Claim Hate Crime Laws Hinder Free Speech

Black Churchies v. Reality

A group of conservative black preachers have banded together to take on comprehensive hate crime laws.

As the Senate gears up to debate The Matthew Shepard law, shit-stirring Reverend Ken Hutcherson and his peers have placed the above ad, which reads:

Christian clergymen and people of faith are making a stand today for religious liberty. WE OPPOSE S.1105, “The Matthew Shepard Act.” We believe prosecutors and anti-Christian groups will use loop holes in this proposed legislation to muzzle the church. Unnecessary lawsuits will bring a chilling effect to the free speech and religious liberty of our churches and of our members.

It goes on:

We understand more clearly than most that racially motivated violence can be a form of internal terrorism. The Black Community needs a free puplits. Indeed, ALL Americans need free pulpit. We urge Senate to to avoid misguided compassion take away America’s most basic freedoms – our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience and our freedom to exercise religion.

Sounds to us like they’ve taken a page from Family Research Council. And, what’s more, lost their consciences.

Of course, it’s not surprising to hear black churches speaking out against homosexuality. As we’ve discussed, such congregations have a powerful voice in the culture wars. This ad’s logic, however, can certainly be described as “surprising,” especially because, as Box Turtle points out, black people are included in hate crimes laws, yet still find themselves on the receiving end of hate speech:

Despite enjoying hate crime protections for a number of years, the African-American community continues to be the target of constitutionally protected hate speech whenever the Klan wins approval to hold rallies on courthouse squares and statehouse lawns. Nothing in the existing hate crime laws has succeeded in muzzling their First Amendment rights to free speech.

There are at least thirty seven racist Christian Identity groups active across America. Some even operate radio broadcasts and “prison ministries.”

Indeed. Hate crime laws do not and will not hinder free speech, particularly with regard to religion. Those who say the laws will are either idiots, over-zealous, blinded by discrimination or all of the above.

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  • PJ

    It amazes me how the same people who scream “Don’t take away my rights” are the first people who are willing to take the rights away from others. This is on both sides of the issues.
    No one is taking the pulpits away from these preachers. They are just telling them that inflammatory remarks about other people are not acceptable.
    “The First Ammendment does not protect one from screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes.

    My thought, you can practice any religion you like. You can even preach what you want as long as it does not hurt another person. It is up to you to take responsibility with the First Ammendment and it is an awesome responsiblity. These people are using it to hurt other people. They are being irresponsible. What do you do with a child playing with matches? You take away the matches.

  • dizzyspins

    they’re not idiots or blinded–this is a somewhat savvy way to reframe the arguement against gays. I wonder if the High Impact Leadership COalition would feel if i stood on the sidewalk outside their church, greeting parishoners in a white robe with a pointed white KKK hood covering my head. God bless free speech, right?

  • BillieXX

    Yawn. Conservative black clergy??!?!?! Shocking! Simply shocking. Listen their rhetoric is full of crap but it’s not surprising that these clergy folk would jump on this band-wagon. Now what would be shocking is some attack logic against this noise that isn’t based on some bs tears that some black folk can be as funky on gay stuff as the late Rev. Falwell.

  • nycstudman

    Uncle Toms

  • BillieXX

    Why thank nyc for that racially charged crap. So if they agreed with you they would be Malcolm X’s? Pleeze. They are selling snake oil but resorting to silly logic isn’t going to help folk see they are being taken.

  • Eminent Victorian

    Evidently none of those upstanding citizens knows or cares what the Rev. Dr. King’s widow had to say on the subject of gay rights. I wonder if they’ve even heard of Bayard Rustin? I also wonder how many of them cheat on their wives . . .

  • Markil

    And to think I always thought church attendance was voluntary. When did I miss the legislation that makes attending any church mandatory. Seems to me that if one doesnt like what’s being said, they just get up and leave. Its hard to hear all that terrible hate speech coming from the pulpit when you’re outside.

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