james byrd

TVC Front Group Frightens Seniors By Claiming The Bible Has Been Outlawed

One of the unintended results of running this blog is that we sometimes get mistaken for the Religious Right groups that we monitor.  If you do a Google search for "Faith 2 Action" or "Generals International," for example, you see that a link to our posts about those groups tend to show up near the top of the search results.  As such, we frequently get emails mistakenly sent to us that are intended for them ... usually, angrily demanding that they stop mailing and/or calling them seeking donations.

And nine times out ten, these emails are intended for the Christian Seniors Association, which bills itself as a conservative alternative to the AARP but is really just a front group established by the Traditional Values Coalition to try and trick seniors out of the money. The CSA doesn't even have a website and if you didn't know it was a project of the TVC, you'd never be able to contact them, which is why we seem to get so many angry emails intended for them.

And, as if we needed more evidence that the CSA is a shady group willing to mislead donors in order to raise money, yesterday the Southern Policy Law Center's Hatewatch blog put up a post noting that their latest fundraising letter claims that the Hate Crimes Prevention Act has outlawed the Bible:

The anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) once again is turning to a highly valued traditional device to raise funds: fear and falsehoods.

The Christian Seniors Association (CSA), a front group of the TVC, recently sent out a fundraising letter claiming that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) of 2009, which added sexual orientation to the classes protected by federal hate crime legislation, “makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature.’” The letter further claims that “under this law, criticism of homosexuality is deemed discrimination — just like racism,” and ultimately, the intent of the law is to “outlaw Christianity.”

The SPLC kindly sent us a digital copy of the letter and that is indeed what the CSA is claiming:

TVC Front Group Frightens Seniors By Claiming The Bible Has Been Outlawed

One of the unintended results of running this blog is that we sometimes get mistaken for the Religious Right groups that we monitor.  If you do a Google search for "Faith 2 Action" or "Generals International," for example, you see that a link to our posts about those groups tend to show up near the top of the search results.  As such, we frequently get emails mistakenly sent to us that are intended for them ... usually, angrily demanding that they stop mailing and/or calling them seeking donations.

And nine times out ten, these emails are intended for the Christian Seniors Association, which bills itself as a conservative alternative to the AARP but is really just a front group established by the Traditional Values Coalition to try and trick seniors out of the money. The CSA doesn't even have a website and if you didn't know it was a project of the TVC, you'd never be able to contact them, which is why we seem to get so many angry emails intended for them.

And, as if we needed more evidence that the CSA is a shady group willing to mislead donors in order to raise money, yesterday the Southern Policy Law Center's Hatewatch blog put up a post noting that their latest fundraising letter claims that the Hate Crimes Prevention Act has outlawed the Bible:

The anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) once again is turning to a highly valued traditional device to raise funds: fear and falsehoods.

The Christian Seniors Association (CSA), a front group of the TVC, recently sent out a fundraising letter claiming that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) of 2009, which added sexual orientation to the classes protected by federal hate crime legislation, “makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature.’” The letter further claims that “under this law, criticism of homosexuality is deemed discrimination — just like racism,” and ultimately, the intent of the law is to “outlaw Christianity.”

The SPLC kindly sent us a digital copy of the letter and that is indeed what the CSA is claiming:

Targeting Gays, Oklahoma Senate Mistakenly Strips Hate Crimes Protections For Race and Religion

Remember a few weeks ago when the Oklahoma Senate passed an amendment declaring that the state would not cooperate with any federal hate crimes investigation and even mandating that files of potential hate crimes be withheld or destroyed so that they cannot be used to assist in any such investigation? 

The purpose of the amendment was to ensure that the state did not have to abide by the expansion of the federal hate crimes laws to cover things like sexual orientation ... only it turns out that there was a problem with the text of the amendment in that it actually stripped protections for race and religion:

A bill intended to remove hate crime protections from gays and lesbians actually takes away rights from everyone else because of a “legislative error,” according to one lawmaker.

Oklahoma State Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, said when the Senate passed Senate Bill 1965 on March 10, it eliminated hate crime protections for race and religion.

The bill states local law enforcement agencies should not enforce any sections of federal law under hate crimes statutes listed under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245 unless they are in correlation with Oklahoma’s hate crimes laws.

But the protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes, which passed Congress last year, are not listed under Section 245, but Section 249

“The bill in its current form doesn’t take away rights from gays and lesbians,” Rice said. “It takes away rights for religion and race.”

Hate Crimes: Get Ready For Pointless Grandstanding

President Obama hasn't even signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act yet, but right-wing activists are already "challenging" it ... or at least their warped version of it.

Here is the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission vowing to defy the legislation:

"The fact the hate bill had to be passed in such an unscrupulous and cynical manner (attaching it to the Defense Authorization Act) reveals the depth of President Obama's commitment to a radical, anti-Christian agenda. He will stop at nothing to undermine the will of the majority of Americans to pay back militant homosexual activists who raised millions of dollars for his campaign and worked to get him elected."

"To sign the bill in the Rose Garden is another slap in the face and shows the level of contempt President Obama has for the majority of Americans who oppose the "homosexualization" of marriage and public education."

"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission will soon be announcing its plans, along with other leading pro-family groups, to defy, counter and challenge this unconstitutional attack on our religious liberty."

And here is Gordon Klingenschmitt daring Obama to prosecute him:

In other words, A) pastors may quote the Bible publicly if their "intention" is the free exercise of religion or speech, but B) pastors may not quote the Bible publicly if their "intention" is to conspire with listeners to commit an act of violence. This begs the question, if the pastor never announces whether the unspoken "intention" of his heart is A or B, how can any prosecutor, judge, or jury know whether the pastor's secret thoughts intended A) free exercise or B) conspiracy? Without revealing the secret intention of my own heart, whether A or B, I hereby publicly quote both Romans 1:32 and Leviticus 20:13:

Romans 1:32 -- "Men with men working that which is unseemly...who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death."

Leviticus 20:13 -- "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

I further invite President Barack Obama, as the chief law enforcement official of America, to discern the secret thoughts and intentions of my heart, and to prosecute me for conspiracy or inciting the violent crimes of others who might read my words and act upon them, if he dares to think he knows or can prove my motives were not pursuant to the free exercise of religion or speech.

Of course, neither CADC or Klingenschmitt nor anybody else is going to be prosecuted for speaking out or "defying" this and they know it.  After all, the legislation expressly protects free speech and religious freedom:

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this division shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual's expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual's membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

(5) FIRST AMENDMENT- Nothing in this division, or an amendment made by this division, shall be construed to diminish any rights under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

(6) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this division shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution of the United States does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

But just because the legislation poses no threat to their religious freedom or right to free speech, amazingly that is not going to stop some on the Right from trying to use the legislation to turn paint themselves as martyrs.

Respecting the Troops By Voting Against the Defense Appropriation

Back when George W. Bush was president, any Democrat in Congress who voted against any defense appropriation bill was immediately accused of hating our troops and endangering their lives.

But times have changed apparently:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are voting against the House/Senate fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill — because it contains hate crimes provisions designed to protect gays and lesbians.

Boehner, speaking at his weekly press conference Thursday, said the inclusion of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the defense bill was "an abuse of power" by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sought to punish offenders for what they thought — and not what they did.

He accused the speaker of pursuing her social agenda "on the backs" of the troops.

GOP Whip Eric Cantor is also a no, saying that the legislation constitutes classifying a new group of "thought crimes."

Not surprisingly, the Right has seized upon the idea that voting against this appropriations bill is a way to show support for the troops:

As FRC has said countless times, this provision would be devastating to free speech and religious freedom. Other laws that have passed under the guise of "hate crimes" have been the first step toward silencing pastors and Christians who speak out against homosexuality. Please join with us in asking Congress to respect our servicemen and women and vote no on "hate crimes" as part of the defense authorization bill!

Concerned Women for America makes a similar claim:

"The Defense Authorization bill should fund our national defense. Period. This 'hate crimes' provision grants special rights to certain political groups and could give cover to criminal behavior. This exploitation of a bill to fund our national defense shamelessly places homosexual groups' demands equal to or more important than our military," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America.

"'Hate crime' laws unduly expand the federal government. These crimes are already fully prosecuted by the states. 'Hate crime' laws allow prosecution for the same act twice, violating the Constitutional protection against Double Jeopardy. It creates a class of 'special' preferred victims, denying equal protection to other victims. It could cover every kind of sexual behavior, granting protected status even for pedophiles. And homosexual activists admit the whole effort is a scam to raise money and political power," Wright noted.

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