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Attention To Hate Laws, At Last
By Harmony Grant
In the past month, unprecedented attention has been given to hate crime laws-it's about time! Conservatives and, surprisingly, some liberals have railed against hate laws in general and the "Pedophile Protection Act" in particular. They're a wee bit late-the bill already passed the House-but the breaking of this epically under-reported story is worth a roll call.
Four of the eight members of the US Civil Rights Commission have publicly urged Congress <http://www.marylandthursdaymeeting.com/Archives/
SpecialWebDocuments2009/Civil_Rights_Comm._Ltr-1.pdf>in an open letter not to pass the hate crimes bill. Their letter makes the well-known complaint about "the broad federalization of crime as a menace to civil liberties." The commissioners also point out a less-known threat: This bill violates "double jeopardy" protections (which say a person can't be tried twice for the same crime). The hate bill allows "federal authorities to re-prosecute a broad category of defendants who have already been acquitted by state juries-as in the Rodney King and Crown Heights cases more than a decade ago." The retroactive nature of this bill is certainly a scary implication.
Jewish civil liberties defender Nat Hentoff also brought up double jeopardy <http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10188
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10188>in an article against hate crime laws for the Cato Institute. He explained in <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF2bBsKCBhA>this 6-minute Cato video that this "dreadful legislation" is "really dangerous stuff" that violates the Constitution's First Amendment (free speech), Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection of all), and double jeopardy.
Hentoff says he has covered hate crime laws for about twelve years and that they should truly be described as "thought crime" laws. "People can get more time in prison for what somebody said they said that might be taken as evidence," Hentoff explains, also describing how a person's past statements or consumption of certain books or newspapers will be used as evidence against them-bringing their thought lives into court. "We are on the edge again of having a thought crimes bill turned into law which will now go to the Supreme Court I hope, and if I can say this, I pray that the First Amendment will be restored."
One of the most surprising critics of S. 909, the Senate version of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, is homosexual political commentator Andrew Sullivan. Ranked by Forbes as one of "25 Most Influential Liberals in Media," Sullivan was described as viewing "virtually everything through a "gay" prism." Nevertheless, Sullivan <http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/intent-vs-motivation.html>came out in The Atlantic to oppose the hate crimes bill. He proclaims it's absolutely unnecessary for criminal justice and is a "money-making tool" for homosexual activists.
Others say worse. A <http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/30/thought-crimes/>hearty Washington Times editorial says plainly that hate laws "punish people for what they think." House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, told their editors the hate crimes bill makes him "want to throw up." The Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/
articles/2009/05/17/are_hate_crimes_any_worse_than_others/>also ran a column against hate crime laws. Economist and prominent columnist <http://www.vdare.com/roberts/090508_hate_crime.htm>Paul Craig Roberts wrote incisively about how this legislation will be expanded to shatter freedom of speech. He says, "An eventual likely outcome will be that speaking against members of specially protected classes will itself become a violent act of inciting violence." Townhall.com and Human Events published a sage column about hate crime laws by David Limbaugh. He is the author of Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War against Christianity. Limbaugh <http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31636>writes so truly, "Far too many people, including certain well-meaning Christians laboring under the belief that Christians must eschew politics, are failing to stand up to this intimidation. This failure could eventually lead to the unintended consequence of their loss of the very freedom to evangelize." Actor and conservative activist <http://www.creators.com/opinion/chuck-norris/outlawing-opinion.html>Chuck Norris also wrote about the hate laws' dangers.
There is the negative press as well, which demonstrates how loud this protest has become. Politifact.com-a Pulitzer Prize-winning site of the St. Petersburg Times-drew attention to the "Pedophile Protection Act" by <http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/may/14/
steve-king/rep-steve-king-claims-federal-hate-crime-law-would/>calling that characterization a "Pants on Fire" lie. Crooks and Liars <http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/hannity-lies-about-hate-crimes-bill>also tried to call out Sean Hannity for his opposition to the bill, calling him (what else?) a liar for repeating that the bill would protect pedophiles. Hannity isn't the only one. Many public figures have shared this truth-that hate laws protect deviants while exposing Christians to prosecution for speech.
In <http://www.citizenlink.org/CLtopstories/A000009958.cfm>a sober video message, Dr. James Dobson warns, "I'm convinced that if God's people do not seek His blessing and mercy, the Church will be tested severely, as if by fire, over the coming weeks and years." He then describes the hate crimes bill and its non-protections of Christians. He even fleetingly mentioned the Anti-Defamation League and "various Jewish groups" who welcomed denial of Rep. Steve King's amendment to exclude pedophiles!
How many people have the courage to actually detail the ADL's role as creator of this evil legislation? Very few. Evolutionary psychologist <http://vdare.com/macdonald/090511_hate_crimes_prevention_bill.htm>Prof. Kevin MacDonald was one. And, of course, the ADL itself.
On May 13, ADL joined the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and others to demand that the federal government interfere in the prosecution of a 2008 murder of an immigrant. At their press conference, ADL also urged passage of S. 909. While conservatives shipped boxes of identical form letters to Washington to protest the bill, ADL and others showed up in person to demand its passage.
Opponents to the hate bill may feel swamped and over-taxed by various assaults on liberty and conservative values flooding from the Democrat majority. But they should be assured: No other issue is as pressing. Without freedom of speech, we can't fight any other battles.
It's a good thing the hate bill story has broken out. But we also need far more decisive calls to action. If you love freedom, then pick up your phone and call the Senate.
Call all Senators, 1-877-851-6437 toll free and 1-202-225-3121, available on the action page of <http://www.truthtellers.org>www.truthtellers.org. Especially call the <http://www.truthtellers.org/actionplan.html>19 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Give this message: "Please don't vote for the pedophile-protecting hate bill S. 909. If the Senator does, my friends and I will never forgive or forget!"
Also, encourage staffers to watch the alarming 9-minute video on the home page of <http://www.truthtellers.org/>www.truthtellers.org, "Stop the Pedophile-Protecting Hate Bill!"
Harmony Grant is a writer for National Prayer Network. To greater understand the illogic behind hate laws, read her article "<http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/11reasons.html>Top Eleven Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws."
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