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H. R. 1592

I’ve posted on this one before, but over the last few days my e-mail inbox has been bombarded by notices telling me that my freedom of speech is about to be destroyed. Amanda at Imago Dei has an excellent post responding to this as well, and that reminded me to say a few more words. I could not find anything in the text of the bill that dealt with freedom of speech, but the logic apparently is that a pastor might preach a sermon against homosexuality, and a member of the congregation might then commit a crime against someone who is homosexual. Thus pastors could get put in jail over this.

It seems to me, however, that absent any particular change to the law, such a charge would have to pass current tests for incitement, and frankly, I don’t think a pastor should be exempt from the standard charges of incitement. Let’s change the scenario around just a bit and suppose that the sermon is preached by the pastor of a small “cult.” (You supply whatever definition of “cult” you desire.) The pastor says that other Christians are as good as murderers because they are sending people straight to hell by presenting an untrue message, and that killing them would be justified. Following that service, a member of the congregation goes out and kills one or more conservative (but not true enough) Christians.

I’m not a lawyer, but as I understand it there would be certain things that the pastor would have to have said to make his speech incitement. Certainly it would be considered incitement had he specified a target by name and pointed to a member of the church with the suggestion that the specific member should go kill the specific target. I don’t know precisely where the boundary lines are, but they already exist.

Now I have some questions about the value of bringing in federal support, and in providing specific aid in cases of a specific motivation, but those issues are technical and should be discussed technically, not as an all-out assault on freedom of religion.

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  1. Only a fool would trust any right to be protected by those whose natural enmity to freedom is so amply demonstrated. Simply look at those who support this bill. Entirely without regard to any supposed Christian commitment, they are uniformly a viritible who’s who of leftist and liberals who are completely devoid of any credible Constitutional commitment. They have been repeatedly rejected at the polls and only now with a sliver of a “majority” they seek to destroy the ability of anyone to speak except in agreement with their agenda. Make no mistake about it. This is a bill predicated on the idea that speech should be free but managed. As long as one is saying what this group wants to hear, speech is acceptable. But there is speech that is not acceptable. Speech that does not agree, that argues forcefully and advocates counter to their view is not “fair” so it must be managed. this is a bill to silence speech. It is not unlike that abombination that currently muzzles speech in Canada and the European Union.
    This is a bill to strke at the heart of individual freedom of thought. Oddly, according to that litany of mainstream media, one would expect such a bill to be sponsored by supposed “right-wing conservatives.” Oddly, this bill has been concieved in the heart of and radical left-wing liberalism. It is being brought to birth by those who have no love for Christ and whose sympathy is more with than against the enemies of this nation.
    If this bill becomes law, the full weight and power of government, controled and directed by non-nelected funcitonaries, will be weaponized to bring targeted prosecution to bear against any vocal dissent from that “speech” which has received their seal of approval. Again make no mistake about it, this is a bill to sillence. Those who advocate this bill are at heart one with those who with a butcher knife would “pearl” anyone who does not agree with them.

  2. Vaughn, The missing part of your comment is the part in which you explain just which text in the bill deals with free speech.

    Without that it’s just a diatribe.

  3. What is diatribe to one is to another meaningful discourse. It is the difference between seeing some forms of broadcast journalism as “mainstream media” while others describe is as “driveby advocacy journalism. Maybe you trust these people to do what is right. I do not. Those who sponsor and support this legislation are exactly as described, liberal left-wing extremist. No thinking person can reasonably be expected to trust such people.
    My concern is not that there is a specific “text” in the bill that deals with free speech. My concern is that adoption of this bill placed in the hands of non-elected political functionaries a legal weapon which they may use to terrorize any person or orgnaization they or their staff deem to have infringed upon the supposed rights of a supposed minority group. Many of the groups that will be “protected” under this legislation have had their efforts for special treatment rejected by voters at the ballot box. This currently proposed legislation is an effort by the liberal left to use the power of legislation to force the broader society to accept what is patently wrong. It is an effort to force upon the entire nation depravity as a way of life. Ours is a pluralistic society. These people have every right to be wrong. But they do not have the right to any special treatment under the law. If a criminal maims/murders someone, let them go to the gas chamber and I don’t care if their victim is a man or a woman or a child. I don’t care if they hate them or if they admire them. It doesn’t matter. To treat the murder of a white man or a black man or a homosexual etc. as a “hate” crime is just another “feel good” law passed so that we can pretend that we’ve done something meaningful to help heal a broken society.

  4. My concern is not that there is a specific “text” in the bill that deals with free speech.

    Got it. We’re supposed to oppose the bill because you don’t like the people who sponsored it.

    I’m afraid I find that . . . unconvincing.

  5. Then remain unconvinced. But if this exact same bill were sponsored by conservative lawmakers, I do think you would be erupting with suspicion. At this moment equally ignorant Democrat representatives are, in the name of “safety” trying to resurrect the failed Brady Bill hoping to ride the hysteria of VT to a successful vote. I suppose one is to trust those who would destroy the 2nd Amendment to not do the same thing with any of our other Constitutional rights. Combine HR 1522 with Clinton era appointed congressionally rubberstamped activist liberal judges insulated from the will of the people and you have a recipe for disaster. If you want to pretend otherwise, fine. In another era concerning a diffeent reality there were those who endured in unbelief even when someone was raised from the dead.

  6. But if this exact same bill were sponsored by conservative lawmakers, I do think you would be erupting with suspicion.

    And here is where you miss the point completely. I don’t determine what legislation I would support or oppose based on my opinion of the character of legislators; I choose based on the content of the legislation. I do not trust liberal legislators more than conservative ones; I distrust both.

    You talk about unbelief even in the face of resurrection, but you fail to even discuss relevant arguments.

    If you have no argument based on the content of the legislation then you’re wasting the energy used by the muscles in your fingers.

  7. Happily I have never had any lack of reserve strength in my hands or my mind. I will agree that it would be nice if we could only consider the merits of a particular piece of legislation apart from the sponsors. Unfortunately the sponsors will be the ones applying the legislation they help write. As regards liberals and conservatives, I think the best practice is “Trust but verify.”

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