Monday, May 07, 2007

The absurdity of "hate crimes" laws

From Harry Jackson:
Last Thursday, I nervously entered C-SPAN’s Washington, D.C. Studios. The program format normally includes remarks from different points of view, call-in responses from its national audience, and commentary from its host. It was a great opportunity for me to speak to the nation concerning the encroachment that a new law, HR 1592 “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007,” represents to our freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This law promises to grant protected status to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” – essentially mandating unequal protection under the law, which will pave the way for criminalization of thoughts and religious beliefs contrary to politically correct ideology.

I was opposed to this legislation for two reasons. First, as a Christian I am aware that this kind of legislation has opened the door to the arrest, fines, or incarceration of Christians in Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. In fact, in Philadelphia in 2004 such an incident occurred during a protest rally at a gay convention. A 75-year old grandmother of three was arrested, jailed, and charged under existing state hate crimes law for attempting to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ironically, no one was hurt, wounded, or even intimidated by her actions. If anything, law enforcement officials sent the citizens of their state a message – “Gays can protest, intimidate and harass anyone anywhere but Christians had better not speak.” HR-1592 would embolden this kind of law enforcement.

So-called "hate crimes" treat victims of crimes unequally under the law. As the illustration above shows, even non-violent crimes are prosecuted unequally. Basically, you have to be in one of the "favored groups" or you're out of luck. Killing someone for having too much money wouldn't be nearly as bad as killing someone for being black. Repeatedly punching and kicking someone for being a Chrstian could be punished much less harshly than intimidating someone for being gay. Only in lefty la-la land does that make any sense.

In short, "hate crimes" laws criminalize thought, nothing more and nothing less.