The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Opportunity to DO Justice

If you are a clergyperson who reads this blog, or if you are lay ministers who work with clergy, I am asking for your help today to help advance a national (US) hate crimes bill that is before the U.S. Congress right now.

Please take time to visit, or encourage your clergy colleagues to visit,, read the information that is presented, particularly the interfaith clergy letter, and sign the on-line petition of clergy who support hate crimes legislation. Forward this message to supportive and affirming clergy in your area. Add a brief note asking them to sign on and encouraging them to forward this message to other clergy, as well.

I have blogged about this before here.

Some conservative faith groups have launched an aggressive campaign to derail this legislation. Members of these groups fear --falsely-- that if this legislation passes, pastors who believe that homosexuality is a sin will be prohibited from preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit. The hate crimes legislation in no way prohibits free speech or free thought. The reason why this action is directed toward clergy is that Religious Right lobbyists, stung by their failure to block this bill in the House, are claiming to represent all people of faith as they attempt to derail this bill. They don't represent me as a person of faith, they don't represent most of the RGBPs, and they certainly don't represent the people who attend my churches.

It is so important for U.S. Senators and eventually the President to hear other voices of faith -- and to know that many, many fair-minded clergypersons support this hate crimes legislation.

Please add your voices to the many that have already signed.


  • At 8:23 AM , Blogger Mrs. M said...

    Rev. Dona Quixote,

    I'm not trying to be a pain in the rear, I'm honestly asking you to educate me: what's the difference between a hate crime and any other crime? Isn't hate a part of any action where one person violates another?

    Please be patient with me, as I've wondered about this more than once, and I appreciate your post-- I'm grateful for the opportunity to ask someone.

  • At 12:25 PM , Blogger Reverend Dona Quixote said...

    Mrs. M,

    Thanks for asking about the difference between crimes and hate crimes. You're not being a pain in the rear --you're asking a question ...

    Here's my take on this.

    Most crimes committed against individuals, such as murder, robbery, larceny, burglary, etc. are committed because the criminal is seeking money, revenge, etc. I might break into your house because it is easily broken into, and I can see you have a really cool sound system that I can sell. I don't know you from Adam --what makes me commit this crime against you is the ease of breaking into your house. I don't care if you're white, black, latina, single, gay, straight or whatever. You're an easy mark, and you have something I want, so that's why I chose you.

    I might also murder you because you are in the way of my getting something I want, and it doesn't matter if you're black, white, gay, straight ... whatever.

    Ah, but a hate crime is committed against a vulnerable individual because s/he represents a certain community, not because the criminal gains anything material from a criminal action against the victim.

    So that, for instance, the 18 year old kid who punched Sean Kennedy in such a way that he died [this happened in Greenville, SC in mid-May this year] attacked him because Sean was seen leaving a gay bar.

    The guys in Jasper, Texas that hooked James Byrd Jr. up to a pickup by a chain and dragged him through the streets until he died didn't do it because they wanted something from James Byrd ... they did it because they were white supremacists who wanted to, if you'll pardon my language, "kill them a nigger."

    The main difference between a hate crime and other crime is that hate crimes are committed against individuals for the purpose of intimidating an entire community.

    If we beat up queers, maybe they'll go away ... if we beat up people of color, maybe they'll go away ... if we paint a swastika on a synagogue, maybe they'll go away ... at any rate, they'll know who's boss.

    Does this help?

  • At 7:02 AM , Blogger Reverend Dona Quixote said...

    An even more precise example, if we violently attack one or two queers, maybe all of them will go away ...


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