Cultural Environment in Bible Belt promotes Gay Hate Crimes

Another obvious hate crime occurs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. These kinds of attacks are starting to get the attention and recognition from the local media that they deserve, but we have a long way to go before we are treated the same way as other suspect classes when they are attacked simply for being who they are.

Actually, a straight friend of mine was the one who notified me of this particular attack. He wanted to relay his experience at his day labor job site where he was working. He was disturbed that his coworkers, who consisted of four blue collar types, were not the least bit ashamed to laugh and make fun of the victim, during the segment on the local television news, while proclaiming, “Hahaha! That is what those f*ggots get for being there!” My friend felt compelled to tell me their reaction because he knows I’m active in civil rights for the LGBT community. If our government is serious about sending any message to our LGBT youth that “It gets better,” then they need to follow through on the promises made to our community that we will no longer be treated as second class citizens, and subject to state sanctioned discrimination and even violent assaults simply for being gay.

There is a pervasive cultural attitude by certain segments of society, especially in the southern United States, that LGBT people deserve to be attacked. There was a time when African Americans experienced this treatment and was completely ignored by the state. Imagine what would happen on a job site had an African American been assaulted and the workers taunted the victim by saying, “The (n-word) deserved what he got for being there!” Yes, less than sixty years ago those words would have been tolerated, embraced and even celebrated as part of the Southern culture. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now, even though they’ve simply chosen the LGBT community as their acceptable state sanctioned scapegoat.

Maybe next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate being more full and equal citizens of our own country? This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for the resolve to never give up and keep fighting until we have every single right all other Americans enjoy.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Virginia: Pastor J.P. Hale sentenced to six years in prison for indecent liberties with a child.
Pennsylvania: Father Robert Timchak sentenced to six years in prison for possession of child pornography.
North Carolina: Rev. Walter Donald Bradshaw arrested for the rape of an 11 year-old girl.
South Carolina: Pastor David K. Love arrested for the murder of a parishioner.
New York: Rabbi Milton Balkany convicted of extorting .5M from an investment fund.
Missouri: Pastor Terry McDowell arrested for the rape of a girl he was babysitting.
Washington: Pastor Steven Welty sentenced to 26 years to life in prison on six counts of child rape and incest. His youngest victim was four years old.
Massachusetts: Father Keith LeBlanc charged with stealing K from his parish to pay his online porn bill.
British Columbia: Hindu priest Karam Vir charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
Virginia: Pastor Dennis Erb charged with child molestation.
Florida: Pastor Rodney McGill charged with investment fraud. From prison. Where he’s serving 20 years for the same crime.
Georgia: Pastor Brian Gray charged with child molestation and burglary.
Utah: Pastor Aaron Witcher charged with eight counts of rape of underage girls.
Pennsylvania: Father Francis J. Drabiska resigns after confessing to robbing parish of undisclosed amount.
New Brunswick: Court agrees to Catholic diocese’s request to shield amounts paid to victims of priest molestation.

This Week’s Winner
Kenya: Pastor Marcus Ondiegi has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the rape and HIV infection of an 11 year-old orphan girl. Ondiegi had told the child’s grandmother that unless he was allowed to pray over the child for one week, evil spirits would make her insane. Instead he raped the child nightly until she escaped.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

CRIME BLOTTER: Man reports gay-on-gay aggravated assault in Kroger parking lot

Most crimes that we hear about in the Dallas gayborhood ostensibly involve heterosexual suspects robbing and/or assaulting gays who are going to and from the nightclubs.

But one gay man says he was jumped by a group of eight other gay men at about 3 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 in the parking lot of Kroger. The victim says he was knocked unconscious and he’ll need surgery to reconstruct his cheek bone, which was fractured in three places. Dallas police have classified the incident as an aggravated assault but say they have no suspects.

The victim said he had been to a bar downtown that caters to a black gay clientele. He and some friends then traveled to the Kroger parking lot on Cedar Springs, which has become a popular hangout after hours.

The victim said he and his friends overheard the suspects doing a lot of talking in the parking lot. Some sort of verbal exchange ensued before eight men, all black and gay, surrounded him. They knocked him to the ground before kicking him repeatedly in the head. A police report states that the victim suffered “massive swelling to his face.”

“I did hear there have been a lot of crimes going on over in that area,” the victim said Thursday. “I never heard of people just getting jumped randomly. They had no reason to jump on me, because I didn’t give them any reason to jump on me. I didn’t even say anything directly to them.”

The victim went to the hospital and reported the incident to police the following day.

“It was so swollen that my eyes were closed shut and my lips were actually hanging and I was drooling,” the victim said. “It’s gotten a little better but it’s really sore and tender. It looked like a big grapefruit inside of my cheek.”

The victim said he’ll be seeing an oral surgeon next week after the swelling goes down, and it will take him 4-6 weeks to recover. He said he’s not afraid to go back to the strip but added, “If I do decide to go out I’m going to watch my back.”

—  John Wright

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Washington: Pastor Greg Scott Glover arrested for stealing oxycontin from the home of an elderly parishioner. She busted him with a hidden camera.
Ireland: Father Brendan Wrixon charged with sexual assault of a teenage boy.
Ontario: Reverend Paul Hartig charged with felony theft for stealing from his own church.
California: Pastor Dino Cardelli arrested for molesting a 13 year-old girl. Cardelli was already charged with molesting another child.
Ontario: Father William Marshall to be tried for molesting more than 15 boys. Marshall is 88.
Florida: Pastor Michael Campbell charged with molesting an underage girl in his church’s hearse.
North Carolina: Pastor Robert Lee McQueen sentenced to 14 years in prison for dealing heroin.
Michigan: Pastor Stephen Sparks charged with embezzling over M from church and family members.
New Mexico: Pastor Matthew Nichols pleads guilty to distributing child porn. Nichols was his church’s youth minister and was previously convicted of criminal solicitation of a minor.
Ontario: Father Dale Crampton commits suicide following M lawsuit by molestation victim. Crampton was convicted of molesting seven altar boys during the 1980s.

This Week’s Winner
Indiana: Pastor Vaughn Reeves is on trial for orchestrating a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme built around investments supposedly meant for church construction. Reeves and his three sons are accused of bilking more than 11,000 people by luring them into buying 0M worth of property bonds. Allegedly the four paid off early investors with the money of others while stealing millions for themselves to purchase mansions, luxury vehicles, and a plane. The pastor and his sons face over 40 felony counts of securities fraud.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Eric Holder: The Feds Will Still Prosecute Pot Crimes In CA If Prop 19 Passes

Attorney General Eric Holder says that even if California voters legalize marijuana via Proposition 19, the federal government will continue to prosecute pot cases there.

On Friday, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against people who sell, distribute or grow marijuana for recreational use. Holder sent a letter to nine former chiefs of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, saying in part: “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.” Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca hosted a news conference Friday morning to draw attention to the letter. Prop. 19 would allow Californians 21 and older to grow up to 25 square feet of cannabis plants, and to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It would also empower cities and counties to regulate marijuana cultivation and sales. Several municipalities are poised to do so if the law passes, with initiatives concerning taxation and regulation on the same ballot as Prop. 19.

The Tenthers are surely salivating at the prospect of this potential clash between state and federal laws. However many have pointed out that the feds simply don’t have the manpower to launch any significant campaign against home-grown pot in California.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

HRC Releases Statement on New York City Hate Crimes

Today, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement on the news that a group of nine men reportedly beat, sodomized, and robbed two men and attacked a third for being gay:

“It is tragic to see what hate can do. These three men were brutally attacked and sodomized simply for who they are. Authorities must vigorously prosecute the perpetrators of these hateful crimes. Unfortunately, these crimes come on the heels of several other recently reported hate crimes in New York City. These crimes only emphasize the need for strong federal and state hate crimes laws.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Pennsylvania: Pastor Arthur Schirmer arrested for the murder of his wife. Schirmer is also suspected of having killed his first wife nine years ago.
Ontario: Father Kenneth Gibbs sued by five women for sexually abusing them as children. Last year Gibbs was convicted on eight counts of sexual assault.
Michigan: Pastor William Bendert arrested for attempting to have sex with a woman and her 11 year-old daughter. Bendert told the female undercover officer that he had lots of experience “training” young girls about sex.
Dominican Republic: Pastor Daniel Vasquez arrested for molesting 30 boys.
New Jersey: Father Charles P. Granstrand accused of child molestation.
Iowa: Rev. Timothy Parker confesses to child molestation of a female relative.
Britain: Pastor Malcolm Hoare on trial for molesting an 11 year-old girl.
Florida: Pastor Robert Riddle pleads no contest to embezzling 0K from his church.
Ontario: Father Alex Castillo accused of child molestation by two brothers.
Virginia: Pastor Jennifer Michelle Brennan convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child.
Belgium: Father Eric Dejaeger may be extradited to Canada to face charges of child molestation. Dejaeger has been a fugitive since 2002.

This Week’s Winner
California: Pastor Dino Cardelli has been arrested on multiple felony counts of sexual assault on a child under age 14. The victim is Cardelli’s adopted daughter. His wife Nancy learned of the abuse in January of this year and committed suicide in March without reporting the attacks to police. Cardelli, who is being held in lieu of 0K bail, was an early proponent of Proposition 8 and signed Protect Marriage’s vow to fight same-sex unions in California. Cardelli has been scrubbed from his church’s website, but the Wayback Machine tells us that God personally told him to start his church. “During this visit, the Lord confirmed to Pastor Dino and his wife, Nancy, that He was calling them to start and Pastor the Calvary Chapel of Arcata.” On his Facebook page, Cardelli is a member of Protect Marriage and the NOM affiliate One Man-One Woman. He faces 16 years in prison. Prosecutors have argued against lowering his bail, saying Cardelli has told family members he is prepared to flee to Canada with his victim.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

California: Pastor Leonel Pelayo charged with sexual assault of a 14 year-old girl.
Ottawa: Father Robin Barrett convicted of possessing tens of thousands of child porn videos and images.
Florida: Pastor
Steven Rowe charged with molesting four students at the Christian middle school where he is headmaster.
Texas: Father Chester W. King arrested for lewd behavior in a public park.
California: Pastor Carlton F. Hammonds on trial for sexual assault of two teenagers.
Florida: Pastor Gregory Sims pleads guilty to embezzling 0K from the union benefit fund he managed and funneling the loot to his church.
Britain: Reverend Alex Brown sentenced to four years in prison for conducting 360 sham marriages between EU citizens and undocumented immigrants. Each couple paid up to £15,000 for Brown to marry them.
Louisiana: Father Alejandro Flores convicted of child molestation.
Connecticut: Father Martin Federici sued by convicted rapist who claims his molestation at Federici’s hands turned him into a sexual predator.
Massachusetts: Father Thomas M. Curran once again accused of child molestation after being cleared by his Archdiocese in 2007.

This Week’s Winner
Belgium: An independent commission has released a report documenting the cases of over 500 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests and officials of the Belgian Catholic Church. Two-thirds of the victims are male and 13 suicides are linked to the assaults. Cardinal Godfried Danneels this week admitted wrongdoings and apologized for the cover-up. Belgium has no law requiring church officials to report sexual crimes to the police.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

In PA, GOP Senate candidate Toomey is even opposed to Hate Crimes law

We’d like to think that candidates have moved beyond the debate about hate crimes. I mean, you really have to sink pretty low to oppose the hate crimes law, right? In 2009, the Senate voted by a lopside margin 63 – 28 to end the filibuster of the Matthew Shepard Act.

But, we’re not past that debate. Nope. The right wing GOPer running for Senate in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, proudly proclaimed his opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act. Via Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post:

The issue of hate crimes legislation is the latest debate in the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania, with Republican Pat Toomey reiterating his 2004 position against such measures to a local news station this week.

“I think it’s a bad idea for government to legislate on the basis of what they think people are thinking, what’s in a person’s mind or heart when they create a crime,” Toomey told KDKA in Pennsylvania on Thursday. “Crime should be prosecuted for what’s actually done, and it should be vigorously prosecuted… We shouldn’t have a system that is designed to say now, what was so and so thinking at the time he committed his crime and let’s punish him more or less depending of what we think the thought process was. That’s ridiculous. People should be punished for the crime they commit.”

It should comes as no surprise that the Democratic candidate, Joe Sestak, supports the hate crimes law. He voted for it twice in the House.

Toomey is spewing the right wing lie that this is about thought crimes. It’s not. He should know better. And, he shouldn’t be a Senator.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Anti-LGBT Leaders Fail in Court Challenge of Hate Crimes Law

Yesterday, Judge Thomas Ludington of the U.S. Federal Court for the District of Eastern Michigan dismissed the case of three plaintiffs seeking to strike the criminal provisions of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The court challenge by three anti-LGBT clergy from Michigan made the ridiculous claim that the hate crimes statute creates “a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.”   They claimed that this law – so important in protecting the rights of LGBT persons across the country – violated their First Amendment rights, their guarantee of Equal Protection, the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.  Their arguments mirrored the ones made urging Congress to defeat the legislation last year.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought the dismissal, claiming that the law does not violate the Constitution and further, that the plaintiffs do not have the right to bring such a suit regarding a theoretical harm, since none have yet been prosecuted under the act, nor is there any evidence they ever will be.  The Judge agreed, dismissing the case on all counts.

Thanks to HRC Law Fellow Adam Thomas for his contributions to this post.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright