Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hate Crime Lies

Congress will soon be considering a new federal hate crimes bill, and the religious right are up to their usual lying spin. In a bulletin sent to pastors, the Family Research Council claim that if the bill becomes law, religious leaders will be subject to prosecution for preaching against homosexuality. But the fact is that H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would do no such thing. The bill calls for granting the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute people for violent crimes based on race, color, religion, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation if local officials refuse to prosecute. It would also provide some sweet, sweet federal money to law enforcement agencies for hate crimes recognition training. But because the U.S. has a constitutionally protected freedom of speech, the bill obviously can't (and isn't designed to) stop people from verbally expressing their idiotic views about gays. Still, as I've said before, hate crimes laws in general are a useless waste of time and money. Any criminal act committed because of racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other deranged notion is already a criminal act that can be prosecuted. Even motivation is already a factor in that there are separate degrees for murder, assault, rape, and other violent crimes. Someone who kills because he's a racist is no more dangerous than someone who kills just for the hell of it. In effect, hate crimes bills are introduced mostly as political footballs meant to sail through congress because no one wants to seem like they support "hate". Meanwhile, the bills can be loaded down with plenty of earmarks that can pass without a second look. Just absurd. More details about the crazy religious reaction to this bill here.

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