The actual wording of the bill, then

one might conclude that the various news outlets are talking about two entirely different bills. More info. on bias in reporting "hot" religious topics.

Some coverage:

bulletAccording to LifeSiteNews, a conservative Christian news outlet, this bill adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally-protected classes. In common with many other conservative religious groups, they didn't mention that the law would also add gender and disability as protected classes, thus also discouraging hate crimes against female, male, intersexual, disabled, and/or able bodied persons. To their credit, they did mention sexual orientation and gender identity, thus implying that heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transgender, transsexual, cis-gendered persons would be protected. 1
 
bulletWendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian group, said:

"'Hate crimes' laws contradict the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and create unequal justice by elevating some groups of victims at the expense of others. ... Victims who engage in homosexual, transgender, or other sexual behavior get special treatment over victims who are military officers, police officers or veterans." 1


She seems to be buying into the novel concept by some evangelical para-church groups that there are 30 or more sexual orientations, not just the three that everyone else believes exist. Her "sexual behavior" comment seems to imply that criminals who engage in pedophelia, incest, necrophilia, bestiality, and other mostly criminal sexual activities would be protected under the law. They would not be.
 

bulletThe Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest civil rights group in the U.S. working towards equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. President Joe Solmonese commented:

"Once again, we have demonstrated that more than 60 Senators support the Matthew Shepard Act, legislation that will provide police and sheriffs' departments with the tools and resources they need to ensure that entire communities are not terrorized by hate violence. Today's key vote move this legislation one step closer to the President?s desk. With the support of an overwhelming majority of the American people, including more than 300 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, it is past time we take this important step toward combating hate in our country." 2

Joe Solmonese was featured in a HRC You Tube video. It was posted on 2007-APR, but is still up to date:

Viewers rated the video 4.5 out of 5 stars. They left 291 comments, as of 2009-JUL-18. 3
 

bullet

Coral Ridge Ministries, is a service of the fundamentalist Christian megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 4 It is a curious website because a casual reader would conclude that their minister, D. James Kennedy is still actively leading the church. In reality, he gave his last sermon on 2006-DEC-24, and died on 2007-AUG-26. 5

The ministry regularly collect signatures on petitions from their website visitors. As of early 2009-SEP they had two active petitions:
 
bullet

One is titled "Defeat Dangerous Health Care 'Reform' Legislation." It features a picture of a mother and infant with the caption: "Health care 'reform' could kill babies."
 

bullet

The other it titled "America's Independence Threatened by Globalism" and features a United Nations symbol superimposed on an image of the American flag. 6

Their monthly Ministry Update mailing on 2009-SEP-03 mentioned that they had  delivered 13,055 petitions to the President and Congress. They wrote: "This petition fights the passage of federal 'hate crime' legislation, and helps preserve Christians' right to freedom of speech." 7 Freedom of speech, of course, is quite adequately protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and will not be affected by the hate crimes bill. The Bill only refers to violent acts, not hate speech.
 

bullet

Doug Carlson of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote a news item titled "Last chance to stop hate crimes bill." He wrote in part:

"The years-long battle over hate crimes legislation is entering its most critical hour. Both the House and Senate have passed such bills, which threaten to criminalize thought against homosexuality, while granting homosexual victims of violent crimes a preferred place under the law." 8

Of course, the bill only criminalizes violent assault, not thought. However, if the perpetrator is trying to terrorize an entire community of whom the victim is one member, then the crime would be treated more seriously than simple assault.

Homosexual victims are not given "... a preferred place under the law." Persons of all sexual orientations, whether heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian or gay are given precisely the same protection. 

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Senate Approves Amendment Adding 'Hate Crimes' to Defense Spending Bill," LifeSiteNews, 2009-JUL-17, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
  2. "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act Clears Key Senate Hurdle," Human Rights Campaign, 2009-JUL-16, at: http://www.hrc.org/
  3. "The Truth About Hate Crimes Laws," Human Rights Campaign, 20087-APR-27, at: http://www.youtube.com/
  4. Coral Ridge Ministries' home page is at: http://www.coralridge.org/
  5. "D James Kennedy," Wikipedia, as of 2009-AUG-28, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  6. "Petitions: Voice your view as a Christian. Speak up now!," Coral Ridge Ministries, as downloaded 2009-SEP-04, at: https://store.coralridge.org/petitions.aspx
  7. "You're Making an impact," Ministry Update, 2009-SEP-03.
  8. Doug Carlson, "Last Chance to Stop Hate Crimes Bill," 2009-SEP-29, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, at: http://erlc.com/

Site navigation:

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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2009-JUL-18
Latest update: 2009-SEP-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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