Hate Crimes Bill May 3. 2009
There has been a lot of uproar by fundamentalist religious conservatives lately about the congress making strides to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the list of federally protected classes that already includes race, religion, national origin, and color. The two fronts [haven't they ever heard.. never fight a war on two fronts] the two fronts by which they are coming at this bill are saying sexual orientation includes pedophilia, incest, apotemnophilia, telephone scatalogia, toucherism and a whole list of others. The other front is that the bill will prevent religious organizations from being able to speak freely against homosexuals, transgender individuals and whomever else's pants they want to get into on any particular Sunday.
As to the free speech, I wonder if any of them have actually read H.R.1913 and the section that deals with sexual orientation. Here is how the bill stands now as it was passed on April 29, 2009 by the House:
In General- Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
...(a)...(2)...(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerouse weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person--
- (i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
- (ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if--
- (I) death results from the offense; or
- (II) the offense includes kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.
The law clearly defines the limits of what can be considered a hate crime and unless the people who are scared this will limit their free speech are inciting people to rip arms off, beat people up or shoot people because of "religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability", their speech--however discriminatory it may seem--is not a hate crime. So, the Wesboro Baptist Church--aka the Fred Phelps family--can still protest funerals and claim that God hates this or that person or country without fear of committing a hate crime... that is unless they start throwing stones at people they perceive to be gay. I believe the real fear is that the fundamentalists know they are preaching hate from the pulpit and hate leads to violence.
On the pedophilia front--who thought I would ever say that--the argument has been filled with strawmen and delusion more than anything else. Now, follow me in this... let's suppose... just suppose that pedophilia would be considered "protected" as the republicans in congress and neo-conservatives have postulated this bill will produce. The example they have given is that a mother finds out her son/daughter has been raped by someone and the mother "slaps the pedophile with her purse." They say the mother would be prosecuted for a hate crime. There are 2 flaws in this logic. One the mother is not hitting the person because they are a pedophile but rather because the person raped her child. Now, what it would protect if pedophilia were considered protected is a pedophile that has served his/her time and is back out of prison and a random group of people come to his/her house and beat him/her to near death or shoot at the person. The second flaw is more of a legal argument in that the courts have always looked at mitigating circumstances when judging the merits of cases and the example given of a mother slapping the pedophile has huge mitigating weight. You see the mental and hypothetical twists and turns that one needs to do just to even hold up to reason the scenarios being postulated that this bill will produce. They are a fiction created by those that just want to oppose every socially progressive movement by this country without reasoning through. Now, even if this crazy scenario would happen it would not stop the prosecution of pedophiles for their crimes but the way they are spinning the language around this it would lead some people to think they are legalizing incest and pedophilia with this bill. Crazy talk!
What this all turns out to be is my complete and utter astonishment that anyone considering themselves to be following Jesus of Nazareth would try and stop a bill that tries to limit the effects of violence from hate. Are they afraid that love is just not strong enough to conquer hate that they themselves need to use fire to combat fire? Is the gospel message not effective enough that they have to use violence to spread the word? I'd really like to know because I really don't understand.