Is Telling Lawyer Jokes a Hate Crime? the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 Is Dangerous, Not Only on Its Own Terms, but Because of Its Role in the Culture Wars That Will Shape America for Generations to Come

By Eidsmoe, John | The New American, April 2, 2007 | Go to article overview

Is Telling Lawyer Jokes a Hate Crime? the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 Is Dangerous, Not Only on Its Own Terms, but Because of Its Role in the Culture Wars That Will Shape America for Generations to Come


Eidsmoe, John, The New American


Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

--Isaiah 5:20

We live in a topsy-turvy world. From early youth, most of us have been taught that homosexual conduct is contrary to Scripture, contrary to Judeo-Christian teaching, and contrary to good morality.

Then, a few decades ago, the "gay rights" movement arose and demanded the fight to practice the homosexual lifestyle. "We do not ask you to approve or agree with us," they would say, "we only ask that you recognize our fight to our practices."

But that isn't enough anymore. Today, the "gay rights" movement demands that we not only accept their right to practice homosexual conduct, but also approve and affirm it as an acceptable lifestyle.

What's next? Will their next step be to silence their critics by making criticism of homosexual conduct illegal?

Homosexual conduct, which virtually every civilization at all times in history has condemned as immoral, harmful, and aberrant, is now lauded as an acceptable lifestyle; and a defense of traditional Biblical morality is condemned as the most vile sin of all--intolerance. As the prophet Isaiah warned, evil is now called good, and good is now called evil.

On January 5, 2007, the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 was introduced in Congress. Section (2)(A) of this bill (H.R. 254) provides that "Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person," shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined, or both. If the crime involves kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, or attempts to commit either of the foregoing, or if death results from the crime, the imprisonment shall be from 10 years to life.

Given today's hyped rhetoric, anyone who opposes this bill is likely to be accused of supporting hate crimes. But there are many legitimate reasons to oppose this bill.

First, although the bill contains the usual recitations about effects upon interstate commerce, thereby giving the law a coloring of legality, the interstate commerce clause of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is interpreted so broadly that almost any crime could be classed as affecting interstate commerce and therefore subject to federal prosecution. If this bill becomes law, police and prosecutors will routinely seek federal prosecutions, instead of or in addition to state prosecutions, because of the enhanced penalties. The practical result will be more federal intrusion into areas properly reserved to the states, more federalization of the judicial process, and expanded power of the federal courts.

Second, the acts prohibited by this hate-crimes bill are already crimes, in most cases felonies that carry substantial punishment. Why, then, is enhanced punishment necessary? Backers of the bill argue that the hate-crimes law is needed because crimes against homosexuals are especially heinous as they constitute discrimination at its worst.

However, the bill itself is discriminatory because it singles out certain classes for its protection while leaving others unprotected. If A commits a crime against B because he hates B's race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, the hate-crimes bill applies, and he is subject to enhanced punishment.

But there are many kinds of hatred. What if A assaults B because he hates the fact that B is handsome and A isn't? Or because B is overweight, or has body odor, or bad table manners, or an obnoxious personality? Are those kinds of hate crimes any less reprehensible than those that are covered by this bill?

What, then, is the real purpose of this bill? …

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