Hate Crime Laws

By Mark Dove, May 19, 2010 10:59 am

The 2010 Art and Essay Competition has ended. You can view results for the Art Competition here.  The following essay was submitted by Andrew Rainer and was the $300 Grand Prize Winner. This year’s theme was, “Writer’s Choice of Any Political, Economic, Theological, or Social Issue.”

Andrew Rainer
2010 Essay Competition
$300 Grand Prize Winner
Category 1 – Grades 11 & 12

Hate Crime Laws: Extra Protection or an Infringement on our Liberties?

On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, calling the Act a step to “help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray”.1 The Hate Crime Prevention Act provides additional funding to our local authorities to help prosecute crimes that are “motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim”.2 The wording of this law is dangerous to the American people, threatening our freedom to speak, our freedom to be equal, and our freedom to worship God. In this essay, you will hear some shocking information on how the Hate Crime Act disregards our Constitution, erodes our personal liberties, and creates an elite segment of the population. I will also show you examples from other countries that show the evolution and danger of these laws in action.

Laws in America are expected to pass a test, a test of Constitutionality. The Constitution on the United States is the definitive document that outlines and protects the freedom of American citizens. So let’s put the Hate Crime Law to the test – a Constitutional test. Amendment 1 of the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” (U.S. Constitution). The Hate Crime Law violates the First Amendment by considering free, opinionated speech a crime. Amendment 14 states, “No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. Constitution). Every person in America deserves the same protection, irrespective of their color, religion, or gender preference. By singling out a certain kind of people for extra protection, the Hate Crime Law violates the 14th Amendment.

Pastor Stephen Boissoin, in 2002, wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper in Alberta, Canada. In this letter, he called homosexuality “wicked” and stated that “Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system . . . under the fraudulent guise of equal rights”.3 Mr. Boissoin was shortly thereafter accused of discrimination and, in 2008, “disallowed to publish discriminatory letters in newspapers by email, on the radio, in public speeches, and on the internet in the future” by the Alberta Human Rights commission.4 In its ruling, the panel admitted that Mr. Boissoin committed no crime. Is it fair to punish someone if they have committed no crime? Hate Crimes Laws are unjust and discriminated against Mr. Boissoin’s freedom of speech.

In July 2009, Pauline Howe, a 67 year-old grandmother, wrote to her city council in Norwick, England, to protest their decision allowing a gay pride march. Mrs. Howe wrote that she had been verbally abused by some of the marchers after handing out Christian literature. Mrs. Howe also wrote of her opinion on homosexuality. Soon after this letter, two officers showed up at Mrs. Howe’s home, lecturing and threatening Mrs. Howe on how her letter was a hate crime. Mrs. Howe later said, regarding her interrogation, “The officers told me that my letter was thought to be an intention of hate but I was only expressing my views as a Christian”.5 Hate Crime Laws encourage the harassment of honest citizens by law enforcement, and, in this case, did not offer Mrs. Howe protection from the verbal abuse she had experienced. It is becoming apparent that these laws are especially dangerous to Christians because we are commanded by God to rebuke sin and correct our fellow man.6

On April 30, 2003, in Sweden, Pastor Aka Green preached a sermon entitled “Is homosexuality congenital or the powers of evil meddling with people.” In this sermon, Pastor Green called homosexuality “a serious cancerous growth on the body of society”.7 Pastor Green was soon charged with discrimination under Swedish Criminal Code Chapter 16, Section 8. “A person who, in a disseminated statement . . . expresses contempt for a national, ethnic, or other such group of persons with allusion to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation, shall be sentenced . . . to imprisonment for at the most two years or . . . to a fine”.8 Pastor Green was sentenced to one month in jail but was able to use the Swedish courts to appeal this sentence. We again see Hate Crime Laws being enforced against nonviolent politically incorrect acts, limiting the free speech of a citizen and potentially subjecting him to incarceration.

The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act is a danger to the Constitutional and person liberties of the American people. Benjamin Franklin, one of the signers of the Constitution, once said “Without the freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech”9. Will history show America as a nation that abandoned her Constitution and replaced it with oppression? God commands us as His children to “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.10 Are we being vigilant by voting for leaders, Republican or Democrats, who have tricked us again and again by taking away our liberties in the name of protection? According to President Obama, “there are still laws to change”(1). What will the government do next to our freedoms, to our Constitution, to our Christian heritage? Albert Einstein, a notable American Physicist, said “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure”.11 If we can muster the determination, we can defend our Constitution by sending a clear message to our representative at the polls in November. If elected officials voted for un-Constitutional Laws like the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, we will vote them out of office. We must also encourage our leaders to repel the Hate Crime Law, because our freedom is currently hanging by a thread.


1

 

“Obama signs hate crime bill into law”. CNN Politics. January 18, 2010 http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/28/hate.crimes/index.html

2

 

United States. Cong. Senate 111th Congress, 1st Session. H.R. 1913. “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009.” 111th Cong. 1st Sess.Congressional Bills, Library of Congress. Web. 12 December 2009 <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:4:./temp/~c1114QNPuy::>

3

 

Vere, Pete, “Canada Orders Pastor to Renounce His Faith”. Catholic Exchange. Feb 12, 2010. http://catholicexchange.com/2008/06/04/112780/

4

 

Human Rights Panel of Alberta. Darren E. Lund vs. Stephen Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition, Inc. Decision Date May 30, 2008. Web. 12 Dec 2010. http://albertahumanrights.dab.ca/LundDarrenRemedy053008.pdf

5

 

Rothman, Claudette. “Grandmother, Pauline Howe who objected to gay march is accused of hate crime”. Greenwich Diva. Feb 09, 2010 http://theoriginalgreenwichdiva.com/grandmother-pauline-howe-who-objected-to-gay-march-is-accused-of-hate-crime/5908/

6   II Timothy 3:16, King James Bible

7

 

Richburg, Keith B. and Alan Cooperman. “Swede’s Sermon on Gays: Bigotry or Free Speech”. The Washington Post. Feb 03, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyr/articles/A45538-2005Jan28.html

8

 

Swedish Criminal Code. Chapter 16. Section8. Web. 08 Jan 2010 http://www.sakerhetspolisen.se…

9

 

Franklin, Benjamin. Forbes. 11 March 2010 http://thoughts.Forbes.com/thoughts/freedom-benjamin-franklin-without-freedom-of/

10

 

I Peter 5:8. 21st Century King James Bible. Devel Enterprises, Inc, 1994

11

 

Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein Quotes, 12 March 2010 http://en.thinkexist.com/quotation/the_strength_of_the_constitution_lies_entirely_in/327578.html

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