Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hate crimes vs equal protection of the law

A hate crime occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain minority social group such as
• disability,
• ethnicity,
• gender identity,
• sexual orientation,
• language
• nationality,
• race, or
• religion.

The hate-crime concept is based on the notion that a crime is somehow more egregious if it is motivated by bigotry rather than covetousness, revenge, rage, or for the fun of it. Hate crimes laws are actually "thought crimes" laws that violate the right to freedom of speech and of conscience and subject individuals to scrutiny of their beliefs rather than focusing on a person's criminal actions.

Hate crime laws are supposedly intended to deter bias-motivated violence. They enhance the penalties associated with conduct that is already criminal under other laws.

Ironically, hate-crime laws are promoted by some of the most hateful among us! In practice, these hate-crime laws seem to protect the above listed protected classes from prosecution under hate-crime laws because they seem to be presumed to be free of hate.

What these laws really do is provide special protections and rights for the above specific categories of people, violating the Constitution's (Fourteenth Amendment) concept of equal protection of the law.

I am deeply concerned by the hostile effect of hate-crime laws on Christians in particular. For example, these laws establish the legal framework to persecute and prosecute those who refuse, for moral and religious reasons, to agree or teach their children that homosexuality, transgender, cross-dressing etc. is normal and desirable.

Evidence of a person's beliefs will be used against any individual who is even suspected of committing a crime. Even Rep. Arthur Davis, who supported a hate-crime bill in 2007, admitted that under this law a minister could be charged with the crime of incitement to violence and punished with a fine or prison if the minister preached that homosexuality is a serious sin and a person in the congregation left church and committed a crime against a homosexual.

The growing cry for "diversity" is simply a demand for acceptance of what many believe to be deviant behavior. The "diversity" movement closely parallels the call for hate-crime legislation. Hate-crime laws intimidate people with certain moral views into forced acceptance of what they believe to be deviant, immoral lifestyles by criminalizing those who reject such immoral behavior.

I believe that everyone, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, nationality, race, religion, etc., should be given the same respect and dignity due to a son or daughter of God. Yet, I oppose governments mandating that respect and dignity. I condemn all criminal behavior regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, nationality, race, religion, etc. In the words of the leadership of my church:
God's universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgement of our shared human dignity. We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another.
To presume that a crime is more serious simply because some prosecutor, accuser, or victim believes the perpetrator is a bigot trivializes crimes (and their victims) committed by non-bigots. I therefore oppose any so-called hate-crimes legislation.

There is no authority in the Constitution for Congress and the President to pass "hate-crimes" legislation. The Tenth Amendment clearly places that authority in the States. State legislators and governors must oppose any efforts to pass "hate-crimes" legislation.

1 comment:

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