In Brief: AFA Now the Stuff of Urban Legends
The American Family Association (AFA) continues to sing in the chorus of propaganda against the pending Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HR 1592). Their email pleas have become so numerous and shrill that Snopes.com has added one of their recent Action Alerts to it’s database of Urban Legends.
For those not familiar, Snopes.com investigates the various wild emails you may get, more often than not forwarded to you from that particular friend or relative who seems to believe everything is a conspiracy. They research the claims, try to determine their origin and list them on their website with a determination as to their accuracy. They’ve been at it for years and are highly respected as the place to go before you mail your old sneakers to Nike with the expectation of a new pair in return or protest a bill that is supposed to add a tax of 5 cents for every email sent or received.
The AFA claims about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act are so absurd they have landed in Snopes territory with the other urban legends:
A California lawsuit which is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court would make the use of the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “union of a man and a woman” a “hate speech” crime in government workplaces. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, was fired because of his publicly expressed moral opposition to homosexual behavior.
A bill now before Congress (H.R. 1592 / S. 1105) would criminalize negative comments concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a “hate crime” punishable by a hefty fine and time in prison. This dangerous legislation would take away our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion.
Snopes lists all three as false.
Read the full report here. Watch the AFA backtrack at high speed in their rebuttal here.
I find it interesting, that nowhere in their response does the AFA include this quote from Snopes:
“In fact, the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives on 3 May 2007 includes a clause that specifically precludes it from applying to conduct protected by the free speech and free exercise of religion provisions of the Constitution:”
As is typical for AFA, they misquoted Snopes’ comments about S.1105 and H.R. 1592. They left out the last sentence in the paragraph. It says:
Now I wonder why AFA didn’t want their readers to see that?
ah, jayhuck, thinking alike are we
The folks at AFA needs remedial Government 101 as well. Canada and Sweden have parliamentary systems, the latter I believe without a written constitution. We have a Congress which operates completely different and is bound far more to our Constitution and the rights guaranteed therein. Have they not heard of the First Amendment? When this is even specifically cited in the proposed legislation as giving such religious groups an exemption, which is their due under the Constitution, than this is revealed to either be woeful ignorance or wilfull deceit. Which is it AFA?
It appears so Tim 🙂
There used to be a blog written by a guy struggling with being gay. He was debating turning straight and he wrote all the time about his battles. The blog was called something like “Shattered …?”. Then I remember a year or two ago he just disappeard. Does anyone know what happened to him? Thanks
They make a basic logical fallacy–comparing a different country, their policies and stats, is evasion. Each situation is different based on a set of factors. Because of the Constitution and previous law, there is no way that free speech would be damaged in the US the way they are stating. For example, many people cite gun laws in England with their low violence rate. However, the countries are different, so even if we got rid of guns (not ever going to happen), we would still have high levels of violence. Our culture is different. AFA has the tendecy to say America only until they feel other cultures reenforce some point they want to prove.
That said, I am not a fan of hate crime laws, but not for the same reasons the AFA is.
It’s funny, the existing hate crime laws protect religion, and have for decades, yet when I was an active member of the Catholic church I was taught that people like Wildmon were false prophets, heretics, blasphemers and likely Satanists, because of their religious lifestyle choices. No one ever arrested those nuns or priests for preaching against false “Christians.”
Re their rebuttal to Snopes:
The Washington Times? As in the Moonie Times? As in the “Jesus got it wrong, I am the new messiah” Rev Sun Myung Moon Times?
So essentially they’re using blasphemy to justify dishonesty.
I believe you are refering to Ben from Scattered Words.
He no longer blogs at that site. The last we heard from Ben was in August of last year.
At that time he seemed to have gained some perspective on his life and was doing well. We hope that continues and wish him all happiness.
Thanks so much. Yes, that is the site I was remembering. I found it interesting to follow because the guy seemed to be drifting towards giving up the whole ex-gay thing and finally realizing that it didn’t work.
That Washington Times article isn’t available online. There was a later commentary upon it, entitlted, “Lesson in Selective Tolerance” by David Limbaugh at:
The 9th Circuit court sided with the city of Oakland saying: “Public employers are permitted to curtail employee speech as long as their ‘legitimate administrative interests’ outweigh the employee’s interest in freedom of speech.” So it had nothing to do with ‘regular civilians’ nor especiallly the clergy. And there was nothing in Limbaugh’s commentary on the article which tied the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in with this court cas. the AFA might be stretching even that.
Well, I never thought this would happen, but the AFA has actually slightly changed the wording in their “Action Alert” on the hate crimes bill. I had written the AFA a letter pointing out what I believed was incorrect information they posted about the bill; I’m sure they received a ton of feedback, especially after Snopes.com started calling their work the stuff of urban legend.
But I checked back on the AFA’s website today. Most of the Action Alert is identical, yet there has been a subtle change in words. Consider the following excerpts taken from the Action Alert on June 18 (I’ve boldfaced the words that have changed):
As of five minutes ago, the Action Alert now reads:
So I think the changed text is still ignorant and fear-motivated… but, hey, at least it’s no longer an outright lie. I must admit that I’m quite encouraged; the efforts of everyone who wrote to AFA, blogged about it, or contributed to the Snopes.com work should be thanked.
And thanks to AFA for reconsidering their facts and words. Here’s hoping they continue to reconsider things…