That being said, we come to the Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. I have been alerted by chaos-engineer and then scolded by lava for deliberately or carelessly presenting misinformation about that bill. Allow me to reply, first by excerpting the words of Ted Pike of the National Prayer Network:
"...the vast majority of Americans remain oblivious to the existence of the hate bill in Congress, or how it dangles like the blade of a guillotine over our precious and vulnerable liberty."
Why would he say such a thing? For one, laws like this have been enacted overseas with devastating results for personal liberties. For instance,
...such laws already have been used around the world, where in Canada pastors are fearful of reading biblical injunctions against homosexuality, and in Australia where two pastors were convicted of "vilifying" Islam.
The H.R. 254 plan, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, is "stealth legislation at its most devious," Pike said earlier. He said people take a glance, and then say, "This bill just wants federal power to prosecute bias-motivated violent crimes in the states – what's wrong with that?"
"There's plenty wrong with that!" he said. First, the Constitution does not grant federal government the "police state privilege" of being your local law enforcement. "Unless the government finds evidence of slavery in the states, jury tampering, voter fraud, or crimes involving interstate commerce (where jurisdiction is unclear), the Constitution's message to the federal government is blunt and emphatic: 'Butt out of local law enforcement!'"
However, Pike said the authors of the new legislation have been clever, inserting in the proposal assertions that because five states do not have hate laws, the federal government has "no choice" but to "enhance federal enforcement of hate crimes." That includes new ranks of federal agents to address the "serious national problem" that exists.
Worse yet, there are some key phrases that open doors wide that many people don't want opened. For example, Pike said, the bill is to "prevent and respond to alleged violations," meaning "the government does not even have to wait until a hate crime has been committed but may act pre-emptively to 'prevent' crime."
Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth, noted that in Canada and France both, legislators have been fined for publicly criticizing homosexuality. Three years ago, a Swedish hate crimes law was used to put Pastor Ake Green, who preached that homosexuality is a sin, in jail for a month.
"And recently, a British couple told how they were denied the chance to adopt because it was determined that their Christian faith might 'prejudice' them against a homosexual child put in their care," LaBarbera added.
Already in the United States, Catholic Charities of Boston halted all adoption operations in the state after being told under Massachusetts' pro-'gay' nondiscrimination law, only agencies that placed children in homosexual-led households would get licensed by the state.
He suggested a visit to StopHateCrimesNow to hear the testimonies of those who have had first-hand experience with so-called "hate crimes" laws. A 75-year-old grandmother describes how she was jailed for testifying about the Bible, in the United States.
That last website is obviously posted to express a particular point of view that is contrary to the framers of the aforementioned act. I looked to find a website that was neutral, to see what viewpoint was being expressed abou the bill and the TVC response to the bill, and came upon this one. Here is an excerpt, and my comments:
I tend to be suspicious of hate crimes legislation, nonetheless, because it seems to me that the actual violence is a sufficient reason for action, and if that violence gets out of hand, then one can increase the law enforcement. This should occur no matter what the motivation for the violence is. Further, there seems to be a bit of a stretching effort here to justify federal involvement in these crimes.
So far I am in complete agreement
I’m especially suspicious when hate speech gets involved, but I’m not seeing that here. “Speech codes” strike me as both unliberal and unconservative–just plain unsound and dangerous.
Sounds like a way to take away 1st Amendment rights to me...but do go on!
That said, I simply do not see where the TVC gets their alert from the text of this bill. I would think it would be a clear, Christian duty to oppose violence against people irrespective of what we think of their lifestyle, character, sexual orientation, or anything else. The sole debate should be one of strategy. How do we best protect people from violence?
It is our Christian duty to protect people from violence but not from oppression? I disagree vehemently, for in any totalitarian society the restraints on free speech are among the biggest tools used to repress all freedoms and eventually rain down violence and death upon those who disagree with the "Powers That Be."
Laws against violence to others without regard to motivation are, and always have been, the means by which we as a society protect people from violence.
It may well be that this bill is not the best strategy, and as I said it raises certain questions with me. I would like to know just how much accomplishment we expect from the grants that will be given and the use of federal resources, and how such success would be measured. Will we revisit this particular item of spending after a period of time and see if it has accomplished its goals? You see, I’m not at all certain that it will accomplish those goals, or that it is the best way, and our representatives in Washington have this interesting way of making the spending look good, but leaving out the measurement of success.
Ah, money! Of course, legislation like this includes money to be doled out, what a surprise!
One option that occurs to me for dealing with violence is increasing law enforcement generally, not so that we can have big brother looking in every window, but so that we can give every crime of violence due attention, and pay professional police officers the wages due their professionalism, and hire new ones where officers fail to live up to that standard. Perhaps some reprioritizing might be useful, for example, from prosecuting minor drug offenses and in favor of dealing with more serious, violent crimes.
But what is most clear to me is that the TVC response is not so much about the bill as about their own agenda. Let me ask this: How will holders of “traditional” values (as defined by the TVC) deal with violence against gays, lesbians, cross-dressers, and so forth? Or is that not an important issue to you?
Why artificially segment violence against these groups from violence against little old ladies or businessmen or black teenagers or any other group? The law is best when it is blind to color or race or creed or religion or motivation. This bill is a terrible idea, period!
Then, I came upon this website and copied this letter that was posted there, having been addressed to Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA 21st):
There you go! I am in basic agreement with the writer. I cannot fathom a reason for such a bill, other than to try to make political hay with a certain constituency at the expense of basic freedoms and/or to find another way to line somebody's pockets with grant monies down the line. Or, even worse, is the motivation to truly advance the idea of Politically Correct Thought Police, Federally Funded, looking over our shoulders to make sure we both say and do the things that the Party in Power mandate must be thought and said?
Just one comment...remove the "hate" from in front of the "crime" and then I will support what the writer has said entirely. Hate is a matter for the heart, a social issue, if you will. Attitudes and thoughts must not be subject to legislation. Crime is another matter. If hatred leads to a crime, the crime must be prosecuted vigorously and in that way the hate will be defeated to at least an extent. Prosecute crimes (against Gays or Christians or Blacks or Women or Hispanics or Asians or Bingo Players or NASCAR Fans or any group you wish to single out) to the fullest extent without regard to the thinking behind them and I will be in complete agreement with you.