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.