May 10, 2007

The God-Given Right to Hate

The latest target of Christian extremists appears to be pending hate crimes legislation (HR 1592), and this is a huge issue for them. If you have any doubt as to how important this bill is to Christian extremists, Google "hate crimes Christian," and you'll see what I mean. Could it be that these Christians are actually upset because they want the right to hatefully oppose and discriminate against certain groups? I can't help being reminded of Cheney's insistence that he retain the right to torture at will. What is really going on here, and what is at stake?

From what I heard on NPR, the goal of the proposed hate crimes legislation is to extend federal protection to gender and sexual orientation. According to DefCon, this is troubling to Christian extremists because they do not think homosexual Americans should have this sort of protection under the law. DefCon makes the case for Christian extremists' opposition coming from their opposition to homosexuality, but it is more than that. The opposition also stems from their fear that the law would make even minor expressions of sexism or homophobia illegal. Of course, this is not at all what hate crimes legislation is about. Expansion of this law would mean that crimes in which the perpetrator was clearly motivated by sexism or homophobia would qualify for consideration of a hate crimes enhancement in the penalty phase of the trial. In other words, a case of unambiguous gay bashing could be considered for a stiffer penalty compared to a similar crime where hatred was not clearly the motive. Not quite the same thing as Orwellian thought police, is it?

So what is really going on here? In all likelihood, Christian extremists are opposing this bill out of a misguided attempt to scare and then rally their base. If they can convince their mindless flock that this bill is another example of America's secular government attacking their previous superstitions, then they remain relevant and gain publicity.

For more information, check out Pam's House Blend.

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