Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crime vs. Hate

Laws have been written to protect minority lifestyles, or minorities, from being the object of attacks from those with either racist or religious mindsets, by creating harsher penalties. I've heard conservatives argue against hate crimes because they say if a person kills or hurts another, it's probably derived from hate. They miss the entire point.

So, what's the difference?

Bigotry or bias would seem to be the key thoughts. Hate crimes are acts committed against someone because of a characteristic that can not be changed. Either ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion; probably could add more to the list.

So where does an atheist stand? We're not a religion, we're not any of the above. I have never seen anywhere that atheists are recognized as a minority group.

What about crimes committed by a christian? If a priest molests a boy, if he ever gets to sentencing, will it be harsher? Being young is a characteristic that can only be changed with time, but I've never heard it called a hate crime. How about the killing or injuring of someone who works in an abortion clinic? I guess since you could find other work, possibly the case could be made that the job is not an intrinsic characteristic.

If you look at the most recent case, Dr. Tiller's assassination, was the suspect charged with a hate crime? Is a far right religious entity the same as the KKK? I say they are. The prosecution made the case during the trial that the act committed was a hate crime and that the sentence should reflect the act. The sentencing did not.

Just food for thought, does religion, because of the unwarranted respect given, get a free pass?

The most vocal opponents of the Hate Crimes Prevention act of 2009 were the Traditional Values Coalition and the American Family Association. They do not want anyone to muzzle their hatred, even though the bill doesn't strip their freedom of stupid speech. Priests have to talk badly about homosexuality, it's one of their favorite parts of the bible.

Conservative politicians also tried to warp the bill by saying it would effect the religious expression and religious freedom of millions of americans. I guess talking shit is what freedom means to a theist.

I wonder if all the dissent is a smokescreen to protect religiously produced hate.

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