Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Clark Doing More Hating On Hate Crimes Bill

There's nothing that quite stirs up the religious right like the thought of discouraging people from beating up or otherwise doing harm to someone because they're different in some way. The American Family Association's Micah Clark felt compelled to send out another missive to his members spewing more anti-gay bigoted rhetoric against HB 1459, the hate crimes bill. Clark writes:

ALERT: Action Is Needed Now to Defend Fairness and Freedom!

Posted Tuesday 2/20/07 11:59 am

The Indiana House of Representatives is poised to vote upon a potentially dangerous bill granting special legal protections to people engaging in homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors.

House Bill 1459, a hate crimes bill, destroys the concept of equal justice under the law. Under this radical bill, an assault against a homosexual man in his 30’s leaving a gay bar would carry a stronger punishment than the same crime against a grandmother leaving the grocery store. This injustice would occur simply because the man engages in certain sexual behaviors.

AFA believes that crime should be punished in an equal manner, regardless of the irrational or unhinged thoughts of a criminal and regardless of the private behavioral choices of the victim. HB 1459 does not do this. It grants special protections to certain groups.

Worse, in many states and countries so-called hate crime measures have led to the persecution of Christians for "hate speech" crimes if a pastor, for example, preaches from Romans 1 and mentions what the Bible says about homosexuality. *

We have made it easy for you to send a message to your State Representative about HB 1459. With our system, in less than one minute, you can make your voice heard about this misguided hate crime legislation . . .

It's bad enough that guys like Clark and Miller approach their legislative battles against the GLBT community in this deplorable fashion, but what's even worse is the complete lack of attention to these tactics being paid by the mainstream media. Instead, eggheads like RiShawn Biddle at the Star want to make the folks fighting to end the hatred and discrimination they face in daily life at the hands of this ilk the subject of public scorn. In an act of rubbing more crap in the faces of Indiana's GLBT community, Biddle flatters the sponsor of SJR-7. Biddle writes, "As seen in the case of Brandt Hershman, who has maintained a relatively moderate tone during his advocacy of SJR-7, it's easier to get people to buy into an idea if presented with reason than to oppose an idea through the use of extreme rhetoric." This he speaks of a man who tried to cut off funding to Purdue if it didn't end its domestic partner benefits, and whose wife tells us forced her to get an abortion before filing for divorce after 7 years of marriage.

Clark, Miller and all the rest of the anti-gay bigots will go on engaging in their underhanded discourse on the hate crimes bill and other issues pertaining to Indiana's GLBT community because they can do so with impunity and will actually be comforted by the folks in the mainstream media. I have said it before and I will say it again and again, those who embrace the agenda of Clark, Miller and others on this score are embracing the same sort of agenda the KKK pursued against disfavored minorities in this state during the 1920s. To argue otherwise is simply to be ignorant of our history.

And while Biddles says of the comparison of this Christian right agenda to the KKK of the 1920s-- "To insinuate this belittles the principled cause of those gay activists who are reasonable -- and alienates those heterosexuals who generally agree with their cause--look at who is belittling a principled cause. City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield and neighborhood leaders in her northside district fought for over a year to close the illegally-operated Savoy nightclub last year. As Mansfield describes those efforts:

[A] nightclub was operating illegally in an area zoned as a hospital district. It was located forty-feet from a nursing home, close to single-family homes, and across the street from St. Vincent Hospital and the St. Augustine Home for the Aged. The nightclub brought crime to the area including a knifing, public intoxication and slashing someone with a broken beer bottle, in addition to excessive noise and trash. Many of the law enforcement reports were written by the nightclub’s own off-duty police officers between the hours of midnight and 4am. The nursing home residents and employees expressed concerns on noise and safety regarding the nightclub and its patrons. Many of the area businesses were concerned about how the crime, noise and trash would affect their businesses. The fire department had issued a citation for several violations. After reviewing all of this information as well as listening to the constituents in the area, I strongly opposed the nightclub’s petition to get a variance to allow the nightclub to continue to operate as a nightclub. To have allowed such a petition to be approved would have severely negatively impacted District 2 in the long-term.

What does Biddle have to say about Manfield's and other neighborhood leaders efforts? "On the matter of Savoy, I noted that Bill Mays didn't follow the rules and handle his business," he concedes in a comment this week on this blog. "At the same time, I noted that it was quite likely that the motivation behind those demanding the closure of the club was racial in nature." These good folks aren't amused at Biddle suggesting they are racists. "It's so easy to make this a huge social issue but if he would just put himself in other people's shoes and imagine what he'd do in the same situation he would see it's just people reacting to a bad situation," responded Ellen Meagher, one of the neighbors who complained about the Savoy. Biddle would do well to take Meagher's advice.


Wilson46201 said...

The Indiana Klan of the 1920s was made up of civic-minded white Protestant native-born men - genuine pillars of the community. They spoke well and would never curse in public. They attended chrch regularly and tithed. They indulged in genteel discourse at the Statehouse. Lord knows what they did at the Claypool!

They merely advocated policies against minorities such as Catholics, foreigners, "coloreds" and union-members.

But they were gentlemen with calm speech!

Jeff Newman said...

The reason that RiShawn Biddle and others think the comparisons to the Klan are so over-the-top is they have mental images of white hoods, cross burnings, and quasi-illiterate f**ks who call themselves Dragons and Wizards.

Gary's Klan comparisons are being made in a historical perspective, where the Klan was a powerful political force in Indiana.

When you really examine the similarities between the anti-gay forces and the historical Klan, the vision of Eric Miller holding his rallies or parading around the Legislative chambers like he owns the place is indeed a chilling one.

Steph Mineart said...

Jeff and Wilson are both quite right - Read "Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America" -- covers quite a bit of history of the KKK in Indiana. Three out of every four white men were Klan members in Indiana in the early 20's, and they were the upper and middle class folks. And they did rally in the public parks and public spaces everywhere, including in Indianapolis. They didn't hide out in the woods the way they do now.

Anonymous said...

Please, folks, let's try to separate emotion from facts.
How are the Savoy and Micah Clark's hate-mongering crowd similar? DId I miss something, and Micah's homophobes also chmie in against the Savoy?

Angela Mansfield and the North Willow neighbors fought the Savoy for almost a year. It took that long for the ridiculous violations to close the place down.

Race had zero--Z-E-R-O--to do with it. Those who look for that option are doomed to stupidity on the subject. The casefile had dozens of police runs and multiple fire code violations. The nursing home right next door was the worst recipient of this club's noise and litter problems.

Since when is it racist to insist that businesses operate legally? Only in Biddle's and Amos Brown's worlds.

Anonymous said...

The Savoy is relevant to Biddle's denouncement of Gary for comparing the actions of those pushing SJR-7 and other discriminatory efforts against gays and lesbian's, while he accused people who opposed the Savoy for principled reasons that had nothing to do with the race of the bar's owners or patrons as being racists. Gary offered a rational, historical comparison of the two, while Biddle relied on irrational emotions.