ILLINOIS PURSUES HATE CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST
By Rev. Ted Pike
7 May 08
The State of Illinois has indicted 18-year-old Brett VanAsdlen
for the "hate crime" of pushing a homosexual, Steven Velasquez,
backward to the ground, allegedly causing trauma. Under Illinois’ enhanced
hate crimes penalties, Brett is charged with a Class 4 felony, punishable
by up to three years in prison.
WCIA-TV News in Champaign, Illinois and numerous homosexual websites quote Velasquez’s
claim that Brett, with no provocation, verbally abused him. Velasquez charges
that he was then violently attacked because of his sexual orientation.
As I related in my April 30 alert, “Christian
Teen Arrested for ‘Hate
Crime,” Brett’s side of the story is very different. Brett’s
mother, desperate to counter what she considered vicious media lies, called me
and poured out her heart. Here is my resume of what she told
Brett Van Asdlen
me, quoting my April
…on April 12, he [Brett] and a friend saw two homosexuals
leaning on each other and holding hands, walking toward them on the
sidewalk. ‘Look at those two guys holding hands,’ Brett
said to his friend and walked past
them…the next thing he
knew, one of the homosexuals (whom he perceived to be drunk) had
grabbed him by the shoulder, putting his face up to Brett’s
and repeatedly shouting, ‘What did you say?’ Brett told
him to go away several times and then pushed him. The homosexual
fell over backwards. On his back, the homosexual told his partner
to call the police. In 8 minutes, four officers arrived. Two interviewed
Brett and his friend and assured them there would be no problem.
Brett had been physically accosted and detained, clearly an assault.
The other two officers interviewed the homosexual, who was taken
to the hospital.
Brett told his parents that, contrary to prevailing media reports,
Velasquez did not lose consciousness before being taken to the hospital.
Avalanche of Protest
On Thursday May 1, Brett was indicted in open court. Yesterday,
May 6, the judge set July 1 as the preliminary hearing that may allow
the state to present its case against him.
In last week’s e-alert, I called for telephone protest to the district
attorney, chief of police, and mayor of Champaign. The following day, overwhelming
response from my subscribers swamped the phone lines to Champaign city government.
This protest continues, augmented by right wing and free speech websites that
posted my article. Many local residents who know Brett as a gentle and considerate
Christian teen, including members of his church, are also calling in outrage.
Brett’s lawyer has vehemently forbidden the VanAsdlen family to discuss
the case publicly. I and other Christian/conservative media, including Peter
La Barbara’s Americans for Truth, disagree with this strategy. (Read
excellent on-the-scene analysis.) Considering the legal and media
forces against Brett, we believe his plight should receive as much publicity
as possible. The popular and homosexual media are already convicting Brett
in the court of public opinion. They are teaching the public as fact that
Brett is a hate criminal.
Massive protest must still descend on District Attorney
Julia Reitz at (217) 384-3733. Ask her to drop her unfounded hate crimes indictment. Lovers of freedom
should also protest to WCIA-TV News, which has already aired at least two inflammatory,
one-sided stories against Brett. Although they recently published a brief article
giving Brett's attorney a few lines, their journalistic ethics are in the gutter.
Call WCIA-TV at (217) 373-3650.
Save a Life
Brett is a clean and aspiring young Christian teen at the beginning
of his life. He is a talented
athlete awarded a baseball scholarship.
(Brett proved himself runner-up Most Valuable Player.)
Unless we support him vocally, there is an excellent chance he could face up
to three years in prison. The rest of his life would be blighted with a felony
conviction as a “hate criminal.” He would be barred from voting.
The possibility of a career in professional sports or even as a coach would
be seriously impaired. Suspended from the baseball team because of his arrest
and facing possible imprisonment, with his future in jeopardy, Brett is already
What about his parents? Mrs. VanAsdlen told me her husband is “devastated” at
what is happening to his son. In addition to $10,000 bail they have already
put up (and undoubtedly a similar retainer fee to their lawyer), she says they
may have to pay at least $40,000 to defend Brett. (In Canada, legal costs against
a hate crimes charge average $170-200,000.)
Similar Case in Philadelphia
In October 2004 I encountered a very similar situation in Philadelphia.
Having appeared on several radio broadcasts with Michael Marcavage
of Repent America, I helped give exposure to his unjust arrest and
persecution by the local Landsdowne City Council -- for publicly
reading the Bible in a town council meeting! Next thing I knew, Philadelphia
D.A. Lynne Abraham, in collusion with Chief of Police Tiano, arrested
Michael and ten other Christians for the “hate crime” of
peacefully witnessing and singing a hymn to homosexuals during Philadelphia’s “Out
Fest” gay pride event. Penalty: 47 years in prison and $90,000
Immediately, I booked Michael on many more national talk shows with me. I coined
the term “Philadelphia
11” and did at least 100 interviews in the
fall of 2004. Michael and his lawyers also did many. Even though the largest
new right organizations were agonizingly slow in effectively bringing this
outrage to public attention, we compensated for their inaction and let the
whole world know that 11 beleaguered Christians in Philadelphia were now threatened
with imprisonment for peacefully sharing the Gospel.
In short, the national and international protest we helped generate so wearied
the Philadelphia prosecution that Lynne Abraham was undoubtedly relieved when,
after receiving a tongue-lashing from a higher court, her case was thrown out.
We Can Win in Champaign
The same can happen in Champaign, Illinois. Lovers of freedom must
continue to protest this outrage. The homosexual lobby and TV media
in Illinois are already showing powerful determination to make up
the public’s mind. You must counter it with protest and truth.
Fortunately, before Brett’s lawyer was able to force a blackout on comments
by the VanAsdlens, Brett’s mother gave me a very detailed account of
what happened, as Brett had related it to her. After writing my April 30 account
of Brett’s side of the story, I faxed it to Mr. and Mrs. VanAsdlen.
They told me it was perfectly accurate and encouraged me to distribute it widely.
Until the preliminary hearing on July 1, my article may be virtually all the
public will know of what really happened the night of April 12.
But that’s enough. As controversy heats up, the salient facts to remember
are that Brett’s comment concerning the homosexuals (whatever it was)
was made to his friend, not to the homosexual. Brett was accosted, entitling
him to push his assailant away. Even if Brett had used “hate
physically assaulted Velasquez, that should be considered a misdemeanor. A
police officer told the VanAsdlens that similar “disorderly conduct” occurs
at least 30 times every night on the large campuses of Illinois, usually without
charges being filed. But now, under the triple penalty hate crimes system,
a misdemeanor is elevated to a felony – a crime against society, possibly
putting a teenager behind bars for three years.
Why protest the VanAsdlen indictment? Because, under accelerating local and
state hate crimes arrests, the next “hate criminal” the media vilifies
may be your son or daughter…or you.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they
have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
Learn how ADL took away free speech in Canada and wants to steal
it now in the U.S. Congress. Watch Rev. Ted Pike's Hate
Laws: Making Criminals of Christians at video.google.com. Purchase
this gripping documentary to show at church. Order online at www.truthtellers.org for
$24.90, DVD or VHS, by calling 503-853-3688, or at the address below.
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