Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter February 22, 2009

A San Francisco survey of 500 young adults found that as many as 50% of the males admitted to antigay aggression.” Franklin cited in: Understanding Gay and Lesbian Youth: Lessons for Straight School Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators, available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
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About six years ago, Canadian David Ahenakew made very critical remarks about Jewish people. Ahenakew was charged with a hate crime for “willfully” promoting hatred. We gather Ahenakew made comments to the effect that the Holocaust was justified, and to the effect that Jews are a disease. Ahenakew was found guilty of promoting hatred. On appeal, a new trial was ordered. According to a Canadian Press article on the
Mike on Crime web site, a ruling in the second court trial is expected.

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Utah State Senator Chris Buttars shocked and angered many people with his recent comments about gays. Chris Buttars is cited as having said, among other things, that gays are “probably the greatest threat to America . . .” He is also quoted as saying, “What is the morals of a gay person? You can’t answer that because anything goes.” A
Human Rights Campaign You Tube video contains comments attributed to Senator Buttars. As a result of Senator Buttars’ remarks, some people are calling for his resignation. An ABC You Tube news story carries information about Senator Chris Buttars’ response.

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February marks the first anniversary of Lawrence King’s murder. Lawrence King was murdered by a classmate while he was in school. Brandon McInerney, the student who allegedly killed Lawrence King, was charged as an adult with premeditated murder and a hate crime. An article on
Gay.Com indicates McInerney’s attorneys are appealing the decision for McInerney to be tried as an adult. They evidently claim the prosecutors “abused their discretion” when they made that decision.

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One of our correspondents forwarded us information about a lawsuit filed by two Florida High School students against their school board for refusing to let the students form a club that promotes tolerance of gays and lesbians. The
Associated Press article states the suit against the school board was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. According to the Associated Press article, the ACLU won a lawsuit against another school district. In that case, a judge ruled to the effect that schools “must provide for the well-being of gay students” and are not allowed to discriminate against gay-straight alliances in schools.

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February 19 was the Day of Pink, the International Day Against Bullying, Discrimination, and Homophobia in schools and communities. On February 19 students and staff in many schools sported an article of pink clothing as a way of speaking out against all forms of bullying, and as a way of celebrating diversity.

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Jim Adkisson was charged with two counts of premeditated murder, and six counts of attempted murder, after he took a gun to a Unitarian congregation in Knoxville, Tennessee in July and started shooting people. Evidently, Adkisson was angry with liberals, so he chose to kill people at a Unitarian church. An article on the
Adventist Review web site states Adkisson plead guilty February 9. According to the Religion News Service article, Adkisson “acknowledged his actions constituted a ‘hate crime.’”

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Over the years, we have given updates about Aaron Webster’s murder. Aaron Webster, a gay man, was beaten to death in Vancouver, British Columbia. Most of the people charged with his murder were young offenders, so their names were not released to the public. As young offenders, they were given very minor sentences. None of the youth charged in connection with Aaron’s death were charged with a hate crime. Only one of the killers, Ryan Cran, was convicted as an adult. He was not charged with a hate crime, and was given a short prison sentence - six years. We were informed he was released on parole, after having served two-thirds of his prison sentence. An article about Ryan Cran’s release from prison can be read on the Canadian Television web site. An Xtra West news item gives one a better picture of how the Vancouver gay community feels about Ryan Cran’s release.

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This part of our newsletter combines a video review of the film “Speechless: Silencing Christians” with news about the battle over “Speechless” being shown on television in Michigan.

The film Speechless is promoted by the American Family Association. While the American Family Association might not be as well known as James Dobson’s organization, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association is strongly opposed to homosexuality. There is a significant difference between Focus on the Family and the American Family Association. Focus on the Family provides a lot of resources to assist families. Parenting and marriage resources can be obtained through Focus on the Family. While Focus on the Family has a lot of political power in the United States, political issues do not appear to be the backbone of Focus on the Family. When surveying the American Family Association web site, one gets the sense that taking political action on a handful of causes goes the core of what the American Family Association is doing.

There were plans for the American Family Association to broadcast the video “Speechless: Silencing Christians” in early February. Fortunately, those plans were put on hold, because of protests from the gay community. The Human Rights Campaign issued a national alert for action, asking people to pressure a Grand Rapids, Michigan television station to pull the Speechless special. The campaign worked. An article about the success of the Human Rights Campaign action can be read on the HRC web site.

Those interested in knowing the content of the video “Speechless: Silencing Christians” can view it on the Silencing Christians web site. This is not a neutral scientific research film. The video Speechless was created to encourage people to write their political leaders. Throughout the film, there are pauses, during which viewers are encouraged to become politically active to stop the homosexual agenda. A case can be made that the entire video is a one-sided presentation that is aimed only at promoting political action, not at presenting a balanced picture of the issues.

The video takes issue with an anti-bullying program that was attempting to promote tolerance and acceptance of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Another concern is that the educational system is attempting to promote tolerance of same-sex relationships, by including examples of gay people in school curriculum.

Some of the material presented in the video Silencing Christians is, to put it mildly, problematic. The film shows Matt Barber, who holds the position of Director of Cultural Affairs Liberty Counsel, saying, “Homosexuals have all of the rights that everybody else does. They weren’t confined to homosexual drinking fountains. They weren’t required to sit at the back of the booth. They weren’t bought and sold as slaves.”

In the opinion of this reviewer, Matt Barber’s comments in this video clip, show a lot of ignorance, and are misleading. Same-gender sexual relationships were illegal in many states within America until recently. Same-gender sexual relationships are very serious crimes, carrying heavy jail sentences or death penalties in some countries. Gay people in many areas of the world have no protection against being fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation. People who are found to be gay can expect to be dismissed from all branches of the American Armed Forces. To say that gay people have the same rights as everybody else is factually incorrect.

There is also a section of the movie about how gay people can change their sexual orientation. Reparative therapy or conversion therapy is generally considered to be unethical practice by all branches of mental health practitioners in the United States. Some mental health experts express concerns about the potential damage conversion therapy might cause clients.

The film expresses concerns about the spread of HIV and AIDS through gay male sexual activities. AIDS and HIV infection are much more serious when people are seeking anonymous sex. That is true in both the gay and straight communities. No mention is made of the threat of anonymous sex to health in the straight community, and there are more straight people with HIV/AIDS than gay people.

Some of the people in the film seem to feel the only way one can make sure children have the same value system their parents have is to ensure children never see same-sex marriages. For hundreds of years, Jewish people have lived in countries where they were a tiny minority. In the predominately Christian regions of the world, Jewish families watched Christians work on Saturday, when they were going to the synagogue and were worshipping God. The Jewish culture, religion, and values have survived being surrounded by people of other world religions and other values. Differences do not threaten values with extinction. What differences can do is help us be aware of other values, which can help draw very distinct lines between different value systems.

The video warns against employment rights for gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people, and against the inclusion of hate-crimes protection for gay people. As proof that hate crimes protection should not be extended to gay people they present a case where a number of Christians were arrested for going into a large gay event - one gathers to sing songs and witness. The legalities of their actions will be settled by the courts. That method of witnessing is almost too rude, offensive, and ill-conceived to be believable. There would be an uproar if Christians went to a synagogue or a mosque and sang songs as a way of witnessing. All that is achieved by that form of witnessing is the creation of enemies out of people who might not have been enemies before. Thoughtful, caring, and sensitive witnessing will not result in arrest, detainment, and charges. And it certainly will not result in long and expensive court battles.

The last portion of the video is a direct call to political grassroots action - such as letter writing, and groups of parents complaining about gay inclusive curriculum in schools. In the political action portion of the film, they comment, “We’ve exposed the plot . . .” The movie continues claiming that the gay agenda “is going to destroy” the family.

The filmmakers have one valid point. They point out that Christians should not be portrayed as bigoted and hate-filled. When any group is vilified, there is a danger that the vilification can result in prejudice, discrimination, and hatred. At Stop Hate 2000, we are opposed to hatred due to religious convictions. We are opposed to the hatred of Christians due to religious convictions, and we are opposed to the hatred of gay people due to religious convictions.

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