Religious Bigots Fearmonger Hate Crimes Legislation

Posted: Friday, October 16, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , , ,

It seems that the right and the evangelical right have opted-out of the debate process. Instead they have adopted the catch phrase made famous by First Lady Nancy Regan's Drug Free America campaign and it's "Just Say No!" mantra. Doesn't matter what kind of drug it is. It's drugs so just say no! - It doesn't matter what kind of legislation it is. It's from the "Democrat" party so just say no!

In the case of "Hate Crime Legislation" religious bigots are well aware that the expansion of hate-crime law is to include violence intended to intimidate lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Yet these alledged people of faith stand with Jesus as they perpetuate their false assertion that this legislation will put the clergy at risk of breaking the law by mearly preaching the bibles interpitation regarding homosexuality.

Did they miss the word "violence" in the legislation? - Of course not... Well.... gee whiz Chico, are you saying that they're lying? - Yes! - Abso-fucking-lutely! - That is what I am saying and you know what? - It's the God's honest truth.

Gay Rights March Washington DC
by Daily Motion

I don't recall a time when I've seen such overt homophobia and biggotry in congress. Rep. Virginia Foxx said that Matthew Shepards Murder was a gay hoax and nothing more then a robbery gone wrong.

Then there was the Representative that asserted that if you pass any legislation for people attracted to members of the same sex, it won't be long before we'd have to accept those that are sexually attracted to animals or to children and even the dead.

They know this legislation won't affect their religious freedom in any way, but the problem is that these charlatans and fearmongers have muddied the conversation to the extent that others -- who are trying to argue in good faith are confused about the nuts and bolts of hate-crimes legislation.

These extensions to current legislation in no why, shape, form, or fashion threaten the livelihood of those who feed upon the fear of the ill-informed. Nor does it threaten the existence of bigotry that stops short of expressing itself through actual, tangible violence. Bigotry in all forms -- racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism -- is still perfectly legal. So too are all the things that cause this bigotry -- inarticulate fear, the insecurity that arises from deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, the recognition that unmerited privilege at others' expense is ultimately unsustainable, etc.

If you're a bigot, you have nothing to fear from such laws. The only extent to which hate-crime protections pertain to "thought" is in the way that all criminal law does, which is to say that motive matters. If you truly believe that the law should make no distinction between accidental manslaughter and premeditated first-degree homicide, because you truly believe that any such distinction constitutes the establishment of "thought crime," then I will accept that you are making this "thought-crime" objection to hate-crime legislation in good faith. But you can't accept that distinction and still argue in good faith that hate crimes are "thought crimes."
Hate-crimes involve explicit and actual violence.

It's not enough that someone makes a fist or shakes a fist -- they have to hit somebody with it. Unless someone gets hit or shot or stabbed or set on fire or has their property destroyed, then there can be no hate crime. No harm, no foul, as we say on the playground. And the First Amendment right to free speech -- like the First Amendment right to free exercise -- has never been interpreted to allow any of us the freedom to hit, shoot, stab or torch anybody else.

If the religious biggots would come out and say that they are opposed to this legislation because it provides protection to a class of people whose lifestyle is a wanton sinful choice, I could at least accect that as an argument in good-faith on their part even if I did not agree with it.

The only place hate-crime laws touch on speech is when that speech explicitly incites violence. That means speech directly linked to a discreet act of violence actually carried out. Speech like, for example, "Pull the trigger! Shoot him!" or the sort of "Go kill them all now" message broadcast by Hutu Radio.

The sort of hate speech regularly practiced by the Rev. Fred Phelps does not rise/sink to the level of such incitement.
The religious right has spent years telling evangelical ministers that they will be prosecuted for hate-crimes for sermons that mention homosexuality.

Those sermons could be as spitefully vitriolic and nasty as the stuff Fred Phelps says without any need to worry about prosecution. Evangelical pastors telling their congregation that it is their sacred duty to go forth and beat to death any homosexuals they encounter would be in legal jeopardy, so if that's you, be warned.


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