Hate Crimes

Tim Wildmon Warns of Hate Speech Laws if Obama is Re-Elected

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon yesterday hosted conservative writer Neil Mammen on Today’s Issues, where Wildmon warned that “if President Obama is re-elected again” he will “threaten our religious freedoms” by making hate speech laws to “shut you down if you have anything critical to say about homosexuality.” Conservatives have been warning, dishonestly, of impending hate speech laws for years now, with groups warning of churches being closed and pastors getting arrested and going to prison. While their nightmare vision never seems to come true, Religious Right leaders like Wildmon never fail to make such claims in order to rile up their supporters and stoke fears of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Wildmon: If President Obama is re-elected again, he will appoint more ACLU lawyer type judges to the Supreme Court and to the federal bench, all right, that will threaten our religious freedoms in this country as we’ve known them. I guarantee you it will. Now President Obama would reject that idea but I’m telling you they will, for instance they will take hate speech, if you speak out against homosexuality, and they will impose that as unacceptable and they will shut you down if you have anything critical to say about homosexuality.

Mammen: Look at this new contraception law thing that they pushed through.

Wildmon: Exactly. Prime example, prime example right there.

Gary Glenn Still Suing Over Hate Crimes Legislation

Early in 2010, Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan and three Michigan pastors filed a lawsuit against the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The group was represented by the ultra-right wing Thomas More Law Center, which argued that "the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin."

The lawsuit was dismissed in September of that year and that was the last we had heard about it, though Glenn continued with his anti-gay activism and then decided to make a bid for the US Senate.

You'd think that with Glenn focusing on this Senate race and rounding us support from leaders like Mike Huckabee, the last thing he'd be interested in would be resurrecting this two year-old lawsuit ... but that is exactly what is happening:

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is taking up the claim of three Michigan ministers that a federal hate crime law infringes on their First Amendment rights and should be declared unconstitutional.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday.

The law expands federal hate crimes to those committed against people because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The ministers say they could be targeted for their sermons against gay behavior. The law's supporters say it's aimed at acts of violence, not speech by clergy.

A lower court judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.

The ministers are Jim Combs of Waterford, Rene Ouellette (oo-LET') of Bridgeport and Levon Yuille (YOOL) of Ypsilanti. Another plaintiff is Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan.

President Obama signed the legislation in October 2009 and, to date, not one person has been charged for preaching against homosexuality ... but that obviously is not going to stop anti-gay activists from filing lawsuits claiming that is exactly what will happen.

Honoring Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.: Protecting All Americans from Violent Crime

In addition to protections for race, color, religion, national origin, and ethnicity, federal law now protects victims of violent crimes committed based on a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. And in areas where the law already stood, it is now stronger.

PFAW Report: How the Republican Party Came to Embrace Hate-Monger Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is an extreme Religious Right commentator, spokesman for the American Family Association and talk-show host. He specializes in serving up a daily dose of vitriolic hate against gays and lesbians, non-Christians, progressives and virtually anyone who disagrees with his fanatical interpretation of the Constitution and the Bible.

The GOP’s Favorite Hate-Monger: How the Republican Party Came to Embrace Bryan Fischer

Meet Bryan Fischer, a Right Wing extremist who tirades against gays and lesbians, Muslims, progressives, members of the military and President Obama. Prominent Republican leaders and conservative activists increasingly lend undeserved credibility to him, reflecting the GOP’s embrace of the Right Wing’s escalating radicalism.

Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids

As states and school districts work to stem a tide of anti-gay bullying in American school, the pro-bullying Religious Right is leading concerted efforts to stop programs that seek to protect LGBT youth from bullying.

Obama Signs Hate Crimes Legislation into Law

Today, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The legislation will extend important protections to victims of violent hate crimes committed based on a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and/or disability. It also strengthens existing hate crimes protections for a variety of other categories, including race, color, religion, national origin and ethnicity.

Hate Crimes Prevention Act Passes the Senate

More than a decade after it was first introduced, a bipartisan group of Senators today passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act by a 68-29 vote. The measure was included in the Department of Defense Authorization Conference Report passed earlier this month by the House.

Final Hate Crimes Legislation Passes House

Last night, the House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense Authorization by a vote of 281-146. The bill contains language that will extend important protections to victims of violent hate crimes targeted because of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability, and expands protection based on race and religion and ethnicity.

Hate Crimes Legislation Passes in Senate!

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed in the Senate as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. Now the bill goes to conference committee, where it's up to the House to keep the amendment in the final bill.

Senate Includes Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act in DOD Authorization

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act made it on to the DOD Authorization bill as an amendment last night -- a major step forward in finally getting this important legislation to the president's desk to be signed into law. Be on the lookout for intensified rhetoric and lies from the Right about this good bill. Learn more and take action at our resource page.

As Senate Prepares to Take Up Hate Crimes Bill, Far Right’s Inflammatory Claims Should Not Be Taken Seriously

Anti-gay organizations have been fighting the steady advance of federal hate crimes legislation with rhetoric that is increasingly unhinged from reality. When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a hate crimes bill on April 29 with a bipartisan 74-vote margin, Religious Right leaders and some of their congressional allies were inspired to new heights (or depths) of literally incredible accusations.

House Passes Hate Crimes Legislation

Today the House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by a bipartisan vote of 249 to 175. The legislation protects individuals from violent crimes motivated by victims' sexual orientation, disability status, gender or gender identity. The legislation still needs to be approved by the Senate.PFAW President Michael B. Keegan said, "I applaud the House for passing this legislation. Hate crimes remain all too common in this county, and it's important that the federal government take strong stand to ensure that no one is subjected to the threat of violence because of who they are. I'm especially pleased that this bill contains strong First Amendment protections to ensure that no one's right to free expression will ever be affected by this law. All Americans have a right to live in safety, and all Americans have a right to speak, preach, and worship freely."

Harry Jackson: Point Man for the Wedge Strategy

A report by People for the American Way Foundation examining the political activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, who has emerged as the leading African American voice of the Religious Right political movement.

Point Man for the Wedge Strategy: New Report Examines Political Activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, Face of the Religious Right's Outreach to African Americans

Bishop Harry Jackson, who has emerged as the leading African American voice of the Religious Right political movement, is waging a campaign in the District of Columbia against marriage equality. This report follows Jackson's years on the national political scene since he announced that God told him to campaign for George W. Bush's reelection in 2004.

Hate Crimes Legislation Passes House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee today voted 15 to 12 to send the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) to the floor for a vote. People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement: "Today's vote is a very positive step towards passing this bill into law. I'm extremely optimistic that this year we'll finally be able to enact hate crimes legislation that includes protections against violence based on disability status, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.

Right Sounds False Alarm On Hate Crimes Legislation

Religious Right leaders are vehemently opposed to federal hate crimes laws in large measure because they resist any legal recognition of LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender). They know that most Americans support hate-crimes legislation, anti-discrimination laws, and legal protection for gay couples. So they create confusion by portraying these steps toward equality as dire threats to religious liberty. This is part of a larger political strategy by Religious Right leaders to advance their policy goals and mobilize supporters with alarmist claims that Christians in America are on the verge of being jailed for their religious beliefs.

People For the American Way Welcomes Introduction of Federal Hate Crimes Law

People For the American Way welcomed the bipartisan introduction of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would provide federal resources to help local law enforcement departments combat violent hate crimes. H.R. 1913 was introduced this week by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).
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