Long-time readers of this blog have noticed that I enjoy mocking and belittling various "progressive" moonbats
who say stupid things with an utter disregard for facts. While most of my abuse is aimed at the left (because they seem to be the most unaware of how the world actually works) I occasionally point out when those on the right (especially my Congressman, Bill "Sedimentary Profession
" Sali) say dumb things.
I get frustrated when people, because of either lazy or non-existent research or a deliberate attempt to deceive, put out information that's just plain wrong. Such was the case today when I was over at submariner Dale's fine Idaho website
, and I found a link to a post at the "Idaho Values Alliance"
website by their Executive Director, Bryan Fischer. About halfway down, I found this surprising little tidbit:
Two Pennsylvania grandmothers are facing 47 years in jail for spreading the gospel because of a state “hate crimes” law that is nearly identical to a federal hate crimes law that was re-introduced in Congress in January.
[Emphasis of verb tense mine] Now, this surprised me when I read it; I like to think that I keep a pretty close eye on the news, and something like this is something I would have remembered hearing about. The post had a link to this article at WorldNetDaily
(home of the "Israeli submarines off the Iranian coast
" idiocy); here's an excerpt:
Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Lynda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia, Pa., USA. They faced 47 years (the rest of their lives) in jail for spreading the Gospel because of a Pennsylvania "hate crimes" law...
Notice the difference? Just a little bit of research on my part found "the rest of the story" -- basically, the grandmothers were arrested in October 2004 when they went to a gay rights march to protest (or "preach the Gospel", depending on how you want to spin it). There was a confrontation, and 11 of the Christian activists were arrested, for charges involving failure to disperse and incitement to riot, as well as under the new Hate Crimes laws. Soon afterwards, the charges against the grandmothers were completely dropped
; therefore, they are not "facing" charges, as Mr. Fischer claims; nor were they facing 47 years in jail just for Hate Crimes law violations, as WND would have you believe. (The article linked above says that 5 of the 11 were still facing charges; however, all those charges were dropped
about a week after that article was written, in February 2005.)
Here's my point: I don't like Hate Crimes laws; I don't think an assault on a minority should be treated any differently than a similar assault on a straight white male -- if the Equal Protection Clause
means anything, it should mean that one adult crime victim is not "more worthy" of increased justice than another. But, when people who try to argue against them just make stuff up, it doesn't do anything to help their cause, and eventually will hurt it because people learn not to trust what they have to say anymore.Update
2353 08 Feb: As Cartman once said
, "This has gone from weak to super-weak
". After Dale at Right Mind let Mr. Fischer know
about the problem, they changed "are facing" to "faced" in the post at IVA, and didn't even say that they edited it
. I know that it's only an unofficial rule of the Internet that if someone catches you in an error you're supposed to indicate this when you make the correction, but I think it's still a "rule" that people should follow if they want to be taken seriously.