Responding to the Peter: An Open Letter
Peter LaBarbera, who you may know from such antipathetic organizations such as Illinois Family Institute, Americans For Truth, Concerned Women for America, and Real Civil Rights Illinois (none of which really deserve links), has issued a challenge to “Homosexual activists.” His challenge, should we choose to accept it; “Would you support laws censoring our free speech?”
I chose to answer his call and be as courteous as I could. Letter after the flip.
I’d like to address the Hate Crimes legislation, renamed the Matthew Shepherd Act with you. It would seem to me, that a lot of people on your side of the fence would like to propagate the belief that simply adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the existing Federal hate crimes laws on the books, would have the effect of “silencing” Christians, or worse yet, even jailing Christians for their beleifs.
Simply put, Mr. LaBarbera, that’s not true. Nor would I want that to be true. As tempting as it may be to some, the Constitituion of the United States, which governs all men, women, and children of the United States, and those within her borders would cancel such a law out. Just as the KKK is allowed to march, and speak, and have websites, (I’m not comparing the two because there are soooo many differences to begin to name, but it’s a good analogy because they are not censored by the existing hate crimes legislation) Christians will be able to do the same, i.e. march, protest, have websites and so forth. Would I like to see groups like IFI, AFTAH, FRC, FOF, AFA, CWA, WBC, censored? Absolutely not! That would be un-American. What I would like to see is for the Matthew Shepherd Act to pass to prevent law-enforcement personell from turning a blind eye to crimes committed against gay and lesbian Americans, as well as those who visit from abroad because of the religious views that law-enforcement officer may have against them.
The argument that “grandma will have less protection than a homosexual” is fallacious and a lie on its face. “Why?” you may ask. Because a crook who beats/robs/kills grandma, usually (though I’ll admit, there really are come crazy people out there) isn’t doing it because he/she hates old women or beleives that old women will rott for eternity, damned to Hell for the simple “sin” of being old and not repenting for her age and praying for forgiveness and for recruiting young people to become older and live the dangerous and often fatal lifestyle of the elderly. Plus, the likeliness that the crime against grandma would garner more attention and more of a public outcry than the theoretical beating/robbing/killing of the young man/woman who had “Faggot” carved in his/her stomach by the assailant, is a lot higher. Even with the added protections for sexual orientation (should it pass) the theoretical swastika spraypainted on the front door of Herb and Mona Blumenstein would get more public investigation and demand than the theoretical “Die FAGGOTS” burned into the grass from the kerosene poured onto it in the middle of the night of Mary Mottles, Patricia Lass and their two adopted children’s home.
Am I playing the victim card? You bet! Why? Because victims of hate, whether religous based intolerance, or prejudice, or outright bigotry really exist. Why do they exist? Because of the claim of absolute Truth by anyone seems to automatically give that person the “right” to cast stones of judgment on other people who may think differently, or look differently. Hate Crimes Laws won’t prevent you from casting figurative stones, but the literal ones may just get you in trouble! It’ll just make it more difficult for people to turn words and beleif into actions of violence/vandalism against the other person by placing stricter penalties for those actions. Action is a lot different than thoughts and words alone. When put together these can make for deadly combination.
I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully having a civilized discussion. I know I may not be able to change your mind, but I hope that you can at least look at things from another angle.
Wishing you a great day,
Related: An Open Letter to Lou Sheldon