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Monday, May 4, 2009
Porter Encapsulates WND's False Claims on Hate-Crimes Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Janet Folger Porter's April 28 WorldNetDaily column is a perfect storm of false claims and bamboozlement on imagined threats to right-wingers like herself to be as hateful as they wanna be.

First, she claims:

The "hate crimes" bill, H.R. 1913, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, is aimed at silencing speech. This thought crimes bill is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow, and when you pair it with existing law (found in Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code), it will unmistakably criminalize speech.

It specifically targets anyone who dissents to the homosexual agenda as aiding in the commission of a crime, making them "punishable as a principal."

In fact, it does no such thing. 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.Further, the House Judiciary Committee has stated:

The bill is designed only to punish violent acts, not beliefs or thoughts -- even violent thoughts. The legislation does not punish, nor prohibit in any way, name-calling, verbal abuse, or expressions of hatred toward any group, even if such statements are hateful. Moreover, nothing in this legislation prohibits the lawful expression of one's deeply held religious or personal beliefs. The bill only covers violent actions that result in death or bodily injury committed because the victim has one of the specified actual or perceived characteristics.

Porter also falsely asserts that the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism "call[s] law-abiding American citizens 'the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.' Conservatives are the New Terrorists." Again, false. Here's the relevant claim from the report:

DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.  Information from law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations indicates lone wolves and small terrorist cells have shown intent—and, in some cases, the capability—to commit violent acts.

Needless to say, Porter refuses to acknowledge that DHS released a report earlier this year about left-wing extremism.

Porter's column is an encapsulation of WND's overall "news" coverage of both issues. An April 30 WND "news" article, for instance, insists that HR 1913 will allow "law enforcement officers to identify and criminally prosecute speech and thought offensive to homosexuals" without bothering to tell the full story.

That article also touches on several right-wing canards as supposed evidence to support their claims. It asserts that Matthew Shepard was "Wyoming homosexual who was killed in a horrific robbery and beating in 1998" -- a bit of revisionism which ignores the fact that one of his killers used a "gay panic" defense during his trial.

It also asserts that state laws that list gays in hate crimes "have resulted in persecution for Christians. In Philadelphia several years ago, a 73-year-old grandmother was jailed for trying to share Christian tracts with people at a homosexual festival." In fact, as we've detailed, the grandmother was part of a group of protesters that tried to interrupt a stage performance at the festival with their preaching, and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the event. The group was led by a preacher who has endorsed putting homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT

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