If you want to catch debate on the Hate Crimes bill (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592), it begins at 10:15 AM Eastern. It should be on C-SPAN. The vote will occur around 1pm. Please drop in comments about what’s going on if you’re watching.

* * *

HRC has a great round-up article on some of the desperate tactics the Right has brought out about this bill, including what we’ve blogged about here.

In recent weeks, religious right leaders have been caught outright lying about the hate crimes bill: claiming that no federal hate crimes law yet exists (it does, has for 40 years and already includes them (i.e., people of faith)) and that the proposed amendment to the hate crimes law would criminalize hate speech (it does not). Some of these same leaders have also been caught disseminating the anti-gay works of a white-supremacist filmmaker. And just last week, the head of the Family Research Council invoked the Virginia Tech victims to argue against the hate crimes bill.

…”It’s no surprise the religious right is so concerned about hate speech – for them, hate appears to be a cottage industry,” Solmonese added. “But they have nothing to fear. Even after the hate crimes legislation is passed, the religious right will continue to have the federally protected right to preach hatred from the pulpit and disseminate the videos of white supremacists.

“The religious right’s attempts to derail hate crimes legislation and block equality for all Americans are about as predictable as the sun rising each day,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “There are two differences this year from past years. First, the American people have demonstrated they have no tolerance for the right wing’s divisive agenda and will hold them accountable for playing wedge politics across this country. Second, it’s clear that the right wing understands that the tides are against them because their tactics to stop hate crimes legislation have become more desperate and disgusting each day. Instead of engaging in a civil debate on the merits of this bill, they have instead chosen to spread lies and embrace white supremacists and hate groups. It is unconscionable that these groups could use the memory of Virginia Tech, one of the greatest tragedies in American history, to twist and contort the truth about this bill.”

Read the rest and you’ll see why we need this bill to pass.

The fundies have been flooding Congressional offices with emails, faxes and calls opposing this bill making all sorts of ludicrous claims that would lead to the jailing of “Christians” because they hate gays. They’ve gone over the edge, claiming that what they call “sexual orientations” is what the bill is about, listing sex acts citing feces-eating, bestiality, and necrophilia (as if these are acts about homosexuality) as what is in store for the nation if the bill passes.

Judy Shepard has an editiorial up, Thought crimes? Think again. A snippet after the jump.

Claims that the bill would punish preaching or other ways of speaking out against homosexuality ring particularly hollow because the legislation was specifically crafted to prevent that.

Two separate provisions make clear that speech unrelated to the violent crime under consideration could not be used to prove a hate crime. This is about violent actions.

As Senator Gordon Smith has said so eloquently, in this life, there is no greater tragedy that can befall a family than losing a child.

But having people play politics with legislation designed to help turn back the tide of violence that took Matthew from us adds insult to the injury in a way that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

* It’s all about the sex
* Former AFA staffer Joe Murray smokes the religious right on hate crimes legislation
* Quote of the day (Don Wildmon)
* More lies from the anti-hate crimes legislation crowd

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding