Is That Hypocrisy I Smell?

Fresh from being unreachable by the press during the Saturday rally/protest in Bedford, county DA Bill Higgins carefully read Sunday’s newspaper coverage of the protest before coming up with his tactical response, finally figured out something to say, quote, “reached out to the Mirror Sunday in an email after coverage of the rally noted he was unavailable. A message left at Higgins’ cellphone was not returned Saturday afternoon.”

I don’t blame the guy for ducking the media until he figured out his response.  It’s just that the awaited response is so damn weak.  From the Altoona Mirror (Making it happen for you!  Unless you aren’t a subscriber, then pay wall!)

Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins said in an email that he is a “tireless advocate” for giving youth second chances, but much of the discussion on a high-profile desecration case has left out the voice of the religious group that was affected by a teen’s alleged actions.

“Love, Inc. has a right to practice their faith unmolested, and as District Attorney I have an obligation to see to it that their rights are respected,” Higgins said.

They do have that right.  And if anyone actually molests a member of Love, Inc. while they are trying to practice their faith, I will be back on that street corner in Bedford with more signs defending their rights.  Are we really supposed to believe that this kid snapping a picture with their statue, a picture that no one even knew existed until someone saw it on Facebook and immediately went into maximum pearl clutching mode, in any way infringes on their rights to worship as they believe?  It’s a picture, Bill.  No actual damage was done to the statue.  It is still there.  Right beside the road.  In fact, I stopped by the statue the other morning for an exclusive interview with a statue of kneeling Jesus.  You see, that is now the actual one voice left out of this story.  What about the poor statue?

Foster Disbelief: Good morning, Mr. H. Christ.  My name is Foster Disbelief, though you can call me JR.  How are you feeling today?

Statue of Jesus: ……….

FD: I came out here today to ask you a few questions about your recent desecration.  Are you feeling up to it?

Statue: ………….

FD: Right.  No need to stand up, just stay right there as you are.   Okay, so do many people take pictures with you?

Statue:  ………….

FD: You’re right, there’s no need to beat around the bush with small talk.  You’re a tough one, Statue Jesus.  What were your thoughts when this teen was posing with you in that position, miming either receiving oral sex from you, or getting electrocuted with your holy power upon laying his hands upon your head?

Statue: ………..

FD: Caught you off guard there, didn’t I?  Didn’t expect someone to come up with an alternative description for that pose?  Why are all these people immediately assuming he was pantomiming oral sodomy?  Filthy, gutter bound minds?

Statue: ……….

FD:  Yeah, I know he really was posing like he was about to fuck your face.  That’s not the point.  The point is, it is a still picture, a snapshot, and it’s easy to get the wrong impression from an out of context picture.  But I want to talk about your feelings.  How horrible did his actions make you feel?

Statue:  …………

FD: Mmmm.  Was this the first time anyone used you like that?

Statue: ……….

FD: Did you enjoy it?

Statue: ………..

FD: Some people have been saying that you were asking for it.  Okay, not really some people, one person.  Okay, it was me.  I’m claiming that you were asking for it.  The only time that phrase has ever been used legitimately in the history of the world when referring to sexual assault.  Were you?

Statue:  …………

FD: Did this teen and his picture in anyway limit your free expression of religion?

Statue:  ………….

FD: If you didn’t want to talk, you could have just refused the interview.  Seriously, I can’t believe I drove out here for that.

Statue: ……………….

It was a picture, Bill.  Taken at a statue that is approachable by the public.  Fully clothed.  Harmed no one.  Violated zero rights.  Well, other than the imagined right to not be offended, but that seriously isn’t a real right, Bill.  Moving on……

Higgins stressed that, despite reports, the boy “will, in all likelihood, be placed into a diversionary program, perform a few hours of community service, answer to a probation officer for a few months and end up with no criminal record whatsoever.”

Not.  The.  Point.

You can suggest whatever sentence you feel like, Bill, but if he gets in front of an offended Judge who’s been having a bad day, he could still sit in juvie for 2 years.  But that’s not the point either.   If the punishment was a five dollar fine, suspended, I’d still think it was too harsh.  Because either the law, or your interpretation of it, are unconstitutional.  His Facebook picture was no more offensive than one of the signs I brought to Bedford.  (You should have seen the one I left in the car*.)    His picture and my sign caused the same amount of actual harm.  Both are legal.  Your interpretation of this law is turning it into a blasphemy law.  Even you have to know that blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.  You are the county DA.  I’m assuming law school was somewhere in there.

He also noted that many who are speaking out against his decision to charge the teenager have taken to attacking his character.

At Saturday’s rally, Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen said Higgins “sounds more like a talk show host” than an attorney.

“My motivations in prosecuting this case are based solely on the law,” Higgins said.

“Personal attacks and character assassination directed at me and my family are unproductive, unwarranted and, quite frankly, and I will not respond to them in any way, shape or form.”

Oh, this is my personal favorite part of his reply.  Remember this Facebook comment from our good friend Bill, when this story first started?

“I guess I should take solace in the fact that the liberals are mad at me – again,” Higgins said Thursday on his Facebook page. “As for this case, this troubled young man offended the sensibilities and morals of OUR community. … His actions constitute a violation of the law, and he will be prosecuted accordingly. If that tends to upset the ‘anti-Christian, ban-school-prayer, war-on-Christmas, oppose-display-of-Ten-Commandments’ crowd, I make no apologies.”

Based solely on the law.? Check.  Personal attacks and character assassination is unproductive and unwarranted?  Check.

When this story started, your first action was to pander to the GOP base.  You don’t get to pretend you are above the fray now that people are actually paying attention.

I’d ask how these people get elected, but I live in the area, so I unfortunately know.


*Jesus Christ: Super Bukkake Star  With image.  But there were kids there, and I wasn’t going to put their parents in the position to have to explain that one to them.