More and more hate crimes laws are being woven into the fabric of our legal structure and even our societal assumptions about what crimes are the really heinous ones. If two people are murdered alongside a road, one is a WASP and the other is a female Mexican immigrant, one murder is much worse than the other. Thankfully, Congress is ready to help us broaden our current myopic understanding of what counts as a hate crime. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
This month, Congress has an opportunity to deal with this challenge by adopting the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
A top priority of the Anti-Defamation League, this legislation would strengthen federal hate crimes laws by authorizing the Department of Justice to assist local authorities investigating and prosecuting certain bias-motivated crimes. The bill would also provide authority for the federal government to prosecute some bias-motivated crimes directed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Current law does not provide sufficient authority for involvement in these cases.
The “mark up” of this piece of legislation actually happens this Wednesday (April 22nd) and will present to Congress, the Senate and President, legislation that explicitly includes speech against sexual orientation as a hate crime. According to one report, it includes all 30 (yes, there are 30!) sexual orientations recognized by the American Psychological Association. Ironically, many of the behaviors based on those orientations are currently against the law in most, if not all, states. Politicians have never let such ironies stop them before.
The ever clear-minded Huffington Post contained an opinion piece…wait for it…supporting it! The argument proffered is full of postmodern language about the maintenance of power structures and the evils of what children are taught in their homes about people who are different than them. And in case you thought that all people could be hateful, the article make it clear that, “Hate crime exists at one end on a continuum of privilege.”
It is incredibly convenient to support a piece of sweeping and horrific legislation like this one, and in one quick sentence exempt most people (including yourself) of the crime. Only “those guys” are guilty of hate, because we have simply defined hate as an attitude and act shown from the powerful to the disenfranchised.
Another inconvenient falsehood perpetrated by this kind of legislation is that things that are not crimes become crimes. Literally, it is not a crime to think something, and it is not a crime to say most things. The clear application sought by it supporters is that this kind of hate thought legislation will be applied to religious organizations and churches. It can become a crime to speak truths and beliefs taught by religion, thus making the State the arbiter of speech and acceptable belief.
Another crushing and obvious irony to all this is that hate crime and hate thought legislation is more often than not supported by those who espouse the virtue of “tolerance.” In reality, their agenda is the crushing of any thought and belief different than their own, and because they don’t have a leg to stand on in public debate and analysis, they force their views on everyone else through laws and the courts.