Friday, October 30, 2009

"And everyone did what was right in his own eyes."


From Al Mohler:

As Sen. John McCain recently remarked, "elections have consequences." President Barack Obama signed the "Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act" into law on Thursday, fulfilling a campaign promise and handing the gay rights community one of its most sought-after achievements.

The bill, named for two men killed in vicious attacks, extends the definition of federal hates crimes to include attacks "based on a person's race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or mental or physical disability." Referring to Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, the President said:

It's hard for any of us to imagine the mind-set of someone who would kidnap a young man and beat him to within an inch of his life, tie him to a fence, and leave him for dead. It's hard for any of us to imagine the twisted mentality of those who'd offer a neighbor a ride home, attack him, chain him to the back of a truck, and drag him for miles until he finally died.

Those words are eloquent in exposing the deep evil that resides in far too many human hearts. If anything, the President spoke too cautiously. It is not only "hard" for any morally sane person to imagine the mentality behind these attacks, it is and must be impossible. Such crimes of violence against any human being should and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But defining these crimes as "hate crimes" shifts the legal issue from the criminally violent act itself to the thoughts and intentions of the criminal. This is a dangerous and unnecessary step, for the very idea of a hate crime requires the government to play the role of psychiatrist and also requires a list of those who deserve special protections. How can government stop the extension of that list? If criminalizing hate is legally justifiable, should not every citizen be granted these same protections?

Even more ominously, the logic of hate crime laws inevitably leads to the idea of laws against what is defined as "hate speech." It is not fair to suggest that this specific legislation includes a hate speech provision. It is fair, however, to sound the alarm that very important rights involving the freedom to speak openly against homosexuality, for example, are now at far greater risk.
Read the entire article HERE.

7 comments:

Mike said...

I find it disingenuous for christians to speak out about this legislation now just because homosexuals were added to the list...especilly on the argument that it could possibly lead to limits of free speech.

Why was there no outcry by christians when the definition included protection for religion? Why didn't we stand up and say "hey what about those people who really don't like religious folks? couldn't this lead to a limit their free speech?"

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

I have no idea what you're talking about. I have heard a long line of evangelicals (myself included) that have never liked hate crimes legislation. In fact, I cannot think of one evangelical that has supported that legislation. Conservatives have roundly condemned the entire idea from the start.

Todd Pruitt said...

Conservatives have been against hate crimes laws because it legislates against thoughts and motives. So it's not as severe a crime if someone kills you because they are simply evil than if they kill you because they don't like your race. It's ridiculous.

And yes there is a very dangerous place this could go in regard to issues like homosexuality and Islam. We are already seeing in parts of Europe and Canada (the nations that the left want us to model ourselves after) that it is a violation of the law to say something against homosexuality or Islam deemed by the state as derogatory.

The U.S. will almost certainly be there in our life time.

Harley A. said...

Interesting to note that Mr. Shepard's murderers were convicted and sentenced based on laws that were already on the books.

But facts and logic just get in the way...

Todd Pruitt said...

Exactly. Those guys as well as James Byrd's murderers had the proverbial book thrown at them as they well deserved. Not sure how you can get steeper punishments than life in prison and execution. And, as you point out, those sentences were passed without hate crime's legislation.

The President and members of congress know this. And yet they pushed for hate crimes laws. One would almost think they have another agenda. But then I don't want to be cynical.

DreamCamelot said...

As a Christian and a lawyer, I find hate crimes legislation very troubling. Is a murder any more or less repulsive whether motivated by hate over race, religion, weight, wealth, fame, gender, place of birth, location of residence, etc., etc. If we are to say that some motives are worse than others, we also say that some motives aren't as bad. Do we really want to send that message?

Harley A. said...

Exactly - the door is wide open for the thought police now.