Protecting the “Sanctity of Hate”

The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1592, an act to extend hate crimes protection to individuals who are victims of crimes based on the “perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim”.

What is new about this legislation is the extension of protection to individuals based on sexual orientation, or gender identity. What is not new is the response of the White House which is threatening a veto.

It is not enough to deny homosexuals the same rights as others by denying them the right to marriage or even the opportunity to enter into civil unions that the rest of us enjoy. It is also necessary for the Republicans who lead this nation to make sure that they are not receiving the needed protection that Matthew Shepard, the 21 year old gay college student failed to get after being beaten to death after being tied to a fence and left to die. That kind of special protection would be excessive.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council commented

“Criminalizing thoughts as well as actions, and creating special categories of victims is unconstitutional. The actions of a majority of the House today undermine the promise of equal protection under the law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

This legislation creates second-class victims and a legal system of ‘separate and unequal.’ “There has been no proof that violent crimes perpetrated against any of the groups listed in the bill have not been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, yet now Congress is asking the federal government to get
involved in issues that are, and should remain, local concerns.

“By far the most disturbing threat we face by this legislation — is
the threat it poses to free speech and our religious liberties. In some jurisdictions that have adopted similar laws, ‘hate crimes’ have been defined to include not just physical acts of violence but merely verbal ones as well. When ‘thought crimes’ laws are interpreted this way, they pose a serious threat to freedom of speech and religious liberty.

“I strongly encourage people to let their Senators know to vote against this unconstitutional legislation and encourage President Bush to follow through with the White House statement issued today and veto any such measure should it reach his desk.”

And yet this legislation clearly provides for protection of all First Amendment activity that is protected in the Constitution. This is about violent crimes not thought. This is not about religious freedom being impinged upon; this is about individuals suffering from society’s neglect while organized hate groups act against them.

Focus on the Family‘s James Dobson also has jumped in to the discussion:

“We applaud the president’s courage in standing up for the Constitution and the principle of equal protection under the law. The American justice system should never create second-class victims, and it is a first-class act of wisdom and fairness for the president to pledge to veto this unnecessary bill.”

Courage? To exercise his third veto of his term to stand tall on the side of hate against those who seek to end persecution of minorities? Equal protection under the law? Is Dobson prepared to fight for the right of gay couples to get married? Or is that part of the 14th Amendment that he doesn’t like? Remember it was the 14th Amendment that was turned topsy-turvy in the Bush v. Gore decision that resulted in this President being coronated by the Supreme Court in 2000.

And what was the White House response to this Bill? As reported:

“The White House, in a statement warning of a veto, said state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes defined under the bill, and there was “no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.”

It also noted that the bill leaves other classes, such as the elderly, the military and police officers, without similar special status.”

Huh? Are the military and elderly or police officers victims of hate crimes? Do they represent some sort of minority that we haven’t realized before?

This is about the 14th Amendment. This is about the 1st Amendment. This is about all of the Amendments and all of the Articles and every last letter and punctuation mark in the Constitution. We have a sickness in this land. A sickness of hate and intolerance of those who are different than us. Those that worship God in a different fashion, those that have different colors to their face, a different language in which they speak and yes, even have a different approach to sex.

And there are people who wish to hurt other people in this nation. And this Government must act to protect the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness of every American! That is what we have government for and that is why we have a Constitution.

So yes Mr. President. You need to sign this Bill. You need to stand up and tell the rest of the world that hate has no home in this nation. That you don’t necessarily accept, don’t necessarily approve of, don’t necessarily agree with everything that is practiced in America. That’s your right.

But it is your duty as President to protect the rights that every American is promised in this nation. That was part of your oath and yes part of your job. So make the right decison Mr. Decider. You still have the chance to show us you can tear down the walls of intolerance and misunderstanding that divide us or you can choose to protect the “sanctity of hate”.

“Tear down those walls Mr. Bush!”

Bob

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About Robert Freedland

A concerned American and supporter of Senator John Kerry, I am the author of the blog "John Kerry for President 2008". I am also the author of the stock market investing blog, "Stock Picks Bob's Advice".
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4 Responses to Protecting the “Sanctity of Hate”

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    A. He should sign this bill. But that’s irrelevant because he isn’t going to.

    B. Congress needs to vote on the basis of the conscience of it’s individual members and they need to dig in and start doing some legislating.

    C. If Congress bombards the Whitehouse with bills that King Geroge has promised to veto he may finally become overwhelmed and start letting some of them through. But even if he doesn’t, the current political environment is such that he will hasten the swing of the political pendulum to the left.

    It’s sad that that is the most consolation that we might get out of this situation but everything that he vetos will be already marked up and ready for quick passage next term.

  2. Buzz says:

    It is not unusual to hear various miniority groups in the U.S. refer to themselves as being treated like, “second class citizens.” However most all of these groups, except gays, have existing laws to protect acts of intolerance and hate directed against them.
    Unfortunately gays and lesbians, remain the last miniority groups politically correct to hate.
    As a gay person I an not allowed to marry the person who is my soul mate. In some states I would not even be able to enter into a civil union. I am not permitted to serve openly in the U.S. military, unless I agree to live a lie, by witholding my sexual orientation. I can be thrown out of any affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America, simply because of who I am. In most states, including Delaware where I live, I can be fired from my job, denied a job, be evicted or denied housing simply because of my sexual orientation. This is because gays are not included as a miniority which can be protected from this outright bias. If my significant other is dying in the hospital, I can be denied access to see him simply becuase his family objects to my presence.
    Now “The Decider” and the “moral majority” want to deny hate crime status to gays!
    This blatant prejudice in empowered by an unholy alliance between right wing conservatives and evangelics.
    This week I read in the paper that black Afro-American religious leaders, at this years annual national meeting, will also oppose the gay hate crime legislation pending in the Senate. Currently if blacks or Jews are attacked or murdered just because of who they are, it consitutes a hate crime.
    Higher penalities are accessed when hate is determined to be the motivating factor.
    Black religious leaders, who’s race was and still is a source of hate crime, oppose the extension of this protection to gays. Well, so much for empathy. They have the entirely mistaken notion that the passage of this bill will somehow prevent them from preaching gay hate from their pulpits. Howver, hate crime legislation is in no way tied to the freedom of speech assured under The First Admendment. It targets physical and not verbal abuse.
    How sad that religious institutions, which are suppose to be the bastions of love and tolerance, still thrive on preaching hate. No clergymen, you can continue to sleep well at night knowing that verbal homophobia can still be incorporated into your sermons! Although possibly inspired by the content of your “Christian” rhetoric, only those who physically attack gays would be charged.

  3. Observer says:

    “It is not enough to deny homosexuals the same rights as others by denying them the right to marriage or even the opportunity to enter into civil unions that the rest of us enjoy.”

    deny the opportunity to enter into civil units? what planet are you from?

  4. Observer,

    I am from Earth what about you? You just land here or something?

    Let me quote from the journal Pediatrics

    “A civil union is a legal mechanism, sanctioned by civil authority, intended to grant same-gender couples legal status somewhat similar to civil marriage. In the United States, civil unions have been established only in Vermont and Connecticut. In these states, same-gender couples are granted the same state-level rights, benefits, and protections as those granted to heterosexual married couples. No other states recognize civil unions. As such, same-gender couples considered to be legally united in either of those states are treated as single individuals when they cross into other states.

    Unlike the national governments of some foreign countries, the US federal government does not recognize civil unions. As a result, >1000 federal rights, benefits, and protections are not made available to same-gender couples joined by civil union in the United States.”

    So, I don’t know what YOU are talking about, but civil unions and marriage are not currently available to gay individuals in America except in very limited situations in limited geographic regions.

    Bob