Christians Claim Hate Crimes Law an Effort to ‘Eradicate’ Their Beliefs

ChristianityStephen C. Webster reports on RAW Story:

A Christian group in Michigan has filed a lawsuit alleging that a package of hate crimes laws named after murder victim Matthew Shepard is an affront to their religious freedom.

Far from the intended purpose of severely punishing criminals who commit unspeakable acts against a persecuted minority group, the religious activists claim the laws are a guarded effort to “eradicate” their beliefs.

Filed by the Thomas More Law Center — which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union — the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people “is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy.”

The suit was placed on behalf of American Family Association of Michigan president Gary Glenn, along with pastors Rene Ouellette, Levon Yuille and James Combs.

Read More: RAW Story

  • Sean

    so violence against minorities is a necessary part of christian worship?

  • Charlene

    Christians have no right to make their beliefs law for other people to obey. Nor do 'christians' have the right to impose their beliefs on others through violence. This country has given them way too much leeway. All tax exemption should be stripped from churches for both income and property. I am not advocating this just for 'christians', but for all religions. Only charitable works should be tax exempt, and that work should be audited to verify that it is not used to proselytize or handed out in a discriminatory manner.

  • Gates

    This is less a comment on the story itself (the news presented within I agree is appalling), but rather one on the accompanying banner reducing Christianity to fairy tales. I find it rather frustrating that those who espouse tolerance and understanding the most so often lack in either. I won't disagree with anyone's right to post their opinions, but really, what does this childish, simplistic banner serve except to create a cheap, smug chuckle that equate Christianity with such absurdity and anger/frustrate/alienate/otherwise create more discord? It's this same kind of childish and ignorant reduction of a very complex and system of beliefs held dear by many (beliefs that guide people like myself to decry the actions of the Thomas More Foundation – what the Westboro Baptist Church now has a legal wing?) that I imagine the people that made/posted this banner feel this way about Christianity. Basically what I'm saying is, this banner is nothing more than the secular flipside of something Jerry Falwell would make. Sites like Disinfo are great because they cut through the bullshit and present alternative ideas in a word of homogenic information and ideas. It's jading enough learning about the horrors that underly our world. Can we not ourselves intentionally add on to the pile?

    • Sean

      personally I'd prefer to deal with smug jackasses that mock you for being different than
      people who would rather just kill you for being different, I bet matt shepperd would have rather just been made fun of

      • rageplug

        Is it your implication that Matthew Shephard was killed by Christians? I would surmise Matthew's killers were driven by homophobia, since Christians like myself ( and millions of others nationwide) are taught, since we were very young, that killing is wrong.

        • Sean

          yet plenty do it

          I believe Denis Diderot was right
          Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest

        • Mok

          Some christian teachings about tolerance of others….

          About different sexual behavior and the required punishment. In this case Leviticus 20:13

          Leviticus 20:
          10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

          11 If a man lies with his father's wife, he has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

          12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them.

          13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

          14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you.

          15 If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal.

          16 If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

          So, the christian are taught that killing is wrong, yet in your bible it demands it. What this guy did was in accordance with the bible. And the repeated statement that “their blood is upon them”, means the blame for the killing is on the victim, and the killer is free in the eyes of the lord.

          • kantut

            You DO realize that what you quoted is actually from the Jewish Torah, right?

            You're anti-Semitic man.

          • Mok

            What I quoted is from the king james version.


            And how in the world, even if it was from the torah, would that make me anti-semitic?

            Your lame attempt to discredit me failed, and your complete misunderstanding about christianity is typical. You must be a christian.

          • Tuna Ghost

            The Torah is comprised of the first five books of the Old Testament, genius. All except the most retarded Christians view the book of Leviticus as a book of old-school jewish law. Old covenant stuff. Get with the program already. Since you know so little about the Bible, the Torah and Christianity should I assume you're a christian?

          • Sean

            well according to christians the bible is the perfect word of god,
            unless you go in for the gnostic stuff , it's the same god, so which is it,
            is god the all loving god, or the kill the hell out of anyone that steps out of line god?

          • Mok

            So, the king james version is the retarded version?
            Or, is it you only view some parts in the king james version as right and the rest as wrong?
            What “version” are you guys going by these days?
            Which one did they get it right?
            Which one is the infallible word of god?
            And by who's authority makes these decision?
            Did they take out the part about killing non-believers and homosexuals, and bad children?
            How about that suicide? They get rid of that clause yet?

          • Tuna Ghost

            Careful who you label as christian, kid. Just because I've got a working knowledge of Abrahamic faiths doesn't mean I subscribe to one.

            But since you ask, and as I am ever your humble servant, the general party line is that the Old Testament is comprised of several books of old school jewish law (the Pentateuch), stories about the adventures of those wacky Israelites in Arabia and surrounding areas, some prophecies and poetry and stuff like that. The things done by God and for God and because of God and all that jazz depicted therein were done under the Old Covenant that God had made with man, which was made redundant by Christ's New Covenant. Which is what most Christians will tell you when you bring up Leviticus (they've had plenty of practice, that bit of scripture is brought to their attention fairly frequently).

            So technically, the line goes, the Old Testament is for a different group of people in a different time, which is a bit of reasoning that works equally well for diminishing the importance of most of the New Testament, but oh well.

            The Nicean Council of 325 CE was the authority that decided which books were to be included in what we call the Bible. Later revisions were made, which is why the Catholic Bible has books like Sirach and Micah and others, such as the King James Version, don't. The Pentateuch, and for that matter the rest of the Old Testament is still included in the Bible not because Christians are expected to follow ancient Jewish Rabbinical Law but because Christianity is, despite St. Paul's best efforts, still rooted in Judaism. That means different things to different folks, so there's a lot of room for interpretation on how important they are to modern, mainstream Christianity and modern, mainstream Christians.

          • JP

            but the 10 commandments appear in the Pentateuch. Does that mean that modern Christians don't subscribe to those rules?

          • Tuna Ghost

            Well, there's the rub–Christians aren't Jewish, but Christ was. He (allegedly) belonged, lived and taught to a people and in a place where the 10 commandments, and all the other wacky Jewish laws, were still largely in effect. There's been a number of books written about how the figure of Christ was eventually divorced from Judaism, but the point is there's enough room for interpretation that anyone can wriggle out of uncomfortable questions if they really wanted.

          • tonyviner

            Aren't they all somewhat retarded? Can we still say retarded? This whole thing is retarded and I know it is off subject but Sarah Palin is retarded for, among other things, believing in a made up monkey man.

        • Got Game???

          We are also thought not to cast stones at people due to their sins because we all have are own sins.

          But here we have a group of Christians* who are angry that there is a law that punishes those who kills someone because they feel that being gay is a sin and they think they should have a right to cast stones at gays.

          *I would also like people to not that not all Christians are the same and many don't hold views similar to those jackholes.

    • rageplug

      Right on bro.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      Christianity is a fairy tale and that side banner pretty much says it all, albeit, it is a highly abridged version of the bible story. If it makes Christians look stupid (not that they need much help), so be it.
      Pray to Jesus if you don't like it.

      • Tuna Ghost

        The point, herr doktor, is that the banner is doing exactly what the article is protesting. It's a little frustrating that anti-christian sentiment is causing so many to miss this. The outrage over the group mentioned in the article is certainly well-deserved, but the banner and the idea it represents is not helping–it's only propagating the same kind of self-righteous, ideological frame of mind (to steal a phrase from another poster) that causes people to come up with groups like the Thomas Moore Law Center.

        • GoodDoktorBad

          First of all, Frau Tuna, people like my self have been holding there tongues for far too long. Christians have been spouting there crap for thousands of years to people. Now at least we live in a time that we can do something more than try to ignore all the ridiculous fairy stories and hellish threats made by the christian church. The world has been eating dirt at that table long enough. What causes people to form groups like the “Thomas Moore Law Center” is the fear that lies at the heart of there beliefs.
          If Christians had much faith they wouldn't need to form such organizations to “protect” it. Faith in God and Jesus
          should, according to doctrines of faith, be enough to save them from non-believers.

          • Tuna Ghost

            I'm not sure what you mean by “doctrines of faith”, or what you think we'll find therein that claims Christians don't need to actually DO anything to protect themselves.

            As much as I hate to get in the way of your distracting (but pleasurable to yourself, I'm sure) tirade, it's needs to be pointed out that the phrase “What causes people to form groups like the 'Thomas Moore Law Center' is the fear that lies at the heart of their beliefs” is problematic for a number of reasons. You're right to say that fear is a primary cause, but it simply isn't true to say that the fear is an integral part of Christianity. A more accurate statement would be that the fear is simply human. It's a common othering device to say that “group x is different, it doesn't believe as I believe”, which easily leads to “group x's beliefs are wrong (or bad)”, which is a quick step away from “group x is wrong (or bad)”. Each step takes group X fruther away until they seem less than human. You can see this happening in this very comments page. It's a common theme throughout history, really.

            No one is supporting the Thomas Moore Law Center, at least no one here, and their actions (which will likely lead to nothing substantial) are reprehensible and potentially troubling to a minortiy group. But the fact remains the banner is spouting the same kind of ignorance. And, if I am allowed to waste bandwidth by repeating myself, fighting ignorance with more ignorance doesn't really help the situation.

            Or, to repeat myself, fighting ignorance with yet more ignorance rarely helps.

          • GoodDoktorBad

            Why is the banner ignorant? If a little sarcastic humor has become so profoundly shaking to the faith of others, then I'd have to say their faith isn't worth squat. I'd also venture to say that not only do these people lack faith, (unless you consider fear -faith) they probably also severly lack a sense of humor. Shall we all tiptoe around a pile of shit and not wince and giggle? Its why we mix our truth with humor, so maybe (in some ideal fantasy world) we can all laugh. Try it…

          • Tuna Ghost

            I wouldn't say the banner has profoundly done anything, except reduce a complex system of beliefs to one inaccurate sentence. I'm not saying that there is no comedic value in the banner, I'm saying, for the nth time, that it is an example of the same self-righteous, ideological, alienating mindset that the article is arguing against. It is, as Gates put it, the secular version of something Jerry Fallwell or Pat Robertson would do. The reduction of something quite complex, something held dear by millions of people, to a smear, a joke, a non-sensical single sentence. “Voodoo is Devil-Worship”, for instance. The intentional misrepresentation of something that has influenced our culture and thinking to a very great degree in order to more easily mock it and further alienate anyone who falls under their definition of “christian”. It's lazy, and it's dangerous, because it is an othering device. History is full of examples. One's feelings toward a particular set of beliefs does not validate it.

            I find it very revealing that you use terms like “these people”. Which people? The Thomas Moore Law Center? Gates and myself? Christians? Which ones? Every Christian everywhere? Do you even know? Lazy thinking, sir.

          • GoodDoktorBad

            If you can find comedic value in the banner, then you have no business whining about my lazy thinking. You're already laying in that easy chair railing against your own pleasure in it. Personally, I do enjoy awarding stupidity with sarcasm, which is to my discredit -the extent of which I'll just have to leave to Karma…

            When a person labels himself christian, or for that matter any other label (ie. republican , democrat, Thomas More Law Center, Athiest , Jew, Muslim, the list goes on and on) they choose to take all that comes with it, for good or bad the consequences. When you wear strict group labels you already are an othering device. When you berate my feeble opinion, YOU also become an othering device. Just as I expect some of my comments to stir up some wind, Christians, all Christians in this case, can feel a sarcastic breeze float their way as we all lie in the beds we made when we labeled ourselves this or that.

            Whatever you “find very revealing” likely amounts to an amoeba on a sea of sludge, though I suppose I could take it as a complement that you should find me a worthy subject for your study. For whatever reasons, you like to spar with me, that's cool, I can take some verbal bumps and bruises. Despite my big mouth, I don't pretend to be perfect or all knowledgable and I invite criticism. My quest for peace sometimes leads me down dark alleys where I rap with folks like yourself… sometimes I also find some things that are revealing, sometimes not.

    • 5by5

      “reducing Christianity to fairy tales… equate Christianity with such absurdity and anger/frustrate/alienate/otherwise create more discord? It's this same kind of childish and ignorant reduction of a very complex and system of beliefs…”

      Except that the belief system isn't even the product of an original thought.

      Half of it is based upon the pagan Cult of Mithras – a virgin birth celebrated on the 25th of December, a ritual meal where blood is consumed, a sacrifice to ensure salvation, “water miracles”, resurrection, etc. and which itself was based upon Zoroastrianism and the Cult of Isis.

      That isn't an attempt to “equate” or “reduce” anything. It's simply a historical reality.

      Much of what Christians believe today as “divine revelation”, originated not with Judaism (which itself “borrowed” liberally from things like the story of “the flood” in the story of Gilgamesh), but rather with pagan myth religions that were practiced in the same area, at the same time.

      • Tuna Ghost

        I'm afraid I don't see what any of that has to do with Gates' point. Are you attempting to say that modern Christianity ISN'T a complex system of beliefs, regardless of its origins? Of that this sort of othering, this sort of reduction, isn't precisely the sort of thinking that leads to groups like Thomas Moore Law Center?

    • ralph

      It's time for me to speak up, since I threw this banner into the original report.

      My initial attempt was NOT to define “Christianity” in a simple manner (OR a somewhat sarcastic manner I can appreciate), and/but I did so, and regardless of any attempt to refute the Thomas More Law Center, which I am comfortable saying is NOT more open than whatever we come up with in 2010 on this site.

      I had no intent to simplify an argument, and I realize through these comments, commenters were well up to saying their opinion, whether they thought this graphic was valid or ottherwise.

      In pure honesty, thanks for the feedback, because my goal is to get people from various backgrounds talking to each other.

      Not to sound like a cliche, but as long as people can talk about things TO EACH OTHER, they completely disagree with, ALL OF US will live long lives on this planet.

      This story is a mild attempt, feel free to contact with stories you say need more exploring…

  • Gates

    Sean, your comment entirely misses the point. Not to say you are wrong to be outraged by the news about the challenge to hate laws. My point is I find it ironic, frustrating, and disturbing that an article that is written to incite outrage (as well it should) against people lumping others into a box that they do not understand, and condemning those they place in that box should feature a banner doing the exactly the same thing it decries. The thinking behind the Thomas More Law Center and that banner come from the same ideological and self-righteous bent, and it's frustrating, especially as this is a forum that prides itself on seeing the behind the curtain, and exploring a more thorough understanding of the world.

    • Sean

      i've known the people on both sides, guess which side is generally the violent one.
      bad jokes are easy to deal with religious fanatics, not so much

      • Tuna Ghost

        It's generally unhelpful, however, to fight ignorance with more ignorance. We can agree on that, can't we?

        • Sean

          yes, i just don't consider the violent ones on the same threat level as the ones who are just annoying pricks

          • Tuna Ghost

            I'll concede that point, sticks and stones breaking bones are certainly a priority over words. But the sort of thinking displayed in the banner lends itself towards violence fairly easily, if history has been any indication.

  • tonyviner

    It is not really surprising.

  • B. Wonder

    the more i read that banner, the more it does make sense…

  • Stacey Earley

    Let's hope it works.

  • conniedobbs

    I bet they'll be glad they have this legislation in place when a few more texas churches go up in smoke.

  • Chris

    If the Christian group in this article believes that it is okay to brutally murder people because they are gay, then let's eradicate those beliefs, the sooner the better, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • vera city

    Us christians gotta have the right to h8.

  • vera city

    Us christians gotta have the right to h8.

  • Tony Traverso

    I don’t understand why any of you are arguing over which part of the bible is right or wrong. THE WHOLE BOOK IS BULLSHIT written by ancient men from 2000 years ago who didn’t understand shit from shinola. Anybody who follows the written word of ANY ancient man is FUCKING MORON plain and simple. FUCKIN’ BUNCH OF SHEOPLE!!!

  • Tony Traverso

    I don’t understand why any of you are arguing over which part of the bible is right or wrong. THE WHOLE BOOK IS BULLSHIT written by ancient men from 2000 years ago who didn’t understand shit from shinola. Anybody who follows the written word of ANY ancient man is FUCKING MORON plain and simple. FUCKIN’ BUNCH OF SHEOPLE!!!