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December 03, 2010

FBI: A fifth of all hate crimes hit gays and lesbians

Five anti-gay organizations added to SPLC’s hate group list

Washington, D.C.--Almost one-fifth of hate crimes reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2009 were based on sexual orientation.

In terms of single-bias crimes, those motivated by a single trait, 18.5 percent were based on anti-LGBT bias, compared to 1.5 percent for anti-disability bias, 11.8 percent for ethnicity or national origin, 19.7 percent based on religion and 48.5 based on race.

Within sexual orientation bias crimes, over half were against gay men, while 15 percent were anti-lesbian. Over a quarter were listed only as “anti-homosexual” in the FBI hate crime statistics, which were released on November 22.

Sexual orientation bias cuts both ways, and the FBI tracks anti-heterosexual crimes as well. However, only 1.5 percent of sexual orientation bias crimes targeted people because they were heterosexual.

There were just over 6,600 hate crime reports in 2009, compared to 7,783 in 2008, a 15 percent drop. The number of victims also declined a similar percentage, from 9,691 in 2008 to 8,336 in 2009.

Those declines come in spite of a higher number of reporting agencies across the nation, up to 14,000 from 13,690 in 2008.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s analysis of the data, however, shows that gay men and lesbians are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than any other group.

The SPLC, which also tracks hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, has now designated 13 anti-gay organizations under that classification, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

Also included on the list are the Tradition Values Coalition, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, MassResistance, the Family Research Institute, and the Illinois Family Institute.

SPLC also listed the National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Coral Ridge Ministries and Concerned Women for America as “anti-gay” organizations.

The listings came in the 140th edition of the organization’s Intelligence Report, and the article by Evelyn Schlatter says, “Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”

“These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the ‘facts’ they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even new organizations,” she continues, noting that the groups base their propaganda on “known falsehood--claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities--and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

She also specifies that simply viewing homosexuality as wrong because of biblical beliefs is not enough to put an organization on the list.

Abiding Truth Ministries in Springfield, Massachusetts, for instance, is included as “a launching pad for an international anti-gay campaign,” and its founder, Scott Lively, wrote a book saying that gays were in charge of the Nazi Party in Germany during World War 2. He also went to a conference in Uganda a month before a draconian anti-gay bill was introduced in the nation’s parliament.

The group American Vision is led by Gary DeMar, a Christian Reconstructionist who believes that the United States should be a theocracy based on Old Testament law. American Vision also has ties to Coral Ridge Ministries and the Chalcedon Foundation.

Despite their protestations of victimization at the hands of the nefarious gay agenda, Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times agrees with the designation.

“Over the years, [the Family Research Council] has published statistical compendiums purporting to quantify the ‘evils’ of homosexuality,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist wrote in his December 1 op-ed. “At various times, its spokesmen have spuriously alleged that the gay rights movement’s goal is ‘to go after children’ and that child molestation is more likely to occur in household with gay parents. Last week, one of its senior fellows, Peter Sprigg, told reporters on a conference call concerning repeal of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that ‘homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are relative to their numbers.’ ”

“Such rhetoric is eerily reminiscent of that with which religiously affiliated opponents of African American equality once defended segregation,” Rutten continues. “It wasn’t all that long ago that some of them argued against school integration because, they alleged, black adolescents were uniquely unable to control sexual impulses and, therefore, would assault white schoolgirls.”

“So long as even the most objectionable religious dogma stays under the church roof, it’s a constitutionally protected view,” He concludes. “However, when a group sets out to impose its views on the rest of society by lobbying for public policies or laws, it can no longer claim special protections or an exemption from the norms of civil discourse simply because its views are formed by religious beliefs.”

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