Posted by: Pastor | May 17, 2009

Are hate crimes any worse than others?

Are hate crimes any worse than others?

Boston Globe ^ | May 17, 2009 | Jeff Jacoby

LEGISLATION pending before Congress would dramatically expand the federal hate-crimes law, and a number of critics are concerned that the bill goes too far. Perhaps the real problem is that it doesn’t go far enough.

Under current law, crimes motivated by bias against a victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin can be prosecuted by the federal government, so long as the victim had been engaged in a “federally-protected activity” – attending a public school, for example, or being in a place of public accommodation or entertainment. The proposed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the House last month and is pending in the Senate, would significantly broaden the federal government’s reach.

The bill, named for a gay college student beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998, would add four new categories of hate crimes to the federal code: those committed because of someone’s sex, sexual orientation, gender (or transgender) identity, and disability. It would eliminate the prerequisite of a “federally-protected activity” and require instead only the loosest connection to interstate commerce. And the proposed legislation would make it far easier for defendants acquitted in state court to be retried at the federal level – a circumvention of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy that has prompted four members of the US Civil Rights Commission to publicly oppose the bill.

If enacted, the law will almost certainly be challenged in court. The Constitution does not grant the federal government any general police power – prosecuting crime is primarily a state and local responsibility – and it is far from clear that the Supreme Court would go along with a congressional attempt to federalize such a broad swath of criminal law.

(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com …

Are the sociopaths who killed Matthew Shepard examples of the average person bound by this law.  Wouldn’t this law be used as a broad brush to paint all who disagree with a political agenda as equal to murderers?  Why wouldn’t all first degree murders be “hate crimes?”–since, obviously, the murders were not moticvated by love?  Wouldn’t almost every person already find the murder of Matthew Shepard to be reprehensible and worthy of the severest punishment? Is the purpose of this law to prevent a senseless psychopathic, sociopathic act–which is impossible to prevent; or, is this law a ruse to limit the free speech of those who oppose a political agenda–gay rights?  Can I disagree with adultery without being accused of a hate crime against adulterers?  Can I disagree with pedophilia without being condemned with those who might kill a pedophile?  Does the fact that I hate pedophilia mean that I contributed to the murder of the pedophile?

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