Hate Crime Legislation

I’ve noticed that when the issue of hate crime legislation comes up, the religious right goes batshit insane. In a way I sympathise with them; I’m not overly fond of such laws myself, but I see them as more of a necessary evil than anything else. Some people, however, see them as a lot more than that:

So, besides the double-standard, why should you be fuming and taking action before you even finish reading this? Because these two bills that are going to be sent to President Barack Obama’s desk will silence Christians from speaking against homosexuality or teaching our children that it is wrong. You would quite literally be committing a Federal crime and convicted. If these bills get passed, not only will Christians be silenced — but, the government is scheduled to swoop in with $10 Million dollars to drive a stake right into the heart of Christians by making sure your children hear and are taught everything against Judeo-Christian beliefs.
The two bills that I am talking about are the David Ray Richardson Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 262) coupled with the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 256). These two bills were just introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee and are expected to be signed by President Barack Obama who has supported this legislation at the state level in the past.  These two bills CANNOT get to President Obama’s desk! No way Christians! You must act now if you want to continue practicing your Christian faith and teaching it to your children. Sign the petition against Hate Crimes Legislation! (Source)

And while they’re at it, those damn public schools might teach your children that racism and misogyny are bad! Oh noes!

This kind of hyperbole is all too common when hate crime legislation is being discussed, to the point that a disturbing number of people seem to think that these laws explicitly make Christianity illegal. The page I quoted from suggests not only that the laws explicitly target Christians (they do not), but that they’re aimed at criminalising certain opinions. Needless to say, this is not the case. (And before someone jumps down my throat, I’m aware that there have been unfortunate incidents in which pastors have been sued for preaching the Bible. Claiming that homosexuality is morally wrong may be extremely stupid, but people should not be punished for being ignorant.)

If you also oppose laws like this, let me ask you something: do you think that it should be legal to fire someone from their job because they’re gay? Do you think it should be acceptable to intimidate, injure or kill someone because of their sexuality? And do you, personally, feel threatened by a law which prevents you from doing those things?

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Hate Crime Legislation”


  1. 1 Aro January 23, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Yeah well…

    1. How any legislation is going to cross any president’s desk that will prevent me from teaching my children anything I please is beyond me. I mean, there’s actually still KKK chapters around in the US.

    2. This could only be outrageous if all the power in educating our children came from public schools. Hate crimes should be prevented. Having an opinion is not a crime.

    3.

    If you also oppose laws like this, let me ask you something: do you think that it should be legal to fire someone from their job because they’re gay? Do you think it should be acceptable to intimidate, injure or kill someone because of their sexuality? And do you, personally, feel threatened by a law which prevents you from doing those things?

    Not only a slippery slope fallacy, but shows you are already prejudiced against Christians.

  2. 2 augustine January 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Aro,

    You’ll have to show me where the slippery slope argument was, because I don’t see it. My point is that a huge amount of conservative Christians are opposed to laws which specifically target unfair employment decisions and physical violence. Either they want the right to fire homosexuals or beat them up (which is thankfully an absurd suggestion) or they’re fighting an imaginary battle. As you pointed out, these laws do not prevent you from teaching your kids whatever you want, they prevent actions that the great majority of people would agree should already count as criminal offenses – including the same people who are fighting hate crime legislation!

  3. 3 James Hipps January 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I recently met with Congressman Barney Frank who stated how the Religious Right (which is neither in this case) has been spreading lies about the Hate-Crimes bills and how it will revoke the first amendment. Senator Frank stated:
    “If the hate crimes bills pass tomorrow, it will still be legal for you to call me a fag, I just wouldn’t suggest it if you’re in the banking industry.”

    It is true! Hate crime bills do NOT prevent freedom of speech, they punish those who act in violence.

  4. 4 Zack January 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    It’s all part of their need to feel persecuted. If they didn’t feel that their religion is in danger, why get up in the morning?

  5. 5 Aro January 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    augustine – my point is that whoever wrote this was obvious operating under the assumption that these laws were directly targetted at not only hate crimes, but even mere opinion, which was obviously wrong. This person is definitely fighting an imaginary battle, and it’s not a fair representation of Conservative Christianity.

    At the end of your post you were asking if Christians wanted to have the right to beat up and fire Homosexuals, and I was under the impression you were serious. It IS an absurd suggestion indeed.

  6. 6 augustine January 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Which is why I suggested it. A very large portion of conservative Christians who I’ve come across are dead-set against laws like this – look at AFA or ‘Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’. Groups like that don’t represent all or even most conservative Christians, but they do boast of very large members who, I think it’s fair to say, would call themselves both ‘conservative’ and ‘Christian’. They don’t want to beat up homosexuals, they don’t want to harrass homosexuals, so why do they have a problem with these laws?

  7. 7 Aro January 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Maybe it’s because they read more into it than it explicitely states. Wouldn’t be the first time we gave legislators an inch and they ran a yard with it.

    Other than that, *shrug*


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: