Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter April 18, 2006

Leaders and heroes can come from very unlikely sources. Since our last newsletter, an American World War II hero passed away. Desmond Doss was a conscientious objector during World War II. Desmond Doss refused to kill for his country. Serving in the military in a non-combatant role during World War II was not popular. In fact, being a conscientious objector was so unpopular one web site reports Desmond Doss was offered a Section 8 discharge, but Doss refused to not serve his country. Doss served faithfully, even though he received death threats from a fellow soldier. He served in the Asian theater and served in some of the fiercest fighting of World War II. Doss risked his life to ensure injured troops received first aid and were evacuated for medical treatment. Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. When presenting Desmond Doss with the Congressional Medal of Honor, President Harry Truman told Doss, “I'm proud of you, you really deserve this. I consider this to be a greater honor than being President.” A brief summary of Desmond Doss' citation can be found on the Surgeon General's Office of Medical History web site. Information about a documentary about Desmond Doss can be found on the desmonddoss.com web site.

There are many other brave heroes in society. They are men and women who refuse to not serve humanity. These are people of intense courage, courage enough to change the world. Men and women of color who fight for equality for all visible minorities are heroes. Heroes who worked hard to ensure the story of the Holocaust was preserved and that people guilty of World War II's hate crimes were brought to justice. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who have the personal integrity to openly be themselves, and who have the courage to struggle to leave the world a better place for other members of sexual minorities.

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The Adventist Review carries a story about two teenagers who have been charged in connection with arson. According to the article, the youth are accused of having set fire to five Baptist churches one day. A few days later they set fire to more churches, destroying four more churches. In a later attack they are accused of setting fire to an additional five churches. The arson attacks are very disturbing. Without knowing the motive for the wave of church arson, one is left very concerned about the developments. A series of articles and audio news clips about the church burnings in Alabama can be found in the National Public Radio web site.

The Columbia Broadcasting System web site has a page that shows a map of the United States, with the states color coded to show which states allow for same-sex marriage, allow same-sex couples to adopt children, and have hate crimes that cover sexual orientation or that cover both sexual orientation and gender identification. The CBS web site has photographs from gay pride events around the world. There is a photograph of two parents. One is carrying a brightly colored sign that reads “God blessed me with a gay son” and another parent is carrying a sign that reads “Blessed with a gay step-son.” The parents carrying those signs appear to be doing a wonderful job of supporting and encouraging their sons.

The 60 Minutes section of the CBS web site has an article about the causes of homosexuality. The article is titled “The Science of Sexual Orientation. The introduction to the article states that the question of the causes of sexual orientation are important for political, social, religious, and scientific reasons. The fascinating article has a brief description of two twins, one of which has very traditional interests and the other does not. Any differences between the two boys is not due to environment, because they are in the same home. The article talks about the possibility hormonal factors in the womb could play a factor in sexual orientation. This article is a “must-read” article for people interested in the causes of homosexuality and for those who are trying to help people overcome their fear of gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women.

We encourage you to visit our Web Resources page. On that page, you will find links to many valuable web sites. One of the most recent additions is a link to the Rainbow Zine web site. Rainbow Zine has a wide variety of news articles about the queer community. You are encouraged to email us with suggestions for web sites that can be added to our list of web resources. We are looking for sites that can help reduce all forms of prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes.

The California Department of Justice web site has reports on different types of crime in California. Hate crime reports can be found for the years 1995 to 2004 inclusive.

A few of the news stories we have been following appear below:

  • Homophobia and homophobia-related violence is an international concern. The problem of hatred and violence against gay and bisexual people is not limited to one country or one region of the world. Hatred is an equal opportunity employer. In an International Lesbian and Gay Association article, concern is expressed that the major of Warsaw refused to issue a permit for a gay pride parade. The article expresses concerns that a parade permit was granted for a “normality parade.” According to the article, the parade was an anti-gay parade, in which skinheads were participating. The article states there has been an increase in anti-gay violence in Poland since the “normality parade.”

  • A 23 year old man was convicted of a hate crime in the assault of a gay man in New York. An article on the conviction can be read on the Planet Out web site. When the law protects members of vulnerable minority groups, the law is doing what it is supposed to do.

  • The American Civil Liberties Union has an article about an investigation into meth merchant prosecutions. The ACLU position appears to be that Asian convenience store owners and clerks were targeted for investigation on the basis of their race or origin. The object of the meth merchant investigation was to reduce methamphetamine production by trying to keep store owners and clerks from selling the equipment and supplies needed to produce meth to people who are producing methamphetamine. The ACLU believes stores owned by south-Asians were 100 times more likely to be targeted.

  • You may recall movies with cars that had an eject button. You hit the button and your passenger is thrown out of the car. The United Church of Christ is back in the news, because they have an ad that depicts people in a church where there is an eject button. Anybody who is not welcome is ejected from the church when the button is hit. A few of the types of people ejected are a mother with a crying child, a gay couple, a single person and handicapped people. The new advertisement and more information about the United Church of Christ's “God is Still Speaking” program can be found on the God is Still Speaking web site. The United Church of Christ's advertisements for gay people stand in stark contrast with churches who condemn gay people to hell.

  • A British Broadcasting Corporation article says gay people in Iraq are in fear for their lives. Evidently, one religious leaders have become more powerful in Iraq. One religious leader has a web site calling for the execution of gay people.

  • A 2001 article on the American Civil Liberties Union web site gives statistics regarding race and incarceration rates. The statistics cited show that the percentage of Black Americans are incarcerated, on parole or probation is disproportionally high. The percentage of Black people arrested for drug possession is substantially higher than it should be given the percentage of Black people who are monthly drug users. In California, visible minority youth are more than twice as likely to have their cases tried as adults than white youth. The majority of American states do not allow people convicted of a felony to vote while they are in prison. Because visible minorities are more likely to spend time in prison than white people, that has the net result of reducing the voting power visible minority groups have.

  • The 365Gay.Com web site has an article about a bill that is being debated in California. Should the bill pass, it would be required that students in California schools be taught about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered history.

  • A PlanetOut news article states the Netherlands plan to deport gay Iranians and Christian Iranians has been put on hold. Parliamentary support for the plan was decreasing. Iran, a country that executes gay people, was seen by fewer members of Parliament to be as safe for gays and Christians as the Netherlands Immigration Minister was claiming.

  • Minority groups have often complained that the police do not respond adequately to their concerns and to reports they have been the victims of crime. The PlanetOut web site has an article about a lesbian couple in Kansas City who are reported to have been verbally harassed and were assaulted by a woman with a bat. According to the article, the police did not respond to the call for help by coming to the scene.

  • A court ruling reported in PlanetOut could reverberate, sending shock waves through the educational system. A straight teenager living in a small Kansas town was bullied and harassed with homophobic slurs from Grade 7 until Grade 11. He won a $440,000 lawsuit against the school division. Nothing gets the attention of administrators to the plight of minority students like a successful lawsuit. The Kansas school division is appealing the court ruling.

The book, Pink Blood, was briefly mentioned in our last newsletter. We are mentioning it again in this newsletter, because the book is a must read for people interested in homophobia-based hate crimes. Information about the book can be found on the Pinkblood web site. The book can be purchased at www.amazon.ca or www.amazon.com.

Anybody with news about hate crimes is welcome to email us.



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