Five years after the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Christian right is still lying about it and claiming that it will lead to pastors being frogmarched out of church pulpits for daring to criticize homosexuality. The Worldnutdaily packs this article with such lies:
Barack Obama, when he was new in the Oval Office, signed a “hate crimes” law that created a two-tier system of punishment, increasing the punishment for a Christian pastor who attacked a homosexual but not for a homosexual who attacked a Christian pastor.
The reasoning was simple. The homosexual is in a protected class of U.S. citizens, but the Christian pastor is not.
Nope. Not even close. In fact, Christians have enjoyed anti-discrimination protection on the basis of religion for half a century now, while discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is still entirely legal at the federal level. And guess what? The hate crimes law also applies to any violent crime that is committed “because of the actual or perceived religion” of the victim. A homosexual who attacked a Christian pastor because of his religion would also be subject to additional punishment under that law (of course, homosexuals rarely attack Christians while Christians routinely attack homosexuals).
The law cracks down on any acts that could be linked to criticism of homosexuality or even the “perception” of homosexuality. Obama boasted of his accomplishment.
“After more than a decade, we’ve passed inclusive hate-crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are,” he said.
Yeah, you notice that “how they pray” part? That’s the religion part. Sexual orientation is just one of a long list of reasons that could trigger the hate crimes law:
It also creates a new federal criminal law which criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury (or attempting to do so with fire, firearm, or other dangerous weapon) when:
(1) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of any person or (2) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person and the crime affected interstate or foreign commerce or occurred within federal special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.
Funny how the Christian right pretends that the whole law is just about protecting gay people, even when the quote they offer from Obama says the opposite. Obsess much?
But the criticism was vocal and pointed. American Family Association President Tim Wildmon warned the new law “creates a kind of caste system in law enforcement, where the perverse thing is that people who engage in nonnormative sexual behavior will have more legal protection than heterosexuals. This kind of inequality before the law is simply un-American.”
He pointed out that the legislation also creates possible situations in which pastors could be arrested if their sermons on sexuality can be linked in even the remotest way to acts of violence. For example, if someone hears the biblical description of homosexuality as a sin and uses that message as a reason for acting.
Isn’t it interesting how these imagined dystopic results never actually happen? We’re five years into the law being into effect and not a single pastor has been arrested (and no, the law does not apply to anyone other than the person who actually committed the crime). It’s kinda like all those predictions that gay marriage would destroy marriage and America and civilization itself. Why is it taking so long? Could it be that you’re just completely full of shit?