Federal hate crimes laws currently do not protect people who are victims due to their sexual orientation.
Conservative Christians keep complaining that if a current bill — the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — gets passed, they won’t be able to spew their anti-gay rhetoric in church.
Which isn’t true at all. Pastors could continue to say whatever they want against homosexuality. They have a right to free speech, including the right to sound like pompous bigots. They don’t have a right to directly incite violence, though.
Dan Savage suggests a way to debunk the Religious Rights’ lie:
A group of liberal pastors should announce that they’re going to mount the pulpit in a particular church at particular time and preach a series of vile, hateful sermons — one right after the other — attacking people of various races and ethnicities, attacking men and women in turn, attacking people for being white, yellow, and brown, and attacking people of other faiths. The semons should rely on biblical passages that have been historically used to justify attacks on and discrimination against people of different faiths, races, ethnicities, genders, etc., though the ages. Alert the authorities and challenge them to come and arrest all these pastors for preaching hate against groups who are already covered by federal hate crime laws.
They won’t be arrested, of course, because it’s not a crime to be a vile, hateful religious bigot now and it won’t be a crime after sexual orientation is added to the federal hate crimes law.
Some of you out there must run your local churches, right?
(via Daily Dish)