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Judge Michael Ponsor has ruled in Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively (2013) that Scott Lively, through his talks in Uganda in opposition to homosexual behavior was in fact “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity.”
Lively, an evangelical pastor, was sued in a Massachusetts federal court by a foreign group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) based on provisions in the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). If this decision is upheld, every foreign group with a grievance will appeal to the ATS and inundate our courts with claims of injustice, and the First Amendment will not offer any protection.
Judge Posnor went on to write in his 79-page ruling that Lively’s anti-same-sex views can be compared “to that of an upper-level manager or leader of a criminal enterprise.” They are, according to Judge Ponsor, “analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.”
So speaking out against behaviors that only recently in the United States have been deemed lawful is akin to genocide?
We’ve seen this type of leftist logic before, and it’s not surprising that it came from a judge who was supported for the bench by John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and appointed by Bill Clinton. Soon after Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, some on the left of the political spectrum blamed “anti-government rhetoric” for the assault. Supposedly “hateful” speech directed at politicians had incited a cadre of “right-wing” extremists to put words into explosive action.
A similar blame-game tactic was tried by then Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) after the loss of the Senate to the Republicans in the 2002 mid-term elections. He blamed “talk radio,” and compared American “fundamentalists” to Islamic extremists. He claimed that critical talk about certain politicians and their policies could lead to a hostile environment that could spur people to violent acts. Daschle offered no empirical evidence to back up his claim.
On the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, former President Clinton once again tried to make the connection between speech and domestic terrorism. The following is the reaction from a New York Post editorial:
“[Clinton drew] implicit parallels between bomber Timothy McVeigh and peaceful — if rambunctious — political dissent like the Tea Party movement. … Like we said: shameless.”
What about Judge Ponsor’s claim that speaking out against homosexual behavior is akin to “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity”? Is there such a thing in the world today? We kill about 1.2 million pre-born babies in America each year, but this is not a crime against humanity.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis gets a multi-page spread in Vogue because she spoke passionately in defense of permitting the killing of late term pre-born babies.
“The article makes no mention of how, during a speech and press conference last week, Davis called abortion ‘sacred ground’ and indicated she may run for governor. Later, she indicated she thinks pro-life women ‘don’t understand’ abortion and she showed she has no understanding of the Kermit Gosnell case.”
Nothing is said about how the Southern Poverty Law Center’s claim that Family Research Council is a hate group influenced a pro-homosexual man to shoot up the organization and kill the employees.
Maybe we can deduce that President Obama’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric has led to the destruction of Christian churches in Egypt and the persecution of Christians.
“Across Egypt, at least 60 churches have been targeted, along with Christian schools, homes,businesses and even an orphanage, according to conservative estimates. In the areas of Minya, Beni Suef, Fayoum and Assiut, Christian homes and businesses have received leaflets warning them to leave or face reprisals by Islamists, Christians said.”
A man speaks about the immorality of certain sex acts, and he’s “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity”? Judge Posnor’s ruling, if it stands on appeal, is one of the most dangerous decisions ever to come from the bench.
“The Liberty Counsel has insisted that Lively exercised ‘nothing more than civil, non-violent political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern, which occupies the highest rung of First Amendment protection.’”
If higher courts on appeal disagree, the days of free speech for conservatives are over.