In the UK, 7000 citizens signed their name to a petition to expand hate crime laws. They want the laws to punish anyone who commits violence because someone looks different. The petition responds to the murder of a young Goth-dressing woman and her boyfriend in a park.
The assailants didn’t know the girl. Presumably they attacked her because she was wearing black lipstick. That’s how the argument goes. The thuggish kids who attacked her should get tripled penalties because their violence was motivated by her weird looks.
So, it would have been less heinous had she been an upper class, pearls-wearing babe attacked because she looked rich? What if she’d been a gorgeous blonde cheerleader and they attacked her because they weren’t getting any? The list goes on forever.
It is hideously unjust to label the value of various victims, stiffening penalties for some murders and not others, for some assaults and not others, etc. Every violent crime is a tragedy to be redressed. Endlessly add to the list of special “hate crime” victims, and someday everybody will be on it. Then we’ll be right back where we started: equal law.
But unjust penalties for violent crimes aren’t the greatest danger of hate crime laws. Their greatest danger is that they criminalize free speech. They criminalize certain beliefs and animosities—emotions with which the government has no business meddling. The government has no more right to say you can’t be biased against homosexuals than to say you can’t be biased against professional athletes or workaholics or overbearing mothers-in-law.
Hate crime laws were created by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, a Jewish organization committed to demonizing—and yes, defaming—beliefs and values it opposes. Specifically, the ADL opposes anti-Israel and anti-homosexual activism and Christian evangelism. Hate crime laws were not created primarily to respond to violent crime (which is, obviously, already illegal). They were created to marginalize and then criminalize certain kinds of speech and “bias” – primarily Christian.
The Case at the Lakefront
Last July in Sacramento, a Fijian died after slamming his head on the concrete after being punched by an irate Russian immigrant. The Russian and his family had been picnicking beside the Fijian at a public lakefront where the islander, Satender Singh, was dancing in a sexually explicit way and hugging other men.
“Witnesses told authorities that the two camps on the shoreline traded insults for hours.” Slavic authorities call it a “street fight,” and decry the scapegoating of a 21-year-old Russian friend who faces 3 years if convicted even though he never threw a punch. The Russian whose blow led to the death of the Fijian should justly be convicted of manslaughter. But under California's tripled penalties for "bias-motivated" crimes, he could spend most of the rest of his life in prison for his alleged bias against homosexuality.
LA Times quotes the founder of a Sacramento-based group that “monitors the religious right.” He said, “The roots of what these guys did to Satender Singh can be traced to what's being preached in their churches. Some sitting in those pews believe they've heard it straight from God: that homosexuality is an abomination."
The Slavic Christian community in California offers some of the state’s most vocal opposition to homosexuality. The LA Times article on the story points out that the Russian was “fresh from morning church services”. Many Slavic Christians in California participate in the Christian group Watchmen on the Walls. The Watchmen website is available in Russian as well as English. Its mission states, “Watchmen On The Walls is the international Christian movement that unites Christian leaders, Christian and social organizations and aims to protect Christian morals and values in society.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center counts Watchmen as a “hate group.” LA Times notes that, “Using battle-tinged rhetoric, the Watchmen have called for evangelicals to step aggressively into the political realm to fight what they see as a gay agenda threatening the traditional family.” Is Watchmen the only group to use “battle-tinged rhetoric” to try and galvanize political activism? Are “fundamentalist” Christians the only ones to moralize about the behavior of others?
Of course not. But homosexual and hate law activists (like ADL and SPLC) seize every opportunity to marginalize evangelical and Christian beliefs. This is one example of using the rhetoric of “anti-hate” initiatives to blacken the reputations of basic, long-standing Christian beliefs.
More and more evangelical leaders must speak up about the basic injustice of hate crime legislation, recognizing it deeply threatens their own freedom. Beliefs, thoughts, and words must not be criminalized—no matter how unpleasant we (or powerful leaders) find them.
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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