May 19, 2009

UNHINGED, PART FOUR: Once Again, the Religious Right Lies About Hate Crimes Law

Once Again, the Religious Right Lies About Hate Crimes Law

by Casey Sanchez

¨A proposed new federal hate crimes law would allow prosecution of crimes motivated by bias against homosexuality or “gender identity,” among other characteristics, and provide funding for the feds to go after hate criminals who local authorities fail to investigate or prosecute.

But in their alternate universe, religious-right anti-gay groups have seized upon the act’s language protecting Americans of all “sexual orientations” to claim that it’s all a stealth operation aimed at legally protecting people with deviant sexual fetishes, including necrophilia and bestiality.

No, we’re not. If any of these groups took as much time to read the hate crimes bill — or even newspaper accounts of it — as they did skimming psychiatric diagnostic manuals, they would know the Matthew Shepard Act does no such thing. But truth has not been of much interest to religious-right, anti-gay groups in their struggle against the perils of homosexuality. Most of these groups also have claimed that the proposed law would allow authorities to throw into prison pastors who made statements from the pulpit opposing homosexuality. That, too, is completely false. What the act would really do includes:

• Authorize federal authorities to investigate hate crimes when state or local authorities fail to do so.

• Increase funding to state and local authorities to prosecute hate crimes, including those based on religion, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.¨

¨The act is named after Matthew Shepard, a college student in Wyoming who in 1998 was beaten, tied to a fence, tortured and left in a coma to die by his assailants. Prosecutors and police showed that Shepard was targeted because he was gay — something that some religious right groups have also falsely claimed is untrue.¨ read it all, click HERE

UPDATE: President Barack Obama meets with Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, in the Oval Office Wednesday, May 20, 2009.

¨This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance - legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action.¨ The White House press release also urged reporters to take note of the President's position on the legislation.

FURTHER UPDATE: Strange Bedfellows: Like Christian Right Groups, Anti-Semitic Imam Lies About Hate Crime Bill

It’s not only the religious right that’s telling tall tales about a proposed new federal hate crimes law.

Amir Abdel Malik Ali, a Muslim cleric who frequently speaks on California campuses, falsely claimed last week that the law would prevent Americans from expressing negative views about Israel or Jews. As Ali tells it, none other than “the Zionists” are behind this attempt to crush free speech.¨ read it all, by Sonia Scherr, click HERE

·Thanks to Southern Poverty Law Center
·Thanks to Keeping An Eye On The Radical Right
·Thanks to Hatewatch, at the right side bar
·Thanks to Casey Sanchez
·Thanks to Pete Souzas Official White House Photo
·Thanks to Sonia Scherr
·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing

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