Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Pat Robertson, televangelist and peddler of snake-oil, on the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

The noose has tightened around the necks of Christians to keep them from speaking out on certain moral issues. And it all was embodied in something called the Hate crimes bill that President Obama said was a major victory for America. I’m not sure if America was the beneficiary. […] We have voted into office a group of people who are opposed to many of the fundamental Christian beliefs of our nation. And they hold to radical ideology, and they are beginning put people sharing their points of view into high office. And not only that, they not only have control of both houses of Congress.

Just because some people do not share his fundamentalist Christian beliefs does not make them opposed to them. It just means they aren’t his kind of Christian, and he don’t get to decide who is or who isn’t a Christian, either. There are an awful lot of people in this country who do not share his beliefs, fundamental or Christian, including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, and all of the other colors of the faith spectrum, as well as atheist or agnostic. If that is a “radical ideology,” that’s been the way of this country since it was founded.

Second, the provisions of the Hate Crimes Prevention act also include protection for people who are attacked for their faith or atheism. That not only includes people who are attacked for being Jewish, Muslim, or none of the above, it also protects fundamentalist Christians. So if someone decided to put a noose around the neck of Christians, they too would be prosecuted under the law. After all, there are those who consider Mr. Robertson’s fundamental Christianity to be a “radical ideology,” especially since his hatred of all things gay is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ who taught his followers to “love thy neighbor.” (By the way, nice use of the lynching imagery there, Mr. Robertson. Think about that one for a minute.)

It is obviously beyond Mr. Robertson’s ability to understand that the expansion of rights and protections under the law is not a zero sum proposition. Preachers of homophobia did not lose their right to shout their hatred from the pulpit or the street corner; they are, however, accountable — as they always have been — for their actions.