Dear Family Research Council,
I was saddened to hear about the gunman who opened fire in your lobby, and I am relieved to hear that the security guard who was injured is going to be ok. I am also relieved that there weren’t any other casualties, and that the gunman is in custody.
I want to make it clear that I do not agree with one single bit of policy analysis that has ever come out of your offices, and that your fundamentalist ideas of the Bible and Christianity are not at all good for America or its citizens and should in no way come anywhere near our laws, but nobody deserves to be shot for their beliefs. Apparently, the guy who walked into your offices did not feel the same way.
From what little information is available, it appears that the guy who walked into your offices absolutely hated you and everything that you stand for, to the point that he was willing to take out a gun and start shooting.
Imagine that! A person hates you for no other reason than based on who you are and what you believe and decides to try to hurt you because of it. If only there were laws that would emphasize how terrible those crimes are, or if only there were a way to add extra legal penalties to the sentences of people who kill and maim based on hatred for others.
Well good news! There are! They are called “Hate Crime Laws,” and they do all of these things! The laws in D.C. are particularly broad. They have made it so violent crimes against people based solely on their religion are considered to be worse than plain old regular violent crimes.
So, if it turns out that the contemptible criminal idiot who walked into your offices in Chinatown and started shooting did so because of your religious beliefs, he could conceivably get a much stiffer penalty than what he would have gotten if he was just looking to get his hands on some money or office supplies or whatever.
But here’s the problem. You guys do not like hate crime laws in the slightest. On your website, you refer to them as “thought crime laws,” and view them as a violation of the First Amendment.
So, basically, the moron who walked into your offices with guns blazing might be prosecuted under laws that you very much want to eradicate. Wow. That’s pretty ironic, huh? And not idiot-hipster-kid-who-thinks-wearing-a-dumb-shirt-is-irony irony, but actual, real, honest to God, Wayne LaPierre-accidentally-shooting-himself-in-the-testicles irony.
What are you guys going to do, here? It’s ultimately up to DC to determine whether or not they prosecute this guy under hate crime statutes, and they would be well within their rights to. The dude walked into your offices and tried to kill people based solely on the religious beliefs of those who worked there, and that is absolutely a hate crime. What will you do if DC decides to go that way? Will you hire a lawyer to lobby against that decision? Will you hire a lawyer to represent the gunman? It has to be a tough situation for you. You have my sympathies.
If you will allow me, I would like to try to ease your minds a bit. In the first place, your slippery slope argument that speaking out against homosexuality from the pulpit will become illegal doesn’t seem to have much traction when you compare it to real life.
Here’s an example: The poor, sorry, used, ignorant and pathetic morons in the Ku Klux Klan speak out on a daily basis on how they believe that black people are inferior, yet none of them have been imprisoned for doing so. It’s only when one of them gets violent that they get arrested and charged with hate crimes.
Every time anyone even remotely high-profile dies, Fred Phelps and his followers can be found at the gravesite, waving hateful signs and generally disgracing themselves, but because Fred et. al. are non-violent and break no laws, none of them have ever seen the inside of a prison cell. Even the Supreme Court said they have the right to do these terrible things. I think you guys with your biblical interpretations are gonna be ok.
I have yet to hear about some idiot 15-year-old who spray paints a swastika on an overpass in East Nowhere County getting 20 years in prison for violating hate crime laws. What these laws refer to is violence. Real, provable, terrible violence, like the sort that was visited upon your offices yesterday.
So, to recap: When the mega-church preachers that pay for your offices on G Street go to their pulpits and preach that homosexuality is a choice, or that gays are child molesters, or that they are combing the neighborhood looking for recruits, those preachers are breaking no laws and will not be molested by law enforcement in any way. But when a parishioner of those churches takes that stuff seriously and goes and beats a homosexual into a coma, that’s when the hate crime laws kick in. At least in some states.
I’m sorry this happened to you. I truly am. I don’t agree with a damn thing you guys throw out there, but I did meet quite a few of you at the last Values Voters convention, and found many of you to be some of the friendliest and nicest people I have ever met in all my years in DC. I hate the idea of you hiding under desks or living in fear because of what you believe. You shouldn’t have to. This is America.
And believe it or not, this is the sort of thing that hate crime laws are supposed to help prevent. You guys can be victims of idiocy, bigotry and violence just as much as anyone else. Hate does not flow in one direction, from one end of the political spectrum to the other. It goes in all directions, all the time.
I’m glad nobody got killed, and I hope the security guard has a full recovery and a long, happy and peaceful life, and the same goes for all of you. But please view this as an object lesson. Hate crime laws are not meant to keep you down or crush your religious beliefs. They are a way for all of us to say that we don’t tolerate the sort of violent idiocy that happened to you. So if the DC authorities decide to prosecute this guy under hate crime statutes, allow them to do so. Ok? Ok.
Best of luck,