Just when I was starting to get discouraged about the Hate Crimes on Wikipedia project, I saw this post from David at Ex-Gay Watch about this video from CitizenLink, which is Focus on the Family’s political pie-hole. Like I’ve said before, documenting hate crimes for Wikipedia turned out to be more emotionally challenging than I imagined. It means, usually, spending a few days tracking down sources, reading article after article about the crime, and then putting all the details together into coherent, comprehensive articles.
So, after doing the above for several hate crime stories and having several more yet to do, watching this video essentially mocking the very idea of hate crimes —essentially reducing the crimes and victims to jokes — felt something like a punch in the stomach, followed by amused laughter. The abject meanness of it is obvious, but I think David sums up pretty nicely what we’re seeing here.
What you will find at the end of this clip is what I believe is actually at the heart of the matter. Focus, et al, simply can’t allow sexual orientation to be codified into federal statutes as real and fixed, even as a byproduct.
After all the time and money they have spent trying to convince us that homosexuality is nothing more than a behavior, and a sinful one at that, it is against their self-interests to allow the obvious to make it into law. So in another example of the ends justifying the means, they use fear and lies to deny another vulnerable group the same protections against violent hate crimes that they themselves enjoy as members of a protected group by virtue of their religion.
The difference is that usually the above is covered with a thin veneer of “we’re not in favor of discrimination, etc., we just don’t think there should be a law about it,” which falls into the category of supportive non-support. It’s like the religious right in Minnesota opposing legislation giving same-sex couples the right to hospital visitation.
… Conservative groups are fighting the proposal. Their concern is not about visitation, but putting anything into law that acknowledges same sex partnerships.
“What we object to is the creation of these domestic partner statuses, which is really marriage by another name and that’s what we see they are attempting to do”, said Tom Prichard of the Minnesota Family Council.
Never mind that without a law, there is no right to visitation, and thus is can be denied to same-sex couples at the whim of whomever happens to be in charge of the nurses desk. And without legal recourse. So, essentially, bigots get away with manifesting their bigotry in a way that impacts our lives.
And provisions in the hate crimes bill would help prevent that from happening. It provides for federal agencies to aid state and local agencies with investigations of hate crimes, and to provide financial resources to cover the cost of investigations.
It provides for federal agencies to step in and conduct investigations when state and local officials can’t or won’t conduct investigations, as was done in the murders of civil rights workers when white southern sheriffs and juries refused to treat those murders as crimes. Case in point, right now the FBI is investigating a 61-year-old lynching in Georgia.
The police were only about 50 yards down the road when the gun-wielding white mob stopped the car and dragged the two black men out, shoving them face first into the dirt.
The two women were next to be yanked from the burgundy Buick into the thick, sultry air of a Southern summer, one of them thrashing and flailing as she screamed and pleaded with the mob to spare her and her unborn child.
The lynch mob dragged the sharecroppers through the pine trees down a wagon trail to the Apalachee River and, on their leader’s command, unleashed three torrents of gunfire.
As the four hit the ground, a man stepped from the woods and shot two streams of ketchup onto the victims for effect.
Wednesday’s graphic re-enactment of Georgia’s last mass lynching is the organizers’ way of drawing attention to the still-unsolved murders.
It was supposedly the last mass lynching in America, and is recorded in Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America, and it’s still being investigated with the help of the FBI. (There’s more information, and photographs at the website for the book.)
Maybe in 40 years or so, the FBI will investigate the murder of Nizah Morris. But not if Focus on the Family has its way. If state and local authorities can’t be bothered to fully investigate, then it won’t be investigated. Just like the murders of George Dorsey, Dorothy Dorsey, Mae Murray Dorsey, Roger Malcom were left unsolved by state and local authorities.
In fact, it’s been said that then governor Herman Talmadge’s racist rhetoric helped inspire the violence, and actually came to Monroe, Georgia, just two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and one day after the lynching, and was said to have played a role in to have offered immunity to anyone involved. Talmadge’s role will be reprised by an actor in the re-enactment.
Civil rights leader and state Rep. Tyrone Brooks said Monday that Talmadge’s fiery, racist rhetoric inspired the violence that led to the brutal 1946 attack on Moore’s Ford Bridge.
…The 3,725 pages obtained by The AP under the Freedom of Information Act show that the FBI looked into whether Talmadge sanctioned the murders in an effort to woo white rural voters during a tough 1946 re-election campaign.
Talmadge paid a visit to the north Georgia town of Monroe just two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a highly charged racial incident there in which Roger Malcolm, a black sharecropper, stabbed and wounded a white farmer. Malcolm and Dorothy Malcolm along with George and Mae Murray Dorsey would later be dragged from their car on Moore’s Ford Bridge by a mob of white men, tied to a trees and shot to death. Dorothy Malcolm, was seven months pregnant.
…In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the probe said that Talmadge met with George Hester, brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone ‘taking care of negro.’
The agent called Talmadge’s involvement ‘unbelievable’ but added that it still warranted investigation. The report made no conclusion about the killings.
Now, as then, bigotry is good politics to some people, and the lives taken by bigotry a chance to score political points or at least have a good laugh, or both.
But from an organization that is supposedly a Christian organization, as Focus purports itself to be. My questions actually have little to do with politics. I want to know, whose death would Jesus mock? Ronnie Paris and Arthur Warren? Nizah Morris? Richie Phillips?
I have many more to name. But tell me, which would one would Jesus make into a joke?