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Them's Fighting Words

Religious groups including the Christian Coalition and the American Family Association are calling their members to arms against the new Hate Crimes Bill that is likely to pass in the Congress.

The bill has the support of the ACLU, the first such bill to get that group's approval.

The key to the bill is that it does not criminalize hate speech, but says it can be used as evidence it it leads directly to action. Bigots will still be free to insult and smear people because of their race or sexual orientation or infirmity under the protection of the Constitution as, hold your nose, they ought to be.

The Christian Coaltion was sending out an e-mail solicitation to members Monday trying get them to rise up in righteous indignatin against the bill, which they said threatened the freedom of Christian speech, but curiously cited the danger to the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, but made no mention of the 1st.

It also got some of that Christian speech a little muddled. Its initial e-mail warned that "if a Rabbi or Priest or any Pastor, reads a passage in the Bible which condones homosexuality from the pulpit, these clergy will run the risk of being considered an accomplice to any parishioner who goes out and commits a “hate crime” or a "thought crime" against a homosexual."

It meant "condemn," not "condone" of course, which the passage became in a later e-mail.

If those pastors had actually preached tolerance and undertanding, then some parishioners might have gone out and commited a "love non-crime" or "thoughtful noncrime against a homosexual." Imagine the trouble that would cause.

Ordinarly I would not pick on a typo, sense I have made a bundle in my life (yes, that was on purpose), but I decided to make an exception in this case.

By John Eggerton