I'm a Pundit Too

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Hate Crimes Legislation Poised To Muzzle Your Pastor

According to the United States Department of Justice, a “Hate Crime” is “the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability. The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, suspicious and fearful.” I have always been one who questions the need for “Hate Crimes” legislation. Before I am called everything from an insensitive bigot to my personal favorite, a reich-wing hate-monger, I am not saying that there is no racism or hate in our country. There are clearly ignorant, hateful people in our world that will commit some very heinous acts in the name of hate. My difficulty with “Hate Crimes” legislation is that it seems redundant. How do you punish the killers of James Bird, who was dragged to his death behind a truck, when two of his killers were executed and the third received life in prison? There are already laws on the books regarding murder, assault, and every other crime that could be considered a “Hate Crime”.

Over the past two and a half years since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid assumed control of Congress, they have tried in vain to pass a new “Hate Crime” bill that would include sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity to the list of protected people. The Democratic leaders attempted to conceal the “Hate Crimes” legislation in a critical Defense spending bill in 2007. They later removed the measure from the Defense bill. Bush had vetoed the bill during his Presidency citing the constitutionality of the proposal. He believed that the existing laws on the books in the individual states were more than adequate and that any measure by the Federal Government would be overstepping their constitutional boundaries. Of course, the current administration believes that our constitution is “fundamentally flawed”.

Conservative groups have longed questioned the reach of such legislation. The main concern is how the law would be prosecuted. Would a pastor be charged with a “hate crime” for preaching in his church that homosexuality is a sin and that the Bible clearly says as much? What other types of speech would be limited next? Would it then be a crime to criticize the President or his policies? Of course the news media is already terrified of criticizing anything that the media anointed messiah says or does. After all, ABC News is turning over all of their prime time airtime on Wednesday to President Obama to pitch his socialist dream of health care to the American people without any opposing viewpoint. Another concern is that the new law will rescind the “Federal activity” clause of the current law. The existing law requires that the offense take place during a “Federal activity” such as at a school, but the new proposal will strip that requirement from the law, thus opening the door for a broad range of interpretations of what constitutes a “hate crime”.

It remains to be seen what the Senate will do when the measure comes up for a vote, but past history has shown that this Congress is at ease with trampling states rights and the constitution. Senator Harry Reid and President Obama need to realize that redundant laws with the aim of making headlines do not solve racial tensions. This law will only serve to try to muzzle free speech rights of Christian organizations with the end goal of either shutting down churches who preach the Bible. I do find it amazing that those who want to limit the free speech and the freedom of religion of Bible believing churches, applauded the racist comments of Obama’s own pastor Jeremiah Wright.

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