Has the “fake news” media struck again?
Liberty Counsel, the Christian legal team known for its defense of traditional marriage in court, has released a statement correcting false reports that it opposes a law that would make lynching gays a federal crime.
“Some media have falsely reported that Liberty Counsel is opposed to banning lynching, or, opposes banning lynching of LGBT people,” a statement said. “Such reporting is false, reckless, and offensive.”
The Rolling Stone, for example, claimed Liberty Counsel was “urging lawmakers to pump the breaks (sic) on the bill.”
The bill is the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, which has been approved by the Senate.
NBC made the outright claim: “Evangelical group wants gays removed from anti-lynching bill.”
The claims seem to be based on a report from OneNewsNow, which said Liberty Counsel was wary of naming the LGBT community in the law, because a ban on lynching should apply to everyone. And the group suspected the move was part of a campaign to embed in federal law specials rights for gays.
The OneNewsNow report, however, specified that Liberty Counsel held the position that “no one can or should oppose a bill that bans lynching.”
“We oppose lynching across the board for any person,” said Staver. “Period!”
“The bill in question created a list of protected categories, thus limiting the application of the law. Lynching should be prohibited no matter the person’s reason for committing this violent crime,” he said.
Jonathan Alexandre, Liberty Counsel’s director of public policy, explained: “The systematic torture and abuse of African-Americans throughout history is this country’s greatest disgrace. Some politicians and media have tried to use this horrible history to push unrelated political agendas by hijacking a serious issue. Lynching is wrong for all people despite the reason for targeting a victim.”
The organization said it has received death threats because of the “false narrative,” and it is investigating.
One attacker said, “All LC leaders must die,” and that contact now is being traced.
The Hill cited the designation of Liberty Counsel as a “hate group” by the discredited Southern Law Poverty Center, which already has settled a major lawsuit over its criticisms of organizations and faces more complaints.
Newsweek claimed Liberty Counsel demanded that “protections for LGBT people be removed.”
Newsweek confirmed the limited application of the law, however, which apparently would “apply to lynchings motivated by a victim’s ‘actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.'”
Liberty Counsel said any such law should apply to all.