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Old 02-19-2005, 06:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A big win for the 1st Amendment

http://go.fark.com/cgi/fark/go.pl?ID...%2F172005a.asp

This group was facing 47 years for absolutely nothing. This was a christian group protesting at a gay pride event. They got arrested for no reason. This is a positive sign that the courts still defend civil liberties. If there hadn't been a video of it, the results may have been different.

The groups website

The video of the arrest
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't get it. So this was a gay pride parade and the Christian group tried to block the signs with the homosexual messages with the pink signs?
Who was the guy with the yellow shirt? Gay pride or Christian spokesperson?
As far as I understood it, he was with gay pride. Repent guys tried to hamper the demonstration, block sidewalks etc... Thats illegal as far as I understand it.
I am not too familiar with your constitution, but I am sure the parade was declared and granted. So the Christian guys basically infringed the freedom pf speech and were therefore arrested?
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow I watched that video it is a shame what people can be arrested for.
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I detest those hateful protester's as much as anyone, but it is their constitutional right to protest. It should not be denied, no matter how odious their message.
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They should not be allowed to block the sidewalk, but the last I heard, that didn't carry a 47-year sentence.

Where is Superbelt on this? Didn't it take place a hundred miles or so from him?
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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they wern't blocking the sidewalk. The people with the gay rights parade blocked the sidewalk. All these guys that got arrested did was walk around and try to preach to these people.
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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They're just Christians, what's the big deal??


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Old 02-20-2005, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
They're just Christians, what's the big deal??


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I assume that was sarcasm. Anyhow, I can't believe the double standards. Christians facing 47 years for exercising their free speech is horrible. Likewise, the protestors at the RNC who were hearded into concentration camps were wronged too.

It's easy to try and restrict the free speech of groups you don't agree with. However this only causes us all to lose our rights in the end.
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Old 02-20-2005, 05:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
LINKY
'Philly 5' Are Free!
Philadelphia Judge Clears Christian Demonstrators of 'Hate Crimes' Charges

By Allie Martin
February 17, 2005

(AgapePress) - All charges have been dropped against four Christians who were arrested in October for sharing the gospel at a pro-homosexual event in Philadelphia. Charges pending against a minor who was also arrested at the time are expected to be dismissed as well.

Last fall, Philadelphia police arrested 11 Christians as they were taking part in street witnessing on a public sidewalk at a "gay pride" event. Charges were dropped against six of the believers in January, but the four adults and one juvenile -- all members of the group Repent America -- faced serious charges under Philadelphia's "hate crimes" laws. Those five were charged with criminal conspiracy, "ethnic intimidation," and riot. In a case that brought national attention, each of the five faced as much as 47 years in prison if convicted.

Now charges have been dropped against the four adults. On Thursday (February 17), Court of Commons Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe dismissed the charges, ruling that peaceful expressive activities like those of the Christian demonstrators are fully protected by the First Amendment. She also stated that prosecutors were unable to make even a minimal showing of any criminal conduct.

The defendants were represented by the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP), a legal group based in Tupelo, Mississippi. While the CLP says it is "pleased and relieved" with Dembe's ruling, the firm's chief counsel says the city must be held accountable.


Steve Crampton
"The next chapter of this story is just beginning," says attorney Steve Crampton, "and that is, our federal lawsuit against the city for what we believe to be an intentional effort to suppress First Amendment rights."

The CLP is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate what it describes as "corruption and profound abuse of power" by city officials as they pursued the case against the defendants. "[T]he city clearly continued to prosecute the Christians with a vengeance during the hearing with bad faith arguments," states a CLP press release.

"Frankly, the 'hunters' have now become the 'hunted.'" says Crampton. "We intend to ask hard questions and vigorously pursue discovery to figure out exactly why these charges were ever leveled in the first place."

Crampton maintains his clients were targeted simply because of their message -- one of hope through a relationship with Jesus Christ for those wishing to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

"Under any other circumstances with any other speakers on the public streets, [the case] never would have even been filed, much less gotten to this stage," the attorney contends. He notes that the defendants spent 21 hours in jail -- "one lady [spent] ten days in jail," he says -- and faced a "very real threat of losing 47 years of their lives for doing nothing but sharing the truth" on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia.

"There has been a grave injustice visited upon them," the attorney adds, "and we intend to vindicate those rights in federal court."

Crampton says he is hopeful charges against 17-year-old Lauren Murch will be dropped during a hearing on Friday morning. The City of Philadelphia indicated it may appeal Judge Dembe's decision.
the charges have been dropped. However by arresting these guys, they did manage to shut them up for the duration of the event. I don't care what the groups message was, they had every right to be there, and to spread their message.
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yea that seems to be the trend. Lock you up for a day or two. Just long enough so that they don't have to press actual charges and then let you go. The police can do this pretty much any time they want. You could spend a day in jail for no reason other than a cop thinking you're being "disruptive" then they let you go. Then they can come the next day and do the same thing if they wanted.
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj2112
the charges have been dropped. However by arresting these guys, they did manage to shut them up for the duration of the event. I don't care what the groups message was, they had every right to be there, and to spread their message.
Okay..................... here's s'more :
Quote:
<a href="http://citypaper.net/articles/2004-10-14/polnote.shtml">http://citypaper.net/articles/2004-10-14/polnote.shtml</a>
Eleven members of Repent America were arrested and charged with felonies and misdemeanors at the OutFest activities Sunday.

Repent America is a religious organization that claims to promote the teachings of the Bible and the preachings of Jesus Christ. Its Web site states that "Satan invades our communities through abortuaries [sic], the entertainment and pornography industries, religious institutions, sexually perverse establishments, homosexual parades and other sin celebrations, without a word from the Christian therein."

In their press release, Repent America members said that when they arrived to preach and hand out gospel literature, they were blocked by the Pink Angels, who formed a human chain and did not allow them to walk down the sidewalk. The Pink Angels, a voluntary security squad, were there to protect the LGBT community from naysayers.

Repent America Director Michael Marcavage responded that it was "one of the most remarkable and unlawful actions by police that I have ever witnessed. Their blatant disregard of the law by allowing hecklers to impede our way, block our message, and then arrest us, is inexcusable, especially by police officers who are specially trained to protect civil rights."

Irene Benedetti, the LGBT police liaison, said she was present when the arrests occurred in the vicinity of 13th and Chancellor streets.

"They became rowdy and physical," Benedetti said of the Repent members who later said they were arrested and charged under hate crimes legislation.

According to officer Maria Ibrahim of the Philadelphia Police Department's public affairs unit, five women and six men were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, failure to disperse, obstruction of highway and disorderly conduct.
Quote:
<a href="http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/10381186.htm?1c">http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/10381186.htm?1c</a>.....Fahling said a video of the Oct. 10 confrontation showed Marcavage speaking through a bullhorn while he and his supporters were being shouted down by irate gay activists.

City officials said the video did not show the start of the confrontation, when they said Marcavage tried to interrupt a performance with his antigay preaching and then disobeyed a police order to move to the perimeter of the Outfest to avoid the potential for violence.
Quote:
<a href="http://216.239.63.104/search?q=cache:9aaBpOptfnAJ:www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/10640442.htm+&hl=en">
Posted on Fri, Jan. 14, 2005

JACQUELINE LARMA / Inquirer
Michael Marcavage, right, listens to his attorney after a court appearance Wednesday. He is accused of disrupting a gay and lesbian Outfest celebration in Philadelphia in October.</a>

Flaunting his faith, bullhorn in hand

Michael Marcavage's tactics have brought the Lansdowne evangelist some legal scrapes - and national attention.

By Kathy Boccella

Inquirer Staff Writer

Clearing the Record

This story about Michael Marcavage, founder of Repent America, incorrectly described his actions in two incidents, overstating his use of lawsuits. In Bridgeport, Conn., he was a passenger, not the driver, in a vehicle that police pulled over. He did not sue police in that matter. In an incident in Lansdowne, Marcavage did not file a lawsuit against a woman who squirted him with a hose.

The video shows a young man with a bullhorn and guitar surrounded by pink-T-shirted marchers blocking his way with large pink banners.

The man presses on, negotiating with police as to where he and his followers can go. Finally, he lies down on the ground.

"If they're going to eject us, they're going to work for it," Michael Marcavage, of Lansdowne, said with a laugh while watching a video of the Oct. 10 ruckus at Outfest in Center City.

The high-profile case has put Marcavage, a 25-year-old who looks like a baby-faced Keanu Reeves, on the national evangelical Christian radar. He's as in-demand for interviews, including Fox's O'Reilly Factor and ABC's Good Morning America, as a televangelist with a tell-all book.

As founder of Repent America, a conservative Christian organization, Marcavage has clashed with many different groups, including homosexuals, non-Christians, and his own family.

"There's always a battle between darkness and light," he said in an interview this week in the spacious home where he lives alone.

That battle has defined his life so far - and may get him a lengthy prison term if he is convicted of criminal charges from the gay-pride event. It's also, he believes, how he'll get into heaven.

But others say he is spreading hate, not the word of God.

"Hate has many faces," said Kevin Lee, an openly gay Lansdowne Borough councilman who has faced off with Marcavage.

Marcavage founded Repent America after graduating from Temple University with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2001. But the seeds of his ministry began long before that.

He grew up in Simpson, a blue-collar town near Scranton. His mother died when he was 3, an event that "propelled me to search for meaning in my life."

That search took him from Catholicism to more fundamentalist beliefs while he was still in high school, where he was involved in theater, Boy Scouts and community service.

As a senior he created such a stir when a teacher wanted to show the groundbreaking episode of the sitcom Ellen, in which the main character says she is a lesbian, that the principal was quoted in the local paper calling him a "religious zealot."

Then in college, when the theater department staged Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi, which depicts a gay Jesus figure, Temple officials said Marcavage became so distraught during a Nov. 2, 1999, meeting with a university vice president that they ordered a psychiatric evaluation.

Marcavage maintains that he was calm and has a doctor's report to prove it, and he has sued the vice president and a campus security official for unlawfully restraining him.

During college he switched career paths, from journalism to religious ministry, and now sees himself going into politics or starting a church. He runs Repent America from his home with income from three rental properties and donations from Christian groups.

In a short time, Marcavage's free-floating outrage has resulted in nearly as many lawsuits and confrontations as a rosary has beads. In San Francisco, he was arrested for protesting same-sex marriage. In Bridgeport, Conn., he sued police after they stopped him for driving a truck plastered with pictures of fetuses. In Springfield, Delaware County, he scuffled with police at an abortion rally - and won a $2,500 settlement from the township.

Chris Purdom, of Philadelphia, remembers Marcavage shouting into a bullhorn, setting off sirens, and asking personal, sexual questions at a gay Christian event in August at Holy Trinity Church on Rittenhouse Square.

"He yells at people at Christian services, and he's now claiming he's being persecuted for being a Christian," said Purdom, a Presbyterian elder.

That's not what happened, Marcavage said. "I was simply preaching the Gospel." He says he did turn on sirens to get people's attention.

Brian Fahling of the American Family Association, which provides free legal services, said Marcavage "takes the First Amendment seriously and also takes being a law-abiding citizen seriously."

And his friend, Jason Storm, a fellow evangelist, said that Marcavage is "a good man" who once took in a homeless man for a week and got him a job.

Most people react negatively to his preaching, Marcavage acknowledged, but once in a while someone sees the light. On a mantle in his living room is a framed letter from a woman thanking him for preaching in the parking lot of a strip club near Scranton.
Link to Michael Marcavage's website: http://repentamerica.com

Quote:
<a href="http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:1ViVgdM1f0UJ:www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/8232200.htm+Philadelphia+Inquirer+03/20/2004++Preacher+is+jailed+on+sex+&hl=en">
Posted on Sat, Mar. 20, 2004

Preacher is jailed on sex charges</a>

The Rev. Craig Stephen White was convicted of trying to solicit sex from a West Chester teenager.

By Kathleen Brady Shea

Inquirer Staff Writer

Against an emotional backdrop, a Philadelphia preacher convicted of trying to solicit sex from a West Chester teenager was sentenced yesterday to four to 10 years in prison.

The Rev. Craig Stephen White, a fiery street sermonizer known as "Brother Stephen," showed no reaction as Chester County Court Judge Anthony Sarcione imposed the punishment, which also included five years' probation...............

.................Michael Marcavage, a character witness at White's trial, had been ejected earlier after Callahan expressed concern about an Internet site that offered a $5,000 reward for information on both the victim and prosecutors that might help free White.

Marcavage, 24, of Lansdowne, became agitated, stood up, and accused Callahan of lying. He also admitted setting up the Web site before being escorted from the courthouse.
Quote:
<a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20040119032200/http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/7712934.htm">The Rev. Craig Stephen White, who has denounced homosexuality, was found guilty of soliciting a boy.</a>
"I'm thankful the jury believed the truth. I'm also thankful it was me and not someone who might not have known what to do," said the victim, who is now

He said he hoped people in the community would "become more aware of what can happen."

Michael A. Marcavage, a White supporter from Lansdowne, said he believed the community should be alarmed.

"This was an outrageous travesty," he said. "Citizens should be concerned about how a man can be tried and convicted on the testimony of a 14-year-old."

Marcavage said that, although the verdict had devastated the family, he believed White would be vindicated.
Support for the "Christian" Protestors........
Quote:
<a href="http://www.tidmus.com/blog/index.php?id=73">http://www.tidmus.com/blog/index.php?id=73</a>
<a href="http://www.tidmus.com/blog/index.php?id=74">http://www.tidmus.com/blog/index.php?id=74</a>

Fred Phelps and his good Christian (GodHatesFags) Westboro Baptist clan from Topeka, Kansas must have had a prior engagement this past 10 October 2004, because the radical religious right sent in the second string. Repent America showed up with huge banners with Biblical quotations condemning gay people, bullhorns, concealed cassette recorders, and a film crew, to “preach the Word of God” at the City of Brotherly Love’s OutFest.

And eleven of them ended up in the slammer.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice little "guilt by association" ploy, Host. They're Christians and they oppose legally-sanctioned homosexuality, therefore they're Klansmen ( or the near equivalents ) and Phelpsists. That sort of nonsense is beneath you.

For the record, I don't give two shits about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any of it: we're all just PEOPLE in the eyes of God and the Law. But those people had a right to protest all they wanted; the 1st Amendment exists specifically to protect obnoxious, irritating, controversial speech of just this kind. For the "volunteer security force" to attempt to deny them their 1st Amendment rights was assinine: for them to be arrested was Criminal.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Am I the only one who finds the legal category, "hate crime," a bit absurd? Why do two motives for otherwise identical crimes deserve different sentences?
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
Am I the only one who finds the legal category, "hate crime," a bit absurd? Why do two motives for otherwise identical crimes deserve different sentences?
No, you are not the only one.

It is a ridiculous thing, IMO, to impose different penalties for the same crime based on something called "hate".

I also find Host's post pointless, unless he's arguing that some forms of speech should not be protected because he finds them disagreeable.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
No, you are not the only one.

It is a ridiculous thing, IMO, to impose different penalties for the same crime based on something called "hate".
do we not give different sentences for people who commit murder based on their intentions?
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Intentions; yes. Motivations; no.
Murder 1: Premeditated Murder ( IE you planned it beforehand )
Murder 2: Nonpremediated Murder ( You didn't plan it; perhaps you had a fight with the guy )

Manslaughter: Accidental killing.

The question is not motiviation, the question is intent.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Dunedan
Intentions; yes. Motivations; no.
Murder 1: Premeditated Murder ( IE you planned it beforehand )
Murder 2: Nonpremediated Murder ( You didn't plan it; perhaps you had a fight with the guy )

Manslaughter: Accidental killing.

The question is not motiviation, the question is intent.
fair enough... question recinded.
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
No, you are not the only one.

It is a ridiculous thing, IMO, to impose different penalties for the same crime based on something called "hate".

I also find Host's post pointless, unless he's arguing that some forms of speech should not be protected because he finds them disagreeable.
It is frustrating Lebell, to read your post, because you appear to be telling me that this thread would be in a better position if I had not posted. There was no intent on my part to make a point about what "forms of speech should not be protected".

Please note that before my post, the only information in this thread was from sources sympathetic to the people who were arrested or were attributed to those who were arrested. There were no quotes from the Philadelphia police, or from those who participated in the theme of Outfest on October 10, 2004.

I am thinking that you see this as an either/or issue, and I do not. To my way of thinking, the circumstances of these arrests and the court proceedings involve many details, and similar to most situations, contain more shades of gray, than black or white. I posted because I was struck by the comments of previous posters, who seemed to convey more acceptance of the initially posted story than they did curiousity to find out more about what transpired and why.

I knew nothing about this subject before this thread was started. I did more research than I might have if the source of the story was the nytimes or the washingtonpost. My research leads me to suspect that the leader of the free speech 11,is
Michael Marcavage. I think that he provoked the incident to further the lawsuit he had filed just two days before against the City of Philadelphia, and that he intended to provoke an incident that would have a result similar to yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater.

I did not plan to post what I think aout Michael Marcavage, so far, because it is a preliminary opinion, and I did not want to distract from the details of the story. Comments directed at me in response indicate that I challenged some conclusions that some posters had already made.

Please re-read my post Lebell, and if you still believe my post to be "pointless", send me a PM and I'll edit it out and go away.
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Dunedan
Intentions; yes. Motivations; no.
Murder 1: Premeditated Murder ( IE you planned it beforehand )
Murder 2: Nonpremediated Murder ( You didn't plan it; perhaps you had a fight with the guy )

Manslaughter: Accidental killing.

The question is not motiviation, the question is intent.
But in actuallity, we do prosecute and bargain based on motivations. The most obvious one that came to mind is Al Capone. He had the book thrown at him for tax evasion. Any non-gangster would have almost assuredly been able to get off with little or no jail time. But Capone's motives were well known, so he received no mercy on the otherwise minor charge he was convicted on.

We constantly give mercy based on motivations and even character (you'll do better if you wear a suit to court and behave politely). Maybe in the clean-room version of the law, there is no massaging of the penalties, but the clean-room version of the law doesn't exist.

So - in society, there is a problem of hatred. Society has deemed it harmful to itself to sit idly by as hate motivated crimes are treated with the same penalty as a comparable non-hate motivated crime. This policy is, effectively or ineffectively, used to dissuade the spread of hatred for certain groups of people. As such, I can see how it might be argued that it is ineffective and therefore unnecessary (such as I would argue about the death penalty) but I do not see any reason to argue based on the principle of the matter.

Depending on the circumstances of the case and the character of the accused, we do provide mercy. Why should we not then carry that principle to its logical conclusion and enact the inverse: harsher punishment? In fact, we do. Hate crime policies are nothing more than the continuation of what we have been doing for decades and decades.
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:19 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
Am I the only one who finds the legal category, "hate crime," a bit absurd? Why do two motives for otherwise identical crimes deserve different sentences?
To answer your question simply, because hate is displeasing.

If someone kills someone to obtain money, they are convicted of murder but the motivation is the same as the motivation of many people: to obtain wealth. There is nothing displeasing about the motivation. The act is displeasing and they are punished for it.

If someone kills someone because that person is gay/black/white/etc, they are convicted of murder AND the motivation is divergent from society's accepted standards. The act is displeasing and the motivation is displeasing, and they are punished for both.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:52 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
I also find Host's post pointless, unless he's arguing that some forms of speech should not be protected because he finds them disagreeable.
I for one hope that Host and others like him continue to take the initiative to validate information when it doesn't feel right to them. Why would you insult somebody for doing a little research?

As somebody who got to witness Marcavage and Repent America in action in Columbus, Ohio last summer in person, I would reccommend you take a little closer look yourself, Lebell, before jumping on that wagon. The guy is no Free Speech Activist. They got arrested for one reason - that is what they go to do. They are a small band of people who go from city to city protesting whatever is handy, and have very specific steps they teach new members to engage an unwitting police officer to be arrested on judgement call charges, like a disorderly conduct or failure to disperse. Once they get somebody arrested they call all the papers and tv stations to scream about religious persecution. Oh yeah, then they sue the city who pays them just to go away. That is how they support their "mission". You really think this guy just has the bad luck to get arrested in every city he goes to?

Guess what, if you try to block or disrupt a peaceful gathering that has legal permits for the area, you should be arrested. And that is before you start yelling at families through your bullhorn that Satan loves to fuck faggots in the ass down in hell. Still want to get behind this guy? Let me continue...

They like to bring along with them dead fetuses in a travelling trunk and set up, not at clinics or hospitals, but at major intersections where people are just trying to pick up kids from school and get home to get dinner made. They walk in the street holding up jars and shoving them at anybody they can get to while shouting fire and brimstone. Michael likes to kick it up a notch though, as any good carnival barker would. He takes his fetus out of the jar and carries it around by the head. He's being less disrespectful than the whore who aborted it, is his reasoning when pressed. Charming.

Sadly, that's not the worst of it - but frankly I don't want to go down this road anymore. His stunts are well documented in local papers around the midwest. I appreciate that you feel bashing Christians is the trendy thing to do right now, and you need to protect your rights and stand up for your beliefs. This guy is the church's worst enemy because he is a hate monger in Christian's clothes. Don't take my word for it, there isn't an organized sect that will take this guy in. Did I mention that they picket churches who refuse to house and feed them, shouting into the churches during services that the preacher is the devil and anyone who listens to him is headed for some of that yummy hell ass fucking? Bet that's awkward when passing out collection plates.

Anyway - Host, thanks for keeping the info fair and balanced...
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Last edited by chickentribs; 02-21-2005 at 01:57 AM.. Reason: for the children
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:07 AM   #23 (permalink)
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You have to understand, it's not that we like this guy. I've never encountered him personally, but I have a good friend who has, and I think he's a scumsucking publicity-whore. However, all of the above-mentioned are 1st Amendment protected speech, no matter how much they disgust or annoy people.

You also seem to have him somewhat confused with Freddie-boy Phelps, who is an altogether MUCH more vicious creature who has been violent in the past and who should have been arrested for it.

His frivolous lawsuits and provoked arrests aside, he does have the right to do and say what he does.
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Old 02-21-2005, 03:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Dunedan
You also seem to have him somewhat confused with Freddie-boy Phelps, who is an altogether MUCH more vicious creature who has been violent in the past and who should have been arrested for it.

His frivolous lawsuits and provoked arrests aside, he does have the right to do and say what he does.
Dunedan, I realize that people don't agree with this nutcase, and I am staunch in my belief of defending free speech. Speech is always taken away from the extremist groups first in the name of public interest/safety, which is why we are stuck protecting them. I was the only person between him and a very large man in a very pretty dress when he was burning the gay flag for the cameras. You think they would start making those things non-flammable...

There is a difference between free speech (your beliefs) and public disturbance and inciting riot (hate and intolerance). Mikey is careful to teach his drones to walk the line of legality while doing everything he can to get anyone to take a swing at him. So, protest all you want, but when your protest is simply to inhibit anothers freedom (ex. laying down in the road in front of a float in a parade) you've lost your right to demonstrate. Likewise, we should be protected from him sticking a dead fetus into the face of young children. Is that the type of speech we are hoping to protect? If only it was a female breast we could get the government involved. Why doesn't he feel these laws that protect him apply to him? He keeps his Bible in his baby free hand to give himself entitlement. You guys should look into doing something about that.

- Bottom line is if you think it's ok for someone to come into my backyard and try to push his beliefs on me, don't raise even an eyebrow when he ends up at your house next.

Oh, I don't know who Phelps is, thank God (!) I only know this joker because I got to catch his act and a buddy of mine was a cop who shared the briefing they had on him with me.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:54 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Host, et.al.

My point was that you put out a lot of information with no personal comment as to why you were posting it or what your thoughts on it were.

I do not support this particular group of individuals or their cause, but I do support freedom of speech, even unpopular speech.

To the issue: Are these people intentionally trying to get arrested? Possibly. Are they being obnoxious to those around them? Absolutely. But I also see overzealous action being taken these days towards many groups who meerly want to be heard (liberal and conservative alike) and this I cannot support.

As the 'inciting hate and riot' charge, this is a fine line that we should be careful to tread, because many times 'hate' and 'riot' are in the eye of the beholder.

As an example, a conservative could charge that an ultra liberal is 'inciting hate' when they go off on the religious right or Bush or American troops in Iraq, etc. but do we really want to censor and jail such a person? Or take for another example from another thread: Ward Churchill. While I certainly think he is a hate filled man and I would dearly love to see him removed from teaching a public institution, I also vehimently defend his right to say and write his "essays".

Just remember, that the rights that protect the speech you don't like, protects yours as well.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:55 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
http://go.fark.com/cgi/fark/go.pl?ID...%2F172005a.asp

This group was facing 47 years for absolutely nothing. This was a christian group protesting at a gay pride event. They got arrested for no reason. This is a positive sign that the courts still defend civil liberties. If there hadn't been a video of it, the results may have been different.

The groups website

The video of the arrest
If the comments of samcol are deemed appropriate by the TFP Mods as a "thread starter", IMO there is now justification to argue that the TFP Political thread is becomeing the TFP Propaganda thread.
<b>"This group was facing 47 years for absolutely nothing"</b>
There appears to be no basis for the "47 years" reference, outside of PR
widely distributed by Michael Marcavage, apparently the leader of the group that was accused by Philadelphia police of attempting to disrupt the Oct. 10, 2004 Outfest gay pride event. Other reports about the incident indicated that samcol's "for absolutely nothing" is opinion contradicted by media coverage that includes statements by police and prosecutors, and even by the contents of a video record of the event that was edited by Repent America,
a Marcavage entity.

<b>"They got arrested for no reason"</b>
There is a record of media coverage, including statements by police and prosecutors, and information contained in both the edited and unedited video that was recorded by a camera crew that accompanied Michael Marcavage and his group of fellow accused, to the Outfest event, that refutes the above statement.

In addtion to samcol's comments, the souce of information cited to start this thread in the first place, appears to be barely re-written PR that originated from Michael Marcavage and his supporters.
Here is a link to this "news" source's first report of this story, on Oct. 13, 2004. It is simply a PR from Michael Marcavage's lawyer:
<a href="http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/10/132004a.asp">http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/10/132004a.asp</a>
There is no mention of efforts to obtain statements from Philadelphia officials or from Outfest organizers, yet the title of the web page reads "News From Agape Press".

The following is the link to the "news" story that is referenced by samcol in this thread starter. It states that "Those five were charged with criminal conspiracy, "ethnic intimidation," and riot. In a case that brought national attention, each of the five faced as much as 47 years in prison if convicted."
I can only find oither reports that only Marcavage was charged with "ethnic intimidation". I can find no independent reports to corroborate the "47 years" referenced in every Marcavage connected release.
<a href="http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/2/172005a.asp">http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/2/172005a.asp</a>
Agape Press claims to be displaying "news" on it's site. No article it presents as "news" makes any mention of attempts to obtain information or statements from anyone other than Marcavage, his lawyer, Repent America, and American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP). The Agape Press indirectly quotes Judge Dembe in the Feb. 17 court decision.

As presented in the thread starter, this issue did not appear to be substantiated well enough to be posted as new thread in TFP politics.

Terry Krepel of conwebwatch probably does a better job of making my points for me in his observations of the biased coverage of this story by WND - worldnetdaily.com <a href="http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/stories/2005/wndphilly.html">WorldNetDaily refuses to tell its readers the full story about arrested anti-gay protesters.</a>
<a href="http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/letters/letterwhywnd.html">Why do I pick on WorldNetDaily? - by Terry Krepel</a>

Why do some TFP members ( and even a mod....) accept as little as was offered here in the thread starter, as "news". When you encounter reports that you may find agreeable, but clearly do not contain mention, on the record, of information attributable to opposing principles in the matter reported on, or at least specifics about attempts to contact other principles, I advise you to search for more information so as to avoid exposure only to repackaged PR that originated from only one principle involved in the "news" report.

I hope that the mods will consider using similar criteria to screen new Political thread starters.
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:09 PM   #27 (permalink)
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No.

Mods do not have time to chase down every news story presented.

Like everyone else, we use our best judgement as to what type of threads should be allowed to stay and what gets removed.

But this is a discussion forum, not a news service, so please don't expect mods to act as news editors and fact checkers. We will look at material as it gets posted, make sure it fits the forum and follows forum rules, but beyond that, it is up to you discuss the relative merits of any story posted.

As to this particular thread, I've stated my personal thoughts on freedom of speech which may or may not fit the facts of case, but in truth, I don't care enough to pursue it to the depth you have. At first glance, it seemed to fit all the necessary criteria, so it has been allowed to stay.

If the facts presented for a story are not true, posters such as yourself usually come along and spend time to demolish them, which is as it should be
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:21 PM   #28 (permalink)
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These guys, repent america, sound suspiciously like a group of christians that preached around Florida State while I was there. They were always in groups of at least 2. One guy would hold a bible, stand on a bench or wall, and start yelling at passer-bys. They would shout how we were all going to hell and that we needed to be saved. They called the girls whores and sluts because of how they dressed. They pretty much hated on everyone that was around. Sometimes they carried big signs that were actually quite vulgar, that basically said the same things they yelled.

The catch was though, there was always at least one other person in the background and he always had a videocamera. Unless you knew to look for him, you probably would never notice him.

It seemed that the loud guy was shouting, not to spread the gospel, or try and save people, but to piss them off, and start confrontations. There were many times when it looked like there was going to be a fight, or at least a punch thrown.

I think these guys go around the country, basically starting shit. They antagonize passer-bys and onlookers, hoping one of them will cross the line, assault them (which is documented on film) and then sue. I heard the group that came around my campus had been awarded a $200,000 settlement from another school and student, when one student decided he had enough of the preacher's badgering and, instead of walking away, punched the guy in face.

I don't know if these groups are related, but they sound suspiciously similar. If you ever encounter them, be ware. Don't assault them, they are only looking to sue.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:40 PM   #29 (permalink)
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And now that I think about it, if Repent America is anything like the clowns that harrassed the students at my Alma Mater, I have a pretty good idea of their actions and intentions surrounding this philly incident. The video doesn't show what they were shouting prior to the 7 minutes of film, but if there actions were anything like the group I've encounteded, they probably should have been arrested for criminal conspiracy, "ethnic intimidation," and riot.

I'm not concerned with what they were saying, of course everyone has the right to free speech. It's all about their motives and goals. If their intent was to conspire together, so that under the cloak of free-speech, they could bash gays and get everyone around them angry so that someone would throw a punch at one of them (then they could sue)...well looks like the charges fit.

But then I don't know that this is the same group I have in my memory or even what happened before that wasn't shown in the video, so it is hard to say, really.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:53 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Lebell, I understand and my ACLU card requires I agree whole-heartedly with you on protecting speech without compromise. When I read the "articles" posted I became a little more rigid than I like to on this board. But, more than my personal dislike of the guy, my frustration is very much wrapped around protecting our 1st Ammendmant rights while protecting his, and they fight dirty. Oh well, there is no easy answer.

Someday Mr. Marcavage, you will get that time in jail you pursue with such fervor and you will become more educated on the gay lifestyle than you had bargained for.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:53 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Edit - stupid repost.
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