On July 15th I posted an article here on AirMaria called News – Hate Crimes Bill, Censorship on the Sly regarding the legislation against violence directed toward homosexuals S.1105. Legislation by this same name and general intent has recently passed in Europe and Canada that directly impinges on religious freedom of speech, making it a crime to say that homosexuality is inherently wrong. The hate crimes bill in the US does not impinge directly on religious freedom but only if such speech incites someone to violence, i.e. if someone does a violent act after hearing a homily against homosexuality. But this is a clear step in that direction. According to AFA this could be voted on as early as today! Read on and then take action.
Some people say that the hate crimes legislation being proposed here in the US is not as bad as that already in place in Europe and Canada. This is obvious. But it definitely does make homosexuals a specially protected class and so forms the basis for more explicit laws in the future. This is apparently done with no real reason. Hate crimes against homosexuals constitute much less than 1% of violent crime and is dropping dramatically! See hate crime stats at Chuck Colson’s site. Meanwhile crimes perpetrated by homosexuals against heterosexuals are occurring (The tragic story of Jesse Dirkhising and Woman’s death at hands of ‘gay’ her fault, says lawyer). I wonder if these are being tracked with as much vigilance and if these will be included as hate crimes.
Perhaps a glimpse into which direction this is going can be gaged by congress’ spontaneous reaction against the comments of General Peter Pace. And, oh, what a coincidence! He said exactly what is illegal to say according to the more radical hate crime legislation of Europe and Canada, that homosexuality is intrinsically immoral. The sentiment only needs to be given the force of law and both military officers and pastors alike can be thrown in jail for saying this, incitement or not.
Some commenters are saying that our Constitution prevents this from happening in America. It is, indeed, good that we have these provisions. Thanks be to God. But, we must look at the bigger historical and geographical picture.
In a very short period of time, Germany, England, Holland, and Sweden, (almost half of the original European Union) as well as Australia and Canada have instituted draconian hate crimes measures that have effectively shut down any democratic discussion on the moral issues (not just homosexuality but abortion and fornication in some countries.) Yet, all of these countries have democratic principles that are as old and strong as ours. In fact, the list of those who have instituted these radical forms of hate crimes is a short list of the most democratic countries in the world outside of the US. Just ten years ago it was unthinkable that this radical shut down of dialogue could happen in any of these countries much less all of them. So too, we must not remain complacent just because such legislation is unthinkable in America today.
Further, with the global scope of today’s politics, it must be noted that all these countries are our closest political, cultural and economic allies. As such they can exert powerful political peer pressure. The international hate crime movement is simply too fast, too vast and our world too small to think that we don’t need to be vigilant. The fortress America mentality no longer works. And, locally the list of things that are acceptable today in America that were not at all acceptable thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago is simply too long for us to say it can’t happen here.
Other founding documents of ours such as the Declaration of Independence also seem to protect basic rights like the right of life:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Yet we now deny this fundamental right to life, by permitting abortion, snuffing the life from one third of all babies conceived, the most innocent among us. And this is done by claiming it is in the Constitution!! Words like “penumbra” are used to conjure up hidden meanings that could not have possibly been meant by the original authors. This technique of adding meanings to the Constitution, so well developed by our highest judges, can easily be adapted to do the opposite, to erase meanings that are clearly there. As such vigilance will always be needed.
Originally I wrote the article in July because I was shocked that it was not being talked about in the mainstream media and they were talking about attaching it to a defense spending bill for Iraq. So, if the intentions of and those introducing the bill are so upright, then why the silence and why the political smoke and mirrors?
Mark Shea on his blog Catholic and Enjoying It took up the story in an article “Gay Brownshirts on the March” giving us a positive blurb and a link to our article and many of his readers have commented on his blog.
Theresa Tomeo has given us a video interview of her concerns for this issue.
We may be behind Europe, thanks to the Constitution and our higher regard for religion, but we are marching right along. By using the provocative title, “Gay Brownshirts on the March,” for his post, Mark has used the rhetorical technique of exaggeration. And he has used it well, to accurately spotlight the imbalances in our worldwide society. Let us keep dialogue open. Let us keep democracy. Let us keep freedom of religion. Lord help us.