Felony violence against gay people should be a protected form of expression if it is committed by pastors, according to the text of a fund-raising e-mail dated Friday from the Family Research Council.

In the message, FRC President Tony Perkins — who in 1996 paid Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list, and who as recently as 2001 addressed the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens — argues that an expansion of existing federal hate crime laws (which punish felony violence) to include sexual orientation could be used to arrest pastors.

Here is the full text of Perkins’ message. Emphasis is FRC’s:

Hate Crimes legislation to silence you!
April 17, 2009

The enactment of so-called “hate crimes” legislation is a long stated objective of the homosexual agenda.

What “hate crimes” legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark-up the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 this Wednesday, April 22. They need to hear from you.

It was in a similar hearing last Congress that Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) admitted that under the legislation pastors could be arrested for hate crimes.

The act would establish a new FEDERAL offense for so-called “hate crimes” and add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes. It will mandate a separate federal criminal prosecution for state offenses.

Adding “sexual orientation” to thought crimes legislation gives one set of crime victims a higher level of protection than it gives to people like you and me.

ALL people deserve to be protected from crime, not just certain groups.

Sign our Petition TODAY to say equal protection under the law means equal protection for ALL. Please join the over 22,000 people who have already signed this petition. If you have already signed, please forward to ten of your friends and ask them to sign.


Tony Perkins

Contrary to the wishes of Perkins, we believe that pastors who commit felony violence against gay and lesbian Americans should be punished to the fullest extent possible. But they won’t be punished equally, unless sexual orientation is added to existing federal and state hate-crime laws, because at present most such laws treat violent crimes against a victim’s race or religion more harshly than violent crimes committed on the basis of the victim’s perceived sexual orientation.

FRC believes that “pastors, business owners, and anyone else” are entitled to a special right to commit acts of violence on the basis of their faith.

We disagree.

Growing U.S. public support for hate-crime laws suggests that Americans are slowly realizing that false appeals to religion must not be used by right-wing extremists as a blank check to justify violence against people with different religious and moral beliefs.