Reading Time: 3 minutes

PAULINE  Howe, the perfectly coiffed, tea-sipping old harridan who expressed fear and indignation over a visit from the police following her letter to Norwich Council expressing her detestation of homosexuals, is now even more alarmed.

Christian troublemaker Pauline Howe
Christian troublemaker Pauline Howe

For last night, Channel 4 News indirectly linked her with a rise of violent attacks on gay people in the UK.
The report talked of hate crimes:

Ranging from the homophobic murder of 62-year-old Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square in September to elderly women complaining about gay marches through towns.

The Christian Institute, which is championing the vicious old bat, is appalled by the “slur”. The CI’s Mike Judge said:

I hope those who killed Mr Baynham in that vicious attack are brought to justice for their horrific crime. But to associate Mrs Howe’s objection to a gay pride parade with this violent attack is an outrageous slur.
On national TV, Channel 4 stated that she had committed a crime. She has not. Disagreement with someone’s behaviour is not hatred, it is not a crime, and it is certainly not the same thing as murder.
I think Channel 4 News should apologise for their error and make clear to viewers that Mrs Howe has not committed a criminal offence.

When the Howe story first broke, I sided with those who thought a police visit to her home was an over-reaction. I have changed my mind. People like her – and the insufferable troll Bob Hutton who never stops trying to plant his inane, homophobic comments on this site – continually bang on about how much they hate homosexuality, but always add that they would never wish gay people any harm.
It never occurs to them – or perhaps they simply won’t admit it – that their anti-gay ranting is bound to manifest itself in acts of real violence.
So, was Channel 4 wrong to make a link between the death of Baynham and the vile outpourings of poor, sweet, persecuted Pauline Howe?
I don’t think so. Especially after learning  from the excellent Classically Liberal blog that:

Howe intentionally tries to agitate people. She didn’t merely write a letter to the council while spending her days sitting at home, sipping tea and watching the telly. The gay rally she wanted banned was one she attended. She went with the express purpose of handing antigay tirades to gay people. This sweet old lady was not so sweet after all.
Howe said she went with other ‘Christians’ to protest ‘the public display of such indecency on the streets of Norwich which is so offensive to God and to many Norwich residents’. She handed out anti-gay leaflets to people at the rally. So she was intentionally offensive to them. And people responded, as you might predict. But no one violated her rights. She says that the people she attacked ‘were in our faces with aggressive verbal abuse.’ In other words, the people at the rally responded to her speech with their own speech.

It’s also worth reading this piece on the CL blog. (My thanks to BarrieJohn for the links.)
Incidentally, on the same day that Channel 4 aired its report, President Obama signed a hate crimes bill into law which now covers violent federal hate crimes committed against members of the gay community.
Under existing federal law, hate crimes are defined as those motivated by the victim’s race, colour, religion or national origin – but not sexual orientation.
Said Obama:

Prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes because no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.

The new hate crimes is named in memory of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was murdered 11 years ago.