Religious Right Fear Mongering Over Hate Crime Protection For Gays

Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , , ,

The religious right are ramping up their rhetoric over the expansion of federal hate-crimes law. While Democrats in Congress are moving towards including protection for gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual Americans, some conservative religious groups are making bogus claims intended to scare other faith communities.

Christian groups have been against expanding the federal hate crimes law since the mid-1990s, and with both houses of Congress in Democratic majorities, they are mounting a last-ditch effort to derail the expansion to include homosexuals by claiming that even referring to homosexuality as a sin, would become a hate crime.

These "Religious" people have yet to condem a few of their own like John Ensign and Mark Sanford, but they waist little time stepping up warning over how the bill threatens their religious liberty. Most important of all is their false claim that it will deny clergy of the freedom to condem homosexuality. They do this knowing that the First Amendment protects free speech.

"What you say from the pulpit could literally become illegal," the Family Research Council wrote in a recent letter to pastors. The conservative Alliance Defense Fund has received more calls and E-mails on what the hate crimes bill means for pastors than on any other issue in recent months.

"This is the first time you would have written into law a government disapproval of a religious belief held by the majority of Americans -- that homosexuality is sinful," says Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. "It's more of a slippery slope argument than about the law itself."

That's at least more intellectually honest than telling faith communities, "The government will penalize you if you're a pastor who criticizes gays from your pulpit." I find the slippery slope argument to be wildly unpersuasive -- a slippery slope towards what, exactly? -- but I'm glad to see at least some acknowledgement that the talking points warning of dire consequences are baseless.

The multiple factions of the Republican party that once tolerated each other so well, are now scrambling for their individuality. The religious radicals, the Reaganites, and the Neo-Cons seem content to tear apart the ruins of the Republican Party left behind by George W. Bush, and so-be-it. Maybe it's just God's way of thinning the heard.