Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

I received an e-mail alert from the Traditional Values Coalition regarding this bill, H. R. 1592. It took me a little bit of time to find the actual bill, because, silly me, I thought there would be a link to it on one or another press releases. However, you can find that link here.

The TVC alert, which you can find here (PDF), tells me:

Without your action, this anti -Christian legislation will pass — under the guise of hate-crime prevention — and accomplish
the following homosexual goals:

  • Silence the Bible-believing Churches, Pastors and Christians
  • Criminalize so-called “hate speech,” – which is any speech that is critical of homosexuality or cross -dressing
    behaviors. The suppression of free speech will be justified by the claim that such speech “incites” individuals to
    commit violence against homosexuals, cross -dressers etc. Any remarks about homosexuality, such as reading
    Bible passages, preaching on these passages, telling a person they can come out of the homosexual lifestyle, etc.
    will be deemed critical remarks and will be ruled to be outside the bounds of First Amendment protections for
    pastors, business owners and individuals.
  • Elevate homosexuality and cross -dressing behaviors such as drag queens, transsexualism, she -males, etc. to the
    status of federally-protected minorities. These behaviors will be considered equal to race under the federal law.
  • Interfere with local law enforcement by elevating every alleged incident of “hate” against a homosexual or
    cross-dresser into a federal crime.
  • Fund anti-Christian curriculum for children K-12, through the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to
    promote homosexuality and cross -dressing as normal behaviors.

In addition, you can reference the House Judiciary Committee release on this here, presumably largely from the chairman, John Conyers, who introduced the bill.

Now it’s interesting to observe the difference between the language of the alert, and the language of the bill itself. First, the bill refers to acts of violence, rather than to speech or thought. I fail to see precisely how this is going to impact Christian pastors, even fundamentalist Christian pastors, and what they preach from the pulpit, unless that preaching manages to amount to incitement to violence, and interesting possibility.

I tend to be suspicious of hate crimes legislation, nonetheless, because it seems to me that the actual violence is a sufficient reason for action, and if that violence gets out of hand, then one can increase the law enforcement. This should occur no matter what the motivation for the violence is. Further, there seems to be a bit of a stretching effort here to justify federal involvement in these crimes.

I’m especially suspicious when hate speech gets involved, but I’m not seeing that here. “Speech codes” strike me as both unliberal and unconservative–just plain unsound and dangerous.

That said, I simply do not see where the TVC gets their alert from the text of this bill. I would think it would be a clear, Christian duty to oppose violence against people irrespective of what we think of their lifestyle, character, sexual orientation, or anything else. The sole debate should be one of strategy. How do we best protect people from violence?

It may well be that this bill is not the best strategy, and as I said it raises certain questions with me. I would like to know just how much accomplishment we expect from the grants that will be given and the use of federal resources, and how such success would be measured. Will we revisit this particular item of spending after a period of time and see if it has accomplished its goals? You see, I’m not at all certain that it will accomplish those goals, or that it is the best way, and our representatives in Washington have this interesting way of making the spending look good, but leaving out the measurement of success.

One option that occurs to me for dealing with violence is increasing law enforcement generally, not so that we can have big brother looking in every window, but so that we can give every crime of violence due attention, and pay professional police officers the wages due their professionalism, and hire new ones where officers fail to live up to that standard. Perhaps some reprioritizing might be useful, for example, from prosecuting minor drug offenses and in favor of dealing with more serious, violent crimes.

But what is most clear to me is that the TVC response is not so much about the bill as about their own agenda. Let me ask this: How will holders of “traditional” values (as defined by the TVC) deal with violence against gays, lesbians, cross-dressers, and so forth? Or is that not an important issue to you?

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  1. This is an excellent review of this bill, I also received a similar email from AFA about how this bill will take away free speech, is unconstitutional, yada yada yada. But I completely agree that do the people who object do this bill really support “Christian” violence against people who are unlike themselves? Does the bible not teach to Love thy neighbor(regardless of what their beliefs are?). No I think that people who are so caught up in the defiance of the bill probably didn’t even take the time to read it for themselves, and are also furthering political agendas that have nothing to do with their religion(or even to do with American ideals).

  2. Are you serious? (I hope your sense of irony extends to understanding the “Republicans for Voldemort” bumper sticker on our vehicle.)

    This gentle analysis of a serious issue is well reasoned and impartial. I appreciate its deconstruction of the Intolerant Xian rhetoric that is so often built on lies such as those in the TVC and AFA use to rile their ovine congregations.

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