Sunday, December 12, 2010

U.S. Federal Hate Crimes Act

The U.S. Federal Hate Crimes Act passed in 2009 not only criminalizes hate crimes but also speech that could be construed to possibly contribute to a hate crime. Some Congressmen had proposed an amendment exempting religious teachings against homosexual acts. However, this amendment had been struck down, allowing passage of the bill without the religious exemption. However, according to (12/10/10),

An appeal was filed [Ann Arbor, Michigan] earlier this week with the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the Federal Hate Crimes Act passed in 2009.

• According to a brief filed by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) “This statute is all about elevating certain persons (homosexuals) to a protected class under federal law based on nothing more than their choice to have sex with persons of the same gender, while marginalizing strong religious opposition to this immoral choice,”

• Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC adds, “Under the guise of enforcing ‘niceness’ and promoting ‘tolerance,’ homosexual advocacy groups have mobilized their financial power to purchase political clout which they now use to shut down any criticism of their deviant lifestyle. The truth is they are one of the most intolerant groups in our society and viciously attack anyone who opposes their point of view.”

Are the concerns of this hate crimes bill misdirected?

“The Thomas More Center says that even statistics compiled by their own “gay rights” advocacy groups show that the greatest threat of violence to homosexuals comes not from Christians, but from other homosexuals. They also show that during the period from 1999 to 2003, a homosexual was 244 percent more likely to commit an act of violence against another homosexual than was a heterosexual.”

Does the social price-tag of the cure (the hate crimes bill criminalizing speech that can be construed to possibly lead to a hate crime) out-weigh the possible benefits? According to Robert Muise, the senior trial counsel for TMLC,

“This new federal law…creates a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior. And secondly, it creates ‘thought crimes’ by criminalizing certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make it deserving of federal prosecution.”

This is reminiscent of shariah’s anti-blaspheme laws. Among other things, these laws create social imbalance, empowering one group over another, thereby causing social alienation. However, the intolerance directed against sincerely and traditionally held religious beliefs will only engender social breakdown.

And what is being achieved by this new and radical law? Beyond the immediate protection of the feelings of the LGBT community, it is hard to say. It is even difficult to argue that even the best interests of the LGBTs are being served by it. To demonstrate the absurdity of this contention, a new proposal by IPPF is instructive. On December 9, 2010,, is illuminating:

“A new campaign seeks to eliminate disclosure laws which require HIV positive individuals to inform their sex partners of their potentially deadly infection. The campaign is led by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNAIDS, an umbrella group of UN agencies. Notably absent from this campaign is any recognition of the danger posed for the possible victims of a willful refusal to disclose HIV status. As part of the campaign, IPPF released a collection of interviews entitled 'Behind Bars', which implies that such criminal laws fuel stigma against HIV persons. Proponents of criminal laws assert, however, they are designed to help protect and prevent sexual partners from contracting a potentially deadly virus.”

Does such a proposal promote the welfare of LGBTs? The diagnosis, treatment, and containment of a contagious disease might bring stigmatization, but what is the price of failing to do so? Why should the legal structure be changed to shield LGBTs from negative comments, while putting their lives in further jeopardy?

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