Hate Crime Bill: Your Help is Needed
Legislation in the Senate Judiciary Committee Sponsored by Sen. Kennedy, D, MA is expected to be voted on this week and it will have the effect of altering basic American freedoms in ways unthinkable only a few years ago. Senate Bill S-909 federalizes and politicizes certain criminal acts. It is referred to as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the title alone gives indication that it is designed to change beliefs rather than prosecute and penalize crimes. So the overriding issue is whether or not government should use criminal law to change beliefs.
The legislation begins by attempting to prove there is a need for it because these crimes are such a major problem:
The authors announce in their Findings that the legislation is needed because (with emphasis added):
The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, natural origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender, identity, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem
Such violence disrupts the tranquility and safety of communities and is deeply divisive.
A prominent characteristic of a violent crime motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim and the family and friends of the victim, but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.
To read this, you would think there is a national epidemic of “hate crime” so widespread that we have to do something immediately! This blantant misrepresentation is without foundation in the facts. Look at the FBI’s statistics for 2007, the last year for which the numbers have been completed.
Total Crimes across all groups in all states:
- Total crimes in the U.S. during 2007 11,251,818
- Total violent crimes during 2007 1,408,337
Total “Hate crime” in all states:
- Total hate crimes during 2007 7,621
- Total hate crimes against persons 5,408
The vast majority (78.4%) of these “hate crimes” against persons fall into two categories:
- Total hate crimes in “intimidation” category 2,562 (47.4%)
- Total hate crimes in “simple assault” category 1,681 (31.0%)
Now, look at this “serious national problem” regarding hate crimes involving “sexual-orientation:”
- Total ”hate crimes involving “sexual orientation” 898 (16.6%)
Please stop a moment to consider these numbers as measured against crime in general:
- Total Hate Crimes against persons as % of total crime 0.00048%
- Total Sexual-orientation crimes as % of total crime 0.00008%
Consider that during this same year, there were 16,929 murders, and 90,427 forcible rapes in the country. But the liberal Congress claims that 898 “sexual orientation” crimes” – 78.4% of which involve no violence – poses a “serious national problem.”
“Hate crime” laws are being used to force Christians to alter their beliefs to conform to government dogma under pain of prosecution and penalty. I will show one here, and you can find others at the end of this Post.
In 2005 in Alberta, Fred Henry, the Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary, was subject to two complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission after publishing a pastoral letter defending the traditional definition of marriage earlier that same year. (“Canada’s Human Rights Beef with Catholics,” Zenit, Feb. 5, 2008). Bishop Henry told Zenit: “The social climate right now is that we’re into a new form of censorship and thought control, and the commissions are being used as thought police.”
Which people are not protected by these provisions?
We have seen how microscopic the rate of bias crimes in the U.S. really is, so let’s look at a few other groups with much higher rates of bias crime and consider why they aren’t protected as a group.
Wives and girlfriends. Domestic violence is a real problem in the country, sometimes husbands, sometimes live-in boyfriends; sometimes even wives and girlfriends assault their husband or boyfriend. These types of crimes far out number those of all bias crimes, why aren’t wives a protected group especially when you consider that hatred is almost universally the motive for such attacks?
Children. With some frequency, we read about abused children, and in some cases murdered children, but we see no interest from the Democrat controlled Congress in protecting children as a group. Again, the motive is universally hatred – the noise, the inconvenience, and anger – this is what results in child murder.
Elderly. Constantly we see news about an older person who has her purse snatched, or is abused under someone’s care, but there is no interest in providing for enhanced sentencing for crimes against hated elderly people.
Ex-homosexuals. Perhaps the groups most discriminated against for their sexual preference is that group composed of ex-homosexuals. Where is the concern for them?
Military veterans have been discriminated for decades by the left. What about short people; fat people, the ugly, those with bad complexions? These are the real people who become the object of scorn, whose presence is despised; should there not be special sentencing enhancements for them?
Which people are protected by these provisions?
I leave it to U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings, D, FL to describe for you who the Democrat majority in the Congress thinks is deserving of special protection through enhanced sentencing when crimes are committed against them. (This is the same Alcee Hastings, appointed by Jimmy Carter to be a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida; and who was impeached for conspiring to solicit a bribe involving two defendants in a case before his court. See here.)
Here is Hastings’ transcript from the Congressional Record April 29, 2009. I must point out that previous to this speech, Republicans had proposed amendments to the House version of this legislation; to specifically add veterans and the unborn to the list; and to state that the legislation would not apply to pedophiles, exhibitionists, prostitutes, necrophiliacs, and certain other deviant sexual criminal acts, so these criminals would not be protected by the legislation. All of the proposed amendments failed because the majority liberal Democrats didn’t want veterans, or unborn babies protected; but they apparently did want to protect pedophiles, exhibitionists, prostitutes, necrophiliacs and others specifically; they consciously voted to protect them. See the list here.
Rep. Hastings went to the floor of the House on May 20th, 2009, and mocking his Republican brethren said this:
“Mr. Speaker, I have been on the Rules Committee a considerable amount of time, both in the minority and in the majority, and I have seen things come to the Rules Committee that I thought were trivializing the process, but yesterday took the cake for me.
We had an amendment offered by one of our colleagues to this particular legislation. I guess it was done in a creative fashion, and certainly the author of it did spend some time looking in the dictionary or creating new terms. And I apologize to our transcriber, but I am going to put in the Record what we have to put up with in the Rules Committee.
“The term sexual orientation,” this proposed amendment said, “as used in this act, or any amendments made by this act, does not include apotemnophilia, asphyxophilia, autogynephilia, coprophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, gerontosexuality, incest, kleptophilia, klismaphilia, necrophilia, partialism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, telephone scatalogia, toucherism, transgenderism, transsexual, transvestite, transvestic fetishism, urophilia, voyeurism, or zoophilia.”
All I can say is the late-night comedians need to come up there with me sometime so that they can get into the spirit of spuriousness that comes there on certain occasions.
This is serious business. Mr. Speaker, we can’t legislate love, but we can legislate against hate. This legislation may not rid us of the intolerance and prejudices that continue to taint our society, but it will provide an added deterrent to those for whom these feelings manifest themselves into acts of violence. They will be fully aware that, should they commit a hate crime, there will be no lenience and they will not slip through the cracks of the American legal system.
Further, passage of this Hate Crimes bill will increase public education and awareness and encourage Americans to report hate crimes that all too often are silent.
Mr. Speaker, this bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice, and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability–or all of these philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward–need not live in fear because of who they are.
I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule so that we continue to move this country toward fully achieving its promise of justice and liberty for all Americans.”
Note that Rep. Hastings stated explicitly all manner of sexual activity would receive this exalted status. The amendment lost on a party line vote, and HR-1913 passed the House April 29, 2009 on a party line vote; now its Senate counterpart - S-909 – is sitting in the Judiciary Committee and will probably be voted on this week. It is likely to be approved and brought to the Senate floor shortly after. It is expected that S-909 will pass.
What’s wrong with S-909
It could lead to affirmative action for all these “sexual preferences”
The desire of those who would add “sexual-orientation,” and “gender,” to the list of special people have no real interest in lowering the incidence of crime in the U.S.; they want to elevate a whole list of ‘perceived’ and real sexual identities and practices to normality. If they can get these people specially protected in criminal law, they raise sexual activity and blurred concepts of gender to the status of civil rights. Once these identities and practices are seen as civil rights, they will be able to force affirmative action in hiring for these groups; then it will be legalized marriages, and so on.
So-called “hate crimes” legislation at whatever level of government it occurs is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The first section clearly states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.”
It cannot be equal protection or treatment under the law when a crime against one person leads to punishment A, and the same crime against another person leads to punishment B. The only basis for consideration of “enhancements” for “hate crime” has to do with the value of the victim, not the nature of the crime. It is clearly the value of the victim that this legislation has in mind as illustrated by the characteristics the victim has to possess in order for enhanced penalties to be imposed. This treats different citizens differently. That is unequal treatment under the law and it is unconstitutional.
(On June 25th during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee considering S-909 Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States was questioned by Jeff Sessions R, Alabama about a situation where a Pastor gives a sermon, and quotes the Bible about homosexuality and is then attacked by a gay activist because of the Biblical quotes regarding homosexuality. Would this minister be protected, he asked. The Attorney Generals said:
“Well, the statute would not – would not necessarily cover that. We’re here talking about crimes that have a historic basis. Groups who have been targeted for violence as a result of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, that is what this statute tends – is designed to cover. We don’t have the indication that the attack was motivated by a person’s desire to strike at somebody who was in one of these protected groups. That would not be covered by the statute.” The entire hearing can be seen here.)
It gravely divides the nation
It displays the concept that YOU as a person are not of infinite value as an American citizen; rather, your worth attaches to your sexual habits. These laws show that – in the government’s eyes – nobility attaches to accidents of birth and specific sexual activities; with all others being less noble.
It makes punishment a layered system based on relative worth of victims
It writes into our government’s legal code and seeps into our collective consciences that the same crimes are punished differently depending against whom the crime is committed.
It grants rights to members of groups, not persons
It tramples under foot long-held concepts that rights, privileges, and immunities belong to persons, not groups. The Constitution recognizes the rights of citizens and persons, not specific groups. In fact, the 13th and 14th Amendments were written and adopted to prevent the concept of rights as belonging to one group and not another. Here we have the U.S. Congress attempting to undo these critical Amendments to the Constitution.
It conflates belief with motive
In every criminal act, motive is very important. The proponents of “hate crime” laws suggest that animus toward a person because of their sexual-orientation, for example, coupled with any criminal act constitutes a “hate crime.” A person may have a profound belief that homosexuality is vile, depraved, and forbidden by God. If this person is a drug addict and robs a person they perceive to be a homosexual, and during the commission of that crime they say they hate homosexuals, the crime qualifies as a “hate crime” and if convicted the perpetrator could receive up to 10 extra years. But note: the belief of the perpetrator was that homosexuals are depraved, and the activity is forbidden by God and said so during the commission of the robbery. His motive, however, was the need for money for drugs. So in this fashion, beliefs can be used to ‘enhance’ a criminal sentence by up to 10 years. Thus, the law can make belief itself a criminal activity by confusing it with motive.
We must fight to protect American personal freedoms. Any crime against another person is abhorrent, and must be prosecuted and punished; but the idea that certain groups in American culture are so special that when you strike against one of them you deserve a greater punishment than when you strike at an ordinary citizen is a vile, unconstitutional concept. This categorization of people into groups then treating members of each group differently is hideous, and we must not permit the people promoting these ideas to subvert our country and turn it into Big Brother doling out justice and the benefits of life to groups according to the value bureaucrats place on them denying us equal opportunity, and equal worth.
In 2001 in Toronto, Ontario, printer SCOTT BROCKIE was fined $5,000 for refusing to print homosexual-themed stationery for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives. The human rights commissioner in this case was Heather MacNaughton. In 2005 a British Columbia KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS council was ordered to pay $2,000 to two lesbians, plus their legal costs, for refusing to allow its facility to be used for their
In 2007, in British Columbia, a complaint was made against MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE (Canada’s leading newsweekly) for publishing an excerpt from MARK STEYN’S book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. The article, published in October 2006, was entitled “The Future Belongs to Islam.” The complaint was brought by Naiyer Habib and Mohamed Elmasry, an imam and president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. Elmasry appeared on the Michael Coren Show in Toronto in 2004 and said that anyone in Israel over the age of 18 was a justifiable target of Palestinian attacks (“Mark Steyn Human Rights Tribunal,” LifeSiteNews, June 3, 2008). He later apologized, but his basic outlook is obvious. Yet he had the audacity to complain to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that the MacLean’s article portrayed Muslims as “inhuman” and “violent.” The case was referred to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which opened its proceedings against Steyn and the magazine in June 2008.
In March 2008 the Canadian government ordered MACGREGOR MINISTRIES, an apologetics ministry, shut down because its reference materials were ‘critical’ of the beliefs of those who are not Christian (WorldNetDaily, March 21, 2008). Lorri MacGregor told WND that Canada’s version of a ‘hate crimes’ law prevented their work from continuing as it had for nearly 30 years. The ministry was ordered to either make wholesale changes in its presentations, or shut down. They were required to say that all religions are equal, stop publishing their magazine on cults, remove all offending material from their website, and stop selling any products teaching about cults. Refusing to operate under those conditions, they moved the ministry to America.
In the European Union:
In June 2004 Pentecostal Pastor Ake Green became the first pastor in the European Union to be charged under hate crimes. He was convicted for denouncing homosexuality as “abnormal,” “something sick,” and “a deep cancerous tumor in the body of society.” The conviction was overturned by an appeals court.
In the U.S:
In April 2008 the New Mexico Human Rights Commission fined a Christian photography studio $6,600 for discriminating against homosexuals. Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, co-owners of Elaine Photography in Albuquerque, politely refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s “commitment ceremony.” One of the lesbians, Vanessa Willock, filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission claiming the Huguenins discriminated against her because of her “sexual orientation.”
Julio Severo, a very public pro-family activist has been forced to flee his native country because of “hate crime” laws enacted there. Mr. Severo fled his country when federal prosecutors charged him with “homophobia” for written opposition about the gay parade in 2006. He says, “Brazil grants freedom to preach Christianity, provided that the sermons avoid negative mentions of state-protected behavior and cultural trends. The Brazilian government is establishing more and more categories of protected behaviors, banning mentions. So Brazilian preachers need to get updated on the latest political changes and preach a Gospel according to the state interests.”