Joshua A. Boschee, Published May 21 2009
Shame on writer for distortionsThe recent letter by Alison Grotberg (May 12) is one of the most absurd things I’ve read in a long time. Her claim that pedophiles receive special protection under the hate crimes bill passed by Congress last week is truly shameful. She and others who are making this ridiculous claim are resorting to fear and flat-out lies to rally opposition to the bill and the members of Congress who voted for it.
Grotberg asserts that because the bill doesn’t specifically define “sexual orientation,” the term can encompass pedophiles, who are sexually oriented toward children. The bill also doesn’t define the terms “disability,” “gender,” “national origin,” “race,” or “color” either, because all of these terms, including “sexual orientation,” have been defined under previous law.
Grotberg and her ilk are well aware of this fact but fail to mention it in order to engage in their fear- mongering campaign. Why should they let a little thing like facts get in the way?
The amendment by Republican representative and anti-gay activist Steve King cited by Grotberg was a sad attempt to link homosexuality to pedophilia, which has long been discredited and does a disservice to the serious issue that the hate crimes bill seeks to address.
Hate crimes involve the purposeful selection of victims for violence and intimidation based on their perceived attributes. They are a violent and dangerous manifestation of prejudice. It’s troubling that this legislation is needed in the first place, but prejudice is still very much a part of our society, and hate crimes are committed out of that prejudice. Shame on Grotberg for distorting the truth about the legislation passed to fight such terrible crimes.