By Harmony Grant
14 Nov 2007
The biggest story in American politics isn’t in the media—at this dangerous moment we still don’t know if Bush will veto the federal hate crimes bill passed by both House and Senate. The military reappropriations bill, H.R. 1585 (to which Sen. Kennedy's hate bill amendment is attached) is now months overdue. With our troops still dying in the Mideast and needing new supplies, Bush may sign the arms bill –with hate bill attached –to his regret.
Since we may soon join the league of western hate law bureaucracies, we should listen to those who already messed up their legal system this way, say, the Brits. Lawmakers in Britain unintentionally reveal the folly of hate laws by trying to add more and more groups to special federal protection. They currently want to add the elderly and handicapped to the list of hate laws' protected victims. Who’s next? Women, short people, redheads, sci-fi geeks? Maybe eventually they’ll add enough groups and we’ll all get equal protection again.
At NPN, we have amply warned that hate crime laws are selectively enforced; they award "special victim status" to those in favor with the architect of hate laws worldwide –ADL. In the US, homosexuals and Jews will particularly benefit. But these laws are so dangerously malleable—based on politics, not basic principles of justice—that they will create enormous bureaucracies and endless paperwork and dangerously complicate the important job of law enforcement.
The British lawmakers say old and disabled people deserve special protection because they are frequent targets of crime. But these crimes are already illegal (hence, the word crime). Seeking to punish a "bias motivation" won’t help end injustice; it will only further complicate the process of protecting old or handicapped people, and the rest of society!
Britain 's Telegraph published an excellent column by Jenny McCartney articulating some of the dangerous stupidity of hate crime laws. Her piece is worth the read. It's also heartening to read the comments on her column; almost all express righteous rage at hate crime laws.
McCartney sums up wryly, "perhaps, one day far in the future, we will beckon in so many plainly worthy sub-categories that we will arrive at the only position that makes any sense: that we are all equally valuable citizens under the law, deserving of the full protection of the police and justice system. That was, I think, the principle we started out with."
Our northern neighbor, Canada, is also a hate crimes bureaucracy. The Ottawa Sun reports that its police unit receives 70 to 75 "hate crime" complaints per year.
"In Ottawa, the bulk of hate-crime complaints involve incidents of mischief, such as graffiti messages, but others are based on language." The outgoing head of the hate crimes unit explains that people get "downright rude."
Um, too bad! When did rudeness become a crime?
Unfortunately, Americans don't seem to hear the message from England or Canada. Both countries provide clear stories of brainwashed lawmakers and law enforcers with scarily confused attitudes toward crime –treating some of its victims as more attention-worthy than others and treating language as if it were as serious as the sticks and bones that break our bones. Yet we are quickly hurtling toward that same dangerous confusion.
The National Action Network is organizing a big march on Washington to demand federal action against the “rash” of noose-hanging in American states. On Nov. 3, activists marched on Washington to demand that the horrific torture of Megan Williams be prosecuted as a hate crime. They reason that the six suspects used the n-word against Williams while abusing her. Just reading what was done to this young black woman makes you sick. But what if she had been white and was called a “ho” each time she was stabbed? Would six men have deserved hate crime charges for their misogyny? And what if it were six women abusing a man because of their rage because of mistreatment by fathers and exes? Would they deserve triple penalties for going against one member of a larger group? Strangely: no. Individuals should be punished when they commit crimes against other individuals, regardless of why. And every person deserves equal protection under the law, no matter to what larger group they belong.
The evil of making speech into a crime is still another reason to reject hate laws. Besides criminalizing or chilling legitimate speech, laws against speech or symbols just scream out for violation. A Houston Chronicle column points out that these are “times in which any knucklehead with a rope or a felt-tipped pen can make national news by hanging a noose or scrawling racist graffiti in a conspicuous location.” The column lists several hate crime hoaxes—such as when a young black woman sent threatening letters to minority students, because she hoped her parents would let her drop out.
Yes, racially threatening symbols should be discouraged. But criminal law exists to punish actual crime, not to enforce social niceties. The law—simple, fair, and evenly applied—is our best defense against true violations of our personal rights.
Criminal law doesn’t exist to protect people’s feelings, change their beliefs, or “reform” their thoughts! That has been tried before. We have to preserve the necessary weapon of the law by not melting it down and using it for some other purpose. You might want a garden hoe, but what will you do when you need a gun?
Harmony Grant writes and edits for National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog group.
Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
Learn how ADL took away free speech in Canada and wants to steal it now in the U.S. Congress. Watch Rev. Ted Pike's Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians at video.google.com. Purchase this gripping documentary to show at church. Order online at www.truthtellers.org for $24.90, DVD or VHS, by calling 503-853-3688, or at the address below.
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