Another Christian Right Prediction Fails to Come True

Tuesday was the 5th anniversary of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act. Christian right leaders were in full demagogue mode, declaring that this would lead to pastors being frogmarched out of the pulpits for saying anything bad about homosexuality. Let’s review. The Worldnetdaily, when the House passed the bill, said that this would “muzzle pastors.”

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said, “The Anti-Christian Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives has acted today to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, youth pastors, Bible teachers, and anyone else whose Bible speech and thought is based upon and reflects the truths found in the Bible.

“A pastor’s sermon could be considered ‘hate speech’ under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on ‘sexual orientation.’ The pastor could be prosecuted for ‘conspiracy to commit a hate crime’” she said.

“This Democrat-controlled Congress has now elevated pedophiles and other bizarre sexual orientations, as well as drag queens, transgenders, lesbians and gay men to the level of protection of that already given to African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities in the law,” she said.

Lafferty also said, “Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs.”

A protest was held in Washington by the Coalition for Faith and Freedom, Liberty Counsel and other groups in response to “the clear and present danger of the hate crimes law to both their faith and their freedom.” The Family Research Council sent out an email to its members that said:

“A ‘hate crimes’ law is really a ‘thought crime’ law that punishes a person’s beliefs – part of the Left’s intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”

And yet here we are five years in and not a single pastor has been prosecuted, nor have Christians been silenced. All of the same people who claimed that they would be silenced are still ranting every day about the evils of The Gay and no one stops them or prosecutes them. But this is what demagogues do, stir up fear with wildly inaccurate claims.

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  • joyfulatheist

    “This Democrat-controlled Congress has now elevated pedophiles and other bizarre sexual orientations, as well as drag queens, transgenders, lesbians and gay men to the level of protection of that already given to African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities in the law,” she said.

    Yes, how uppity of oppressed groups to think they ought to have the same level of protection as human beings. Have they tried not being LGBT?

    She’s probably dog-whistling though, stirring up people who object to things like Affirmative Action and other pro-minority programs that help lift POC out of abject poverty. People like this are one of the major reasons I stopped being a Christian.

  • theguy

    “part of the Left’s intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America”

    Just like the Fascist Ridiculous Council’s efforts to silence gay people in Uganda and Russia. Oh wait a minute, it’s completely different? The fundies will lie and accuse gay people of pushing the fundie agenda? Whoodathunk?

    ” and eliminate moral restraint.”

    Is this the same “moral restraint” that allows fundamentalists to lie without any shame, pushback, or even criticism? The same moral restraint that allows those unhinged drooling beasts to demand more persecution and bloodshed?

  • petemoulton

    I quite agree that all pastors should be frogmarched out of their pulpits; not for LGBT-bashing, you understand, but for fraud.

  • John Pieret

    As constitutional scholar Charles C. Haynes pointed out back at the time, the act even said itself:

    “nothing in the Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech.”

    Further …

    “nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating of espousing such beliefs.”

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/say-what-you-want-hate-crimes-bill-protects-free-speech

    Deliberate lying or a complete inability to read? Does it matter much?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    H.R. 1592 isn’t about hate. It isn’t about crime. It’s about silencing our speech. If the Lord wants us to kill men who lie with men, then it’s not my fault if I tell my congregants this Truth™ and a few of them go out and beat a fag to death.

    (UnNews:Chuck Norris on secularism: the single greatest threat that America has ever faced, 27 May 2008)

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    It is not being used to imprison pastors (as it was intended) because it is too busy being used against suspected drug dealers. Like any good American law!

  • D. C. Sessions

    And yet here we are five years in and not a single pastor has been prosecuted, nor have Christians been silenced.

    You do realize that this is just a scheme to lull the True Believers™ in God’s Truth™ into complacency while the Jack-Booted Islmofascist Storm Troopers™ build case files for mass prosecution so that they can ship Christians™ off to FEMA Death Camps™, don’t you?

  • busterggi

    Lafferty also said, “Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles ”

    Well those same pages condemned cheeseburgers, shrimp, mixed fabrics, gathering firewood on Saturdays and Christians had no problem ripping them out to eliminate those.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Lafferty also said, “Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles…”

    It’s a start.

  • Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    …but when you ask them about those prohibitions, they say that the New Testament made them invalid.

    Therefore, it made the prohibition against “bed-hoppers” (probably against excessive sex rather than homosexuality, which wasn’t a thing back then) irrelevant as well.

  • Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Logical consistency is not their strong point.

  • Chiroptera

    Lafferty also said, “Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles….

    Well, regardless of what hate crime laws actually say or whether there are any, I think the decent thing to do would be to treat the pages that condemn homosexuality the same way they treat the pages that describe the sky as a solid dome with openings through which the rain falls.

  • k_machine

    From the WND article: “He said the experience in other countries has led to prosecution of Christians. In Sweden, for example, a minister was sentenced to 30 days in jail for preaching from Leviticus.”

    This is referencing Ake Green, who incidentally was found not guilty on appeal to the Supreme Court of Sweden (in 2005 so this is old hat). Sorry WND, not even in super-secular Sweden is preaching homophobia a crime.

  • Sastra

    And yet here we are five years in and not a single pastor has been prosecuted, nor have Christians been silenced.

    Well, “prosecuted” and “silenced” can be interpreted in many ways, including the metaphorical. Homophobic Christians have been prosecuted and silenced in the court of public opinion — if you include eye-rolling, throat-clearing, head-shaking, and your niece Jessica disagreeing with you at Thanksgiving as being forms of prosecution and silencing.