Making Free Speech a Crime
By Jerry A. Kane
April is the cruellest month stirring desires to renew a withered, decaying civilization amid a waste land of broken traditions and dead flowing crowds, which are but painful reminders of a once fertile culture. Winter’s forgetfulness and numbness is preferable to America’s uninhibited vulgarity, shocking sensationalism, and extreme eccentricities.
The democratic socialists’ and progressives’ incessant iconoclastic attacks on once established values and morality have nearly eroded this nation’s spiritual and cultural legacy. Instituting same-sex marriage and prosecuting hate speech will complete the process and emasculate the wounded Fisher King, shatter the remaining hopes for cultural regeneration, and tear down the last vestiges of the country’s Judeo-Christian ethic.
In America’s brave new post-modern multiculture, homosexual and transgender people will become a federally-protected class under the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, HR-1913. Under this act, anyone who publicly opposes the practice of homosexuality or any of the 30 other sexual orientations as designated by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) could be charged with expressing “hateful words” and convicted of a “hate crime.”
Under the guise of tolerance, Canada and European countries have implemented hate crimes legislation to suppress expressions that conflict with public opinion or do not conform to politically-correct policies, i.e., the views of the state are the views of the people. Only designated groups and minorities belong to the protected classes. The majority of Canadians and Europeans are not free to express politically incorrect religious beliefs, moral convictions, and political ideas publicly for fear they may enrage members in the protected classes.
Britain’s hate crimes legislation should be renamed the Islam Protection Act. In January 2007, British television aired Undercover Mosque, a documentary about Islamic extremism in Britain. The documentary was based on a 12-month secret investigation into mosques throughout the nation. In the footage, Muslim preachers exhort followers to prepare for jihad, incite violence against non-Muslims, urge followers to reject British laws, and praise the Taliban for killing a British soldier.
Leaders in the Muslim community complained the film was discriminatory and intimidating, so the police requested the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecute the film-makers for “stirring up racial hatred.” By ignoring facts and what had actually happened, the police and CPS found common ground with the film’s detractors—that is to say, they agreed the Islamic clerics were harmless victims whose sermons were “taken out of context” and condemned the film-makers for religious bigotry and inciting racial hatred. Alas, the Sibyl hanging in a jar has supplanted the blindfolded matron, Justitia.
Hate crimes legislation allows a country’s legal system to disregard any notion of equality under the law, and apply it unequally and selectively, which means that some citizens are harassed, prosecuted, and convicted, while others are not. In Canada and European countries, hate crime prosecutions of heterosexuals, non-Muslims, or non-Socialists exceed those of homosexuals, Muslims, and socialists.
Hate crime laws are rarely enforced when slurs, insults, invectives, and ridicule are hurled at members in the majority group. For example, in May 2006, a Belgium man filed a complaint with the police against the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism because he was offended by the agency’s use of the words “Dirty Heterosexual” in its postcard distribution campaign. The agency director said that stigmatizing or discriminating against majorities is “not real discrimination” and dismissed the man’s objections with laugher saying, “Discrimination is something that by definition affects minorities.”
Hate crime laws establish a preferential justice system and create a double standard in the legal system that fosters distrust, conflict, and intolerance in a society. Such laws suggest that members of a minority group deserve a higher tier of justice than those of the majority, which makes members of the minority group more important and morally superior. In Austria, it’s not considered degrading to Christians if Jesus is portrayed in homosexual acts with his apostles, but it is degrading to Muslims if the historical fact that Muhammad married a six-year old girl is mentioned.
In Britain, a 69-year-old evangelical was prosecuted for displaying a protest sign with the words “Stop Immorality. Stop Homosexuality. Stop Lesbianism.” Objecting to his peaceful protest, hecklers knocked him down, threw dirt on him, poured water over his head, and tried to take his placard. The police came and arrested the protester, but did nothing to those who assaulted him.
The magistrates’ court ruled that the words on the placard could be harassing, alarming, and distressful for homosexuals who may find the words threatening, abusive, or insulting. Consequently, the evangelical protester was fined and ordered to pay court costs for displaying words that might offend the delicate sensibilities of a protected class member, but the criminal actions of the hecklers who assaulted him were disregarded and left unpunished.
Fears that hate crime laws will eventually lead to criminalizing speech are not unfounded. In 2001, a Saskatchewan resident published an ad in a local newspaper that consisted of a few Bible verses and an illustration of two stickman figures holding hands inside a circle with a line though it. Now, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” The Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ordered the resident and newspaper to pay $4,500 to three homosexuals who had been traumatized and scarred for life by the stickman illustration.
Polemicists who denounce homosexuality and same-sex marriage are no less entitled to their opinions than the apologists who promote them. What has happened to religious freedom and freedom of conscience in Canada and Europe as the result of implementing hate crime laws is clear. “I had not thought death had undone so many.” Make no mistake, if HR-1913 becomes law in the United States, freedom of speech will be sacrificed to protect particular classes from criticism and all forms of upset, making condemnation of homosexuality illegal.
Striding and rising shadows depend on the time of day, but self-evident truth is a constant. Hate crime laws violate the Founder’s fundamental notion that man’s natural equality entitles him to impartial justice, which is the underlying principle of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 is an attempt by democratic socialists and progressives to silence dissent against alternative lifestyles. How ironic the counterculture left that chanted in the 1960s, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” now fights to enslave all Americans to the will of a totalitarian bureaucracy.