Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Fred Phelps comes to Ann Arbor

25. October 2005 • Matt Hollerbach
Email this article

From U-M’s office of LGBT Affairs:

Friends:
As you may or may not have heard, Fred Phelps is coming to town. Phelps is a minister with Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, who (very loudly) preaches an anti-gay message. He has made appearances at Matthew Shepard’s funeral and at the funerals of veterans of the Iraq war.

see the press release here (PDF)
He also manages the website godhatesfags.com.

Fred Phelps will be coming to Ann Arbor on Saturday, November 19, to protest outside of the Mendelssohn Theatre, where The Laramie Project will be performing.

We invite you to join other LGBTQ student organization leaders, members of the UM LGBTAIQ community and others, to help plan a unified, peaceful and powerful response to Phelps’ message of hate and homophobia.

Phelps Organizing Meeting
Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Henderson Room – Michigan League

The goals of the meeting: – dialogue about what type of response is necessary and appropriate – plan our response – check-in with each other as a community

There are a lot of ideas floating around out there, and this will be your chance to voice those ideas and talk with other community members about unified action. We will leave the meeting with a game plan. I encourage you to join us. Join our voice and prove that we are, indeed, a non-violent community…

I hope to see you there….

Best,
Gabe Javier
Coordinator, LambdaGrads



  1. Last time I remember this crew came to town, they got pied, their signs spray painted pink and the Aut Bar held a fundraiser that collected pledges for every hour they held their hateful signs up outside the bar (sounds familiar). Some ideas…
       —Scott Trudeau    Oct. 25 '05 - 11:44AM    #
  2. The Aut Bar raised a tidy sum too! See the article on tolerance.org about it.
       —Juliew    Oct. 25 '05 - 12:03PM    #
  3. Fred Phelps also runs:

    http://www.godhatesamerica.com
    http://www.godhatescanada.com
    http://www.godhatessweden.com

    The first two I can understand, but any god who hates Sweden is no god of mine.
       —Jack Gold    Oct. 25 '05 - 12:12PM    #
  4. Assault and vandalism (i.e., throwing pies and defacing signs) will feel satisfying, but they don’t necessarily present the best face for the movement. And this is a fight for the minds that are sitting on the fence, and such acts are unlikely to provide a pathway to our side. And such acts certain violate the goal of a “peaceful and powerful response”.

    Can someone help me with the acroynms? Am I right that LGBTQ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer”? And then what about LGBTAIQ?

    Thanks!
       —H.S.    Oct. 25 '05 - 12:15PM    #
  5. I’ve seen the Q stand for queer or questioning… Perhaps the AIQ is “and in question”?
       —FAA    Oct. 25 '05 - 01:01PM    #
  6. I’m pretty sure that the Q stands for “questioning”.
       —eston    Oct. 25 '05 - 01:25PM    #
  7. I think the “I” usually means “intersex”. I’ve sometimes also seen two Qs, for both “queer” and “questioning”.
       —Murph.    Oct. 25 '05 - 02:01PM    #
  8. I would think the best response would simply be to ignore this ignoramus. He wants a yelling match. He wants to raise a stink. Why give him what he wants?
       —Rick    Oct. 25 '05 - 02:23PM    #
  9. I’ve got it on anecdotal authority that Fred Phelps’ church derives most of its operating budget from litigating anyone who gets in a confrontation with its members during one of their protests.
       —Dan    Oct. 25 '05 - 02:46PM    #
  10. There are many cases of peaceful protests to Phelps—most have been. I expect this is exactly what will happen here. Esp. with the leadership of the LGBTA office, I doubt it will be a shouting match.

    It is very important that they not simply be ignored—they will be harassing and scaring the audience for this production, and a positive message is crucial both to the cause in general but also for the play.
       —Matt Hollerbach    Oct. 25 '05 - 02:51PM    #
  11. The Laramie Project is a hell of a play, so if you haven’t seen it, please go.

    And how about we borrow the techniques of the Iraqi insurgents and blow Phelps up on a bridge before he even gets to town? Do it as he comes up 55 through Bloomington-Normal and they’ll blame it on those radicals at Illinois State.

    And finally, in a recent issue, the editors at Bitch magazine insist that Queer is more inclusive than Bi because it recognizes the nuance of the sexual continuum, while bi only recognizes the poles. So if we buy into the assumption that we’re all somewhere, including the transgendered, then can’t we all just be Queer and drop that freight-train long, fucked-up jumble of an acronym? If it gets any longer it’ll have multiple copies of every letter.
       —Parking Structure Dude!    Oct. 25 '05 - 03:15PM    #
  12. I think the LGBTAIQ? people have Fred Phelps on their payroll. There is no real Christian group that will have anything to do with him. However, wherever he goes, a large group of LGBTAIQ? people show up as well as an enormous amount of press so that it gets continuous, repeated exposure that links Christians with hate speech. The whole thing is a sham. The technique is called using an agent provocateur. Create the problem so that your previously designed agenda can be enacted. Phelps is an idiot and should be ignored, as well as any counter protest.

    The Matthew Shepard case received national attention when it was believed and promoted that he was beaten and left for dead because is only “crime” was being a homosexual. HBO produced The Laramie Project, NBC ran The Matthew Shepard Story, and MTV followed with Matthew’s Murder. Unfortunately, the two idiots who committed the crime did so to get his money and have since recanted their initial alibi and have a real time eyewitness to attest to the real reason. But the truth doesn’t fit anyone’s agenda.

    Then there’s the lack of mainstream media attention on the Jesse Dirkhising case, the 13-year-old middle school student from Rogers, Arkansas, who was tied up and repeatedly sodomized by two homosexuals until he died. There has been a near blackout in the press on this story. No movie of the week. No HBO special. No mention on MTV.

    In summary, the media caters to your propaganda but most persons are smart enough to see through it’s duplicity.
       —ANON    Oct. 25 '05 - 04:13PM    #
  13. Phelps is an anti-semite as well:

    http://www.adl.org/special_reports/wbc/wbc_on_jews.asp
       —Jared Goldberg    Oct. 25 '05 - 04:21PM    #
  14. ANON, you’re not making any sense. You say most people have the intelligence to recognize and see past propaganda, but aren’t able to separate the ridiculous hate-mongering of Phelps from all christians? Anyone smart enough to do the former, can certainly handle the latter – so which of your contradictory statements did you intend us to believe?
       —FAA    Oct. 25 '05 - 04:45PM    #
  15. Well Murph, if that’s the case, what’s the A?
       —eston    Oct. 25 '05 - 04:52PM    #
  16. FAA-

    The media and the LBGTAIQ? people continually link Christians and hate. Despite the continued repetition, most people don’t attribute those characteristics to true Christians. Most people do separate the ridiculous hate-mongering of Phelps from all Christians. What seems contradictory to you?
       —ANON    Oct. 25 '05 - 06:12PM    #
  17. one of my favorite web sites—god hates shrimp—is NOT run by fred phelps!
       —peter honeyman    Oct. 25 '05 - 06:52PM    #
  18. It’s been suggested that the A and I perhaps stand for ‘asexual’ and ‘intersex(ed)’, respectively. The Q is probably for ‘questioning’.
       —[libcat]    Oct. 25 '05 - 07:44PM    #
  19. Asexual? That’s a new one. I assume they just have no sexual drive or preference whatsoever?

    Unfortunately, I can’t get the thought out of my head that they reproduce by splitting in two.
       —eston    Oct. 25 '05 - 08:12PM    #
  20. I think A stands for ally
       —anonymous    Oct. 25 '05 - 09:31PM    #
  21. I think you’ve got it on the dot, Anonymous. That makes a lot more sense.
       —eston    Oct. 25 '05 - 10:20PM    #
  22. i asked google …

    Did you mean: BUGTRAQ?

    no, i did not mean bugtraq. ok?
       —peter honeyman    Oct. 25 '05 - 11:01PM    #
  23. will his entire clan be coming from lovely kansas as well? i had the distinct pleasure of speaking with one of his grandnephews (or whichever product of incest he happened to be) on the diag. it was a lovely discourse.
       —nona    Oct. 26 '05 - 07:47AM    #
  24. “In summary, the media caters to your propaganda but most persons are smart enough to see through it’s duplicity.”

    What would that propoganda be? That gay and lesbians are attacked simply because they of their sexual orientation?
       —John Q    Oct. 26 '05 - 10:21AM    #
  25. The propaganda is that Christians, in general, hate gays and that their hatred and/or homophobia incites people to harm gays. People are randomly attacked every day. When a heterosexual is attacked they don’t claim that the reason they were targeted was because they are heterosexual. However, one homosexual in Wyoming is attacked for a reason completely separate from their sexual orientation, and the incident is used to lobby to pass hate crimes legislation nationwide and to consider homosexual persons as a specially protected class. In Canada today, anti-discrimination laws prohibit Christians from telling others, in public, that homosexual sex is considered sin. Why? Christians also tell the millions of persons who are living together outside of marriage that it is sin. I don’t know of any unmarried heterosexual couples who claim this incites others to physically harm them. Yet Katie Couric on NBC claimed Dr. Dobson, of Focus on the Family, a psychologist, is responsible for Matt Shephard’s death.

    The Federal reports of crime that are compiled each year document all categories of crime. Homosexuals are far less likely to be the victim of violent crime than heterosexuals. When homosexuals are the victim of violent crime, it is most often committed by another homosexual. Homosexual partners have a far greater rate of spousal abuse than others. The largest category of crimes against homosexuals is “name-calling”. I’ve read that Jeff Montgomery (Triangle Foundation?) is keeping his own list now, because he claims the Feds are underreporting. My guess is the Feds underreport everyone.

    In short, Christians don’t attack homosexuals and very few homosexuals are attacked by anyone simply because of their sexual orientation. I don’t have the reports in my hand, but if I recall, there are only several hundred attacks in the entire nation each year with the majority being entirely verbal. Hardly a crime wave in need of Federal legislation.
       —ANON    Oct. 26 '05 - 11:58AM    #
  26. ANON—i get you.

    but this:

    “However, one homosexual in Wyoming is attacked for a reason completely separate from their sexual orientation,”

    and this: “very few homosexuals are attacked by anyone simply because of their sexual orientation.”

    are laughably ignorant statements.
       —Matthew Hollerbach    Oct. 26 '05 - 12:37PM    #
  27. Sounds like the same arguments made against federal anti-lynching laws in the 30s.
       —John Q    Oct. 26 '05 - 12:50PM    #
  28. For some historical flavor, replace “colored” with homosexuals and you’ll see that ANON and 1920s opponents of federal anti-lynching laws speak the same language:

    ” I think in the last few years, as I have tried to read the newspapers on this subject, I have found about as many incidents pointed out in the North as there are in the South on the racial basis, about as many white people killing colored people under circumstances which, in the South would be called lynchings, because that is the popular propaganda way to refer to them when they occur in the South. When they occur in the North, they are “murders.” . . .

    Now, I feel, therefore, that not only is this law unconstitutional, but I feel furthermore that the incidence of lynching has been so greatly on the decline that presently it is almost like the dodo bird, something entirely out of the practical realm of modern-day activity. And the few cases that do occur, most of them are not what most people think about when they think of lynchings. They are just murder. . . . ”
       —John Q    Oct. 26 '05 - 01:02PM    #
  29. Please, I don’t want to be laughably ignorant – help enlighten me. How many homosexuals were murdered or lynched last year based only on their sexual orientation?
       —ANON    Oct. 26 '05 - 01:51PM    #
  30. When homosexuals are the victim of violent crime, it is most often committed by another homosexual.

    How is this “statistic” calculated? On many police reports there are check boxes for race, but none have a check box for “Gay” or “Lesbian”...

    Homosexual partners have a far greater rate of spousal abuse than others.

    Homosexual relationships have no legal standing in the vast majority of states. So again, how is this concluded?

    Unless the feds have some sort of radio detection and ranging device which can detect members of the LGBTQ community one must conclude these “statistics” to be fictitious.
       —FAA    Oct. 26 '05 - 02:47PM    #
  31. “However, one homosexual in Wyoming is attacked for a reason completely separate from their sexual orientation, and the incident is used to lobby to pass hate crimes legislation nationwide and to consider homosexual persons as a specially protected class.”

    Um, ok, except that is not what happened. Matthew Shepard was picked up, beaten, tortured, tied to a fence, and left for dead because he was gay (the two culprits claimed it was because Matthew was “hitting” on them)

    As for federal hate crime legislation, much of it was initiated before Matthew Shepard’s murder.

    So, ANON, before you go off spouting your facts, you might want to check them first.
       —Jared Goldberg    Oct. 26 '05 - 03:28PM    #
  32. In 1998 Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old gay college student from Laramie, Wyoming, was whipped severely with a .357-Magnum pistol and then tied to a remote fence and left to die. Aaron McKinney and Russell A. Henderson were charged with the murder. Both confessed. Both are currently serving double life sentences for the crime. Henderson pleaded guilty, but McKinney’s lawyers hoped to use a “gay panic” defense. According to a 1999 article in The Denver Post by Susan Estrich, the attorneys claimed their client was provoked to kill Shepard because of his own homophobia and should therefore be guilty of a lesser crime. “He was trying to reduce his culpability from murder to manslaughter by establishing that he was provoked to act” to defend against sexual advances by Shepard. The judge refused to allow the defense and the jury convicted McKinney of felony murder.

    The day Shepard died, President Clinton pressed Congress to pass hate-crime legislation that specifically favored homosexuals. As for federal hate crime legislation, Sen. Kennedy is currently trying to get sexual orientation added as a protected class and has tried twice in the past month to attach this as a rider to another bill to accomplish this by stealth.

    On Nov. 26, 2004 20/20 aired “The Matthew Shepard Story: Secrets of a Murder,” The premise of the report by Elizabeth Vargas was that McKinney attacked Shepard during a robbery under the influence of crystal meth and that the murder had nothing to do with the victim’s sexuality. Vargas reported that Shepard’s friends promoted the hate crime theory in the days following the attack. The report suggested that McKinney himself was bisexual.

    She also suggested that Shepard and McKinney were not strangers, but that they knew each other from Laramie’s underground drug scene. Vargas asks McKinney directly if he killed Shepard because he was gay. “No, I did not,” he told Vargas. “I would say it wasn’t a hate crime. All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him.” Kristen Price, McKinney’s girlfriend at the time of the murder told Vargas she made up the story about McKinney’s homophobic rage. “I don’t think it was a hate crime at all,” she said. “I never did.”
       —ANON    Oct. 26 '05 - 04:58PM    #
  33. well, well, “k. leach” strikes again.
    welcome back, hatemongerer!
       —WTF    Oct. 27 '05 - 12:50AM    #
  34. “Please, I don’t want to be laughably ignorant – help enlighten me. How many homosexuals were murdered or lynched last year based only on their sexual orientation?”

    I’m sure you’re not that slow so don’t play it like you are. My point is that you use the same language and tactics that opponents of anti-lynching laws used during the Jim Crow era to block legislation to make it a federal crime to engage in lynching (it doesn’t really happen that often, it’s just based on propoganda, gays attack straights too, why make a federal offense of it, etc.). They were wrong then and you are wrong now.
       —John Q    Oct. 27 '05 - 12:44PM    #
  35. John Q,

    I think your example is illustrative. Why was it necessary to make it a Federal crime to engage in lynching when it was already against the law to murder? If the murderers of Matthew Shepard were both convicted and now each serving double life sentences, why is it necessary to pass a hate crimes law that would give homosexuals not equal treatment, but an elevated status as a protected class? Why discriminate in sentencing based on the sexual orientation of the victim? If we want to put an end to all forms of discrimination shouldn’t we begin by treating all people equally under the law?
       —ANON    Oct. 27 '05 - 03:09PM    #
  36. Here’s a historical hint – people weren’t charged or convicted of any crime when lynchings took place. Sometimes the Federal Gov’t. needs to step in to enforce our constitutionally protected rights when the locals can’t or won’t. Remember, the 14th Amendment gives Congress this power.

    Your deliberately misinterpreting hate crimes law. It doesn’t differentiate on whether your gay or not. Nobody gets a “special” status. It simply recognizes that those crimes are especially pernicious and deserving of extra punishment.
       —JohnQ    Oct. 27 '05 - 11:09PM    #
  37. John,

    Your hint still doesn’t make sense to me. If people were being murdered and no one was prosecuting the persons responsible – how will creating a new law with a new name correct this situation? Wouldn’t it be better to enforce the laws on the books, than to create more laws that will conceivably be enforced to the same or lesser extent than the previous ones?

    I think maybe you should check into what hate crimes laws are. The legal definitions are that they create designated “protected classes” of people who are subsequently treated different under the law. That is the intent and purpose. Maybe one of the lawyers who read this site can explain it better?
       —ANON    Oct. 28 '05 - 09:10AM    #
  38. The difference is that the federal laws could be enforced in federal court when the state courts can’t or won’t.
       —John Q    Oct. 28 '05 - 01:06PM    #
  39. “In Canada today, anti-discrimination laws prohibit Christians from telling others, in public, that homosexual sex is considered sin.”

    No. Cite the law.

    And did you watch the 20/20 special? It was weak-ass reporting, full of conjecture and biased accounts from friends of the two men.
    Further, the reason for protected classes with regard to hate crimes is that we have a societal interest in making sure that some crimes have stricter punishments in the hope of detering acts that we deem truly injurious to our social character.

    Finally, cite some statistics or leave it alone. You’re not convincing anyone with vague allusions to greater domestic abuse rates or violent crime rates because there’s nothing to accept or critique. Also, posting as anonymous doesn’t help your case. Stand up for your views. Hell, TJ does and I respect him for that, even if I think he’s wrong nearly every time he puts fingers to keyboard.
       —js    Oct. 31 '05 - 02:31PM    #
  40. The law in Canada is Bill C-250, Sec 319 which was passed to include sexual orientation on Sept 17, 2003.

    In the United States, the Federal Statistics on Hate Crime for the year 2003 (the last year for which statistics are available) reports as follows:

    1225 reported incidents in which the bias is homosexuality

    605 assaults, 431 verbal intimidations, and the remaining number mostly crimes against property—- for the entire country for the entire year. As I said, hardly a crime wave in need of Federal legislation. Assault is already against the law and is enforced in every state in our nation.

    And lastly, what makes you think “js” is any less anonymous than “anon”?
       —ANON    Oct. 31 '05 - 04:20PM    #
  41. Following your logic, we don’t need anti-description laws for religious-based bias either. And there doesn’t seem like there’s THAT many race-based crimes. So we should throw out all of those laws too?
       —John Q    Oct. 31 '05 - 06:10PM    #
  42. I think I agree with you. (If you mean anti-discrimination laws.) It should be against the law to assault anyone. The punishment should not differ based on a victim’s religion, race, sexual preference, SES or any other of the thousands of potential variables. Assault (murder, rape, theft, etc.) is wrong and should be punished. One class of victims is not of any more valued than any other – we are all human.
       —ANON    Oct. 31 '05 - 08:06PM    #
  43. Federal hate crimes laws follow in the tradition of the civil rights laws in which the killers of the Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman. In that case, state prosecutors would not convict the men of murdering the three civil rights workers. Thus, federal legislation allowed for federal prosecution, even of a lesser crime, so that at least a little justice could prevail.

    It’s the same concept. Federal hate crimes are designed to A) punish offenders if state or local law enforcement and prosecutors are unwilling to fully convict B) add another deterent to hate itself.

    ANON, your whole “one class of victims is not of any more value than any other – we are all human” argument is falsely turning these laws on their head; they are designed because state and local law enforcement would not treat crimes against minorities in the same way it treated crimes against others.

    js has a got a point: don’t post as anonymous. That’s cowardly.
       —Jared Goldberg    Oct. 31 '05 - 08:35PM    #
  44. So the assumption is that if you commit a crime against a member of a Federally protected class, then you are motivated by hate. But if you commit the same crime against an individual who is not lucky enough to be included in a protected class, then its not possible to be motivated by hate? Isn’t hate an element in all violent crimes against others? And who determines the motivation – the victim? And how is that determined?

    Do you really think these laws deter hate? Do you think those two sociopaths in Wyoming stopped and considered whether they should refrain from beating another human and leaving him for dead because of the potential longer sentencing due to Hate Crime laws? Can you think that anyone who would even consider murder or violence who might also be restrained by a hate crimes law?

    Often, the same people who are opposed to the death penalty because it doesn’t deter crime, do support hate crimes laws because they believe they will deter crime. Is that true for you?

    Do you know of any state in the union that does not prosecute crimes against minorities today? Then why are some still trying to expand these laws today?
       —ANON    Nov. 1 '05 - 10:29AM    #
  45. I never said I believed it would deter hate crimes. I just said that was the idea.

    But, hate crimes legislation does not produce protected classes. I think that’s your biggest misconception about the whole thing.
       —Jared Goldberg    Nov. 1 '05 - 03:14PM    #
  46. “Can you think that anyone who would even consider murder or violence who might also be restrained by a hate crimes law?”

    The law isn’t just about restraint of crime. It’s about punishment and the message that society wants to send to criminals, victims and society at large through the punishment imposed. We treat crimes based on racial bias more harshly because they are much more corrosive to the fabric of society.

    If you can’t see the distinction, I think you need to go brush up on about 230 years of American history to understand the role that race has played in our society. Then you’ll understand how crime based on race is considerable more damaging to our society than crime based on greed or jealousy or passion.
       —John Q    Nov. 1 '05 - 05:25PM    #
  47. Anon— My name’s Josh Steichmann. You can find me in the site directory, and my gmail address is up there.

    And as for C-250, I take it that you just googled and read the Focus on Family “But what if I just say that I hate homos? Why should that be illegal?” agitprop, and ignored the salient points of the ordinance. First off, the primary mode of conviction is if the speech is meant to provoke violent action. I know, I know, you really do think you should be able to tell people to kill homos. But I can see how those homos might feel, y’know, uncomfortable. A second part of the statute states that a person can be convicted if they openly promote hatred against a specific group. “A-hah,” you say. “That proves it!” But, again, if you had read the law, the statute also states that a person may not be convicted if the speaker has “in good faith, he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject.”

    Further, the most commonly cited case regarding this law (that of a newspaper ad with citations from Leviticus) was actually a citation under provincial human rights law, and not under C250.

    Finally, your inveigh against hate crimes laws under the argument that “all crimes are equal” and that intent is not part of it (and the laughable assertion that all assaults include hate, which leaves off negligence or financial motives), is undermined by the fact that we already treat different crimes differently based on the mental state of the criminal. That is, for example, the difference between manslaughter and murder (broadly— we can parse the many different degrees of manslaughter if you like).

    So, in conclusion, I think you’re both ignorant and cowardly. Both are things that can be remedied cheaply, and I encourage you to do so.
       —js    Nov. 1 '05 - 10:52PM    #
  48. js – i’ve had it with your BS. I don’t know who you are quoting in your last post but I never said anything like the quotes you attributed to me. Focus on the Family is prohibited from broadcasting in Canada when the topic is homosexuality. His offense is not asking others to kill homosexuals, it’s having former homosexuals talk about changing their behaviors. Calling homosexuality a sin is perceived to be inciting hatred in Canada. You are not a truthful person.
       —ANON    Nov. 2 '05 - 09:43AM    #
  49. ANON: You silly monkey, I’m using a rhetorical device. And the “Aha, that proves it,” are the only quotes I “attributed” to you.

    The rest of your argument is specious too: Focus on Family is prevented from broadcasting in Canada by what court decision? Noting that they willfully misinterpret the law and provide incorrect citations of its application, I’m afraid that I don’t place much credence in their ability to accuratly present the issue. In short, they’re liars.
    You can look up the law for yourself, or go to the religioustolerance.org site and see their take on it. They have the full text, including the exceptions, and do a decent job of parsing it.

    I don’t mind that you hate and fear homosexuals irrationally, but I do mind that you’re wrong about both the law and the theory of the law. And, you’ll note, I gave you my name. How about yours, coward?
       —js    Nov. 2 '05 - 09:54AM    #
  50. That’s what I like about this site. The written record is there for all to see. Anyone can read all the posts to determine what has been written in the past, who is being truthful, and who is resorting to name-calling and hatred.

    I hate nothing but sin, fear no one but God.
       —ANON    Nov. 2 '05 - 10:31AM    #
  51. Anon: Yeah, they’ll see how you refused to give your name, how your facts were wrong about the Canadian law, how your rationale for removing hate crime laws is inconsistent with American legal tradition, how you refused to answer cogent points, and how you sulked away once you were rebutted. These responses may stay up forever, but I wouldn’t be proud of yours.
       —js    Nov. 2 '05 - 02:19PM    #
  52. If a cognent point is made I will happily respond. Calling me a silly monkey, ignorant, or repeating misinformation is not a rebuttal and is not deserving of a response. Neither of our names is pertinent to the discussion. You can call me a coward and I will live with that. It’s much easier than sorting through unwanted spam at my personal email address.
       —ANON    Nov. 2 '05 - 04:43PM    #
  53. Ah yes, the pose of the aggrieved. The wounded martyr, trembling before my mighty insults.
    The cogent points: The law does not say what you have put forth. If you don’t believe me, read the law yourself. Your argument against hate crime laws, that all assaults or violent crimes are equal in the eyes of the law, is in willful disregard of all of jurisprudence back to the Greeks. And finally, that you post anonymously because you’re afraid to take credit for your ideas.
    You can continue to pretend that you can’t answer because of the tone of the comments, but I think we both know how hollow that pose is.
       —js    Nov. 2 '05 - 07:13PM    #
  54. I have never stated anywhere that all assaults or violent crimes are equal in the eyes of the law. I said victims of assaults and violent crimes should be treated equally. That’s a significant error in interpretation on your part.

    I have read the laws pertaining to Hate Crimes in both the United States and Canada, which is why my arguments pertain to facts and are not merely emotionally driven opinion as you purport.

    “Hate crime” laws pose a danger to civil liberties in three ways:

    1) They pave the way for suppression of the freedoms of speech, association and religion.
    2) They violate the concept of equal protection under the law.
    3) They introduce the un-American concept of “thought crime,” in which someone’s actions are “more” illegal based on their “perceived” thoughts or beliefs.

    There is no evidence that victims of “hate crimes” are receiving any less protection than victims of other crimes. To suggest otherwise insults the men and women of the nation’s law enforcement community.

    Homosexual activists often exaggerate the incidence of “hate crimes,” which make up less than 1 percent of all crimes. Over the past several years, even with more law enforcement agencies reporting, the number of “hate crimes” based on “sexual orientation” has dropped.

    In 2003, Americans were victimized by approximately 11 million “non-hate” crimes such as muggings, beatings, murders and property crime, such as burglaries, car theft and vandalism. Nearly 1.4 million of the crimes were classified as “violent crimes.”

    By contrast, there were 7,489 “hate crime” incidents, of which 1,225 were attributed to “homosexual” bias. That’s a drop from the 2002 total which itself was less than the 2001 total.

    Meanwhile, homosexual activist groups and law enforcement agencies tracking “gay-on-gay” domestic violence reported 6,523 cases in 2003, up 13 percent from 5,718 in 2002. People involved in homosexual behavior are significantly more likely to be assaulted by another homosexual than to become the victim of a “hate crime.” (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence: 2003 Supplement, An Update from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs,)

    What’s more, the “hate crime” concept is profoundly subjective. According to FBI statistics, 5 five forcible rapes in 2003 were classified as “hate crimes.” Overall, 93,433 forcible rapes were reported in 2003, which means the other 93,428 rapes were not “hate crimes.”

    Activists increasingly invoke such phrases as “hostile speech” and a “climate of violence” to describe pro-family opinion on homosexual issues. The net effect is to reclassify legitimate opinion and free speech as “hate speech” that can be censored.

    Here’s Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a press release blaming conservative Christians for what Foreman claims is a “spike” in “hate crimes” against homosexuals in late 2003 and early 2004:

    The leaders of America’s anti-gay industry are directly responsible for the continuing surge in hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. ... The right went into demonic, anti-gay hyperdrive following the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003. Since then, church pews have been awash in ugly, anti-gay rhetoric and fear-mongering. ... The literal blood of thousands of gay people physically wounded by hatred during 2004 is on the hands of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Tony Perkins and so many others who spew hate for partisan gain and personal enrichment. (“Task Force Calls Rise in Anti-Gay Crime a Product of America’s Anti-Gay Industry,” Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, April 26, 2005.

    There was no court decision that probited Focus on the Family from broadcasting in Canada. Canadian authorities have warned Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour, and The Dr. Laura (Schlessinger) Show that they cannot broadcast unless they cut any portions dealing with homosexuality. The Canadian broadcasting board cites Canada’s “hate crime” law, in which it is illegal to speak of any group derogatorily, and doing so would endanger the licenses of stations that carry them.

    The sad fact of these “Hate Crime” laws is that the mere threat of the financial burden of defending legal activities in long, drawn out lawsuits against the huge financial reserves of groups like the ACLU is often sufficient to stifle and suppress free speech.
       —ANON    Nov. 3 '05 - 10:41AM    #
  55. “The sad fact of these “Hate Crime” laws is that the mere threat of the financial burden of defending legal activities in long, drawn out lawsuits against the huge financial reserves of groups like the ACLU is often sufficient to stifle and suppress free speech.”

    Try again – the ACLU has gone to court for defendents challenging these kinds of hate crimes statutes that criminalize free speech.
       —John Q    Nov. 3 '05 - 10:59AM    #
  56. “I said victims of assaults and violent crimes should be treated equally. That’s a significant error in interpretation on your part.”
    Well, except that we’re not talking about the victims, we’re talking about the perpetrators. That’s a significant error on your part.

    “1) They pave the way for suppression of the freedoms of speech, association and religion.”

    How? Slippery slope fallacy.

    “2) They violate the concept of equal protection under the law.”

    How? There’s even an argument to be made that they ENSURE equal protection under the law.

    “3) They introduce the un-American concept of “thought crime,” in which someone’s actions are “more” illegal based on their “perceived” thoughts or beliefs.”

    No, they don’t. Intent (which is a “thought or belief”) is already used to determine degree of criminality.

    “There is no evidence that victims of “hate crimes” are receiving any less protection than victims of other crimes. To suggest otherwise insults the men and women of the nation’s law enforcement community.”

    Ooh, an appeal to emotion at the end there. Very nice fallacy. The issue, further, isn’t whether or not they need more protection, it’s that society has deemed certain crimes more heinous than others, and attaches stiffer penalties to them.

    “Homosexual activists often exaggerate the incidence of “hate crimes,” which make up less than 1 percent of all crimes. Over the past several years, even with more law enforcement agencies reporting, the number of “hate crimes” based on “sexual orientation” has dropped.”
    Cite, cite, cite your sources.

    “In 2003, Americans were victimized by approximately 11 million “non-hate” crimes such as muggings, beatings, murders and property crime, such as burglaries, car theft and vandalism. Nearly 1.4 million of the crimes were classified as “violent crimes.””
    And? There were hundreds of millions of traffic violations. How is the number of crimes without hate bias connected to hate crimes? Are you saying that we should have charged more of them with bias crimes?

    “By contrast, there were 7,489 “hate crime” incidents, of which 1,225 were attributed to “homosexual” bias. That’s a drop from the 2002 total which itself was less than the 2001 total.”
    So… the laws are working? How is fewer hate crimes an argument against hate crime legislation? Were you hoping for more hate crimes? (I’ll leave alone the unreliability of numbers on hate crime, since they’re like the numbers on sexual assaults—most go unreported).

    “Meanwhile, homosexual activist groups and law enforcement agencies tracking “gay-on-gay” domestic violence reported 6,523 cases in 2003, up 13 percent from 5,718 in 2002. People involved in homosexual behavior are significantly more likely to be assaulted by another homosexual than to become the victim of a “hate crime.” (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence: 2003 Supplement, An Update from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs,)”
    Yeah, and? That’s an argument for better law enforcement with regard to homosexual domestic violence. Please try to stay on topic. It makes Fisking you easier.

    “What’s more, the “hate crime” concept is profoundly subjective.”
    You’ll notice that this assertion isn’t supported by your statistic below. But to take a more tautological stance, a hate crime is objective in that it is a crime that meets the objective requirements of the statute. Further, hate crime classification for law enforcement occurs upon conviction. If someone beats someone else for their minority status, but pleads out, while their actions are clearly part of an overt hate crime, they are not classified as such by law enforcement statistics.

    “According to FBI statistics, 5 five forcible rapes in 2003 were classified as “hate crimes.” Overall, 93,433 forcible rapes were reported in 2003, which means the other 93,428 rapes were not “hate crimes.””
    Yeah… And? You’re still not connecting with an argument against hate crime legislation. Do you think that more of those should have been classified as hate crimes? What’s your point?

    “Activists increasingly invoke such phrases as “hostile speech” and a “climate of violence” to describe pro-family opinion on homosexual issues. The net effect is to reclassify legitimate opinion and free speech as “hate speech” that can be censored.”
    “Increasingly”? Cite your source for the increase. And are you arguing that Fred Phelps is “pro-family” speech? And what’s this net effect based on? I see plenty of examples of casual gay bashing and overt examples of anti-gay speech, but I haven’t heard of government action, which is a predicate for “censorship.” Further, are you talking about the US or Canada here? You’re making broad statements without any evidence that corroborates them.

    “Here’s Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a press release blaming conservative Christians for what Foreman claims is a “spike” in “hate crimes” against homosexuals in late 2003 and early 2004:”
    Yes, and? I’m sure his statistics corroborate the view that there has been a spike in hate crimes committed. But as he’s a bit of a straw man, engaging in public rhetoric, I’m not going to bother defending his statement.

    “There was no court decision that probited Focus on the Family from broadcasting in Canada. Canadian authorities have warned Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour, and The Dr. Laura (Schlessinger) Show that they cannot broadcast unless they cut any portions dealing with homosexuality. The Canadian broadcasting board cites Canada’s “hate crime” law, in which it is illegal to speak of any group derogatorily, and doing so would endanger the licenses of stations that carry them.”

    Cite, cite, cite your source. Where’s this “warning” been published? Where’s the CBB’s decision? Can you link to it? Forgive me if I think that the Focus on Family folks might have a bit of an agenda to promote.

    “The sad fact of these “Hate Crime” laws is that the mere threat of the financial burden of defending legal activities in long, drawn out lawsuits against the huge financial reserves of groups like the ACLU is often sufficient to stifle and suppress free speech.”
    Says who? The poor Martyrs at Dobson Inc.? The “huge financial reserves” of the ACLU? Please, you’re making me tear up with laughter. Can you cite any point in time where the Focus on Family has publicly pulled an advertisment or campaign based on the threat of lawsuit from the ACLU (which, y’know, is again ridiculous, since the ACLU traditionally DEFENDS clients and ATTACKS the government. You’re more likely to find them arguing for religious causes than you are to find them arguing for the suppression of legitimate discourse).

    And again, Anon, why won’t you stand up for your views? Is it because you’re embarrassed by the fallacies and non sequitors contained within?
       —js    Nov. 3 '05 - 12:09PM    #
  57. John,

    The ACLU has endorsed John Conyers Hate Crimes Bill. In just about every legal attack on Christian beliefs, the ACLU has been the opposition. Read Alan Sears new book if you really want to understand the motivations of the ACLU.
       —ANON    Nov. 3 '05 - 01:13PM    #
  58. Pish tosh, our Anonymous poster. And why no name from you yet? It’s hard to trust, in this day and age, anyone who won’t stand up for their beliefs in public. Even in the mild public of an internet message board. You’re no Publius, no Catalus, no Cæser.
    And it sounds like the books that you’re taking your information from probably aren’t very reliable.
    Here’s a thought: Perhaps it’s not that the ACLU has an anti-Christian bias, but rather that many fringe Christians have an anti-civil liberties bias? That seems a little more likely to me, oh hidden one.
       —js    Nov. 5 '05 - 01:03PM    #
  59. I think there should be a point and laugh brigade. Peacefully march up to the Phelps group, someone call, “Ready?! Point! Laugh!”
    There is no defence against that, and it is completely peacefull, not to meation cathardic.
       —Michael A LaFlamme    Nov. 18 '05 - 07:44AM    #