New group forms, and they launch by taking Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin to task

No sooner than did I get into the afternoon yesterday, and I had to come to Brookings on an emergency basis. I finally have a few moments to check my e-mail, and I noted this new website. And they aren't being terribly nice to our Congresswoman.

Some might say they're giving her hell. Others, that they're telling the truth, and it feels like hell. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

CommonSenseSouthDakota.com has two radio ads posted that are going to run starting today in South Dakota. And they aren't pulling many punches. Check out what the website has to say:

Federal Hate Crimes legislation – which was aimed squarely at punishing people of faith – passed in the House of Representatives last week. Stephanie Herseth? She voted yes.

and...

And this hate crimes law now elevates homosexuals into a separate legal class – above other citizens – reversing our Constitutional guarantee of "equal justice under law."

We’re so disappointed Stephanie Herseth voted yes for a law that would restrict our First Amendment Freedom of Religion. We know she was raised better than that. It’s just one more example of how she votes in Washington, and dismisses the values of the folks who sent her there. It's so disappointing.

Radio Ad #1: News Talk
SUMMARY:
The so-called "Hate Crimes" legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives could result in pastors being arrested for what they preach in their pulpits - and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin voted yes... [60 seconds]



Radio Ad #2: Religious Freedom
SUMMARY:
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin voted to put homosexuality into a separate legal class above other citizens. She voted for a law that would restrict our freedom of religion... [60 seconds]


See the entire website here.

Wasn't I talking in an earlier post how when you try to create special protected classes, problems erupt? Well, here's a perfect example.

I don't know if our country could ever sort out the fact that many religions frown strongly on alternative lifestyles versus those who practice those lifestyles. On one hand, one group calls it hate speech. On the other hand the other calls it freedom of religion. And on top of that you have the equal protection clause in the constitution.

You don't win battles for people's minds and hearts through singling yourself out.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I don't see what special rights are given to homosexuals from this bill. What exactly do they get that the rest of us don't get?
Anonymous said…
Isn't it funny how these groups come out of no where to start running negative campaign ads? They clearly don't know South Dakota -- Common Sense South Dakota is Steve Hildebrand's Group!

Anyone claiming to be a conservative wouldn't align themselves with him!
Anonymous said…
2:10, it creates a class where they are protected from hate crimes with stiffer penalties under the law.

However, the bill also would make those who preach against it on religious grounds guilty of hate speech. Despite what they interpret the bible to say.
Anonymous said…
2:10, they're "special" in the sense that other groups of people aren't given the same legal protections.

so, a guy could beat up a homosexual out of a bias against homosexuals and be given a harsher punishment than he would if he beat up a fat guy out of a bias against fat people.

maybe not so much "special rights" but definitely special legal protections. hence, unequal treatment under the law.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
uh, yeah. i'm pretty sure that steve hildebrand does not oppose hate crimes legislation.

does anyone know who these guys are?

where are they from?
Anonymous said…
I understand that it treats those who commit a crime differently, but what "special rights" are given TO homosexuals?
Anonymous said…
Lex, can you substantiate the charge that this bill will "result in pastors being arrested for preaching against homosexuality"

Seems like a pretty clear 1st Amendment violation.

So if a pastor or priest says "homosexuality is a sin" they will be prosecuted?
Anonymous said…
I disagree with classifying one type of assault as different than another. I disagree with Herseth's vote.

But these ads are go far beyond what is factual. We should criticize her for what this vote does do and not make up things about pastors being prosecuted for preaching out of the bible.

When we overreach like this, it makes us look stupid.
Anonymous said…
This is the same group that did push polling in Montana last year.
http://rosenleaf.typepad.com/livingstonipresume/2006/09/common_sense_20.html

They were also in Ohio
http://www.buckeyestateblog.com/node/2433

Looks like the out of state attacks for 2008 are already starting. Buy stock in SD TV and Radio!
Anonymous said…
These guys were involved in legal trouble in Ohio in 2006.

http://www.mywire.com/pubs/AkronBeaconJournal/2006/09/08/1801770?extID=10037&oliID=229

Why can't these out-of-staters stay out of our state? Take Bill Steigmeier with you...
Anonymous said…
This is going to get worse before it gets better -

Push Poll Org To Be Active on Election Day
By Paul Kiel - November 6, 2006, 2:54 PM
The biggest right-wing group backing "push poll" calls says it's targeting calls to "core supporters" on Election Day.

But there's reason to believe that the group might also use their mighty calling operation for voter suppression efforts, as well.

This morning, The New York Times checked in on Common Sense Ohio, the conservative nonprofit that's been polling millions of voters in the closest Senate races with questions that lead hard to the right ("do you support medical research experiments on unborn babies?").

In it, Gabriel Joseph, the proprietor of ccAdvertising, the calling firm hired to make these nasty calls, admits that "his company had tried to reach every home in Maryland." As the Times points out, there are over two million households in Maryland. The group has also been inundating voters in Montana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Ohio with its poll -- targeting the closest Senate races.

Voters in those states can expect to just keep getting similar calls through tomorrow. Zeke Swift, the Executive Director of Common Sense, told the Times that the polls "had identified core supporters, who will receive a reminder call on Election Day."

ccAdvertising has done more than just help Common Sense identify "core supporters," of course -- they also have a good idea of unfriendly voters, information that ccAdvertising has not hesitated to use in the past, as detailed last month by Mother Jones:

an investigation of a state GOP official by Alaska's attorney general in 2003 revealed another glimpse of [ccAdvertising's] playbook. "If they support our candidate, the candidate comes on with a 20-second GOTV thanking them for their vote and asking them to get their friends and family to vote as well," Joseph wrote in an email to Alaska Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich, according to the Anchorage Daily News. "If they support the opponent, we deliver a voter suppression message."
Update: Not discussed in the Times piece is the fact that Common Sense has not limited their activity to push polls. Mr. Swift told me last week that they've also bought radio spots in Maryland, Montana and Ohio, and sent mailers in Maryland, Montana and Tennessee. You can see their Tennessee mailer here; "Bob Corker and Harold Ford are separated by more than their school colors . . ." We're eager to see other examples of their work.
Anonymous said…
2:21, i don't think what's happening in some european countries -- pastors jailed for preaching Biblical truths about homosexuality -- but it could possibly create situations where a pastor could be jailed.

in canada, for example, a pastor cannot preach certain Bible verses regarding homosexuality over the radio.

might that happen here someday? likely if legislation like this is passed into law.

and i say that because one of the federal crimes that the fbi investigates is "intimidation."

i know of at least one pastor who was charged with a "hate crime" by the state of pennsylvania because he was preaching outside of a gay strip club with some people from the community.

something similar happened not too long ago in philadelphia. i believe the charges were finally dropped.

but such an application of the law just makes sense. if it's illegal to hate homosexuals, and preaching the Bible is considered hate speech, then the next step is punish the hate preacher.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
Rob/Lex -

Do you know these guys?

Do they have a SD connection?
William said…
2:23 - Well... maybe it hasn't happened in South Dakota but there is precedent...
"Debate is to begin today in a congressional subcommittee on a federal "hate speech" proposal similar to a state law that already has been used to send grandmothers to jail for their "crime" of sharing the Gospel of Jesus on a Philadelphia public sidewalk"
http://www.stophatecrimesnow.com/?host_id=WND

"An attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says international exposure and pressure played a major role in a recent decision by Sweden's Supreme Court not to convict a pastor of committing a "hate speech" crime after he preached a sermon offering a biblical perspective on homosexual sin.
http://headlines.agapepress.org/
archive/12/92005f.asp
Anonymous said…
They got one thing wrong.

The bill is not "aimed squarely at punishing people of faith." It is aimed squarely at people who commit crimes. I'm not aware of any faith that says to go forth and beat or kill thy neighbor.
Anonymous said…
2:33, i should've said i don't think what's happening in some european countries, such as pastors being jailed, is going to happen here.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
Lex -

Canada and Europe do not have our First Amendment. It's clearly unconstitutional to arrest anyone for preaching from a bible.

If Fred Phelps can't be jailed, no mainstream preacher will either.

If you can point to the part of the bill that says that pastors can be jailed, it would help make your case.
Anonymous said…
2:34, i haven't a clue. i'd like to know, myself.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
2:36, i think fred phelps' so-called "ministry" could be in serious jeopardy under this legislation.
Anonymous said…
I think someone should tell this group was "common sense" means.
Anonymous said…
Here's the official summary from the Congressional Research Service:

Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 - Authorizes the Attorney General to provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that: (1) constitutes a crime of violence under federal law or a felony under state, local, or Indian tribal law; and (2) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim or is a violation of the state, local, or tribal hate crime laws. Directs the Attorney General to give priority for assistance to crimes committed by offenders who have committed crimes in more than one state and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary investigation or prosecution expenses.

Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to assist state, local, and Indian law enforcement agencies with such extraordinary expenses. Directs the Office of Justice Programs to: (1) work closely with funded jurisdictions to ensure that the concerns and needs of all affected parties are addressed; and (2) award grants to state and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.


Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit willfully causing bodily injury to any person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of such person.

Amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act to expand data collection and reporting requirements under such Act to include: (1) crimes manifesting prejudice based on gender and gender identity; and (2) hate crimes committed by and against juveniles.

--

The only crimes discussed in this bill are "crimes of violence."

There is no crime for speaking or preaching.

Am I missing something?
Anonymous said…
PP -- after reading the links above, I think your headline is inaccurate. It should say, "Out of State Group Comes to SD..." not "New Group Forms..."
Anonymous said…
2:41, one of the hate crimes that the federal government investigates is "intimidation." it is the most common hate crime investigated or tracked by the fbi.
Anonymous said…
This ought not to be in the federal code:

"Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit willfully causing bodily injury to any person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of such person."

But this deals with acts of physical violence, not preaching or talking.

Oppose it for what it is, not by making up facts to support your argument. That might work in other states, but voters in South Dakota are pretty sophisticated.
Anonymous said…
2:46 - if that's the case, it's under current law. This law deals with "willfully causing bodily injury "

That's more than intimidation.
Anonymous said…
The allegation that this would allow a preacher to be charged for "inciting" violence by preaching from the bible was completely fabricated by the Traditional Values Coalition. They circulated a fictitious transcrpit of a congressional hearing to try to make this point.

Background information is here: http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2007/05/tvc_the_least_t.html
Anonymous said…
I just went and read the text of the bill myself. There is nothing in there about punishing speech. In fact, quite the opposite. This is from the actual text of the legislation --

Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.

That's pretty much a waiver for anyone preaching the gospel, or even a perverse Fred Phelps interpretation of it.
Anonymous said…
I have to say that I'm a little offended that this group is lumping "people of faith" with people who physically assault people.

This bill is not "aimed squarely at people of faith" it's aimed at people who commit violent acts.

Who are these guys?
Anonymous said…
2:14 -- you say "the bill also would make those who preach against it on religious grounds guilty of hate speech"

Where is that in the bill? I'm reading it and I can't find it. What section is it?

Here's the link to the legislation -- http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:3:./temp/~c1105HAQUj::
Anonymous said…
This should be pretty simple.

Would those making the assertion that this bill covers hate speech point to the language in the bill that makes this so-called hate speech illegal? The only speech section of the bill that's been posted here is one that protects First Amendment rights.
Anonymous said…
I suppose she hates puppies and baseball too...
Anonymous said…
This is all true. I was at the Applebee's in Brookings and Stephanie came in and ordered a chopped salad... except she ordered it with "puppy, extra cute."

Then she talked about her master plan. It involved making it illegal for preachers to preach, and to force everyone into a gay marriage... and then, she'll force every child concevied through the gay marriage to be aborted. And then, she'll raise your taxes...

BWAAAAAAA!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
though i think this group's claims have some merit, you're right to be skeptical of such claims. it appears that the legislation has evolved over the years to better clarify that speech would still be protected, which probably why the aclu has changed its position on it. (it once opposed the legislation but now supports it.)

but, the legislation still centers on speech. after all, how would the authorities know a violent crime was committed out of hatred except for something the assailant said or believed?

regardless of how it's written, this is bad law.

--lexrex
Tom said…
Wait, doesn't this hate crimes bill just add language to currently existing hate crimes laws? So is it that conservatives are okay with the current groups being protected by hate crimes laws, but they don't want to extend those protections to other groups?
a_big_liberal said…
Lex/Rob-

I still fail to see in this specific piece of legislation where you're seeing anything about this specific piece of legislation criminalizing preaching or speech of any sort?


Maybe it's after that pesky clause that says "nothing in this bill can be constrewed to criminalize speech." Yeah, that's pretty confusing language.
Anonymous said…
big liberal, see my 5:06 post. how can the government determine "hate" if there is no speech or expression? are prosecutors and judges just supposed to read minds?

--lexrex
Mark said…
Because, lexrex, speech is not the only evidence that can be used to determine motive.

And if you have some kid, beaten bloody, with "fag" scrawled on his t-shirt with a magic marker, that's pretty good evidence of motive and it is not protected speech.

By the way, has anyone ever seen a kid, beaten bloody, with "methodist" scrawled on his t-shirt with a magic marker? Me neither. But it does happen to gay people. Religion is a protected class, even though there are few instances of hate crimes based upon religion. Sexual orientation is not now a protected class, even though there are proportionately more instances of such crimes reported on the basis of orientation.

Some people detest gay people for no other reason than that they are gay. If you don't think that's true, you need only look at the narrow-minded comments left in the comments section of blogs (not necessarily this one) or in the comments section of the e-editions of newspapers. People like that do exist. Don't take my word for it. Ask Matthew Shepard's family.
Anonymous said…
If people want out of staters to stay out of SD then tell the Dems all they do is bring in people for this and that. They tell them how to talk, dress, act etc so they don't stick out like sore thumbs. At least this is what a few Dem friends I have told me.
a_big_liberal said…
Lexrex, the legislation is centered specifically around violent crime. You seem to be trying to spread some kind of Orwellian fear with factually inaccurate statements that make it sound like a barrage of police officers is going to walk into a church on any given Sunday morning and arrest the pastor if he says he doesn't think that it's morally acceptable to be gay. Unless he or she happens to be physically assaulting someone at the time on the basis of his/her sexual orientation or anything else listed in the legislation, that's not going to happen.

That's why the legislation contains the "this shall not be construed" clause, specifically to prevent anything like that from happening.

You're more than welcome to your own opinion about the legislation, but you're not entitled to your own facts. Please, try to stick to the truth.
Anonymous said…
big liberal, you're not listening to me. are you?

i realize now that this bill covers only violent acts, but it's still the thought that counts when handing down harsher punishments.

will the fbi be storming churches to arrest pastors? no, not under this federal legislation. but many state hate crime laws do make that a real possibility.

and mark, the problem you unwittingly allude to is that if someone is beaten bloody with "fatty" or "nerd" scrawled on his shirt, he has less protection under the law as the homosexual.

get it? unequal protection of the law. unconstitutional.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
It's not "unequal" protection. If one is protected from violence s/he's protected. It is unequal jeopardy for certain types of criminals for certain types of crimes. So unless you're saying criminals should be protected from certain crimes, the14th Amendment argument doesn't hold water.

Typical of Repub to use this logic though, as they have used it routinely to make sure the equal rights amendment doesn't pass.
Mark said…
Lexrex, you 'll be hard pressed to find anyone beaten up with "fatty" or "nerd" scrawled on their shirt.

Most assaults are motivated by some interaction between the parties involved -- You stole my girl, you owe me money, you bad-mouthed my friend, etc etc. (Of course, 9 times out of ten, it's also fueled by alchohol.)

But the idea behind hate crimes legislation gets to those cases that are even more senseless because the motivation for the crime is one that the victim has no control over, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity. Why protect these classes? Because history has shown us that people who belong to these classes, have, in the past, been victimized for who they are - not for anything that they have done. Also, the aggressor in a hate crime generally has had no motivating interaction with the victim leading up to the attack - making the crime even more senseless.

Committing any act of violence against anyone is wrong and should be punished. Committing such an act against a person because of who they are is even more senseless, making it deserving of further consideration for punishment.

In a more perfect world, we woudn't need hate crimes legislation, and I wish we didn't need it now. But the fact remains that some people get beaten up just because they are black or gay or jewish -- and for no other reason than that. Such aggression is motivated by prejudice, fear, ignorance, and hate. That's why hate crimes legislation was enacted in the first place.
Mark said…
Lexrex, you 'll be hard pressed to find anyone beaten up with "fatty" or "nerd" scrawled on their shirt.

Most assaults are motivated by some interaction between the parties involved -- You stole my girl, you owe me money, you bad-mouthed my friend, etc etc. (Of course, 9 times out of ten, it's also fueled by alchohol.)

But the idea behind hate crimes legislation gets to those cases that are even more senseless because the motivation for the crime is one that the victim has no control over, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity. Why protect these classes? Because history has shown us that people who belong to these classes, have, in the past, been victimized for who they are - not for anything that they have done. Also, the aggressor in a hate crime generally has had no motivating interaction with the victim leading up to the attack - making the crime even more senseless.

Committing any act of violence against anyone is wrong and should be punished. Committing such an act against a person because of who they are is even more senseless, making it deserving of further consideration for punishment.

In a more perfect world, we woudn't need hate crimes legislation, and I wish we didn't need it now. But the fact remains that some people get beaten up just because they are black or gay or jewish -- and for no other reason than that. Such aggression is motivated by prejudice, fear, ignorance, and hate. That's why hate crimes legislation was enacted in the first place.
Anonymous said…
mark, so if a group of white guys on a bias rage decided to go out and rape a black woman, that would be worse than if they committed a bias rape against a fat woman?

doesn't make sense to me.

--lexrex
Anonymous said…
What happens when homosexuals assault or kill each other?

Because of "lovers" quarrels the likelihood of violence against homosexuals will come first from homosexuals rather than from any other person or mob, whether the person or mob claims piety or not.


Bruce -
Anonymous said…
There are special levels of criminality for killing cops. This issue is as simple as that one unless you are so prejudiced that you simply refuse to even try to understand it.

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