Thursday, 14 May 2009

Today's Battles

A (US) Hate Crime edition:

From Christian Post:
Hate Crimes Law Threatens Religious Speech
Passing this Hate Crimes legislation is a top priority for the gay lobby which has been trying for nearly 20 years to designate homosexuals as a special category of citizens deserving of special protections under the law. Specifically, H.R. 1913 would provide for enhanced penalties for people committing crimes against gay, lesbian and transgendered people because of their perceived bias or "hatred" against these people. Violent crime is already illegal. Current federal hate crimes legislation covers race, ethnicity, and national origin...immutable characteristics. H.R.1913 adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list. Under this law, a victim who practices gay sex or who doesn't accept the gender he or she was born with, is deemed more worthy of protection than your grandmother or your little girl....
My replies:
"Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution."

You omitted to mention those words from HR1913
"Current federal hate crimes legislation covers race, ethnicity, and national origin...immutable characteristics."
And Religion too of course. But as that gives the lie to your claim about it only covering "immutable characteristics" it was essential that you elided it.

In the days of the Internet, when anybody can look this kind of thing up, hysterical nonsense and the 'Big Lie' doesn't work as well as it used to. You just make true Christians look bad.
And...
ukelelemike - please read the bill. It only overs acts of violence causing harm to person or property.

I notice no-one saying that the existing laws prohibit "hate speech" vs Blacks for example. Or Christians for that matter. It's only when Gays are to be given the exact same protections from violence, not mere speech, that some object. And that implies that physical violence against gays is part of their religion. Well, not in my view of Christianity it isn't.

I'm not gay, or lesbian. But I am Intersexed, one of the minority described in Matthew 19:12, first line. People like me have a rate of being murdered 17 times the national average, and a murder clean-up rate of 30%, vs the 70% that is normal. Local Law enforcement personnel have been implicated in many of the attacks. This law will allow the FBI to start counting our deaths, and to step in when local authorities are reticent to take action. Much like the existing laws prevented Redneck Sheriffs in the Deep South from ignoring the murders of n*ggers.

On to the Metro West News:
Hentoff: 'Thought crimes' bill advances
As Denver criminal defense lawyer Robert J Corry Jr. asked (Denver Post April 28): "Isn't every criminal act that harms another person a 'hate crime'? Then, regarding a Colorado "hate crime" law, one of 45 such state laws, Corry wrote: "When a Colorado gang engaged in an initiation ritual of specifically seeking out a "white woman" to rape, the Boulder prosecutor declined to pursue 'hate crime' charges." She was not enough of one of its protected classes.

Corey adds that the state "hate crime" law - like the newly expanded House of Representatives federal bill - "does not apply equally" (as the 14th Amendment requires), essentially instead "criminalizing only politically incorrect thoughts directed against politically incorrect victim categories."
...
They should also remember that the Fifth Amendment makes clear: "nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy." But the House "hate crime" bill allows defendants found innocent of that offense in a state court to be tried again in federal court because of insufficiently diligent prosecutors; or, as Attorney General Eric Holder says, when state prosecutors claim lack of evidence. It must be tried again in federal court!

And my replies:
There's so many misunderstandings or downright falsehoods in this article, it's difficult to know where to begin.

First, such laws have been on the books for decades. They deal with 'hate crimes' based on race, creedor color, basically. So killing a WASP is not a hate crime - unless he's killed *because* he's a WASP and no other reason. That's a threefer - race (white), ethnic background (anglo-sexon) and religion (protestant), all three existing 'protected classes'.
So what does this bill do? It adds gays and trans people to the list. That's pretty much it.

The existing laws were needed, as too many Redneck Sheriffs and DAs would never, under any circumstances, prosecute a white man for murdering a black one, or a Baptist for killing a Jew.
These days, the ones most likely to be victimised and their assaults left unprosecuted are gays or trans people. Trans people have a murder rate 17 times the national average, and a homicide clearup rate of 30% vs 70% for other groups.

As regards 'Double Jeopardy' - if the suspect is found 'innocent in a court of law', no they can't be prosecuted. But if the DA says that there's 'not enough evidence', even with a confession, a videotape of the crime, the victim's blood and the suspects prints on the murder weapon ... as has happened... then the Feds can step in.

In the Colorado gang case, that's a typical example of what this law would prosecute. Race is one of the protected classes: if a woman was raped *because* she was white, and a local prosecutor declined to prosecute, then the Feds could step in.

They can't at the moment, because the current law only deals with hate crimes committed during voting, crossing a state line, delivering mail, etc.

The 1969 federal hate-crime law (18 U.S.C. 245(b)(2)) extends only to crimes motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin, and only while the victim is engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school.

Constitutional lawyers differ on whether the proposed law is constitutional, as it extends the existing protections to other activities which the Federal Government may not have the constitutional authority to deal with. (For the record, and I am not a constitutional lawyer, I think the proposed law *is* unconstitutional because of this. I just don't like falsehoods and misinformation being propagated, mainly by people who see violence against gays as being a desirable, rather than an undesirable, thing in our society).

As for First Amendment issues, the proposed law contains the following words: 'Nothing in this Act... shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.'

That's pretty darned clear. The people who say that this muzzles free speech don't mention this bit, as it totally undermines their case. Worse, it shows them not just to be in favour of spoken bigotry, because that's still allowed, no, they want to have the continuing right to commit violent acts against minorities they disapprove of, and not be prosecuted because the local DAs agree with them. Or, as is often the case, lack the funds to prosecute. This bill is called the 'Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act' for a reason, it provides resources in such cases so small towns don;t bankrupt themselves with capital cases.


Onto a blog by a Right Wing Death Beast Software Engineer, who reminds me far too much of myself. I rather like the guy, actually, and certainly respect him, even if we may have a teeny weeny disagreement on this issue. Here's what was said on the Big Flush Toilet blog:
The Deviant Protection Bill H.R. 1913 - Abomination of Evil.
This article is about the so called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.” - otherwise known as the H.R. 1913, and sometimes called the “Pedophile Protection Act”. This bit of filth, from the openly gay congressman Barney Frank and 42 other liberal congress-persons attempts to make it a “crime” and would enact new federal penalties against those whose “victims” were chosen based on an “actual or perceived… sexual orientation, gender identity.”

A bit of a challenge.
One thing - you *do* know that similar laws have been on the books for decades?

But the 1969 federal hate-crime law (18 U.S.C. 245(b)(2)) extends only to crimes motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin, and only while the victim is engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school.

If you really were against such laws on principle, rather than laws that would stop you from assaulting minorities you don’t like and not getting prosecuted because the DA thinks like you, you’ve had 40 years to raise your objections.

Oh yes, and only NAMBLA thinks pedophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation. People who aren’t pedophiles don’t. The proposed bill protects on the grounds of “sexual orientation” - you know, like heterosexuality.

You don’t have to be a genius to draw the obvious conclusions. Anyone who says the bill protects pedophiles either a) hasn’t read it or b) is a supporter of NAMBLA or c) is lying through their teeth.

I really, really doubt that you’re a pedophile, OK? And although I disagree with you strongly on this one, you’re no hypocrite, no liar.

You just care for your kids. As I do for mine. And moderation there is no virtue, and extremism no vice. I think we’re both with Goldwater there.
The author, while expressing his opinion forthrightly, is courteous, respectful, and entirely reasonable in his replies to comments.

Here's one of mine, gently chiding another commenter (ALSO a software engineer...) for her condemnation of him as just another Fundie Faux-Christian and not the real deal he is:
Sara - we’re in the presence of that rare beast, the Christian rather than the ‘Christian’. They do exist, you know.

Also, he’s the variety of Right-Winger that is impressed by logical argument and especially facts. Rare on the right, but almost unknown on the left.

If you want to convince them that he needs to re-visit his opinions, then show him the figures for bias crimes collected by the FBI (which under the Hate Crime Statistics Act 1990 exclude trans people), and the comparable National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs statistics, which *do* include anti-Trans violence.

e.g.

FBI figures 2007 - 5 murders of gays for being gay, 1,460 total.

NCAVP figures 2007 - 5 murders of gays for being gay, 16 murders of trans for being trans, 2,430 total (an increase of 24%over 2006 vs a decrease for all other categories)

FBI 2007 figures for crimes based on the victim’s religion, a protected class: 1,477, of which 1,010 were against Jews. (and no murders in this category).

Show him that according to the NCAVP, there were 215 recorded incidents of police misconduct.

That Law enforcement and police accounted for 8% of the 2550 total offenders against GLBT victims for 2007, the 4th largest offender category.

Bring to his attention the Duanna Johnson case - the video of her being held down and beaten using brass knuckles in an unprovoked attack in a Memphis police station - and her murder weeks later, so she was unable to testify.

Show him that there’s a need for this legislation - so hate crimes against trans people are no longer ignored in the FBI statistics, if no other effect.

Give him the proof - the URLs such as http://www.ncavp.org/common/document_files/Reports/2007HVReportFINAL.pdf and http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2007/table_04.htm so he can verify for himself that you’re not purveying the usual Leftist snake-oil, that the problem is genuine, and not the usual faux-problem beloved of the Moonbats.

Just don’t get into a religious argument - such as the relative merits of C++ and Java, OK?

(Besides which, I’m an Ada programmer from way back, satellites and naval combat systems)

Finally, a correction (at my behest, and after some e-mail correspondence) by another author, this time Robert Morley, at The Trumpet. His column now reads:
Should sexual perverts have more legal protection than you? According to our elected officials, the answer is yes. The House just passed a Senate bill, expanding the definition of federal “hate crime,” last Wednesday. Special rights and benefits for sexual deviants: homosexuals, lesbians, and transsexuals, have now been codified into federal law. But will the new laws actually reduce hate in America?
It used to read:
Should pedophiles have more legal protection than you? According to our elected officials, the answer is yes. The House just passed a Senate bill, expanding the definition of federal “hate crime,” last Wednesday. Special rights and benefits for homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, pedophiles and other sexual deviants have now been codified into federal law. But will the new laws actually reduce hate in America?
We had too many problems with Human Rights bills for Trans people being subject to a very successful smear campaign by some very unprincipled 'Christian' groups, labelling them "Bathroom Bills" that would enable child molesters to have free rein to molest children in restrooms. They were already geared up to use the same tactic on HR1913 - the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, labelling it the "Pedophile Protection Bill". And some of them even believed that that's what it was, if they didn't actually read it.

I merely pointed out the, shall we say, negative consequences to them if the Religious Right insisted that Pedophila was a legitimate "sexual orientation" - since the bill only covers "sexual orientation".

It seems to work. I hope others use the same tactic, pointing out that only a member of NAMBLA - the North American Man Boy Love Association - encourages that particular viewpoint. People might start asking questions - and there are far too many cases on record of Baptist Ministers being convicted of the sexual abuse of children. I won't mention the Catholic priests. Oops, just did.

I still remain somewhat homophobic, despite my best efforts. But this isn't a "Gay Rights" issue, it's a "Human Rights" issue. And even if I was against the bill, deliberate falsehood and hypocrisy offends me. "Offends" being too mild a term by about a million orders of magnitude.

Matthew 23:27:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

While I'm no "Madame Lash", it makes me want to reach not just for a riding-crop, but a cat'o'nine-tails. Not just whips, but scorpions.

I've really got to work on that "forgiveness of one's enemies" bit. Not that I'm Christian, but... that teaching is correct, and I fall so far short of the person I should be.

*SIGH*

As an aside, my religious philosophy can be summed up as follows: I'm an agnostic, with only a tendency to commit Buddhism. I try to follow the example of Guan Yin, and the four Zen vows of the Bodhisattva.

In my own words:

There's too many sins not to commit some - but I'll try not to anyway.

There's too many people to help them all - but I'll try to help them anyway.

There's too many virtues to attain them all - but I'll try to attain them anyway.

Perfection is impossible - But I'll try to perfect everything anyway.

The core of Christian teaching is "Love God: Be Kind". In my philosophy, by doing the second, the first becomes either irrelevant, or an inescapable consequence.

And while a single person is drowning, how can one leave the pool?

I'm also as spiritual as a brick.

12 comments:

thespiralstaircase said...

Rape & domestic violence against women should be in the hate crime class.

Zoe Brain said...

They are - any crimes of violence committed against women because they are women are already covered.

Lloyd Flack said...

Describing anything as a hate crime plays into the hands of your enemies. The true offense is the attempt to terrorize. It should be a separate offense and described as such.

Too many people are immediately opposed the moment you say hate crime. It damages your credibility with many people who would be sympathetic if it was described as an attempt to intimidate.

Battybattybats said...

Someone needs to get clips and pics of the anti-tg folks making these false claims and make a youtube vid with bits of Rollins Band song Liar over the top.

Nica said...

'Rare on the right, but almost unknown on the left.'

Zoe, you know I love you, but I just have to call you out on this one.

OK. Do you have empirical evidence to back this up?

lol

Well, ahem...

Anonymous said...

I have to second Nica's question, Zobie.

Some of us folk "on the left" actually do admit to being wrong on occasion and even like your neo-con posturings when they arise. Regardless of position, what's important seem to me to be a semblance of truth and integrity. If that means acceding to the sense contained in a view "from the right" then accede I shall.

I think that remark may have been a bit of "partisan" politicking, no?

Laserlight said...

I dislike the idea of "hate crimes" because it gives the impression that "murdering a black gay Wiccan woman is really really bad; murdering a WASP man is just a normal murder and we won't get too stressed about it."
If the practical effect is that a higher jurisdiction can prosecute when the locals refuse to, well, that's probably good...but I'm still not thrilled with the idea of unequal protection.
Perhaps a better way to do it would be to redact the name / sex / religion / etc, hand the case to some prosecutors on the other side of the country, and say "would you proscute this?" and see if two out of three say "yes".

Anonymous said...

"Rare on the right, but almost unknown on the left."

I also take issue with this, having known many people on both sides who are open to constructive argument and will learn and "evolve" their opinions.

As for the "Right Wing Death Beast Software Engineer"

I think you approach to people can be wonderful. The way you educate with insulting is admirable. However, I cannot understand your defending and willing to enter intro a conversation with someone who would write:

"So let me clear things up for you, as I want my state of mind to be crystal clear: If you, Mr. Frank, or any other gay, homosexual, transgender, pedophile, sick, twisted types come around my children, I will use my second amendment rights to eliminate the threat against them…is that clear?

Do I have hatred? Yes, I hate the scummy, abomination of gay, homosexual, transgender, pedophile, sick, twisted lifestyles and the threats that they are to innocent people.

...they can get help if they want it, however you come around my home I will use every means possible to get rid of you.

Permanently if necessary."

While this person may have some redeeming qualities (somewhere), they are hidden to me once he threatens death for those who venture too near.

Anonymous said...

Above I meant "educate without insulting" - sorry bout that!

Laserlight said...

Clarification: The second core of Christian teaching is not "Be Kind"; it is "Love Your Neighbor"--a more demanding standard, as I see it. I don't have much problem being kind, but "love" implies a willingness to sacrifice, which I only rarely and incompletely manage.
I could quibble with an assertion idea that following the second great commandment makes the first unnecessary; but I recall "They shall know we are Christians by our love", and Our Lord said "What you have done for the least of these, so have you done for Me."

Zoe Brain said...

Nica - no empirical evidence (and none that would contradict it either), but a lot of anecdotal.

How many still believe the Plastic Turkey story? How many on the Left believe Pelosi about the waterboarding stuff? How many see the rampant corruption of so many opposing congresscritters while ignoring the worse and more blatant corruption of "their own team"?

Too often issues are not about Left or Right so much as Sane vs Insane. Ward Churchill and Rush Limbaugh on one side, the rational of left and right on the other.

Nica said...

*sigh*

In the face of so many serious challenges to the world as we know it all coming to a head at the same time, the old ways of thinking will no longer do. How bad do things have to get before we begin to realize that we all need to put away parochial differences and pull together for the common good? Otherwise, I fear the ship may go down. This was why Obama got elected.