The religious right is claiming that adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws would result in anti-gay pastors being arrested for preaching anti-gay sermons:
It endangers freedom of religion and speech.... Your pastor could go to jail if even a tenuous link could be established between a sermon on homosexuality and some act of violence.
Preach anti-gay sermons, go to jail. The latest salvo from the bigots suggests that some "tenuous link" between hateful sermons and actual anti-gay violence will have to be established, but the religious right has been running around claiming that anti-gay preachers will be arrested for preaching anti-gay sermons whether or not anyone gets bashed before, during, or after a sermon.
This lie—this little bit of false witness—can be easily debunked. Federal hate crimes statutes already cover race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity and sex. A group of liberal pastors should announce that they're going to mount the pulpit in a particular church at particular time and preach a series of vile, hateful sermons—one right after the other—attacking people of various races and ethnicities, attacking men and women in turn, attacking people for being white, yellow, and brown, and attacking people of other faiths. The semons should rely on biblical passages that have been historically used to justify attacks on and discrimination against people of different faiths, races, ethnicities, genders, etc., though the ages. Alert the authorities and challenge them to come and arrest all these pastors for preaching hate against groups who are already covered by federal hate crime laws.
They won't be arrested, of course, because it's not a crime to be a vile, hateful religious bigot now and it won't be a crime after sexual orientation is added to the federal hate crimes law.