Monday, August 07, 2006

Bible 'Bigoted,' Not Welcome in NYC?

Frankly, I'm stunned it's taken "progressives" this long to accuse the Bible itself of hate speech.

Case of the Bible “conveying message of intolerance” to be argued tomorrow in federal appeals court. In full ...

The American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP) announced today that Stephen Crampton, Chief Counsel for the CLP, will argue a case tomorrow, August 8, at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals presenting the question whether it is constitutionally permissible to characterize the Bible as "bigoted" and to condemn it as conveying "a message of intolerance that is not welcome" in New York City.

The case arose when a church leased two billboards in March of 2000 containing four translations of Leviticus 18:22, which declares homosexual behavior as sinful. The billboards, which by contract were to remain up for a month, were covered over within a matter of days after the City and the vocal homosexual community complained that the billboards were offensive and should not be allowed.

Guy Molinari, then Borough President of Staten Island, where the billboards were located, wrote a letter to the owner of the billboards telling it that the scriptures were "not welcome" in the City and urging disclosure of the sponsor of the message. On the same day, the billboard owner covered up the scriptures and simultaneously released the name of the sponsor, Pastor Kristopher Okwedy of Keyword Ministries.

Pastor Okwedy, a Nigerian immigrant, immediately began receiving hateful messages and even death threats from those who found the message offensive. But although the City?s Bias Crimes Task Force investigated Okwedy for alleged "hate speech" on his signs, they refused to take any action to protect him from the death threats attacking his religious views and smearing him as a "n-g-er." Okwedy also notified police he had received a package that he feared might be a bomb, but was told by NYPD to "just open" the package. "This case presents the clearest example yet of the continuing erosion of the constitutional protections for churches and religion against the incessant onslaught of the homosexual agenda," said Stephen Crampton. "The actions of the City communicated unequivocally that traditional religious beliefs about homosexuality will be censored, even when simply quoting scripture," Crampton added.