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Author Topic: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs  (Read 2875 times)

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Offline TheWriterTopic starter

http://rawstory.com/2010/02/christians-claim-hate-crimes-law-effort-eradicate-beliefs/

Quote
A Christian group in Michigan has filed a lawsuit alleging that a package of hate crimes laws named after murder victim Matthew Shepard is an affront to their religious freedom.

Far from the intended purpose of severely punishing criminals who commit unspeakable acts against a persecuted minority group, the religious activists claim the laws are a guarded effort to "eradicate" their beliefs.

Filed by the Thomas More Law Center -- which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union -- the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people "is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy."

The suit was placed on behalf of American Family Association of Michigan president Gary Glenn, along with pastors Rene Ouellette, Levon Yuille and James Combs.

I'm going to open this to the floor.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 10:27:40 AM »
I'm going to step up to this one.

I'm split.  Honestly. Deeply.

The hate crime laws do a valuable thing to make it clear that this sort of thing SHOULD not be tolerated in modern society.

BUT.

The laws are sometime written badly, too open and can be too widely enforced. If I 'Joe X Christian' hit a guy for any reason and it turns out that he IS gay (Which Joe is opposed to, but isn't aware that guy IS gay) does that make ANY violent action I take an automatic hate crime?

So versions of the Hate Crime statues can be very.. open in their outlook.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 11:14:55 AM »
I don't think so. I think the hate crime angle comes in if your reason for hitting a person is because of race / creed / sexual orientation or what have you, or if the degree of violence is increased because of that.

Frankly I've seen this sort of story crop up before. There is a subsection of christianity which is only too happy to scream "Help! Help! We're being oppressed!" when they can't have their own way.

If they want to be bigots, that's their outlook. But their right to act on those beliefs stops when it starts impinging on another persons safety.

Offline Sabby

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 12:08:35 PM »
Filed by the Thomas More Law Center -- which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union -- the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people "is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy."

These people need to understand that the world doesn't follow them. Their entitled to their beliefs... but it has been a long time since not going to Church has been a demonizing event. It seems every other month some priest or the Pope is claiming that the world is losing its way. Thats not the case at all... their losing us. The world does not NEED Christianity to function in a morally rich way. The sooner they stop whining like spoilt children, the sooner we'll outgrow the need for hate crime laws in the first place.

Offline Ket

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 12:10:33 PM »
A hate crime is a crime done with malicious intent based upon a person's belief that they person they are victimizing is of a different race/religion/sexuality. It does not matter what the race/religion/sexuality are. The role can be completely reversed. What if someone who is gay beats/maims/kills a christian?  They'd all be screaming for punishment under a hate crime then.

It boils down to them wanting the world to conform to their beliefs, instead of them conforming to a world where their beliefs plus every body's beliefs are equally accepted.




Offline National Acrobat

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 12:48:49 PM »
I'm with Callie on this one. I feel both ways regarding it. It could be cleverly applied to abusive situations where there clearly was no hateful intent intended, but then it could be twisted around.

On the other hand, there are way to many instances where people are targeted specifically for violence due to their gender, creed, religion, belief, orientation, etc.

I think to make them effective, and not subject to abuse, they need to be written more concise, with tighter definitions and meanings. People in America are quiet adept at finding and exploiting loopholes.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 01:14:19 PM »
Hate Crime Laws is incredibly valuable, but should they be used to defend bigotry? No, I believe not.

The article seems to point at a specific incident when the defence of HBT's is considered a hate crime. If a religion is actively out to demonize a group of people, then it cannot be defended with hate crime laws!

It's a goddamned paradox, people!

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 01:35:50 PM »
The government should not be deciding the motives for a crime is sufficient for a bigger penalty, that smacks of a novel like 1984 or A Brave New World. If I ,just as an example, hot someone who is black its a crime called assault a hard action. Lets say I before that said ,as an example this is not my views, a filthy n***** scum it may jump to an assault with a hate crime. But we have free speech in this country even unpopular or disgusting speech should be legal like going up using the former "N" word to a black person in a pointy hat white hat and robes. If they decide to punch the person then they are commiting a crime and since the person could be white that could be racially motivated.

Its just bad all around to decide motivations are worth extra penalties.

If your wondering I'm also opposed to laws that ban discrimination on any area if this store chain doesn't WANT to hire women or blacks that should be legal. I just have the right to not go to that business chain. And the government could favor contracts to businesses that do hire equally. So there are ways to get there without making it illegal its called public pressure and using the authority of government to have government agencies and accomodation for people be made. And encouraging businesses to follow.

Online Valerian

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 01:48:29 PM »
First of all, I don't really know how the hate crimes laws are worded, and it's very probable that some better, clearer definitions are needed.

But unless Michigan has laws against giving anti-homosexuality sermons, and are using those laws to prosecute religious leaders, I can't figure out what this religious group is talking about.  For there to be a hate crime, there must first be a crime.

The group clearly seems to think that hate crime laws are the thin end of some kind of wedge, but I'm not at all sure where, exactly, they think such laws will lead.  If anything, it seems that recent public opinion has been to narrow the definition of what constitutes a hate crime, not widen it.

All the hate crimes laws are meant to deal with are people who dislike those who happen to be gay (or of a different race, belief system, etc.) so much that they go out and throw rocks at, threaten, attack, or otherwise commit crimes against people belonging to those groups.  If all this religious group wants is the protection of their right to sit around quietly hating other groups, or talking among themselves about what horrible sinners Those Other People are, they've already got that in the U.S. under the first amendment, and I don't believe anyone's threatening to take that away.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 01:56:08 PM »
I can imagine that some radical sermons would encourage homosexuals to be treated differently from other people in the community. Saying that "Them gays are gross" is a First Amendment issue, but saying "We will have nothing to do with them! Cast them out! Refuse to sell your goods to them, curse them, spit on them" and so on, it's a hate crime.

Even a seemingly mild change of words can make the difference in these issues.

Online Valerian

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 02:00:22 PM »
That's a fine point for the courts to hash out, though I see what you mean.  But, episodes of Law & Order aside, I'm pretty sure it's extremely rare to have a successful prosecution of a claim of being brainwashed, temporarily insane with religious fervor, or otherwise convinced to commit a hate crime based on someone's sermons or other religious teachings.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2010, 02:07:21 PM »
That isn't the point. The point is that according to the law, you will not encourage hate. Saying "Them fags should die" is very harsh, and saying "A good Christian should kill fags" is a CLEAR hate crime.

Those are the circumstances I could see warrant extremist Christians to be filed for hate crimes. But this article points to a christian group that wants to use hate crime laws to defend themselves when they are not allowed to bash gays and other groups. This is a paradox, because either way, a group that should be defended will be prosecuted.

If the attitude towards religion or the hate crime laws will not be revised, these kidns of cases will continue to present difficult legal dilemmas.

Online Valerian

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2010, 02:27:13 PM »
The point is that according to the law, you will not encourage hate.
Is that correct?  As mentioned above, I'm not familiar with the legal wording, but I didn't think the laws were anywhere near that general.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2010, 02:29:38 PM »
That's a basic in Hate Crime Law (at least where I'm from). Encouraging hatred and hostile actions (hate crimes) is a hate crime in itself.

Offline Sabby

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 02:35:48 PM »
Telling someone to drop their Mars Bar wrapper on the bus is encouraging littering, and a crime in itself, I guess.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2010, 02:38:18 PM »

Online Valerian

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2010, 02:40:05 PM »
Some legal definitions of hate crimes that I found after a quick troll on the net:

Quote
Hate Crimes Statistics Act (1990): "... crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, including where appropriate the crimes of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, arson, and destruction, damage or vandalism of property." (Public Law 101-275).
 
 Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA; 1997): "Hate crimes--or bias-motivated crimes--are defined as offenses motivated by hatred against a victim based on his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin."
 
 Anti-Defamation League (ADL): A hate crime is "any crime committed because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender [male or female] or sexual orientation." 5
 
 National Education Association (NEA): "Hate crimes and violent acts are defined as offenses motivated by hatred against a victim based on his or her beliefs or mental or physical characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation." 
These all begin with crimes, and none of them mention simply encouraging hatred, unless that's done in the course of committing a crime, perhaps.

Whether we should judge motives unless there happens to be some exceptionally clear-cut evidence of those motives is another question; but as the laws stand I still don't think I get what that particular religious group is in an uproar about.

The quote is from religioustolerance.org, if anyone's wondering.

And Hairy sort of beat me to it, but I'll post as is anyway.  Heh.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2010, 02:46:51 PM »
Hm. I realize now that I'm talking about Hate Crimes specifications of the Swedish legal system, not the American one.

You can probably ignore what I said about "encouraging hate crime is a hate crime in itself".

Offline Sabby

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2010, 02:53:04 PM »
I am of the opinion that no law can ever be perfect, and that the law system in all its current incarnations are a flawed premise. Last time I voiced these opinions (In the SB, months ago) someone took offense and was under the impression I'd prefer a lawless world ruled by anarchy... not true at all.

All I mean is that the law, as a clearly defined system, with rigid guidelines, is in stark contrast to human nature. No matter how well defined or clearly written, there will always be situations where it cannot be applied in an ideal fashion. They could spend a decade rewriting these hate crime laws until they're practically air tight, and still there would be situations where an unbiased jury is split down the middle on who did what and yada yada.

Even in saying that, I agree with hate crime laws needing to be thoroughly worded.

Offline Jude

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2010, 05:07:12 PM »
I still don't understand why we need to take people's justifications for their actions into account when we punish them.

I don't know if Hate Crime Legislation seemed particularly aimed at eradicating a particular belief, but it certainly integrates a disdainful attitude towards it into law.

I don't think Government should be expressing opinions or punishing people for holding certain points of view.

Law is about maintaining order and a productive society in my view.

Offline ChrisF

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2010, 05:28:22 PM »
Personally, I think that if Joe X Christian punches anybody, he should be held accountable for punching someone. After all, if one motivation can be used to intensify a punishment, a different one could likely be used to lighten it, which I think is all wrong. (The obvious exception being the event of an accident, wherein Joe trips over a rock and his hand flies into someone's face.) IMO, crime is crime, hateful or not. Then again, I'm a (mostly) straight white male, so I don't get a lot of discrimination (except from scholarships, but that's a whole different matter.)

Still, this Christian group is taking a personal offense to something that wasn't intended to be personal. It's the people like that that make the whole religion look bad..

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2010, 07:32:45 PM »
Quote from: Jude
I still don't understand why we need to take people's justifications for their actions into account when we punish them.
     Here are some responses to that.
http://ncavp.org/common/document_files/Reports/2008%20HV%20Report%20smaller%20file.pdf  (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 2008 report, p.85)

Quote
          If a stranger bumps you and then immediately apologizes, because the contact was accidental, most of us would be less irritated than we would if we were bumped and the person responded with “get out of my way” instead of an apology. Even a minor act of intentional intimidation is more upsetting than an accident with perhaps more damaging effects. The motive - the intent to intimidate - is important. Similarly, most of us would agree that someone charged with assault who shows that their motive was self defense, ought to be acquitted. The motive of keeping oneself safe justifies the act.

          The overall effect of the violence is also relevant. Violence perpetrated randomly, or solely for economic gain, certainly causes harm and trauma to the victim. However, when a person or a group intentionally selects a victim based on a belief that the victim is more deserving of violence or more vulnerable to violence, the trauma and fear is compounded. In the U.S., people belonging to certain groups are taught to expect violence in our lives solely because of who we are or how we look. Those groups include women, people of color, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, transgender and gender nonconforming people, homeless people, people with disabilities, young people, and elderly people, to name a few. When a member of one of these groups is targeted because of hatred against that group, the fear generated by that act ripples out into the larger community.
Quote from: Jude
I don't know if Hate Crime Legislation seemed particularly aimed at eradicating a particular belief, but it certainly integrates a disdainful attitude towards it into law. 
I don't think Government should be expressing opinions or punishing people for holding certain points of view. 
Law is about maintaining order and a productive society in my view.
         Beliefs that people are created equal and should be given an equal opportunity to pursue liberty and happiness, are also rather "particular."  If the belief you want to defend here is expressed as encouragement of making symbolic attacks upon historically oppressed people of certain identities (that is, specifically what hate crimes legislation aims to restrict), then it sounds like you're for deleting a major and very popular ideal of the country, enshrined from its very beginning.

          Where willful abuses and intimidation specifically against certain minorities -- crimes intended to send a message that advocates more abuse and inequality -- are overlooked, then another kind of order is actually being pursued.  I don't mean that we should do everything exactly as the founders imagined in their time of slavery and bald-faced male privilege.  However, resistance to protections for historically disadvantaged minorities may keep us away from creating an atmosphere of equal protection or opportunity.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 07:34:16 PM by kylie »

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Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2010, 02:33:39 AM »
I'm a Roman Catholic and as such there are certain things I take on faith because those tenets are the basis of my beliefs.  There are other issues my 'church' supports that have nothing to do with my beliefs or my faith and I reserve the right to form my own opinions on those issues.  Within any organization there are individuals who care passionately and others who could not care less.  I read somewhere, I don't recall the source, that 10% are the passionate ones, 30% covers the I don't care group and the 60% in the middle are the ones who care about the organization and not themselves.

If we apply the law with equality to all and not by degree of guilt or degree of seriousness of the act we need to ask:  do we put all people responsible for a death in prison for life or let them go after serving a minimum sentence.  Death is death and the teenager who recklessly hits a pedestrian and kills them would be considered just as guilty as the most heinous serial killer imaginable.  Now, someone draw the line for me because I can't do it.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2010, 12:18:27 PM »
There are concerns on another front speech others may find offensive and that made illegal. Even now I street preach and have issues with the police and others even though I obey every law. Don't ;oiter, stay on public property, no megaphones, didn't ask for money or hand out anything and the like. The last time the police said as a arguement they don't want to hear you preach. I said ,logically, the First Amendment protects my right to practice and free speech its not a matter they or the police like it or not.

I did leave but got the officers badge number and filed a general complaint against the police department for harassment of the rights of free speech.

At some point people have to get it this is a free nation and people like me are afraid that ,duh, you will go after people like me its happening now. Its the slippery slope if you say saying the "N" word and hitting a black person nudges the crim up hard to a big crime. Then when I preach that you go to any church and are not in the keeping of the teachings of Jesus ,my real message, could they nail me for hate crimes against a Catholic for speaking my beliefs and up the crime level?

Offline Xenophile

Re: Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to 'eradicate' their beliefs
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2010, 01:00:27 PM »
If you mix your religious message with downright hateful shouting, then yes, that preaching should be warrant for a investigation.