The Religious Right, Lies and Hate Crimes

The religious right’s campaign against a stronger federal law on hate crimes has increasingly been, well, hateful. An e-mail blast from one Texas-based pressure group this morning calls on recipients to express

“opposition to the pending hate crimes legislation, also known as the “Pedophile Protection Act” due to its inclusion of pedophiles as a protected class under the proposal that protects homosexuals from hate crimes.”

Protecting pedophiles? That’s a lie, of course, as the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out months ago. Media Matters for America and Politifact also looked at how the “pedophile” meme got its hateful start.

We’ve seen a lot of far-right e-mails about the proposed hate crimes legislation in Congress. Over time the venomous language attacking it has evolved. At first was the absurd suggestion that clergy preaching against homosexuality would fill our nation’s jails if the legislation passed. The increasingly prominent message in recent months equates homosexuality with pedophilia.

We wonder how proud religious-right groups must be that they are sharing the same message as anti-Semitic white supremacists and hate mongers like David Duke, whose Web site blames the Anti-Defamation League for both hate crimes legislation and “a history of hate for Christian values.”

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8 Comments

  1. Cytocop
    Posted July 16, 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I apologize for going so far off-topic. And this isn’t meant to criticize Charles or anyone else here but since the subject has come up again (as surely it will again and again: I can count on that), I post the following:

    One thing that NEVER gets pointed out among Christians (neither right nor left) is that the “religious leaders” of Jesus’ time – the temple officials – were ROMAN COLLABORATORS. The situation was much like the situation with Scottish patriot, William Wallace. Wallace was captured and given to Edward by the SCOTTISH NOBLES, not English soldiers. The Scottish nobles were friendly with England and had much to gain by remaining friendly with England. Wallace had become an embarrassing problem for the Scottish nobles so something had to be done about him.

    Same with Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders of the temple were friendly with Rome. They had much to gain by remaining so. Jesus was becoming an embarrassing problem for them (vis-a-vis his popularity and the disruption in the temple a few days before) so something had to be done about him.

    Christians’ own scripture makes it pretty clear that Jesus was popular among the rank-and-file Jews. It was the Sadducee Roman-collaborating leaders who were troubled by him.

    And since they didn’t have newspapers, radio, or internet in Jerusalem in the first century, PLUS it was nearing Passover – one of the most major Jewish holidays with many Jews entering Jerusalem to celebrate – most Jews in Jerusalem were not even aware that Jesus had been arrested, tried, and was about to be executed. Those so-called “witnesses” against him at his trial were Sadducee-paid lackies and employees and thugs.

    So, let’s be clear about “the religious leaders” of Jesus’ time and exactly who and what they were. Frankly, I’m tired of this blanket blame Christians have laid on Jews for the killing of their god. It’s been going on for 2,000 years, and Jews have suffered unspeakably for their alleged crime of which we are totally innocent.

    Besides, according to Christian doctrine, wasn’t Jesus SUPPOSED to die? Given that, what real difference does it make who killed him or why?

  2. shervin
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink
  3. Charles
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Well, it depends on how you define intolerant. He does not appear to have rejected social association with moral sinners (as the Religious Right does today). Instead, he spent quality time at dinner parties with them, and they seemed to be drawn to him. The scriptures indicate that he made blistering, straight-on verbal attacks against the religious leaders of his day, primarly because they were behaving like the Religious Right of our day. Nonetheless, one of those leaders, who loved Jesus, provided his own planned tomb for Jesus to be buried. Generally speaking, as I read the scriptures, Jesus was not much like the members of the Religious Right. Jesus was the kind of guy who would invite you over for a beer, or more likely, invite himself over to your house for a beer.

    If you would like to meet the REAL JESUS that the Religious Right is running from so hard, go to this URL and rent the movie on-line for just $2.49. You will find the answer to your question about whether Jesus was intolerant, and you will see why the Religious Right is neither religious nor right. This is not a proseltyzing movie. It’s safe and one of the best movies I ever saw:

    http://www.jaman.com/movie/Joshua/0IlQmzbiNW6I/

    Trust Charles on this.

  4. Charles
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Well. Here is my opinion about it and how I feel. The Religious right probably thinks that hate crimes legislation is just one more inch down the slippery slope of official government sanction of homosexuality. However, I think they also believe (although they would never admit it in public) that the people who beat up gay people and drag them behind their trucks perform an important societal service that should not be officially limited. Most would never do it themselves, but for those demented enough to actually do it, there is no doubt a belief that it will serve to curb homosexuality—and anything that curbs it is a good thing.

    I think there is a gun analogy here that I have often seen with the rightists. They see policemen as incompetents who cannot protect us from criminals (i.e., the police only get there after a crime has been committed; therefore, they do not really protect them). The thing that protects them is themselves and their gun—or criminal knowledge that they probably have a gun. Similarly, the thing that protects them from a gay person in the shower is not a sexual assault law. The thing that really protects them is some unknown “buddy” out there who can physically bust a gay guy’s body up really bad so he never makes it to the shower.

    As many of you would guess, I have always been a strong defender of free speech rights, even for those people with whom I disagree strongly. I find it hard to believe that the pastors of Christan Neo-Fundamentalist churches do not recognize the fact that their tirades in the pulpit actually contribute to blood on the streets. What? Little old me? Yes, little old you.

    A pastor should be able to speak out on moral issues without fear from the government. However, in cases where it can be clearly shown that a pastor’s barrage of vitriolic speaking out led directly to someone’s death or hurt, I think we need to look a little closer at it from a legal perpsective, as the Europeans have done as a result of the Nazi atrocities during World War II.

    I believe there may come a point where the person spewing the hatred should become reasonably self-aware (as are those around him) of a threshold line beyond which a sense of personal responsibility for our fellow man becomes lost to us and gets taken up by other people bent on violence. Moreover, because of love thy neighbor as thyself, I think these pastors really have a religious responsibility to recognize where that line is and tone it down before ever crossing it. Failure to do so is a betrayal of both the God they worship and love for their neighbor.

  5. Posted July 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s okay to violate Christian principles to promote Christian principles.

    Charles, you may be the expert here. Was Christ intolerant of anyone?

  6. Cytocop
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    To call it the “Pedophile Protection Act” shows you just how dishonest and disengenuous these Christians are. They will say ANYTHING (lie, cheat, misrepresent) to get their way.

    They were well-taught by “St.” Paul:

    “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, (I became) as under the law that I might gain them….” I Corinthians 9:20.

    And: “….nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.” II Corinthians 12:16.

    In other words, do whatever you need to do to get what you want. The ends justify the means.

  7. Charles
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Actually Joe, I think it is just plain “…hate everyone who is not exactly like me.”

  8. Posted July 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Love thine enemy, but hate everyone else.

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