Some people say that there shouldn’t be hate crimes laws:
The bill directly violates freedom of religion in this sense as it declares moral disapproval to be unacceptable.
“And they’re saying what’s why they killed him. Because he was gay. And he wasn’t gay,” said Thomas Hall. “I don’t know any crime on the planet that deserves that type of punishment.” Court papers show Gray and King brutally attacked, then photographed Hall. King hit him with his boots at least 75 times. The suspects told police they dragged Hall down the steps, loaded him into Robert Hendricks’ truck, and dumped his body in a ditch. They say they went back two days later, and found Hall in a nearby field. That’s when they tell police they wrapped the body in a tarp and hid it in Gray’s garage.
Either these people think that brutal murder is an acceptable form of “moral disapproval,” or they are confusing hate crime with hate speech.
Hate-crime laws are never about hate speech per se. They are only about acts that are already crimes. Now, certain acts of speech — particularly threats and intimidation — are the subject of criminal sanction already in the law, so if these crimes are committed with a racial, religious, or gay-bashing motive, then it is possible for some speech to be considered a hate crime.
But the core principle is this: The First Amendment has never covered criminal acts, because crimes are never a form of free speech. You can’t kill someone and claim it was an act of political protest, at least not under Western law as we know it.
These acts are still crimes whether or not the motive is considered, so why should the motive be considered and make the sentence more severe? For one, hate crimes hurt an entire community. If a man you know is tortured to death for being gay (or because someone thought he was gay), you understandably might do your best to appear not gay. If someone from your place of worship is killed for being a member of that particular religion, you may stop attending or talking about your faith.
And that is what hate crimes, in the end, are all about: Taking away the rights and freedom of our fellow citizens, denying them the right to participate in the community where they reside and forcing them to live as shadow citizens. People opposed to hate-crimes laws are, at rock bottom, profoundly anti-freedom.
i thought about her on the train ride to work. and by this, i mean i thought about her and i thought about myself, in that we’re both women. as far as we know at this point, she was merely a young woman in a parking lot – i am that woman a lot of times too. and these horrible moments in time, regardless of how long the odds of them happening to any given woman are, exist for all women in the sense that we know it could happen to us. that we could walk out of a Target at 7:10 pm on a saturday and not make it safely to our cars. that we could be the victims of such terrorism, such pointed destruction, such punishment.
Hate crimes laws don’t just protect the queer community – they protect even Christians, who are often the ones most violently opposed to the laws.
the fact that the crime itself — arson against a place of worship — is backed up by a serious law carrying stiff penalties demonstrates once again how important hate crimes laws are in protecting everyone’s rights. The same laws that protect synagogues and mosques are now being brought to bear to defend the Victory Family Church and its members.
Hate crimes laws are also important because when no one speaks out specifically against these crimes, the perpetrators feel like their community actually approves. Often, the most outspoken opponents of hate crimes laws are Christians on the far right. This isn’t surprising considering the racism, sexism, and homophobia of some of their most beloved leaders (Via Majikthise).
But for Falwell, the “questions of the day” did not always relate to abortion and homosexuality–nor did they begin there. Decades before the forces that now make up the Christian right declared their culture war, Falwell was a rabid segregationist who railed against the civil rights movement
Even now, the Right defends the “white, Christian, male power structure” (via Feministing).