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Hate Crime and Christianity

November 18, 2009

I oppose hate crime legislation. I believe that the crime itself should be punished, not the motivation. Criminals who severely beat people in an act of robbery deserve no less punishment than criminals who severely beat people for their skin color or sexual preference or whatever.

The federal hate crime legislation has ignited a fire in the Christian community. They propagate the meme that pastors will no longer be allowed to preach the biblical injunction against homosexuality. To do so, they fear, will lead to their arrest and prosecution under the federal hate crime legislation.

Take a look at what they have to say:

What I do not understand is how hate crime legislation, which requires a crime against a person to take place before it is applicable, can be seen as a threat to their absolutely guaranteed right to say whatever they want to say about gays. The First Amendment is my favorite, and I would defend the most bigoted homophobe’s right to denounce gays for whatever reason. So would the ACLU.

In short, I think the law sucks, but not for the reason these people say it sucks. Not even close.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. JoJo permalink
    November 18, 2009 11:57 pm

    good points.

    but the “crime itself” does often having intent or motivation or socio-political context built into its structure, and so is not always identifiable as ‘behavior’ in contrast to these.

    of course, premeditated murder with a hammer is different than reckless vehicular homicide, even though both involve death by mass times acceleration. and if one were blindfolded and hitting a pinata that unbeknownst to one was a person, not a candy filled paper mache lump, I would hope the judge would be lenient (though he might wonder whose party invitations one is accepting.) and of course shooting someone with intent to kill on a battlefield differs from doing so on a ballfield.

    whether ‘hate crime’ is another kind of crime is of course another question. i would say that any violent crime should be punished as severely as hate crime ostensibly is, rather than hate crimes being punished as leniently as other violent crimes are.

    but then again, i advocate cruel and unusual punishment for even minor traffic infractions.

  2. Korbie permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:50 am

    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can mentally rape another.

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