Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Hagee's Hate Speech Encourages Violence Against Gays


A lot of us have been shocked and appalled by John Hagee's hate speech against gays. But the worst aspect of this hate speech is that it is precisely the sort of provocation that encourages violence against gay people.

Last week, Hagee made comments linking Hurricane Katrina to a planned gay pride parade in New Orleans.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out the dangers in making such reckless, idiotic remarks. This is the sort of thing that encourages small-minded bigots who suffered devastation during Katrina to go out and beat up gay people for bringing God's wrath down upon the Gulf Coast.

I have no evidence of any such attacks specifically prompted by hate speech remarks (at least any more evidence than Hagee has to back up his idiotic assertion that Katrina was somehow divinely tied to a gay parade). But evidence is often lacking in hate crimes, in any case. After all, the Community United Against Violence, a San Francisco advocacy group, has noted that many gay-bashing hate crimes actually "go unreported, and many are mishandled by police."

And the fact is, anti-gay hate crimes have become a very real problem in today's America. And it's a problem that certainly isn't helped by bigots like Hagee blaming terrible natural disasters on gays.

As the Gay.com online community site has pointed out, hate crimes against gays are on the rise in America. The site quotes the FBI as reporting that "hate crimes against gays made up 16 percent of total documented hate crimes across the U.S. in 2006, up from 14 percent in 2005."


Anonymous said...

1) What is the difference in "hate crimes against gays" and in "crimes against gays?

2) Am I a bigot for asking?

angie said...

I believe the difference is one of motivation.

If a person beats up someone to rob him or because he cut him off on the road, that is different from beating him up because of his rece, religion, or sexual orientation. The people who support hate crimes legislation, as I do, intend to underscore this difference by asking for greater accountability.

I believe there is legal precedent for this. The punishment for beating up a child is different from the punishment for beating up an adult. The law sees one crime as more heinous than the other. Attacking and possibly killing a person purely based upon race, religion or sexual orientation should similarly, IMO, bring stronger accountability.

Some politicians try to stir up bigotry against gays, people of color, and/or Muslims and Jews for the self-serving purpose of diverting the public's attention from the real issues that actually affect their lives, like the war, the economy, and jobs. The politicians who do this are afraid of what might happen if people start focusing upon the real issues.

Prejudice based upon religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. is entirely unAmerican. At the core of this great country's being are the values of equality, fairness, and tolerance. Americans should not allow themselves to lose sight of this.

Marc McDonald said...

Good explanation, Angie. Thanks for stopping by.
And in response to the first poster's comment, I don't know if you are in fact a bigot...but it does seem like you're making light of a very serious issue.

angie said...


I chose to assume that the question was coming from legitimate confusion, rather than veiled bigotry. If I am wrong, and the poster is a bigot, then no explanation will ever satisfy him/her, as bigotry and hate are irrational. If, however, the poster was genuinely confused, I hope my explanation has helped.

I have never understood bigotry. I admit that fear of "differences" is quite natural, but once it becomes clear that those differences pose no threat, the fear should dissipate, especially in this country where differences and diversity are what make us so culturally rich, and where freedom to be who we are is so fundamentally American.

As I said, I see all this fear-mongering as a predictable and disgraceful tactic to divert attention from the real issues that affect us all regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Distributorcap said...

let us not forget that another blowhard, the late Rev Fartwell, claimed that 9/11 was caused by gays (and feminists, the ACLU and other assorted groups he hated..)

but according to the asshat Joe Scarborough -- he gets a pass because he apologized.