While mainstream media and a non-partisan antiviolence watchdog organization warned today that antigay killings are rising sharply, Focus on the Family said that’s of no interest.

Focus declined to tell its audience about the latest reported increase in violence and instead said:

In a Monday news conference, Reid, D-Nev., called hate crimes “a unique brand of evil.”

“A violent act may physically hurt just a single victim and cause grief for loved ones,” he said. “But hate crimes do more. They distress entire communities.”

Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said Reid has it backwards. A hate-crimes law, she said, could distress entire communities — particularly Christian churches.

Apparently, according to Focus on the Family, a law against felony violence is what distresses communities and churches — not the violence itself.

Focus concluded:

[Horne] said the most recent FBI statistics do not back up the alleged epidemic of hate crimes against people in the gay community.

That’s untrue: While overall hate-crime violence declined in 2007, according to the FBI, antigay hate crimes rose six percent. (Source: USA Today.) The FBI says that violent antigay hate crimes have been occurring with growing frequency since 2005.

But remember: Laws against violence distress communities and churches — not the violence itself.

Focus on the Family urges its audience to contact lawmakers and pressure them to vote “No” on legislation that would treat violent antigay hate crimes as harshly as all other hate crimes.