Joe Murray, former staff attorney and columnist for the American Family Association, has a great piece up at The Bulletin, “Putting The ‘Hate’ In Hate Crimes.” He takes on the bible-thumping bigots who hide behind hysterical, patently false scare tactics, raising the fear meter about the bill criminalizing freedom of speech while asking for a handout.

He’s talking about the usual suspects your read about here, such as Lou Sheldon, who unleashed an incredible poster and e-alert against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA), which the Traditional Values Coalition honcho refers to as the “Homosexual/Drag Queen Hate Crimes Bill.” Joe blasts it:

Pushing aside the fact that such a poster is more rhetoric than reality, is it not disturbing to all people, Christians included, that a hatred of gays has led to using the image of Christ in a political poster? Is this not using the Lord’s name in vain?

How could a group purporting Christian values denigrate the image of their, and my, savior, by placing Him in the same category as Willie Horton? When did it become acceptable to turn a man who preached “love thy neighbor” into a biblical billy club? Christ is a source of salvation, not spin.

This is how far separated Christian activists, possessed by a deep seeded hatred of homosexuals, have become from Christian principles. It is now deemed appropriate, and considering the source of such behavior, “Christian-like,” for activists to pit gays against the victims of brutal slayings and make a mockery of Christ’s image to defeat a secular hate crimes law.

And how low can these people go? How about trying to toss in the massacre at Virginia Tech as a fundraising, anti-gay tool:

Just when it was thought that the hate crimes debate had hit rock bottom, some pro-family organizations opted to capitalize on tragedy and politicize the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech to score political points.

“Under this legislation, the crimes at Virginia Tech, which some are calling one of the deadliest rampages in U.S. history, would not be punishable to the level of these so-called ‘hate-crimes’,” wrote Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC), in an email alert sent out to FRC supporters. Perkins’ analysis, however, was far from over.

Explaining why the hate crimes bill is not good for America, Perkins wrote, “If the House approves H.R. 1592 and the Senate follows, a homosexual would have more federal protection under the law than the 32 victims of last week’s massacre.”

Words cannot describe how disheartening such a comment, from a man who champions the values of Christianity, is.

And he doesn’t let his former employers off the hook either.

This debate, though, is not a principled debate on the legitimacy of hate crimes; it is a debate that seeks to pit gays against Christians. It is a debate that seeks to separate, not unite, a debate that seeks to deny truth with tension. For proof, look no further than the American Family Association (AFA).

“Let’s face it,” wrote AFA founder Don Wildmon in an email, “homosexual and transgender activists know full well that the church is one of last bastions in Western culture that has yet to cave in to the demands of a radical agenda that seeks to redefine fundamental concepts such as marriage, family and gender.” There you have it – no middle ground can be had and a scorched earth policy must proceed against the gays to protect Christendom.

Go read the rest.

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You can read my prior interviews with Joe about his history with the AFA and their hypocritical tactics here and here. Also, I will have part 3  coming up soon — Joe discusses his views about abortion, contraception, and the open bigotry against Catholics that is tolerated in some circles of the evangelical community — even as they take in Catholic dollars.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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