Respecting the Troops By Voting Against the Defense Appropriation

Back when George W. Bush was president, any Democrat in Congress who voted against any defense appropriation bill was immediately accused of hating our troops and endangering their lives.

But times have changed apparently:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are voting against the House/Senate fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill — because it contains hate crimes provisions designed to protect gays and lesbians.

Boehner, speaking at his weekly press conference Thursday, said the inclusion of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the defense bill was “an abuse of power” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sought to punish offenders for what they thought — and not what they did.

He accused the speaker of pursuing her social agenda “on the backs” of the troops.

GOP Whip Eric Cantor is also a no, saying that the legislation constitutes classifying a new group of “thought crimes.”

Not surprisingly, the Right has seized upon the idea that voting against this appropriations bill is a way to show support for the troops:

As FRC has said countless times, this provision would be devastating to free speech and religious freedom. Other laws that have passed under the guise of “hate crimes” have been the first step toward silencing pastors and Christians who speak out against homosexuality. Please join with us in asking Congress to respect our servicemen and women and vote no on “hate crimes” as part of the defense authorization bill!

Concerned Women for America makes a similar claim:

“The Defense Authorization bill should fund our national defense. Period. This ‘hate crimes’ provision grants special rights to certain political groups and could give cover to criminal behavior. This exploitation of a bill to fund our national defense shamelessly places homosexual groups’ demands equal to or more important than our military,” stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America.

“‘Hate crime’ laws unduly expand the federal government. These crimes are already fully prosecuted by the states. ‘Hate crime’ laws allow prosecution for the same act twice, violating the Constitutional protection against Double Jeopardy. It creates a class of ‘special’ preferred victims, denying equal protection to other victims. It could cover every kind of sexual behavior, granting protected status even for pedophiles. And homosexual activists admit the whole effort is a scam to raise money and political power,” Wright noted.