Christians, do you believe the hate crime bill will usher in a forced silence of our voices here in America?
If so, why and if no, why. Gods peace :)
Pangloss, I believe a crime is a crime, period. While the idea of socking it to hateful people who commit based on hate rather than randomness sounds wonderful, the idea of the fact it is "perceived" in the new bill which would be impossible to prove for the most part, but not only that, I am not sure what country you live in, but here in America this new bill will get abused to death. A good amount of Christians I know are concerned because of the possible ramifications for pastors, etc speaking out of homosexuality. I can get you a link to the bill if you want to read it in its entirety.
Heres a link to Ron Paul's senate webpage about this very act:
He has some great examples of very possible instances that would cause problems.
I do know about 4 people arrested in philly about 4 years ago because they went to a gay pride parade and held signs about God not condoning homosexuality. Four people, peacefully! They were all put in prison (one is till figthing a 49 year sentence last time I read about it)..free speech right? wrong. The problem was that they were told that their speech could have incited a riot, therefore they were arrested Now imagine an actual law that surrounds this...can you see where this could possibly be a bad thing. Again, I would love nothing more than see haters taken care of through our justice system, but one murder victim shouldnt take priority over another and everyone whether we like their thoughts or not should be able to think them, say them, etc. This is my main concern
Heres a link about the philly thing:
The problem is not speech. The problem is that sneaky word, "perceived" For instance the people at this gay pride event perceived the group was being hateful; even though (ive seen the video) they were not. See, it was perceived to be hateful and would cause a riot; hence they were arrested. There is a loophole for everything in our legal system, and we are a country of self entitlers, I can just see how horribly abused this will become; and I really believe it will.
Delylah, I read more of your edit. Imagine this (first I will preface that I do not condone nor feel this to be a good witness) but imagine a sandwich board preacher handing out leaflets at a train station about homosexuality and carrying a sign that says gays are sinners and are going to hell. Do you not believe that some people will perceive that as a hateful act? A woman in philadelphia (again!) is in federal prison for sending a threatening note to her muslim supervisor, why would a giant sign in public damning an entire group to hell not be threatening to said group? Again, its that word "perceived" that will be the loophole this thing needs. If youre interested in more research there are tons of stories in the UK where people are being arrested for handing out tracts and such under hate crime laws. This isnt just fringe stuff, it does seem to be gaining momemtum everywhere now.
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
No, absolutely not.
The Hate Crime Prevention Act will only make it easier for those crimes (things that are already illegal) to be prosecuted as hate crimes when its obvious that the victim was chosen because of their race, sexuality, or religion.
This act does not interfere with the First Amendment. In fact, it only enhances the rights we have to practice religion as we see fit. If someone chooses to commit a crime against you, just because you happen to be Christian, they will be prosecuted in the same way as someone who makes a homosexual the target of their crime solely because they are a homosexual.
A Christian's right to believe that something is a sin and to verbalize that will never be taken away -- but it is very important for ALL OF US, regardless of sexuality or religion, to remember that our rights end where someone else's begins. This act won't make it illegal to speak your opinions, but it will guarantee harsher prosecution if you choose to harm someone because of those opinions.
Edit: A 49 year sentence for holding a sign? I'm sorry, but I do not believe that for a moment.
Edit: "Increasing sentences because of motivation goes beyond criminalizing acts; it makes it a crime to think certain thoughts. Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts--as opposed to willful criminal acts--is inconsistent with a free society." -- from the link you provided.
I don't know why it is so hard to understand that the thought is not what is being criminalized. For example, the act of murder is a crime. I can think about killing someone -- and we have all done this, I'm sure -- and the thought is not a crime. I have thought about killing a certain person down to the point of specific details. And again, this is not a crime. However, if I had actually killed the person, and I had taken the time to think it out carefully, that -- in itself -- would have been a criminal act. It would have been pre-meditated, and I would have committed first degree murder. First-degree murder is prosecuted differently than second degree murder. Still, thinking about killing someone has never been made a crime. Even saying, "I'd like to kill so-and-so!" has never been made a crime. These laws have been in effect for YEARS. This proves that we can consider intent in terms of prosecution without making the thought a crime. The Hate Crime Prevention Act is no different.
Edit: I think that anything can be abused. Look at our system for filing civil lawsuits. Although there are times when they are very much justified, there are times when people tie up the courts with trivial silliness. All the article that you posted said was that they could face 47 years in prison -- and I seriously, seriously doubt that they will receive the maximum sentence ... especially if none of them have previous offenses.
However, I think that part of being a good citizen is knowing the difference between exercising your civil rights and using your civil rights to harm other people. Look at Westboro Baptist Church -- they have every right in this country to protest at the funerals of fallen soliders, but the fact that they do is utterly disgusting. To me, protesting a gay pride parade is in bad taste. I try to think how I would feel if I was attending a church function and people showed up there to protest. Even though it would be perfectly within their rights to do so, it again would be in bad taste and an abuse of civil rights, in my personal opinion.
However, I don't personally feel that the HCPA will allow law enforcement to "make up crimes". And as for free speech, it is most efficient when used respectfully and in a dignified manner. After all, I don't know what the protesters put on their signs, but once again ... How would you feel if, say, a group of Muslims showed up at a church picnic, holding signs to the effect that "Infidels will burn in hell!"
Last edit on the subject: Also, the "perceived" intent will have to be proven in a court of law before the person can even be prosecuted as committing a hate crime. And do a quick web search -- all charges have been dropped against the 4 in Philly.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I'm surprised that Ron Paul would post something so dishonest and misleading.
The law in question applies specifically to crimes of VIOLENCE. Despite conservative propaganda to the contrary, it would not be used to prevent Christians from preaching their views about homosexuality and sin. It would not violate the first amendment, it would not stifle free speech. And there is nothing in the law that could provide the "loophole" that some Christian claim.
All the law does is increase the sentences for violent crimes that are motivated by hate--it does not create any "new" crimes or make previously lawful behaviour illegal.
Personally, I don't think the law is a particularly good idea, but that doesn't justify lying about it's content and effects to try and undermine it.
- 1 decade ago
Who's to know what's really in one's heart while he commits a crime? All I know is, I'd feel diminished as a person if I, a white male, was mugged and the assailant was punished more harshly for also mugging the guy next to me because he's black, or gay or whatever. That tells me that a crime against me isn't so bad, but if one dares to deny a minority of HIS rights, well, that's somehow much more offensive. A crime should be punished for what it is, a crime. Nothing more.
- 1 decade ago
Actually I fought to get one of the first hate crime bills passed. It merely made the sentences stiffer if it was proven that someone committed a crime on a person because of their sex, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
Why do you feel Christians would have a problem with that?
If by forced silence, you mean hate speech- I think the Bible already condemns that.
EDIT- Apostle Jeff, please show me one news report from a reliable source (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) where a person was merely arrested for wearing a tee shirt with a Bible verse on it.
I live in America as well. Free speech is not threatened by the passage of this law. These are the kinds of crimes that will be prosecuted:
In 1998, in Jasper, Texas, the Klu Klux Klan killed an African American by dragging him behind a truck while his body shattered. In response to this outrageous crime, a Texas court, for the first time ever, condemned a white man to death for the murder of a black man.
Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student who died in 1998 after being beaten and tied to a fence and left to die in Wyoming. He was rescued but died in the hospital from his injuries.
Do you have a problem with having stiffer penalties for such heinous acts?
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- Christian SinnerLv 71 decade ago
There will have to be something that shuts people up about Christianity in the End Times. If not Hate Crime stuff, then something else. I don't think that you are far from whatever the truth is.
- 1 decade ago
It will if our voices are hateful. It won't if our voices are filled with love. God is love. Jesus condemned the overly-righteous, not the sinners. He comforted and hung out with the sinners. Condemning people to hell hardly sounds like love to me. Of course, you may say that you want to freak them out into changing because you love them, but I doubt that if asked they would say, "I know it's because they love us," and you and I both know it. There has got to be a better way...
- Robin RunesingerLv 51 decade ago
Yes, hate crimes try to enforce the thoughts of one's heart, one's beliefs. and one's ideas. This is not only a violation of freedom of speech, but it is a violation of freedom of thought.
There are those who support the hate crime bill, thinking it will promote their own political ends, but a law of this sort could easily turn on those who promote it.
- Apostle JeffLv 61 decade ago
Because they are already persecuting Christians in different States that already have hate crimes. They are arresting us just for wearing Bible verses on our Tee Shirts!Source(s): The News
- 1 decade ago
No. The First Amendment is why not. Remember, voices, not actions, is what you asked.
- 1 decade ago
it won't be the 1st time it has happened, and look, here is satan again trying to silent us, you'd think he would have LEARNED by now!!! JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!! say it and believe it. - it will alway's be like that, but satan just doesn't get it!!