Conservatives, Meet Google

The Liberty Counsel released the following statement last week regarding federal hate crimes legislation under consideration by Congress:

H.R. 1913 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009) is not about stopping crime but is designed to give “actual or perceived” sexual preference or “gender identity” (which is still classified as a mental disorder) the same legal status as race. The DSM IVR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders) lists more than 30 “sexual orientations” and “Gender Identity Disorders,” including pedophilia. The hate crimes bill does not limit “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” and, thus, includes all these disorders and fetishes.

The American Family Association and the Traditional Values Coalition also expressed concern that people with sexual orientations such as pedophilia, necrophilia, and bestiality will receive special legal protections if the hate crimes bill becomes law.

Scary stuff, right?

Or it would be if any of their contentions were true.

But pedophilia is NOT a sexual orientation.

The information disseminated by the Liberty Counsel, the American Family Association, and the Traditional Values Coalition is verifiably false.  There are not 30 sexual orientations listed in the DSM-IV-TR. In fact, the DSM-IV-TR explicitly states that sexual orientation refers to “erotic attraction to males, females, or both.”

The supposed “orientations” enumerated by these organizations are listed in the DSM-IV-TR as paraphilias.  The paraphilias, which include pedophilia, voyeurism, and sexual sadism, are described in the DSM-IV-TR as sexual disorders, but they are not, by any stretch of the imagination, orientations.  These are facts, easily verified by following the inline links to the Google Books copy of the DSM-IV-TR.

But if you believed the propaganda generated by Liberty Counsel and their fellowship of the intellectually dishonest, you’ve got plenty of company.  Both Human Events and World Net Daily covered the pedophilia angle on the hate crimes bill story, and major conservative blogs like Gateway Pundit and American Thinker repeated the falsehood that pedophilia is one of many sexual orientations protected by the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

During debate on the House floor, the notion that sexual orientation includes pedophilia was parroted by  Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).   Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who sponsored an amendment to explicitly exclude pedophilia from the definition of “sexual orientation,” recited a list of “sexual orientation proclivities” clearly cribbed from unverified press releases.  His litany included asphyxophlia, autogynephilia, bisexuality, exhibitionism, incest partialism, masochism. sadism, scatalogia, toucherism, voyeurism, and bestiality.  And yes, his speech included definitions.  The House Republican Conference Web site links to yet another list of sexual disorders in a misguided attempt to define sexual orientation.

Rep. King’s argument for the amendment was that “sexual orientation” is not specifically defined in H.R. 1913 and is therefore open to wild interpretation.  But the term sexual orientation is already defined by federal law, in The Hate Crime Statistics Act, as “consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.”  Since there is nothing consensual about pedophilic behavior, the amendment, however well intentioned, was superfluous.  Pedophiles don’t need to be explicitly excluded because they were never included to begin with.

By accepting outrageous propaganda as truth and not performing the bare minimum of due diligence with some quick Google-powered fact checking, these conservatives are undermining their credibility and helping to bolster the false and dangerous belief that pedophilia is an orientation.  All pedophiles have a sexual orientation; it just isn’t pedophilia.

Pedophiles can be gay, straight, or anywhere in between: that is their orientation because orientation relates to gender, not age and certainly not criminal propensity. They are not toddlersexuals or infantsexuals. They are sadistic criminals who prey upon the most vulnerable among us.

For the record, I agree with House Republicans that hate crime legislation is a bad idea whether it includes race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other class of citizens.  Hate crime statutes arose as a form of political pandering: they allow liberal politicians to posture against prejudice and bigotry while twiddling their thumbs over institutionalized discrimination like DADT. These laws perpetuate our unhealthy focus on identity politics while conveying that some victims deserve a greater measure of justice than others. Murder should be prosecuted as murder, no matter the identity of the victim, no matter the motive of the killer.  And criminals should be tried on the basis of their hateful actions, not their hateful thoughts.

The Hate Crimes Act of 2009 is also in gross violation of the principle of federalism and the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Hate Crimes Act federalizes crimes that should be under state jurisdiction.

But despite my strong disagreement with this legislation, it is clearly faulty logic and poor political strategy for House Republicans to bundle pedophilia and homosexuality together in an effort to appeal to the emotions of their colleagues and constituents on the issue of hate crimes.  Let’s hope Senate Republicans don’t get suckered into the same strategy as they debate the companion bill, S. 909.  Perhaps their aides will prove to be better Googlers than their House counterparts.

The only people who benefit from defining pedophilia as an orientation are the members of pedophile activist groups who seek to legitimize their degenerate behavior.  Let’s not be party to that mission.


5 Responses to “Conservatives, Meet Google”

  1. Eclectic Radical on May 4th, 2009 9:43 am

    With the exception of the specific constitutional issue cited, I actually agree with you down the line on this one… though I’d say it’s a very difficult call to determine how many conservatives in the House, the print and tv media, and the blogosphere really believe the list of fetishes and disorders presented are somehow covered by the bill and how many of them are deliberately misrepresenting the bill. I have a hard time these days telling who really is ‘that stupid’ and who really thinks we’re all ‘that stupid’, especially on the religious far end of the right. Except for Michelle Bachmann, I don’t think she could possibly be pretending. ;)

    I’m against the idea of ‘hate crimes’ because I’m opposed to the notion of thought crimes. Whether we like it or not, hate /speech/ is protected under the first amendment and being a believer in the spirit of the constitution as well as the literal text I believe if it’s not legitimate to prosecute people for their /speech/ it’s even further beyond the pale to do it for their /thoughts./ I’m all in fair of aggravated charges for truly sadistic crimes, and civil rights charges when the local or state authorities fail to prosecute as they should, but the theory behind hate crimes legislation is pernicious.

  2. Jenn Q. Public on May 4th, 2009 1:47 pm

    I struggled a bit with whether this was a case of pure intellectual dishonesty among politicians or a nasty rumor running amok. I assign most of the intellectual dishonesty, in the strictest sense, to the “values” organizations and believe most of the politicos are scaremongering with what they believe are facts. But who knows?

    Either way, I have no patience for the dissemination of false information. It doesn’t help the cause of shooting down hate crime legislation, and it most certainly doesn’t help the image of the Republican Party. (I’m not given to gratuitous cursing, but I had a tough time keeping my cool while writing this because this kind of nonsense is so easily avoided.)

    I actually agree that the hate crimes law attempts to police thought and inadvertently left that argument out of my post. Thanks for reminding me – I will update later. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagrees with both of us on that issue.

  3. Rob Taylor on May 4th, 2009 8:45 pm

    Goo-Gull? What is this Goo-gull you speak of?

    But aren’t “pedophiles” covered by Hate Crime laws because if we accept a medicalized definition of their criminality they are technically disabled?

  4. Eclectic Radical on May 5th, 2009 12:24 pm

    The original Supreme Court ruling on hate crimes was based on the laudably intended but precedentally dangerous idea that local or state jurisdictions might be reluctant to prosecute specific hate crimes because of shared prejudice. This was the original reason civil rights groups wanted a federal ban on lynching, because local and state jurisdictions declined to prosecute murder, rape, and mayhem against blacks in many parts of the country… and not just the south or rural west either. I could accept that argument to some extent if the current Hate Crimes legislation was based on prosecuting criminals whose jurisdiction had improperly declined to prosecute.

    The problems are that, first, the laws aren’t written that way. They prosecute the motive rather than the crime, when they should make provisions for federal prosecution under hostile circumstances if that is really the argument.

    And, of course, the 1870 Force Act already covers these issues. One could argue that the Force Act might need to be updated or clarified to make certain it meets necessary modern definitions, but thought-restricting legislation is not necessary.

  5. boldandbald on May 6th, 2009 2:58 pm

    Jenn, thank you for posting this. I saw the American Thinker commentary and was rather upset about this. It is nice to get the facts.

    You touch on something here that always bothers me. So often we see people on both sides of the political aisle attempt to rile up their base with false accusations. It seems so ridiculous to me, since there is generally so much legitimate stuff to discuss and debate that bringing this sort of thing into it only hurts the argument. The Republicans don’t need this type of false propaganda and scare tactic to use against the Democrats since the Democrats already support so many things that are truly damaging to this country without making stuff up.

    Thanks again.

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