We all know that Pat Robertson is a horses ass, prone to saying outrageous things particularly when it comes to LGBT people. Some of the things that come out of his mouth are so over the top bizarre that one can only point and laugh. However, what he said this morning on The 700 Club does not have me laughing. In fact, it has me seething.
Last February fundamentalist preacher Nelson Zavala lost his bid for the Ecuadorian presidency, garnering just 1.23% of the national vote. During his campaign, he repeatedly made deeply offensive comments about gays, a no-no under Ecuadorian election law. He was sentenced in March to pay $3,000 and has had his right to affiliate himself with any political organization suspended for one year.
Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno found Mr Zavala violated the electoral code, which "forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people's dignity or utilise symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature."Pat took issue with that and proceeded to spout the following filth.
For somebody to say that a homosexual can change, that somehow is a hate crime? It is a hate crime to say somebody can change their sexual preference, that that's a hate crime? That's what's going to happen ladies and gentlemen. We ought to mark that down and fight for freedom because that man's freedom of speech is being taken away and the idea that anybody who has ministered to thousands of people, as undoubtedly he has, and others have, in that church in Ecuador know very well that the power of God can change people's orientation. A murderer can change. A rapist can change. A thief can change. That's what the gospel is all about. It's not a hate crime.First of all, Zavala was not tried on a hate crime. He ran afoul of a law that prohibits political candidates from introducing their religious beliefs and using them to smear a group of people during an election campaign. You needn't lie about it so you can quiver in your boots while warning Americans that their first amendment rights are in jeopardy. In our country, our freedom of speech guarantees our rights to say what we want, even as a political candidate.
Secondly, Pat, I know I should resist cranking up my outrage machine at something you said. If I allowed your words to affect me, I would be pissed off and writing about you all the time. But this one I am not going to let slide. To lump me and my gay brothers and sisters together with murderers and rapists while telling us all we need is a bit of reparative therapy is a step too far.
Finally, Pat, I believe in the first amendment too. I defend your right to say these things and would fight any attempt by our government to impose restrictions on that right. That doesn't mean that you aren't responsible for the words that come out of your mouth. When those words spewing from your lips are as vile, ugly and harmful as these are, I am going to call it exactly what it is, hate speech. And hate speech does not get much more hateful than that.