Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Hate Crimes Bill

Perhaps, you have heard of the Hate Crimes Bill being considered by the U.S. Congress. It was passed by the House of Representatives and is now being Considered by the Senate. For several days i have been hearing that this Bill, if passed into Law will be the end of free speech in America. At first I thought, no, the liberals can't be so stupid as to attack free speech. But I kept hearing about how preachers will be pulled from their pulpits and hauled before the U.S. magistrates for preaching against certain fashionable sins. So, tonight I looked up the text of the Bill that was passed by the House of Representatives.

I noticed three things:

1. If the Bill becomes law it will only effect people who commit real physical crimes, acts which would be crimes even if the bill does not pass. The person who would be prosecuted under this Bill is the one who...
"...willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerouse weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person..."

There is nothing in there about speech. No one will go to prison for saying buggery is bad, or blacks are inferior, or women need to stay in the kitchen where they belong. The speech part only comes into effect once a real physical harm is committed or attempted, and the attempt must involve the use of a weapon.

2. The Bill actually says that nothing in its text may be interpreted as weakening Constitutional rights. The exact wording is...
"...Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by, the Constitution."

Now do I think we ought to punish one murderer more severely than another because the former hated his victims race while the latter only wanted to steal his victims wallet? No. To my way of thinking the price to be paid for murder is the same, no matter why a murder is committed. We should not place different values on he shed blood of various victims. For that reason alone I think this bill should be defeated. But I think the people who are saying this Bill is going to end free speech in America are being disingenuous. I'd like to know why. What is their real agenda.

3. The part of the Bill that bothers me most is in the definitions paragraph. To me it looks like the Democrats in Congress are attempting, in all perfidy to run around the Constitution and count non-States as states with the folowing language:
"[T]he term ‘State’ includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other territory or possession of the United States."

Notice, the only territories named are those which have solid Democrat leaning populations. I do not think this is a mistake. It is clear to me that the Democrats in Congress are trying to get the courts to regard these districts as States without going through the necessary Constitutional Process, which would, of course, result in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico not being made States.

This is a curious political fight and I do not understand what it is really about.

1 comment:

Cyndi said...

I just want you to know that I read it.