House Passes Gay Hate Crime Measure, Sends Bill To Senate

sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=31416

The 2010 defense authorization bill, which passed 281-146, has little if anything to do with hate crimes but is being used as a vehicle to pass hate crimes legislation, which was attached to the defense bill…

“Under Section 2 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code today,” Pence said, “an individual may be held criminally liable who aids, abets, counsels, commands or induces or procures in the commission of a federal crime. Therefore, to put a fine point on it, any pastor, preacher, priest, rabbi or imam who may give a sermon out of their moral traditions about sexual practices could presumably under this legislation be found to have aided, abetted or induced in the commission of a federal crime. This will have a chilling effect on religious expression from the pulpits, in our temples, in our mosques and in our churches.”

The bill, Pence said, criminalizes thought.

“Adding hate crimes provisions in this defense bill puts us on a slippery slope of deeming particular groups as more important than others under our system of justice,” he said.

Boehner, speaking at a news conference, called the attachment of hate crimes to the defense bill “an abuse of the legislative process”

You’re right in your concern.

Gays should be subjected to ridicule, scorn, discrimination, and physical attacks.

That will encourage them to change, right?

It’s my understanding that in the CCC, it is acknowledged that it is not one’s choice to be gay and not a sin, whereas acting on someone’s homosexual desires is considered a sin. So what is wrong with including crimes against gays for the sole reason that they are gay as hate crimes? Even if homosexuality is a sin (I disagree, but that’s another debate in itself), no one should be violently attacked (or verbally for that matter) for their sexual orientation (I believe it goes on in the CCC to say that these people need to be treated with love and respect… which is not to say you have to accept the behavior, but how you treat them as another human being)… If you believe it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, why should this be an accepted manner of dealing with people who are gay?

http://zaynar.demon.co.uk/arciebox/images/strawman.jpg

– Mark L. Chance.

The law will probably have the desired effect of putting a damper on speech, particularly speech which condemns immoral actions. Everyone will be afraid to speak. Pastors will be afraid to speak truth to congregations.

Jesus had strong and angry words directed at yes–real people–some of the pharisees whom he called a “brood of vipers” and “whitened sepulchers” containing rot inside. I’m sure their feelings were hurt. Today, I don’t doubt that Jesus would be charged with hate speech.

(And probably Patrick Henry would have been charged with hate speech for expressing angry words at a tea party.)

Of course, no one should be inciting violence against a person because they are perceived to be “gay” ( or black, female, a member of a religious group ect ). But it’s pretty clear that many of these laws being passed are more about trying to force the idea of “gayness” as normal and to silence religion in the public square and even in our parish’s than anything else.

Eh?

The measure has to do with the motivation behind acts of violence, not with speech. Pastors aren’t affected by the hate crimes provision.

Yet.

 We have already had the hate crimes law for religion, only a choice BTW, sex and race.  If you listen to AFR for any amount of time you are going to hear heartless attacks against those demonic Moslems and just how plain evil they are. Just look at the attacks against the moslems for praying in DC, some supported the idea that they should not even have the right to gather.  Then take into account Moslem organizations have often used the legal system to protect their religion and silence opposition, and still I have not heard of a lawsuit.  The KKK also still operates on hating black people and have not been sileced with the exsisting hate crime laws.  So how do you back up your statement given that we have had these law for twenty or more years? 

(If you say well in Canada, here is a quick lesson that most americans do not know, they do not have the same constitution or rights.)

It is a long, long stretch to assert that this will somehow limit the free speech rights of religious people to condemn homosexuality, homosexuals, or anything else. There is no “this just hasn’t happened yet.” Such a law would be so clearly unconstitutional as to be absurd. As crazy as some of the U.S. Supreme Court members are, none are so stupid as to approve of such a blatantly content-based law. The well-established concept of “prior restraint” should preclude any further discussion of free speech implications of this law. Until the Dems (or more likely, the Republicans) suggest a constitutional amendment curbing free speech (the Dems would seek it against hate speech, the Republicans would seek it against war protests), at least rest happy that we can say anything we want about homosexuality.

Hating or attacking people is wrong because they are people. Whether they are gay, straight, black, white, male, female, whatever, does not matter. What matters is that they are people, and committing crimes against other people is wrong.

Crimes of love, anyone? :rolleyes:

Quite often prosecutors can seek harsher penalties for crimes which are deemed to be especially heinous. I have no problem with that. But the whole area of “hate speech” legislation comes to close to regulating free speech, no matter the group targeted. If a criminal assaults a person just because he is Catholic, or Muslim, or gay, or black, or white, it is still the assault that is the crime.

No, pastors are not affected, yet. But any criminal can claim that they were motivated to attack because they heard a sermon against gays, or Catholics, or Muslims. If I were a pastor, I would be very wary of speaking on certain subjects with such laws in existence.

Quite often prosecutors can seek harsher penalties for crimes which are deemed to be especially heinous. I have no problem with that. But the whole area of “hate speech” legislation comes to close to regulating free speech, no matter the group targeted. If a criminal assaults a person just because he is Catholic, or Muslim, or gay, or black, or white, it is still the assault that is the crime.

No, pastors are not affected, yet. But any criminal can claim that they were motivated to attack because they heard a sermon against gays, or Catholics, or Muslims. If I were a pastor, I would be very wary of speaking on certain subjects with such laws in existence.

Fortunately, one’s feelings of being weary and action risk under the law are very different. This is not the first time that there has been a question whether free speech protects speech which may have incited a crime. This debate has been around for decades, and the most recent rule was put forth in 1969, under which the only speech which is not protected is speech “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” In other words, to be guilty under this law, someone must both intend to incite or produce imminent lawless action, and be likely to succeed in this intent. Examples of this include saying that someone should be lynched. Saying that homosexuality is wrong is very, very far from prohibited speech under this test. Until an entirely new Supreme Court changes this–as unlikely as the US passing a constitutional amendment to mandate Catholicism–the speech you are concerned about will be protected. Its simply that clear, and to fear otherwise utterly misstates the law and draws our attention away from real threats.

Under the definition you gave, even Fred Phelps and his group, who really do engage in hate speech, would have nothing to fear from the law, as they do not advocate or incite to violence. And he would not likely be inhibited. However, many ordinary people, pastors, and others, who are not well versed in the nuances of the law and are uninclined to consult with lawyers before speaking, may well be inhibited.

Because a crime of hate is intended to have more than just one victim. It inspires terror in the population that the assaulted/murdered person belonged to. If a mugger killed someone in a robbery, we all might be a little scared if we were near it, but it doesn’t have a specific target.

However, if someone gruesomely kills someone and is defiant that the victim deserved it because of his or her religion/lifestyle/race/creed etc, it becomes something more than a single crime. These laws exist and cover Catholics right now, and yes people do get prosecuted and sentenced for religious crimes against Catholics.

I don’t think its a good policy to avoid making worthwhile laws because they would make people who don’t understand the law worry they might violate it. Then again, I’m not AT ALL saying this is a worthwhile law, but merely saying that this is not a good reason to oppose a law. Our society must assume everyone knows the law–indeed, the law itself routinely, and necessarily, makes this assumption. (Plus, it would be among the callings of Catholic attorneys to correct misunderstandings in this area.)

In fact, if your concern (and the one of the website in the OP) was valid, it would have been just as valid under this hate crime legislation as our normal laws prohibiting all manners of violence and harm. No one currently worries that their speeches against homosexuality would cause them criminal liability if one of their listeners went out and killed a homosexual. Hate crime legislation does not make anything a crime that did not used to be, but merely enhances the sentences of existing crimes (as I understand it, I’ve never looked into it).

A better question is, is hate crime legislation a good or bad thing (its supposed chilling effect on free speech aside)? To this, I have no opinion at all, and would love to hear your thoughts.

There is good reason for hate crime legislation; especially as it applies to crimes against homosexuals. The reason being the so-called “gay panic” defense. Essentially, the defense argues that the perp went temporarily insane upon learning of the victim’s sexuality and therefore should not be held accountable for murder and suggests that the victim brought their death upon him/herself. In fact, just a few months ago, a guy by the name of Joseph Biedermann was acquitted of murder because of the “gay panic defense”. He stabbed his victim 58 times after he allegedly made a sexual advance. Doesn’t always get the perp acquitted but, in many instances in which it is used, it’s gets the murderer a reduced sentence.

Hate crime enhancement would not affect such a “defense” at all. As noted in a U.C. Davis Law Review article, the so-called gay panic defense is used “to bolster claims of insanity, diminished capacity, provocation, and self-defense.” These factors all go to the culpability of the person, not the gravity of the crime. Hate crime legislation only goes to increase the gravity of the crime, if convicted. One could potentially pass a law outlawing such a defense, though its not clear that would not violate due process. For a good discussion on the defense, check out the article at: lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/42-2_Lee.pdf

Legislation of even your emotions. Just opening more doors for government control of all things.

What if you say something against the gay for other reasons? Guess what - anything you say that the gay declares offensive will make you a federal criminal. This is already happening, just in lower legal realms and with any minority (non-white male), not just gays.

The law only covers physical violence.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.