Bloggers misrepresent ADF on “hate” crimes


The Daily Kos and a few other bloggers have misrepresented the position of ADF on the current Hate Crimes Bill based on some selective quoting. For example, The Daily Kos writes:
 
Along the way to the passage of the Hate Crimes Bill..., there was a telling admission by someone on the right:
 
“‘This is the first time you would have written into law a government disapproval of a religious belief held by the majority of Americans—that homosexuality is sinful,’ says Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. ‘It’s more of a slippery slope argument than about the law itself.’”
 
So, you see, it’s not that they think GLBT people shouldn’t be protected from hate crimes, but rather that this “slippery slope” thing needs to be nipped in the bud...and what better way to do that than building a major chasm between normal people who deserve overly-equal rights and those people who deserve no rights at all.
 
Reading the larger context of the U.S. News article from which ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley’s quote was taken makes the interpretation of The Daily Kos completely fictitious:
 
“This is the first time you would have written into law a government disapproval of a religious belief held by the majority of Americans—that homosexuality is sinful,” says Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “It’s more of a slippery slope argument than about the law itself....”
 
Advocates say hate crimes laws are necessary because bias-motivated crimes terrorize entire communities.
 
But religious conservatives say that all crimes are motivated by hate and that gay victims shouldn’t be accorded special status. Religious liberties are a much bigger concern. “When you have pastors being called to testify about what they taught or preached to a person convicted of a hate crime, that’s going to send a shock wave through the religious community,” says Stanley. “It will lead to a chill on speech and free exercise of religion as it relates to homosexual behavior.”
 
The “slippery slope” to which Erik Stanley referred has to do with the “chill on speech and free exercise of religion,” not what The Daily Kos crudely interpreted. ADF has never claimed and does not claim that some people deserve “overly-equal” rights and some deserve “no rights at all.” Indeed, ADF opposes “hate” crimes legislation precisely because we believe that all Americans should have the same rights. All violent crimes are “hate” crimes, and all crime victims deserve equal justice, but the “hate” crimes bill creates a two-tiered justice system with second-class victims.

The bill may not have an immediate direct impact on pastors in the sense that pastors will be hauled off to jail. It’s the long-term impact that’s the problem: A chill on speech and the fact that “hate” crimes laws have historically led to “hate” speech prosecutions.