Friday was historic for LGBT Americans as President Obama signed into law a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. But some among Minnesota’s religious right didn’t receive the news warmly, saying the law will bring the wrath of God down on America, that Obama is an “anti-Christian radical” and that the bill was a plot by “homosexuals” to silence Christians.
Bradlee Dean of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministries in Annandale, a group that brings its message of Christianity and morality into public high schools, slammed the passing of the hate crimes bill on his Saturday radio show, the School of Hard Knocks Roxxs. “If you grab the bull, you are going to get the horns. I want you to listen to me carefully,” he said. “America, as this is being passed again against the majority, I guarantee you that judgments are going to increase in our country… When you begin to pass laws against what God’s words say, God promises to turn that nation into hell that forgets him and if you want to go ahead play the Lord on a national level… Folks, just sit back because it’s only beginning right now.”
Dean repeatedly called gays and lesbians criminals, a familiar theme on his show. The bill, he said, is “there to protect the homosexuals that are perpetrating crimes against the righteous, and you need to understand that Obama’s calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality and he is calling for the criminalization – without saying it – of you.”
On gay marriage, he said, “So the homosexual communities are asking the government for help legalizing that which is illegal. They are also asking for a health care plan to help cure their AIDS from that same government that said it’s okay go ahead and do it.”
He continued, “Rest assured those ignorant homosexuals out there are working overtime to silence the dissent. They want to shut you up.”
Meanwhile, Jan Markell of the Maple Grove-based Olive Tree Ministries, condemned the bill on her popular “end times” radio show on AM 980 KKMS.
“I think that Christians who dare to tell the truth – including this program – about the social, moral, spiritual and health consequences of illicit homosexual acts are accused of hate speech and intimated into silence with threats of fines or jail,” she said. “I think this: The fact that the hate bill had to be passed in such an unscrupulous and cynical manner – which means attaching it to the Defense Authorization Act – reveals the depth of President Obama’s commitment to a radical anti-Christian agenda. I think he will stop at nothing to undermine the will of the majority of Americans to pay back militant homosexual activists who raised millions of dollars for him.”
She continued, “It shows the level of contempt President Obama has for the majority of Americans who oppose the homosexualization of marriage, the military and public education… We really have our work cut out for us.”
Although it has spoken out against the bill in the past, the Minnesota Family Council has been uncharacteristically silent on the bill’s passage and did not reply to a request from the Minnesota Independent. The group’s website says the bill will impose “fines or jail time if you publicly speak out against homosexual activity – even on moral or religious grounds – and a court determines your message might arouse people to hate homosexuals.”
Nationally, religious right leaders were livid. “Public school curriculum could be built entirely on the idea of what is illegal hate in our culture,” said Craig Parshall, chief counsel for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). “And our children could be indoctrinated [to believe that] if you criticize another religion or mention Jesus as being the only way, that’s hateful- [or] if you say that homosexuality is a sin, that’s hateful.”
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said the bill is “part of a radical social agenda that could ultimately silence Christians and use the force of government to marginalize anyone whose faith is at odds with homosexuality.”
Of course, what the religious right doesn’t mention is that religion has been covered by federal hate crimes law since its inception in the 1960.