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Hate crime language doesn't belong in bill

October 1, 2005

Another Republican who voted for special rights based on homosexual behavior was Rep. Thaddeus McCotter…

“The House version of the bill (HR 3132) includes a controversial amendment, drafted by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, which adds violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender or disability to the existing list of federal hate crimes. One of 30 Republicans who helped to pass the bill was Rep. Joe Schwarz, representing Lenawee County.”

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THE DAILY TELEGRAM
Adrian, Michigan
September 28, 2005

(Editorial)

Hate-crime language doesn’t belong in bill
People tend to hate being misrepresented, and many also hate attempts by other people to legislate morality.

The Children’s Safety Act making its way through Congress provides a bit of both.

The House version of the bill (HR 3132) includes a controversial amendment, drafted by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, which adds violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender or disability to the existing list of federal hate crimes. One of 30 Republicans who helped to pass the bill was Rep. Joe Schwarz, representing Lenawee County.

Elsewhere on this page, the congressman rebuts a Sunday letter to the editor by an Adrian resident who claimed the bill would outlaw so-called hate speech. In Rep. Schwarz’s defense, HR 3132 only addresses “bodily injury.” Some opponents of the bill consider banning “hate crime” to be but a small step from banning constitutionally protected “hate speech,” but Congress bears no blame at this time for attempting that step.

It’s fitting, however, that a congressman should find himself misrepresented on this issue. By expanding a list of “thought crimes” which it never should have legislated in the first place, and making those crimes federal offenses, Congress may create an atmosphere in which a citizen could be similarly misunderstood.

We all ought to agree that violence against people on the grounds of race, gender or sexual preference is reprehensible, but is it any more despicable than violence against anyone for any reason? We believe each person and each life is of equal value. A murder victim is a murder victim. We already possess laws which make murder illegal and which impose severe penalties for anyone found guilty of committing it.

Since government already can adequately punish perpetrators for what they do, “hate crime” laws essentially amount to punishment for what they think. While some laws – first-degree murder, for example – do presume a person’s intent, hate crime laws represent a huge shift from actions to feelings. Furthermore, if a person can be punished for a crime accompanied by bad thoughts, might a criminal such as abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph argue conversely that he should receive a lighter sentence because he really felt that what he was doing was right?

While the intent of hate-crime legislation is noble, laws against hatred are every bit as much an attempt to legislate morality as sex laws or liquor prohibitions. Instead, we should focus on controlling our actions under existing laws, and then tell government to stop trying to read our thoughts.
http://www.lenconnect.com/articles/2005/09/28/news/news09.txt

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