The John reposts something from Slate:
Anyone who manages to stay awake through even a portion of first-year criminal law can tell you that, if that sentence accurately represents what happened, the charge is valid. Period.
Sure, I get it. The woman intended it to be a modern-day counterpart to the flower children placing daisies in the barrels of the national guardsmen’s rifles. I’m with her on the symbolism and her underlying message.
It was an assault. A commenter actually had the temerity to point this out:
It is assault. She should control herself. i don’t want to be kissed by anyone I don’t know or like, and even most people I know and like. Yes, even a kiss is an assault.
The immediate response?
Well fiddle di-dee.
Comments over at Slate?
I live in NC and this version of the story leaves out a few points. First, the 74-year-old lady was at the rally with her HUSBAND to show support for gay rights. She isn’t gay herself so all you hate-mongering homophobes need have no fear that your brother in arms caught something from grandma. Next, the “preacher” doesn’t live in Salisbury, he lives in Taylorsville and is the pastor of a church in Millers Creek, NC. Basically, he traveled quite a few miles to spew his hate at people he has never met. Finally, since Mrs. Parker has been charged with simple assault, she will most likely receive up to 30 days of community service.
If he’d told her not to kiss him, and she did it anyway, I’d understand calling it an assault. If he expressed disgust after she kissed him, and she did it again, I’d understand calling it an assault. But if he didn’t object beforehand, and she only did it once, calling it an assault is ridiculous.
The response to the following sane comment….
Imagine an activist protesting in favor of women’s rights. This gets the attention of a man who doesn’t agree with her. In order to undermine her message, he kisses her on the cheek. Different result?
…was this rationalization:
The purpose of kissing the man was clearly not to demean his gender, or his sexual orientation, so they hypothetical doesn’t work.
The following legally accurate (yet nevertheless unnecessarily offensive – unless she was specifically referring to Joe Fudgepacker, in which case she should have been a bit clearer) observation…
The lady is very lucky he did not press sexual assault charges. People are making light of this on the comment section and it just shows me how two faced people are. The preacher is right that he would be in big trouble for unwanted kissing of a female. I’m not religious. I’m for gay marriage, I think gays should be able to adopt…they are chocolate pirates, not pedophiles….but I’m getting sick of hearing about how special you people think you are…you are EQUAL…not better.
…yielded this Cathy Brennan-esque rationalization:
One thing is overlooked in these comparisons, sexual assault and rape are about POWER and control. In general a male has more brute strength than a woman so a man forcing a woman is vastly different (in general, though of course cases of a small man being overpowered by a larger stronger, perhaps younger woman can and do occur). A 75 year old woman is NOT in the power position, the preacher was not helpless.
The caveat doesn’t negate the insanity of the rationalization.
The Slate story, at least, provides a bit of context:
According to the Associated Press, Joan Parker admits that she kissed preacher James Edward Belcher on the cheek at the event, at which Belcher was one of roughly 200 anti-gay demonstrators who had showed up to protest, despite lacking the proper permits.
Parker said that Belcher “was just waving his arms and has a Bible in one hand, up and down, and screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘sodomites’ and ‘you’re going to hell.’”
She said that at some point, she went in for the kiss, but denies the preacher’s claim that she was aiming at his lips.
Belcher saw things differently. “If I hadn’t turned my head, I’d have gotten it right on my mouth,” he said. “She ran her arms all the way around me and pulled me toward her.”
The local police chief said he was surprised to learn that Belcher wanted to press charges, but the preacher insists that police would have charged him if he had done the same thing to a 74-year-old woman.
“She might disagree with this, but it wasn’t done as a show of affection,” the police chief said. “It was an unwanted touching.”
The way The John presented it? That didn’t really seem to matter.
The way more than a few people are reacting to the story? Ditto.
Make no mistake: The preacher is a worthless piece of christianist garbage.
Belcher said that the kiss “was just one of many attempts to silence the preaching to those in need of salvation who practice a death style that they call a lifestyle.”
But, when last I checked, even worthless pieces of christianist garbage technically qualify as human – and, as such, have the legal right to expect to not be assaulted and/or battered. Of course, as we all know, the gay rights industry only allows the concept of ‘incremental progress’ to flow in one direction.
Perhaps they feel the same way about the application of assault statutes.
Special rights – its not just for giving themselves the ability to discriminate against trans people anymore.