Protect Pastors, Not Pedophiles

Andrea Lafferty - Guest Columnist - 5/21/2009 10:10:00 AM One prominent Christian leader has recently seemingly waved the white flag of surrender in our ongoing culture war. Dr. James Dobson, a much respected leader in the pro-family movement, expressed utter despair over the total control that liberals now have in every branch of our government.

I believe that Dobson has wrongly declared that the fight against the so-called "hate crimes" bill -- S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act -- is hopeless and that it is futile for Americans to weigh in against this pro-pedophile, jail-pastors legislation.

As someone who walks the halls of Congress every day and works closely with senators, representatives, and their staff, I must say that Dr. Dobson's waving of the white flag is premature. I sat through two days of committee markup and saw the fearful reaction by the Democrats to the amendment regarding whether to include pedophiles in the protected class. Lesbian Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) was visibly shaken by the repeated attempts to get her to define ''sexual orientation'' and ''gender identity.'' She refused.

It is clear that on the issue of so-called ''hate crimes'' legislation, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) movement is on the run. We are winning the messaging battle and the LGBT activists know it. They fear exposure of the fact that, under this bill, crimes against transgendered persons or gay men will receive greater penalties than for pedophiles who assault children.

Sexual orientation, gender identity given minority status What really has the LGBT community on the run is the exposure of the bizarre orientations and the fact that the bill gives these bizarre orientations federal protection. The rabid LGBT lobby is outraged over Traditional Values Coalition's exposure of the bizarre ''sexual orientations'' published in American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) which would be protected by this bill.

In a separate section of the DSM are listed ''Gender Identity Disorders,'' which include such behaviors as Transvestic Fetishism and Gender Dysphoria -- the belief of the person that they are actually the wrong sex. These are mental disorders, too.

Senator Ted Kennedy's hate crimes bill does not define ''sexual orientation'' or ''gender identity,'' and the House refused to define the terms.

What the bill does is define these ''sexual orientations'' and the Gender Identity Disorders in the DSM as protected minority classes under federal law. The bizarre sexual orientations include such perverted behaviors as pedophilia and necrophilia (a sexual attraction to corpses).

In addition, Kennedy's bill doesn't pass the straight-face test. Traditional Values Coalition exposed the absurd ''findings'' in this legislation. The alleged ''findings'' set up the justification for the bill. They read like a Saturday Night Live skit.

Kennedy claims that LGBT persons (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) are so persecuted by angry bigots that they are fleeing across state lines to avoid being beaten up. These mythical LGBT persons also have trouble finding employment or engaging in ''commercial activity.''

But it gets worse, according to the esteemed senator from Massachusetts: not only are LGBT persons regularly fleeing in large numbers across state lines, but they're being pursued by angry bigots across these state lines. These bigots are also apparently using ''instrumentalities of interstate commerce'' to commit these mythical crimes against LGBT persons. I wonder where these bigots purchase their ''instrumentalities of interstate commerce'' -- at Walmart?

I suspect that if there were large numbers of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and drag queens fleeing across state lines for the past decade, there would be some record of this mass migration. Surely, Highway Patrol officers of the 50 states would have seen these mass exoduses from one state to another. Did they ever confiscate these ''instrumentalities of interstate commerce''?

All of this nonsense in the findings is a pretext to justify federal intervention in state law enforcement by invoking the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.

Senator Kennedy should be forced to provide actual evidence of his claim that there's been this mass migration of LGBT individuals across state lines for a decade.

Liberals don't let facts stand in their way During the House debate on S. 909, Democrats and Republicans argued back and forth about why a pro-LGBT hate crimes bill was necessary and who or what would actually be protected.

One issue that liberals avoided during the House debate was how rampant all of these anti-LGBT hate crimes really are across our nation. They claim, without evidence, that thousands of gays, bisexuals, lesbians, and trans-genders are having their lives jeopardized by wicked bigots.

Well, the FBI's hate crimes statistics from 2007 (latest available), reveal the truth about this non-existent crime wave against the drag queen lobby:

• 335 were crimes of intimidation (shouting or name-calling); • 448 were crimes of simple assault (defined as pushing or shoving without physical injury); • 242 were crimes of aggravated assault (defined as bodily harm); and • 4 bias murders were committed based on a person's ''sexual orientation.''

There are more crimes against religion and race than against sexual orientation.

Most of these ''crimes'' involved name-calling and pushing or shoving. Any rational person can easily see that this isn't an epidemic of hate.

Religious freedom threatened Senator Kennedy's S. 909 makes no pretense about protecting religious freedom or free speech. The crafters of H.R. 1913 (the House-passed version of hate crimes legislation) at least tossed in a phrase that allegedly protects religious liberty, but it is a garnish that will do nothing to actually protect pastors or any faith leader who speaks biblical principles regarding homosexuality.

As former judge and current Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has noted, hate crimes laws could be used to silence pastors who may preach against homosexuality. For example, if a member of a pastor's congregation goes out and commits a violent crime against a gay man, the pastor's sermon can be introduced into evidence as a motivating factor under Article 18 U.S.C. 2(a) of the Federal Criminal Code. This section states that a person who ''aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures'' a crime's commission is punishable just as if he had committed the crime himself.

S. 909 will lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute, and persecute pastors, youth pastors, Bible teachers, and anyone else whose Bible speech and thought is based upon and reflects the truths found in the Bible.

We need to keep up the momentum to stop this pro-pedophile/jail-pastor bill. This legislation was supposed to have been on President Obama's desk for his signature by Memorial Day, but citizen action and courageous Republicans have slowed it down. The other side fears the truth.

Traditional Values Coalition will continue to do everything it can to educate the senators and their constituents on this dangerous legislation. Dr. Dobson's despair is well understood, but it's too early to run up the white flag. Indeed, we're in the midst of a "David and Goliath" battle -- but we must be faithful and do our part through prayer and action to stop this unconstitutional, anti-Christian, pro-pedophile effort.

Andrea Lafferty is executive director of The Traditional Values Coalition. She describes herself as a voice both on Capitol Hill and in the media for the Judeo-Christian worldview of morality and beliefs that many seek to silence. This column is printed with permission.