Hate Crimes and Political Correctness
- 3 May 2009 by Author 0 Comments
Hate Crimes and Political Correctness
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 05/03/2009
The inimitable Mark Twain once quipped, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the congress is in session.” In few areas is that more self-evident than in the attempt to criminalize what is in one’s heart. For some in congress, it’s not enough to put someone in jail for harming another, but if they have “hate” or a prejudice in their heart they should be incarcerated even longer and prosecuted by federal prosecutors. Not only does this tread dangerously on the ground of law enforcement essentially serving as “thought police” but it is also unconstitutional.
This week the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 was passed by the House and will undoubtedly be signed by the President. It identifies crimes which may have been perpetrated due to potential prejudice as federal criminal offenses, with the possibility of life imprisonment. According to the legislation, crimes motivated by the “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person” will be prosecuted at the federal level.
Legally, legislation like this is unnecessary. Under the 14th Amendment all citizens are treated equally under the law. If one is assaulted, it legally makes no difference whether the perpetrator was motivated by animosity, prejudice, or abject hatred. And ideally it makes no difference what color, sex, or sexual orientation the victim is. Most states already have hate crime legislation on the books, but by federalizing it, it takes us dangerously one step closer to “hate speech” regulation like Canada has.
Since this legislation is not legally necessary, the most likely motive behind it is the enforcement of political correctness or PC. PC is perhaps the greatest culprit leading to a degeneration of our culture and diluting our freedom of speech. Initially intended to make us more sensitive to issues of ethnicity and sexual orientation, which in and of itself is not only desirable but necessary in a society such as ours, it has advanced to an illogical extreme and elevates those protected by PC protocol to a level disallowed for the population at large. Such extremism can lead to the restriction of pastors from preaching publicly against homosexuality using verses from the Bible, as has occurred in Canada. It is one more example of the fact that those claiming to be “tolerant” are the most intolerant of all.
Judiciary Committee member Steve King (R-Iowa) confirms my fears. He said last week, “Their agenda is to shut down preaching of faith from the pulpit. Their agenda is to force public approval of the homosexual agenda. And destroying marriage nationally is the follow-up piece of this.”
King affords evidence of the proponents’ motives by the fact that he introduced an amendment that would have barred pedophiles from special protection under the Act. Majority members of the House Judiciary committee rejected his amendment. King continues, “I just think that tells you that this breaks down the logical approach to law. If we move away from punishing overt acts to punishing thoughts — which is what this legislation does — heaven help us [because] we’ve crossed a line from which it will be awfully hard to ever get back again.”
The Family Research Council has said of the legislation, that “…it would be used against individuals and churches who speak out on issues such as defending marriage and religious liberty.” That would mean that in any future efforts to legalize same-sex marriage as California experienced last year, any individual or organization, including churches, supporting traditional marriage, could be prosecuted under broad interpretation of the statute, even though verbiage in the bill ostensibly disallows it.
Anyone with a semblance of intellectual integrity should see this as one more step in enforcing PC. It’s just one more step toward stifling dissent and curtailing freedom of speech. Radical leftists already presuppose that the reason many of us support traditional marriage is because of “hate,” even though our reasons have nothing to do with it. This type of legislation affords statutory cover for officials to quell dissent and silence traditionalists. With everything else that is being done to “transform” America, nothing strikes so fatally at the heart of America’s freedoms then enforced political correctness does.
It is increasingly obvious that officials in the federal government have no idea what the Constitution says. And as a dear friend of mine, a high school history teacher reminded me recently, Niemoller said of the Nazis, “First they came for the Communists…” Then they came for everyone else. It appears the tactic is now being employed right here in America.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.