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Old 04-30-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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thought crimes?

so there's this hate crimes bill in front of Congress. we've been through hate crimes before, and i personally have some mixed feelings about their usefulness and maintain that what is truly discriminatory is the effort put into making some groups worthy of protection and others not.

however, this article is slanted in just the right way that it teases out the issue that i think is also an undercurrent of the same sex marriage debate. namely, if homophobia becomes the cultural equivalent of racism, that is, it is illegal and culturally unacceptable, to discriminate (even in thought alone) against gay people, is this tantamount to religious discrimination?


Quote:
Social Conservatives Blast Hate-Crime Bill, Saying It Will Limit Free Speech
Social conservatives say their right to free speech will be jeopardized if hate crimes legislation now headed to the Senate becomes law.

By James Osborne

FOXNews.com

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Senate hate crimes bill that would extend federal protection to gay and transgender victims is rousing the ire of social conservatives who say their right to free speech will be jeopardized if it becomes law.

"In and of itself this law can be applied to speech. The nature of assault -- putting someone in fear of their safety -- what will that mean for someone preaching against homosexuality?" said Mathew Staver, founder of the Liberty Council, a law firm that works on religious freedom cases.

"It elevates homosexuality to the same protective category as race. It's all part of the radical homosexual anarchist agenda," Staver said.

For much of the last decade gay rights activists have been fighting for inclusion within the federal hate crimes law, which places greater penalties on crimes that are committed based on race, ethnicity and religion. Social conservatives, including former President George W. Bush, have fought the legislation on the grounds it could be used to prosecute religious groups who say homosexuality is morally wrong.

But with Democrats now controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, gay rights activists are confident the law will pass and President Obama will sign it. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 249-175.

"This is one of the most supportive environments we've had," said Thomas Howard, Jr., programs director for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an advocacy group named for the gay University of Wyoming student whose 1998 murder became a rallying point for homosexuals.

"The issue is when someone is targeted as a direct result of who they are. This isn't about telling people what they can and can not say."

Frederick Lawrence, a law professor at George Washington University, said there is nothing within the language of the hate crimes bill that would allow for the prosecution of individuals who simply speak out against a particular sexual or ethnic group.

"The only language that would be criminalized is language that would be meet the requirements of conspiracy or solicitation or direct incitement," he said. "Sharing opinions on things, even opinions others consider discriminatory, can not be criminalized."

But that is doing little to calm conservative bloggers, who are outraged by the possibility that a suspect acquitted of a crime in state court can be retried in federal court if the case becomes categorized as a hate crime.

"That is true and it's not unique to the hate crimes arena," said Lawrence. "There is an exception to double jeopardy called the dual sovereignty doctrine. But the Department of Justice has a very strict set of regulations when they can retry someone."

During the debate on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., angered gay rights activists by claiming Shepard was murdered in a robbery, and not because he was gay.

"(The) hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills," Foxx said.

The congresswoman later apologized, calling the word hoax "a poor choice of words," according to The Associated Press.

In 2004 the ABC television news program 20/20 ran a story in which Shepard's murderers said they killed the 21-year-old for drugs and money in a robbery gone wrong, and not because he was gay -- contradicting the testimony of some witnesses at his murder trial.

The piece went on to portray Shepard as a troubled individual and included an interview with a Wyoming police detective who said he believed the murder was not based on Shepard's sexual orientation.

"It's something we hear quite a bit," Howard said. "I'd like to ask (Foxx) if she has read the trial transcript. Certain individuals completely changed their stories."


so would it be keeping with our freedoms of religion to allow someone to fire someone because they are gay? to deny someone housing?

we're not talking about violence. we're talking about the right of someone to say, "i don't like you and i think you're disgusting and immoral and i don't want you near my children and i am going to do whatever i can to remind you of this." is that a right we have? we would obviously have a big problem if what was said about gays by some religiously conservative folks was said about blacks or Jews, but are these people protected (so to speak) because they're simply living out their faith? do people have a right to speak out against same-sex "behavior"?



here's an editorial on the subject:



Quote:
EDITORIAL: Thought crimes

Democrats are making it illegal to think certain things. The House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday that extends federal so-called hate-crimes laws to include sexual orientation. This is a move to provide special status for specific groups. It is also unnecessary. If a miscreant kills or rapes somebody, he should be prosecuted for murder or rape. What he might have been thinking is beside the point.

Hate-crimes legislation obscures the fact that the underlying crime is already prosecutable under existing laws. The bill is named after Matthew Shepard, a homosexual who was beaten to death near Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. The case caught national attention, which accelerated the push to establish new hate crimes - but it serves as a fitting example for why new legislation is unnecessary. Mr. Shepard's attackers were successfully prosecuted without homosexuals being established as a special protected class by the federal government.

Current federal hate-crimes law already covers the use or threat of force based on race, color, religion or national origin. Proponents of adding "gender identity" falsely argue that it is needed because these crimes have become more prevalent in recent years. According to FBI data, reported attacks have remained constant - between 7,000 and 9,000 a year nationwide - since 1992.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, told an editorial board meeting at The Washington Times that the hate-crimes bill makes him "want to throw up," and noted that it doesn't make sense to prosecute "what we think [criminals] were thinking as opposed to what they did."

Mr. Boehner's point is right on the mark. But the motivation isn't about punishing crime as much as it is about controlling certain thoughts and views. Once homosexuals become a special class protected by hate-crime legislation, the back door is open to prosecuting those who speak out against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Yesterday's House vote was really about creating thought crimes to further the liberal agenda.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:52 PM   #2
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it was once tolerable to discriminate against Jews on religious grounds,

when laws passed prohibiting denial of service, accommodations, employment based on religious affiliation, that infringed on people's right to follow their religious convictions in relationship to the afore mentioned.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:48 PM   #3
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^ My father (and a lot of other Jewish academics) wound up teaching at black colleges in the Jim Crow South originally because of the 'quota systems' designed to keep Jews out of the professions. Black and Jewish philanthropists who funded the black colleges recognized in that situation an opportunity to benefit both groups: black colleges needed more professors, and black professors were in direly short supply due to extremely poor educational opportunities for African-Americans; Jewish academics needed jobs, and unlike other 'whites' (including Northerners--even in the North, 'white' teachers at mostly-black elementary and high schools were almost always Jews), Jews seldom had objections to teaching black students...the biggest obstacle in persuading them to do it was usually their reservations about living among white Southerners. It would be inaccurate though to describe that sort of anti-Semitism merely as based on 'religious affiliation'; it certainly also had to do with racialized conceptions of Jews.




Aaaanyway, back to the topic...I would want to know what specifically these people protesting the hate crimes bill on 'religious freedom' grounds envision its passage bringing about. Hate crimes laws certainly don't prevent ideological racists, anti-Semites etc. from exercising their 'free speech.' Religion has been a protected category under hate crimes legislation for many years now, and I don't recall hearing them raise much fuss about that--which makes their sudden discovery of objection-on-principle to penalty enhancements based on malice towards a protected category of persons seem rather hypocritical, doesn't it?
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
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Irvine, if this is a serious question, you should read up on some of the Court's decisions. Check out oyez.org
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
Religion has been a protected category under hate crimes legislation for many years now, and I don't recall hearing them raise much fuss about that--which makes their sudden discovery of objection-on-principle to penalty enhancements based on malice towards a protected category of persons seem rather hypocritical, doesn't it?


it does.

i'm wondering why Matthew Shepard is brought back up.

if he had been a black man dragged from a car by a chain wrapped around his neck, do you think the Republicans would be putting up such a fuss?
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:30 AM   #6
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
i'm wondering why Matthew Shepard is brought back up.
I assume because the unofficial name of the bill is the Matthew Shepard Act...is that what you're asking?

The 'thought crimes' argument against hate crimes legislation always irks me, because it completely misconstrues the intent--the argument for penalty enhancement is based on the generally higher likelihood of social-bias-motivated crimes to sour community relations and sow civic unrest, provoke retaliatory crimes, and create distress within the victim's community (i.e. the objects of the perpetrator's bias) in ways that descriptively similar crimes lacking this dimension wouldn't have. It's not based on notions of the perpetrator's actual mindset being 'more offensive' in some legally substantive way compared to that of a perpetrator whose otherwise similar crime wasn't bias-motivated.

It is true that you wouldn't see a bill like this being proposed, never mind passing, outside a social climate where holding prejudicial views towards gay people is indeed increasingly seen as "culturally unacceptable." In an environment where homosexuality is vilified, gay people are deep in the closet, and both gay and straight people have internalized a view that gays are 'deviant' and 'perverted' and 'disgusting,' a gay man who gets beaten up by a couple guys calling him f----- is most likely not going to report the crime at all, let alone turn to the nonexistent 'local gay community' for emotional and legal support. But that couldn't accurately be attributed to his assailants' 'freedom of religion.' Is it likely that in another 20 years, expressing in most public settings the view that homosexuality is disgusting and/or immoral will incur considerable social stigma--well, yes, much like openly expressing the view that 'I'm not voting for no n-----' does now. The First Amendment doesn't protect you from that, though.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yolland View Post
I assume because the unofficial name of the bill is the Matthew Shepard Act...is that what you're asking?



i'm more wondering why it seems to be important for some representatives to want to divorced Shepard's sexual orientation from his slaying, whereas no one would do that to an african-american dragged behind a car.


YouTube - Rep. Virginia Foxx Dishonored Matthew Shepard's Death On The House Floor



and i'm also wondering why the "freedom of religion" card is being played -- the Republicans don't seem to see much of a difference between verbally bashing queers and actually bashing queers. they seem to think that if you get in extra-special trouble for bashing a queer that the next thing you know, it will be illegal to verbally bash them.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:51 AM   #9
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Virgina Foxx what a hateful woman...

Matthew's mother was in the room that day as well.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:18 PM   #10
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"Once homosexuals become a special class protected by hate-crime legislation, the back door is open to prosecuting those who speak out against homosexuality and same-sex marriage."

how is this any different than saying "Once blacks become a special class protected by hate-crime legislation, the back door is open to prosecuting those who speak out against their civil rights and interracial marriage." ? Are these people so blinded by their bigotry that they dont even stop to think about what it really is they're saying? They're pretty much worried that new legislation will stop them from being able to spew hateful words about a specific group of the population? Ridiculous.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jive Turkey View Post

how is this any different than saying "Once blacks become a special class protected by hate-crime legislation, the back door is open to prosecuting those who speak out against interracial marriage."


Look what happened to Bob Jones University,
they had their rights to practice their religious beliefs pounced on by the Federal Government.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep View Post
Look what happened to Bob Jones University,
they had their rights to practice their religious beliefs pounced on by the Federal Government.
Do you support their racism? People seem to think that by throwing in the word 'religion', their bigotry suddenly becomes socially acceptable. Religion is a choice. Being black, gay, female, etc is not.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:21 PM   #13
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Jay Scott Bybee (born October 27, 1953 in Oakland, California) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In an amicus brief, Bybee supported the tax exempt status of Bob Jones University, despite its discriminatory policy barring interracial dating.

On March 13, 2003; the Senate confirmed Bybee's nomination by a vote of 74-19.

Appartenly 74 Senators, many Democrats don't have a problem confirming a Federal Judge that believes in religious freedom.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:52 PM   #14
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please excuse my use of Wikipedia.....

"In 2000, following a media uproar prompted by the visit of presidential candidate George W. Bush to the University, Bob Jones III abruptly dropped the interracial dating rule, announcing the change on CNN's Larry King Live. Five years later when asked for his view of the rule change, the current president, Stephen Jones, replied, 'I've never been more proud of my dad than the night he...lifted that policy.'"

"In November 2008, the University declared itself 'profoundly sorry' for having allowed 'institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.'"

Even the University is calling out its old practices for what they were: Thinly veiled racism
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:56 PM   #15
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wiki

Appartenly 74 Senators, many Democrats don't have a problem confirming a Federal Judge that believes in religious freedom.

Quote:

In High-Tech Gays v. Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (F.2d, 1990) Bybee defended a mandatory screening process for all "known or suspected [to be]" gay employees arguing that their participation in "acts of sexual misconduct or perversion [are] indicative of moral turpitude, poor judgment, or lack of regard for the laws of society."

He has also argued in a law review article that "homosexuals" are "emotionally unstable" and that banning discrimination based on sexual orientation creates "preferences" favoring "homosexuals," instead of protecting them.
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