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People of the Lie: Hate Crimes Edition

WorldNetDaily has found a whole new set of falsehoods to tell about covering "sexual orientation" under a hate-crimes law.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/20/2009

President Obama is not the only subject WorldNetDaily spreads falsehoods about.

WND has long opposed the idea of hate-crimes laws, especially ones that offer protection to homosexuals -- a 1999 article, for instance, asserted that such laws "are not so much intended to discourage criminal acts as they are to suppress and criminalize people's thoughts, beliefs and speech regarding homosexuality." But the relatively good prospect of passage for a hate-crimes bill that covers "sexual orientation" -- the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 -- has sent WND into a fit of mendaciousness matched only by the lies it has told about Obama.

ConWebWatch has compiled the major falsehoods WND has asserted or uncritically repeated (lying by omission by refusing to tell the full truth) about the hate-crimes bill currently up for consideration in Congress, and the name of the WND reporter (when provided) or columnist who repeated it.

* * *

THE LIE: The bill criminalizes thought and silences speech.

THE LIARS: Bob Unruh, Jan. 15, Jan. 20, April 2, May 4, May 8, May 18; Alyssa Farah, April 20; Chelsea Schilling, April 21; unbylined, April 30, April 30, May 2, May 18; Joseph Farah, May 13; Chuck Norris, May 18.

THE TRUTH: The bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.

On the few occasions that this clause is referenced by WND, it is followed, as it is followed by the claim (as stated in an April 30 article) that "critics cite United States Code Title 18, Section 2, as evidence of how the legislation could be used against people who merely speak out against homosexuality. It states: Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal." But it's not explained that incitement to violence is the only possible way someone's words could be prosecuted under the bill, nor is it explained why someone who speaks in such a way as to incite violence -- speech that is generally not protected by the First Amendment -- must be exempt from criminal penalties.

* * *

THE LIE: The bill protects pedophiles and all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or "paraphilias" listed by the American Psychological Association.

THE LIARS: unbylined, April 30, April 30, May 18; Bob Unruh, May 4, May 8, May 9, May 18; Joseph Farah, May 13; Chuck Norris, May 18,

THE TRUTH: Pedophilia is a crime, not a sexual orientation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), specifically excludes pedophilia, thus precluding protection for pedophiles from the hate crimes bill.

Additionally, as Rep. Tammy Baldwin has noted, "sexual orientation" is already defined by federal statute as applying only to "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," thereby excluding pedophiles and the other "paraphilas" and making any amendment to the bill specifically excluding various "paraphilias" redundant.

WND has generally failed to report the existence of these exclusions in federal law. Rather, it has claimed that Rep. Alcee Hastings has "agreed and admitted" (as stated in a May 9 column by Janet Porter) that such "paraphilas" are covered by stating on the House floor: "This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these 'philias' and fetishes and 'ism's' that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are."

But Hastings' statement cannot be taken as legally binding; after all, while serving as a federal judge he was impeached and removed from the bench. Further, Hastings' statement was made not as a legal analysis but in noting "what we have to put up with in the Rules Committee" by reading an amendment that a laundry list of specific "paraphilias" to be exempted from the bill that the committee voted down.

* * *

THE LIE: The death of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime; rather, it was the result of a robbery and/or drug deal gone bad.

THE LIARS: Janet Porter, Feb. 17; Bob Unruh, April 23, May 4, May 8, May 9; Drew Zahn, April 27; unbylined, April 30, May 2; Joseph Farah, May 13.

THE TRUTH: As ConWebWatch detailed, this fit of revisionism over Shepard's death began in 2004, when ABC's "20/20" interviewed Shepard's killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who now claim that they killed Shepard as the result of a robbery that went bad, not a hate crime. In fact, McKinney has given multiple, conflicting accounts of the events leading up to Shepard's death and attempted a "gay panic" defense during his murder trial.

Further, as the Matthew Shepard Foundation has stated, the ABC report omitted the contents of McKinney's in-custody interview a few days after Shepard's death. That transcript shows "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence," according to the foundation.

To believe McKinney and Henderson now to take the word of known liars and convicted killers over that of law enforcement -- a choice WND has clearly made.

* * *

THE LIE: A 73-year-old grandmother was jailed for trying to share Christian tracts advocating a biblical perspective of homosexuality at a "homosexual festival" in Philadelphia in 2004.

THE LIARS: Bob Unruh, Jan. 15, Jan. 20, April 2, May 4; unbylined, April 30, April 30, May 2.

THE TRUTH: As ConWebWatch has detailed, the grandmother in question, Arlene Elshinnawy, is a longtime anti-abortion activist was part of a group of protesters that tried to interrupt a stage performance at the "homosexual festival" with their preaching. The offense was not sharing the word of God; they were arrested only after they refused a police order to go to an area on the edge of the event. The group was led by a bullhorn-wielding preacher, Michael Marcavage, who has endorsed putting homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual.

In other words, Elshinnawy is no shrinking-violet grandmother -- she knows exactly what she's doing when she protest, and she should be well aware of the possibility that she and the leaders she chooses to follow could be arrested for their confrontational behavior and the disregard for law enforcement they demonstrate. Funny that WND can't be bothered to mention that.

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