Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


Obama To Sign Hate Crimes Legislation: Violates Numbers 15:15?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The White House has announced that President Obama will sign new legislation which adds provisions to include Gays and Lesbians among the groups protected by special hate crimes legislation. It would be a great idea, if hate crimes legislation itself was a good idea, but it’s not. Hate crime laws undermine the fundamental purpose of any healthy system of justice by using the penal code to address social issues instead of punishing those accused of committing particular crimes.
Such laws also may run afoul of the biblical commandment found in Numbers 15:15 that “there shall be one law for all”. While we are not a theocracy, there is wisdom in that practice which we ignore at all of our peril.
While the problems which hate crimes legislation address are generally real, and in the case of Gay and Lesbian Americans who face specific dangers on a regular basis simply because they are who they are, such problems are all too real. Nonetheless, such legislation is not the way to correct this problem.
Punishing individuals for what they believe and not what they have done is a scary precedent which avoids the real cultural challenges we face and potentially devalues the significance of crimes not rising to the level of a hate crime. Just ask the victims’ families.
Does it matter to victims’ families why they are burying their loved one, or visiting them in a hospital? Of course not. And only those who seek to politicize a particular crime would distinguish between crime victims based on their race, religion, or sexual identity.
And while hate crimes laws are not a good idea, the underlying problems which give rise to them must be addressed. Here are two possible ways to do so without undermining the cornerstone notion that we punish acts not thoughts.


First, prosecutors could avail themselves of terrorism laws which do acknowledge the special severity of a crime whose intent was to do more than harm the individual or individuals immediately affected. This is not the same as a hate crime which punishes criminals for their emotions, and entirely in line with our penal code which already acknowledges that intent, can and should be a factor in determining the severity of a crime.
Unlike hate crimes legislations, the issue here is not the special treatment given to any part of the population, but the ability of prosecutors to prove that the intent of the criminals was to cause harm beyond those they physically hurt. Such terrorism prosecutions could be put on against those who attack schools as much as those who attack gay people. The issue would be the scope of the damage they did, not the special status of those against whom they acted.
Secondly, we should closely monitor prosecution rates for those who attack especially vulnerable members of our society. Those who attack them should not be punished more harshly than they would be had they attacked a “regular” person, but neither should those who attack the more vulnerable or less popular among us anticipate an easier journey through the justice system. Criminals need to know that if they commit a crime against a “less popular” member of the community, it makes no difference – they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Bottom line, there should be one law for all people and altering that principle is not the way to address the fact that sometimes it does not work out that way. The way to address that problem is with vigorous prosecution of all criminals, regardless of who they hurt.
If, and, when the rates of prosecution or terms of sentence against those who are guilty of attacking the more vulnerable among us, begin to differ from those leveled against the entire criminal population, it is we who have to be cautious. When that happens, the issue may well be the hate we feel, not the hate the criminals feel.



  • Cassie C

    “Does it matter to victims’ families why they are burying their loved one, or visiting them in a hospital? Of course not.”
    Are you kidding me? Have you ever had a close friend or family member threatened, attacked or killed because of her sexual orientation, gender identity or race? It absolutely makes a difference WHY it happened. Why do you think Judy Shepard has spent the past ten years speaking and working across the country to try to get hate crimes legislation passed? Lots of middle class women with free time have sons who’ve been brutally beaten and murdered; why do you think this particular woman made a crusade out of her son’s death? Because it was that much more painful to know that her son died because of his sexual orientation.
    Punishing crimes done on the basis of classification more harshly than those done for less bigoted reasons IS good policy. I don’t know if you’ve ever talked to a victim of a hate crime before, but there is a significant psychological harm done when you are made sharply aware that you live in a world where you can be harmed for who you are. A bruise is more than just a bruise.
    The justice system punishes other crimes more harshly because of their psychological effect. Take rape, for instance. It is at its base a physical attack, but it is punished more harshly than other physical attacks because of its psychological effect.

  • Husband

    First of all, Rabbi, I believe there’s a typo …
    “While we are a theocracy”
    Surely you meant ‘While we are not a theocracy …’ (though some folk in America not only wish it was a theocracy, but think it either is or should become one). Maybe it was a Freudian slip on your part, because, when you say that such laws “run afoul of [a] biblical commandment”, “what the Bible says” (TM) is irrelevant to a justice system – in a land that ‘promises’ freedom of religion. Surely you would never have typed ‘It runs afoul of the Koranic commandment’. Would you? (If so, YIKES indeed!)
    Next, the bill protects heterosexuals too (your ‘one law for all’) – since it covers “sexual orientation”. That means people can be punished for attacking str8 people for their choice, oops, I mean for their orientation.
    “Punishing individuals for what they believe and not what they have done is a scary precedent”
    If that is what the law did, you would be right. When people act in a criminal manner because of what they ‘believe’, in the justice system, that’s called ‘motive’. Prosecutors already ask the ‘why’ behind crimes – what caused this person to commit this act. Men who kill wives who are having affairs do so out of jealousy. Men who kill wives just for the heck of it do so out of either hate, rage, insanity – any number of possible motives.
    “Just ask the victims’ families.”
    An interesting proposition. Trouble is, American justice sh!ts on the families of its gay citizens. Just ask the family of one particular victim – Matthew Shepherd – who’s murder was called a “hoax” – in Congress, no less.
    “Does it matter to victims’ families why they are burying their loved one, or visiting them in a hospital?”
    Although I am grateful for your apparent compassion, you seem to forget that in most of America, gay spouses (you know, our actual families) aren’t ALLOWED to visit them in the hospital. And, I could relate heartbreaking stories about gay people’s ‘families’ denying the dead gay person’s spouse the opportunity to even ATTEND the funeral, nevermind the soulless cutting their partners out of their wills.
    “And only those who seek to politicize a particular crime would distinguish between crime victims based on their race, religion, or sexual identity.”
    Again, nice try, but only one of those categories is a choice. (Hint: it isn’t race and it isn’t sexual identity/orientation. That’s right, people choose – and can change – their religion.)
    “terrorism laws … do acknowledge the special severity of a crime whose intent was to do more than harm the individual or individuals immediately affected”
    Again, a noble aspiration. But America is balking at protecting gay citizens for any reason. Including them as victims of terrorism isn’t going to go over too well, I suspect. (He11, people can still be legally fired in 37 States – not just for being gay, but for being believed to be gay!) You are right, of course; most gay bashings are intended to terrorize the entire gay community – ‘you can be beaten or killed because of what you are‘, so every gay bashing/murder DOES do more than harm the individual(s) immediately affected.
    Hate crimes do not “[punish] criminals for their emotions”, but rather for their intent, their motive. Even you admit “that intent, can and should be a factor in determining the severity of a crime”. We/you know what the intent is, yet you don’t actually wish that criterion to be applied to gay citizens. Why not?
    “Criminals need to know that if they commit a crime against a “less popular” member of the community, it makes no difference – they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
    Once again, a truly noble concept. But it is not the reality for gay citizens in America today. ‘He made a pass at me and I panicked.’ Result? Case dismissed. Here’s a (hopefully) eye-opening tip. Visit http://www.365gay.com occasionally for some hair-raising reports on such cases that all too frequently result in ‘Case dismissed’.
    “The way to address that problem is with vigorous prosecution of all criminals, regardless of who they hurt.”
    If heterosexuals were bashed merely for being heterosexual (or thought to be heterosexual), you might have a point. Heterosexuals AREN’T being “hurt” (or fired) for being str8 in the first place.

  • not quite

    Punishing individuals for what they believe and not what they have done is a scary precedent which avoids the real cultural challenges we face and potentially devalues the significance of crimes not rising to the level of a hate crime. Just ask the victims’ families.
    I’d agree with you if that’s what hate crimes laws did. Hate crimes don’t punish people for their beliefs. They punish people for acting on those beliefs. And yes – that does matter.
    Is it more egregious a crime if I mug someone to take their money to buy food or if I mug someone because “they’re a dirty fag and deserve to be beat down?”
    How can you or anyone tell me those aren’t different crimes?
    Thank G-d we finally have executive and legislative branches in our government populated with people who can tell that in these cases, there is a distinction that makes a difference.

  • DML

    Using Numbers to make a case against this law or any part of our modern legal system just doesn’t work. We have many, many laws designed to protect certain groups of people, the American Civil War and a host of civil rights legislation are all good examples of laws designed implicitly or explicitly to protect certain people. This law adds to our tradition of making laws that are responsive to modern issues.
    Numbers 15:15 claims the idea of one law for all, a noble thing in itself. But a casual reading of this book reveals the intent of the Priestly Source, stacking the law in such a way to favor an exclusive priesthood, laws that apply solely to women like the law of jealousies, etc. Hardly one law for all.

  • m.e.graves

    And when someone grafitti’s a swastika on a synagogue, it’s only vandalism…

  • Ant C.

    I have to agree with Rabbi Brad on this. Hate crime legislation as written is too confusing and can be used subjectively by judges denying equal justice to all.

  • not quite

    Oh well. It’s the law of the land now.
    Deal.

  • Chall8987

    I think this article has a misconception of what Hate Crime laws actually do. Hate Crime legislation does not protect one group over another. The language is straightforward enough. People who attack other people for being different in terms of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity have been motivated by hatred to harm another person. It does not matter if it’s a group of African-Americans attacking a white man or vice versa, the race protection goes both ways. Same with the sexual orientation protection and the others. If a gay man beat up a straight man for being straight then that is a hate crime. The reason we think this law goes to protect certain groups over others, however, is simply because certain groups have a strong tendency to attack others. Thus, we never hear of gay men beating up straight men. If anything that only reinforces the need for this law, and I applaud our government for passing it.

  • Valerie

    Nice idea, but the bible doesn’t treat everyone the same… Women and men aren’t treated anywhere close to the same. Sean Kennedy’s murderer was given less than 2 years for beating him to death for being gay (check cnn for the shocking story). The punishment didn’t fit the crime (not even close), so maybe someone needs to step in and take care of what the local government screwed up so bad. m.e.graves made an excellent point. The bible obviously isn’t helping society enough, so good for the government to step in. Don’t like it? Don’t commit crimes against people simply because of their skin color, religion or gender.

  • Saul

    If all goes as planned, the 27 member states of the European Union will soon have a common hate crime legislation, which will turn disapproval for Islamic practices or homosexual lifestyles into crimes. Europe’s Christian churches are trying to stop the plan of the European political establishment, but it is not clear if they will be successful.
    Last April, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s Equal Treatment Directive. A directive is the name given to an EU law. As directives overrule national legislation, they need the approval of the European Council of Ministers before coming into effect. Next month, the Council will decide on the directive, which places the 27 EU member states under a common anti-discrimination legislation. The directive’s definition of discriminatory harassment is so broad that every objection to Muslim or homosexual practices will be considered unlawful.
    On April 2, the European Parliament passed the “directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,” 363 votes to 226. The directive applies to social protection and health care, social benefits, education and access to goods and services, including housing. American citizens and companies doing business in Europe are also required to adhere to it.
    Originally intended to serve as an equal treatment directive for the disabled by prohibiting discrimination when accessing “goods and services, including housing,” activist European politicians and governments had the directive’s scope expanded to include discrimination on the basis of religion, age and sexual orientation.
    Under the directive, harassment – defined as conduct “with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” – is deemed a form of discrimination.
    Harassment, as vaguely defined in the directive, allows an individual to accuse someone of discrimination merely for expressing something the individual allegedly perceives as creating an “offensive environment.” The definition is so broad that anyone who feels intimidated or offended can easily bring legal action against those whom he feels are responsible. Moreover, the directive shifts the burden of proof onto the accused, who has to prove the negative, i.e. demonstrate that he or she did not create an environment which intimidated or offended the complainant. If the accused fails to do so, he or she can be sentenced to paying an unlimited amount of compensation for “harassment.”
    The European press has mostly remained silent on the topic so far, but Christian congregations are extremely worried. Last August, Mgr. Andrew Summersgill issued a statement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, rejecting the directive because it would require people and organizations to act against their beliefs. “Homosexual groups campaigning for same-sex marriage may declare themselves to be offended by the presentation of the Catholic Church’s moral teaching on marriage, an atheist may be offended by religious pictures in an art gallery, or a Muslim may be offended by any picture representing the human form,” said Mgr. Summersgill.
    “When providing a service (such as a hotel room) or selling goods (such as books) in the EU, businesses and their employees will have to provide them or risk being sued, irrespective of whether they find themselves facilitating sexual ethics contrary to their religious beliefs or helping promote another religion,” say the legal experts of the British organizations Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) and Christian Legal Centre. Organizers of a Christian conference, for instance, will be legally obliged to make double rooms available to homosexual and unmarried couples as well as to normally married couples.
    The directive is currently being amended by Sweden, the president of the European Council in the second half of 2009, with a view to the final vote which will be taken by the Council next month. Activist politicians are attempting to extend discrimination and harassment in the directive to cover assumptions as well. Countries where the Catholic Church still has a large influence, such as Malta and Poland, however, are raising objections to these attempts. As the directive needs a unanimous approval by all 27 EU member states, it is not yet certain how far-reaching the final version of the directive is going to be.
    Nevertheless, the almost complete silence of the European media and of public opinion on the important issues which are at stake, is worrying. Europe risks losing important fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion, but does not seem prepared to fight and preserve these freedoms. Perhaps the lack of interest of the inhabitants of Europe for legislation concocted at a supranational level explains the lack of interest in this matter.
    The same phenomenon, a lack of interest on the part of European and also American public opinion, is apparent with regard to the semi-legal initiatives taken at the level of the United Nations. On October 2nd, the UN Human Rights Council approved a free speech resolution, co-sponsored by the US and Egypt, which criticizes “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” American diplomats said the decision to co-sponsor the resolution was part of America’s effort to “reach out to Muslim countries.” The resolution passed unanimously, with the support of all Western nations. Though the resolution has no immediate effect in law, it provides Muslim extremists with moral ammunition the next time they feel that central tenets of Islam are being treated disrespectfully through the creation of what they perceive to be an ‘offensive environment.’

  • Henrietta22

    Our President Obama said, “The hate crime bill helps protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray”. 12.000 crimes based on sexual orientatkion occured over the past ten years. President Obama said, “This is another step in the continuing struggle for protecting Human Rights”.

  • Nathan

    Matthew Shepard’s killer was charged with murder and the government sought the death penalty against him. How can his family deny he received justice?
    Hate crime laws do punish thoughts, not actions, because it permits different punishment if a certain socially deplorable thought is in the head on the part of criminal. Under a hate crime law, the same mental state, the same acts, the same number of victims, receives ADDITIONAL punishment. What element of the crime allows the extra punishment? The thoughts of the criminal are the only additional element that correlates with the additional punishment–thus it’s those thoughts that are receiving punishment, and it’s thoughts being criminalized.
    That’s different than motive, which the Rabbi correctly identifies as distinguishable with his terrorism comparison. And I think he’s absolutely right in saying it’s not the function of the “penal code to address social issues.” It allows one side to use the power of government force to vindicate their thoughts over those they disagree with in the process of punishing criminal acts, which is not how a free society operates.

  • not quite

    Seems like some folks just can’t take it. The world is changing, and it’s changing in ways you don’t necessarily like. Welcome to the wonderful world of what every minority group in the world has faced for the entirety of human history.
    Sucks to feel marginalized, doesn’t it? Sauce for the goose, and all…

  • Emily with the Kippah

    Doesn’t Bamidbar XV,15 refer G-d’s Judgment when it speaks of “one law?” If that is the case, I disagree that secular law can be judged by the Torah on this matter.

  • Gerard Nadal

    Hate Crime Law is a wonderful idea if it is applied equally in any direction, against any demographic.
    Oh, wait. That’s what used to be called justice, and equality under the law.
    This is nothing more than a twisted sense of retribution from certain demographic groups against others. It highlights the weakness of their position in needing to lower the bar of justice to the gutter-level of punishing people for what they think. Given the extraordinary level of black-on-white crime compared with white-on-black crime, I for one would appreciate seeing hate crimes legislation applied equally against blacks.
    How did “not quite” put it? “Sauce for the goose and all…”
    The truth of the matter is that God gave one set of commandments for all. His blessings are not color-coded, nor are His curses. Inequality under law betrays a distorted view of humanity and the dignity that ought to be accorded each person. Punishments, if not universal in nature, are inherently unjust.
    Hate Crimes? As though there are Love Crimes? Contempt for the rights and dignity of another are at the root of all crime.

  • Husband

    Ant C,
    “Hate crime legislation as written is too confusing and can be used subjectively by judges denying equal justice to all.””That’s different than motive, which the Rabbi correctly identifies as distinguishable with his terrorism comparison.”
    I disagree. Obama said it eloquently. “Hate crimes are meant not only to break bones but also to break spirits.” Ditto for terrorism. The swastika v. ordinary graffiti example is far more apt. Anyone can paint a scribble on a synagogue wall. When that scribble says “Juden raus!” or “Tuez les juifs” – it is terrorism, not merely graffiti. This does not “punish thoughts” but rather takes motive into proper account – to intimidate an entire group of people, merely for being.
    Gerard,
    “Given the extraordinary level of black-on-white crime compared with white-on-black crime, I for one would appreciate seeing hate crimes legislation applied equally against blacks.”
    What on earth make you think it doesn’t or won’t be? The wording says (to the effect) ‘because of race’, not ‘because of black race’ (or white race). Ditto for sexual orientation. This protects both gays and straights.

  • Gerard Nadal

    “What on earth make you think it doesn’t or won’t be? The wording says (to the effect) ‘because of race’, not ‘because of black race’ (or white race). Ditto for sexual orientation. This protects both gays and straights.”
    Husband,
    That’s how it’s always been sold in the states. That’s not how it’s been practiced in court. If it’s so egalitarian, then it isn’t needed. e don’t punish people for their thoughts, only their actions.
    Given that we share a universal nature, we suffer the same harms as victims of a given crime. That’s enough to satisfy ‘equal justice under law’. Anything else is immoral by definition.

  • Mere_Christian

    If homosexuals male or female or whatever , , , think they are going to force the celebration of their sexual acts into The Church and onto Christians by this anti-Christian legislation being signed into law by this Godless Progressive Democrat preseident, we will make the prisons the largets Churches in the world as we get placed there by gay after gay lawsuit against us. It’s not like we haven’t suffered that before. Nero was a GLBT and we see the legacy.
    Gay culture and gay sex acts are not going to be celebrated in The Church.
    Call the cops is you like.

  • Husband

    “[w]e don’t punish people for their thoughts, only their actions”
    B.S.!
    Ask the Rabbi if a graffiti tag depicting clouds on the walls of his synagogue is the same as a swastika. One is vandalism, the other is terrorism. In the justice system, it’s called motive. As Obama said at the signing of the Bill, hate crimes are intened to not just “break bones” but to “break spirits”.
    “we suffer the same harms as victims of a given crime”
    I disagree. While a random mugging harm the victim – and only the victim – a beating because you are what you are (black, gay, disabled,an atheist – all but one of which is immutable, btw) tells all of the people in the targetted group that they will (or ought to) be subjected to the exact same beating. Therein lies the difference.

  • Husband

    Mere “Christian”,
    “If homosexuals male or female or whatever , , , think they are going to force the celebration of their sexual acts into The Church”
    Well, that isn’t what we think. Or want. So try again, but with some logic please.
    “and onto Christians”
    Except, of course, that many gay people are Christian themselves.
    “by this anti-Christian legislation”
    How is it “anti-Christian”? ‘Mere’ly saying it doesn’t make it so.
    “being signed into law by this Godless Progressive Democrat preseident [sic]“
    Except, of course, the President is a member of a Christian denomination. This is the same old tired, empty rhetoric that Elizabeth Dole tried on Kay Hagan, calling her “godless” during the last election campaign, ignoring the fact that Hagan is a Sunday School teacher. You simply are not believed when you go down the route of bearing false witness (it’s a SIN!, remember?). It is too easily disproved. Try again, but DO BETTER!
    “we will make the prisons the largets [sic] Churches in the world as we get placed there by gay after gay lawsuit against us.”
    Huh? Paranoid delusional syndrome sets in again, I guess.
    “It’s not like we haven’t suffered that before. Nero was a GLBT and we see the legacy.”
    WTF? Have you gone off your meds again?
    “Gay culture and gay sex acts are not going to be celebrated in The Church.”
    Nor should they be. Nor is that the goal of the law. Nor is it the likely outcome of the law. Now you’re being just plain wierd.
    “Call the cops is you like.”
    Seek professional help. It’s clear you need it.

  • Thomas Beck

    No one is being punished for what they believe. You can believe any hateful, hate-filled, hate-inspired homophobic garbage you want – but if you target an individual for your crime because he or she is gay, this legislation is society’s way of saying, No, you can’t do that. (And before you misconstrue this as trying to divine intent from action, we do that all the time – it’s the legal difference, for example, between murder and manslaughter.)
    So go ahead and hate, if it makes your rancid little heart a bit happier. Just don’t act on that hate and you’ll be fine, at least in the eyes of the law.

  • Brendan Pieters

    Couldn’t agree with your more about hate crime laws, Rabbi Brad. I don’t think we should create laws that punish people for what they’re thinking.
    We have the option of assessing intent in sentencing, but upping the level of a crime because of what the perpetrator is thinking about the victim sets a terrible precedent. It’s scary. (Though, of course, well-intentioned; but remember The Law of Unintended Consequences.)
    Brendan

  • Mere_Christian

    Husband (eh yeah),
    How interesting that “homosexuality” is forced out of the DSM as a mental illness and you respond by placing Christians that hold to Christian truth in it.
    I’ll have the spirit of Jude as fellow inmate in your new lockup tehn. Jude (as well as the other NT writers) wrote long ago of people like Obama and his religionista’s (Jude 1, NIV):
    “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share,
    I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith
    that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
    For certain men
    whose condemnation was written about long ago
    have secretly slipped in among you.
    They are godless men,
    who change the grace of our God into a LICENSE FOR IMMORALITY
    and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
    “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion . . .”
    Obviously there were “progressives” portraying themselves as Christians in Jude’s Church as well.
    It’s all too fascinating watching the rebuilding of Sodom and Gomorrah. All the same practices present as well. “Progressive” once again.
    The repeaat of history by the same method.
    It’s an old story. Thousands of years old.

  • janet

    God is a God of justice ,He is faithful and loving ,He Loves each and everyone of us , They need to be protected yes. yet the church Of God must draw the line on who is teaching godly principles , and sound doctrine , this is not going to be the way for them to enter in the church of God ,and disqualify all what God teaches in the book of Leviticus ,and his reason for destroying Sodom ,and Gomorrah . Sin is progressive , Romans 1;18-28 He gave them over to their sin to a debase mind , they are not glorifying Him in this un-natural Act they are glorifying self ,and self can be very destructive ,Thoes who practise this is saying I will ,I am smarter than the one who create this world ,and all that is in it we all have choices to make ,choose this day who you will serve .

  • Bill

    Wow. I read this and the comments very slowly. All I could think of was November 9, 1938 in Germany. People were killed, private property destroyed, houses of worship burned, religious books burnt. Later some of those victims were gased. This was not simply a riot where rioters committed random violence where a Christian, agnostic, Hindu were all equally likely to be victims.
    Hate crimes are committed in part to keep the community pure and to discourage victims from being/appearing to be/looking like (insert your particular brand of hatred) not just to kill or destroy. That is why we need this.
    “First they came for…”

  • Your Name

    Brad you wrote: “This is not the same as a hate crime which punishes criminals for their emotions, and entirely in line with our penal code which already acknowledges that intent, can and should be a factor in determining the severity of a crime.” However the reality is the new law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Because perpetrators commit hate crimes to send a message and express anger or hatred for the victim, they often involve more violent acts than it takes to subdue or incapacitate the victim. Sometimes they involve mutilation, torture or holding the victim captive, such as in a car trunk. 60 plus years ago it was the MOB mentality or emotions that shipped Jews to Concentration Camps, I do agree with you the Law should apply to everyone. But we do not live in Utopia.

  • Bonnie

    Have any you actually read the contents of the bill? It further expands existing law on crimes perpetrated against by including citizens who are victims of crimes because of their sexual orientation, and physical/mental disabilites. It does not encompass punishing someone because of a comment or a belief, as slanted or perverted as it may be. Granted, thought sometimes becomes action, but that’s why this current updating of the law has been made.

  • Ellen

    In response to Christian and others who’ve somehow managed to combine civil law with Christian law and morality, I would like to remind you that our forefathers clearly separated the government’s laws and principles from that of the Christian church, or of any other religion. You call Obama a “Godless” man, and yet, as a person of a faith other than Christianity, I would view Obama as one of the most “religious” presidents we’ve had. If anyone practices what Christianity preaches it’s him. Remember the outcry against President Kennedy’s being a Catholic? Obama practices Christianity’s principles – love, tolerance, and so on. What do you think Jesus’ opinion would be here? I am tired of one religion attempting to impose its will on the rest of the people in this country; we are NOT a theocracy, and the forefathers specifically made sure our government would never be one.
    You write: “who change the grace of our God into a LICENSE FOR IMMORALITY and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” That may be true for you, but it’s definitely not true for me or many other people in this country and in the world. The government is not supposed to be legislating private belief systems or morality; rather it is supposed to protect the citizens of the country from outside attackers and against citizens who attack one anothers for reason based on differences in private matters. Do you remember long ago (consult your scripture) when Christians were thrown to the lions? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have a law passed that forbade the throwing to the lions of anyone because of their faith and creed? That would’ve been just fine with you, right?
    There’s no need to discuss anybody’s sexual orientation in the church, nor should the church encourage violence against those who aren’t heterosexual. You are free to determine the “values” of your church as you wish. But please don’t stand in the way of laws designed to protect other people against violence and murder that is done simply because of their sexual orientation. If I remember correctly, in Christianity punishment for sin takes place in the court of Heaven, not on earth. This law is a civil one, not a religious one. Stay out of civil law, vote against the officials who voted for this law if you like, but stop condemning people as though you were the Lord.

  • Mere_Christian

    I am tired of people that name themselves by their same-gendered sex acts, insulting Christians.
    This hate crimes legislation was designed to force Christians to shut up and celebrate and encourage gay sex, and that is pure hate meted out to Christians.
    Adding of course Jesus to that list. His marriage was immutably man and woman. “Per God.”
    By Obama’s fruit one can see what is in him. And it is decidely different than what was in the Apostles.

  • Hathor

    I’m continually surprised that NO ONE seems to know what a Hate Crime is, it prosecutes the criminal for a Crime (not speech or an opinion)that was intended to terrorize and send a message to an entire population. It is the main difference between prosecuting someone for just burning a pile of wood on someone’s front lawn (Not a Hate Crime) and prosecuting a Klansmen for burning a cross on a black man’s front lawn (Hate Crime with intent to intimidate).
    If you think that intent should not be considered and prosecuted in common law today than you may as well get rid of the distinguishing sentences for Manslaughter, Murder I and Murder II. After all there’s no difference between those offenses right

  • Love Conquers Hate

    To all the Faithful who wrap themselves in this flag
    *a belief system of Death and Hate*
    Masquerading as a GOD of Love.
    Please take your Inventory –
    You Know-
    That need for a Radical reappraisal of your life and to a sober consideration of yourself as human beings relating to other human beings.
    Your Spiritual Inventory that which you take to GOD.
    It is necessary to separate yourself from the illusions that run through your biased thoughts and to look at what is really there. HATE.

  • Deborah

    The reality is the new law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
    Because perpetrators commit hate crimes to send a message and express anger or hatred for the victim, they often involve more violent acts than it takes to subdue or incapacitate the victim.
    Sometimes they involve mutilation, torture or holding the victim captive, such as in a car trunk.
    60 plus years ago it was the MOB mentality or emotions that shipped Jews to Concentration Camps, I do agree with you the Law should apply to everyone.

  • Nathan

    A lot of people here keep talking about “motive.” Criminal statutes do not punish motive, just as they are not meant to punish the hateful thoughts that might’ve led someone to engage in a criminal act. What motivates a person is relevant in proving they committed the crime, but motive is irrelevant to the punishment of the crime.

  • Darvel John Silda

    I know that there are people who dislike their fellow man, and I hate people like that!

  • Deborah

    You are Mistaken Nathan:
    “A lot of people here keep talking about “motive.” Criminal statutes do not punish motive, just as they are not meant to punish the hateful thoughts that might’ve led someone to engage in a criminal act. What motivates a person is relevant in proving they committed the crime, but motive is irrelevant to the punishment of the crime.”
    MOTIVE = Intent = Target= Objective=Plan= Premeditative
    The act permits the government to provide grants and assistance to state and local authorities investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. The need for this provision is real, as demonstrated by the Matthew Shepard case.
    Historical events can cause a spike in hate crimes: After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, many people who were Muslim or perceived to be Arabs were targeted. This included Sikh Americans who were murdered because the attackers believed that they were Arabs, though they were not.

  • Kristine Nevadagate

    I agree with Nathan. It is a very slippery slope we embark on when we allow legislations like this. Where will it end? If I speak up for something I beleive in – even though I have not physically hurt anyone, what will happen to me…. where does it end?
    Hate is hurtful, but this kind of power in the wrong hands will make things worse. Address the issues don’t issue bandaids!

  • Darvel John Silda

    There are many different cultures, but only one race, the Human Race.

  • Deborah

    I reposted the entire Law and placed Article 4 on top just for fear that you haven’t the time to read it.
    I do not see the slippery slope you speak of.
    (4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
    Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
    S. 909, H.R. 1913
    111th CONGRESS
    1st Session
    S. 909
    To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
    IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
    April 28, 2009
    Mr. REID (for Mr. KENNEDY (for himself, Mr. LEAHY, Ms. SNOWE, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr. DURBIN, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. LEVIN, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. CARDIN, Ms. KLOBUCHAR, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. MERKLEY, Mr. REED, Mr. NELSON of Florida, Mr. KERRY, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. DODD, Mr. BAYH, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mrs. SHAHEEN, Mr. HARKIN, Mr. BROWN, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. CASEY, Mr. JOHNSON, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Ms. LANDRIEU, Ms. CANTWELL, and Mr. AKAKA)) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
    ——————————————————————————–
    A BILL
    To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the `Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act’.
    SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
    Congress makes the following findings:
    (1) The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.
    (2) Such violence disrupts the tranquility and safety of communities and is deeply divisive.
    (3) State and local authorities are now and will continue to be responsible for prosecuting the overwhelming majority of violent crimes in the United States, including violent crimes motivated by bias. These authorities can carry out their responsibilities more effectively with greater Federal assistance.
    (4) Existing Federal law is inadequate to address this problem.
    (5) A prominent characteristic of a violent crime motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim and the family and friends of the victim, but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.
    (6) Such violence substantially affects interstate commerce in many ways, including the following:
    (A) The movement of members of targeted groups is impeded, and members of such groups are forced to move across State lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence.
    (B) Members of targeted groups are prevented from purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or participating in other commercial activity.
    (C) Perpetrators cross State lines to commit such violence.
    (D) Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such violence.
    (E) Such violence is committed using articles that have traveled in interstate commerce.
    (7) For generations, the institutions of slavery and involuntary servitude were defined by the race, color, and ancestry of those held in bondage. Slavery and involuntary servitude were enforced, both prior to and after the adoption of the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, through widespread public and private violence directed at persons because of their race, color, or ancestry, or perceived race, color, or ancestry. Accordingly, eliminating racially motivated violence is an important means of eliminating, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics of slavery and involuntary servitude.
    (8) Both at the time when the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States were adopted, and continuing to date, members of certain religious and national origin groups were and are perceived to be distinct `races’. Thus, in order to eliminate, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics of slavery, it is necessary to prohibit assaults on the basis of real or perceived religions or national origins, at least to the extent such religions or national origins were regarded as races at the time of the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
    (9) Federal jurisdiction over certain violent crimes motivated by bias enables Federal, State, and local authorities to work together as partners in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.
    (10) The problem of crimes motivated by bias is sufficiently serious, widespread, and interstate in nature as to warrant Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes.
    SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF HATE CRIME.
    In this Act–
    (1) the term `crime of violence’ has the meaning given that term in section 16, title 18, United States Code;
    (2) the term `hate crime’ has the meaning given such term in section 280003(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (28 U.S.C. 994 note); and
    (3) the term `local’ means a county, city, town, township, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State.
    SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS BY STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.
    (a) Assistance Other Than Financial Assistance-
    (1) IN GENERAL- At the request of State, local, or tribal law enforcement agency, the Attorney General may provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that–
    (A) constitutes a crime of violence;
    (B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or tribal laws; and
    (C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.
    (2) PRIORITY- In providing assistance under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall give priority to crimes committed by offenders who have committed crimes in more than one State and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary expenses relating to the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
    (b) Grants-
    (1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General may award grants to State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies for extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
    (2) OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS- In implementing the grant program under this subsection, the Office of Justice Programs shall work closely with grantees to ensure that the concerns and needs of all affected parties, including community groups and schools, colleges, and universities, are addressed through the local infrastructure developed under the grants.
    (3) APPLICATION-
    (A) IN GENERAL- Each State, local, and tribal law enforcement agency that desires a grant under this subsection shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by or containing such information as the Attorney General shall reasonably require.
    (B) DATE FOR SUBMISSION- Applications submitted pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be submitted during the 60-day period beginning on a date that the Attorney General shall prescribe.
    (C) REQUIREMENTS- A State, local, and tribal law enforcement agency applying for a grant under this subsection shall–
    (i) describe the extraordinary purposes for which the grant is needed;
    (ii) certify that the State, local government, or Indian tribe lacks the resources necessary to investigate or prosecute the hate crime;
    (iii) demonstrate that, in developing a plan to implement the grant, the State, local, and tribal law enforcement agency has consulted and coordinated with nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs that have experience in providing services to victims of hate crimes; and
    (iv) certify that any Federal funds received under this subsection will be used to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds that would otherwise be available for activities funded under this subsection.
    (4) DEADLINE- An application for a grant under this subsection shall be approved or denied by the Attorney General not later than 180 business days after the date on which the Attorney General receives the application.
    (5) GRANT AMOUNT- A grant under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any 1-year period.
    (6) REPORT- Not later than December 31, 2010, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report describing the applications submitted for grants under this subsection, the award of such grants, and the purposes for which the grant amounts were expended.
    (7) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
    SEC. 5. GRANT PROGRAM.
    (a) Authority To Award Grants- The Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice may award grants, in accordance with such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, to State, local, or tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.
    (b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.
    SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO ASSIST STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.
    There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Justice, including the Community Relations Service, for fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012 such sums as are necessary to increase the number of personnel to prevent and respond to alleged violations of section 249 of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 7 of this Act.
    SEC. 7. PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN HATE CRIME ACTS.
    (a) In General- Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `Sec. 249. Hate crime acts
    `(a) In General-
    `(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person–
    `(A) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
    `(B) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–
    `(i) death results from the offense; or
    `(ii) the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.
    `(2) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY-
    `(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B) or paragraph (3), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person–
    `(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
    `(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–
    `(I) death results from the offense; or
    `(II) the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.
    `(B) CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are that–
    `(i) the conduct described in subparagraph (A) occurs during the course of, or as the result of, the travel of the defendant or the victim–
    `(I) across a State line or national border; or
    `(II) using a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce;
    `(ii) the defendant uses a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A);
    `(iii) in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A), the defendant employs a firearm, dangerous weapon, explosive or incendiary device, or other weapon that has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or
    `(iv) the conduct described in subparagraph (A)–
    `(I) interferes with commercial or other economic activity in which the victim is engaged at the time of the conduct; or
    `(II) otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce.
    `(3) OFFENSES OCCURRING IN THE SPECIAL MARITIME OR TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES- Whoever, within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States, commits an offense described in paragraph (1) or (2) shall be subject to the same penalties as prescribed in those paragraphs.
    `(b) Certification Requirement-
    `(1) IN GENERAL- No prosecution of any offense described in this subsection may be undertaken by the United States, except under the certification in writing of the Attorney General, or his designee, that–
    `(A) the State does not have jurisdiction;
    `(B) the State has requested that the Federal Government assume jurisdiction;
    `(C) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence; or
    `(D) a prosecution by the United States is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice.
    `(2) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of Federal officers, or a Federal grand jury, to investigate possible violations of this section.
    `(c) Definitions- In this section–
    `(1) the term `bodily injury’ has the meaning given such term in section 1365(h)(4) of this title, but does not include solely emotional or psychological harm to the victim;
    `(2) the term `explosive or incendiary device’ has the meaning given such term in section 232 of this title;
    `(3) the term `firearm’ has the meaning given such term in section 921(a) of this title; and
    `(4) the term `gender identity’ for the purposes of this chapter means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.’.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment- The analysis for chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `249. Hate crime acts.’.
    SEC. 8. STATISTICS.
    (a) In General- Subsection (b)(1) of the first section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by inserting `gender and gender identity,’ after `race,’.
    (b) Data- Subsection (b)(5) of the first section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by inserting `, including data about crimes committed by, and crimes directed against, juveniles’ after `data acquired under this section’.
    SEC. 9. SEVERABILITY.
    If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.
    SEC. 10. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
    For purposes of construing this Act and the amendments made by this Act the following shall apply:
    (1) RELEVANT EVIDENCE- Courts may consider relevant evidence of speech, beliefs, or expressive conduct to the extent that such evidence is offered to prove an element of a charged offense or is otherwise admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Nothing in this Act is intended to affect the existing rules of evidence.
    (2) VIOLENT ACTS- This Act applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of a victim.
    (3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.
    (4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

  • Husband

    “Because perpetrators commit hate crimes to send a message and express anger or hatred for the victim, they often involve more violent acts than it takes to subdue or incapacitate the victim.”
    Actually, hate crimes are meant to (and do) “send a message” to more than just the physical victim. Their “message” is clearly meant for the whole identified group to which the victim belongs. As in ‘All Jews must die!’ or ‘All fags should be killed!’
    As Obama said, these crimes are intended to more than just “break bones” but to “break spirits” as well. This is nothing less than terrorism. Ask any Muslim American.
    I, likewise, agree that “the Law should apply to everyone”. That would/should involve discrediting the oft-used, oft-successful ‘gay panic’ defense. So what if ‘he made a pass at you’. That should not be a justifiable reason for an attack. Ask any str8 woman who’s been hit on/had a pass made at her. (There’d be a heck of a lot more dead str8 men if making a pass at someone were justification for a bashing.)

  • Husband

    Janet,
    “yet the church Of God must draw the line on who is teaching godly principles”
    Too bad this blog isn’t about church membership, eh?
    “this is not going to be the way for them to enter in the church of God”
    Again, too bad this blog isn’t about church membership.
    “and disqualify all what God teaches in the book of Leviticus”
    janet, I doubt very much that YOU obey “all” of what is ‘taught’ in Leviticus. At least I sincerely pray you don’t. I mean, do you believe we shold put the victims of incest to death? Do you believe we should put disobedient children to death? Do you believe we should deny communion to the disabled? (I’m not going to ask if you actually believe gay people should be put to death – you probably DO – just ‘cuz Leviticus sez we should.)
    You and ‘Mere’ ‘Christian’ can quit preaching anytime now. It’s pretty much irrelevant
    what your version of religion says, not just in a secular society (which America is), but more spcifically, in a land that ‘promises’ freedom of religion (which, since you haven’t figured it out by now, means that we don’t all have to believe what you happen to believe).

  • Husband

    ‘Mere’ ‘Christian’,
    “I am tired of people that name themselves by their same-gendered sex acts”
    Who here has done that?
    “insulting Christians.”,?I>
    Probably as tired as we are of you insulting us.
    “This hate crimes legislation was designed to force Christians to shut up and celebrate and encourage gay sex”
    Then clearly it failed. It certainly failed to shut you up. Clearly it failed to “force” you to celebrate OR encourage gay sex. OR, just maybe it wasn’t “designed” to do those things. Which would mean that a self-described “Christian” is bearing false witness. Again.
    “Adding of course Jesus to that list. His marriage was immutably man and woman.”
    Um, I think The DaVinci Code was discovered to be a work of fiction. (i.e. Jesus actually wasn’t married.)
    “By Obama’s fruit one can see what is in him.”
    Well, that part’s true. We see him to be a man of justice. A man of his word. A man of compassion. A man of wisdom. Very perceptive of you, ‘Mere’.
    “And it is decidely different than what was in the Apostles.”
    Right again. Paul couldn’t stand women. Judas betrayed Christ. Peter denied Christ. One didn’t have faith that he wouldn’t drown if he took a risk and stepepd outside the (allegorical?) boat. Et cetera.
    Again, very perceptive of you. But what all that (and your preaching) has to do with a hate crimes bill escapes me.

  • Harrietb98

    How many terrible things have been done, in the name of religion?

  • Husband

    Kristine Nevadagate,
    “If I speak up for something I beleive in – even though I have not physically hurt anyone, what will happen to me”
    Nothing. Because you have not physically hurt anyone. You provided your own answer and justification for the answer.
    Or do you actually think it a kind, compassionate, charitable, loving, ‘Christian’ thing to say (when you’re ‘speaking up for something you believe in’): “All fags should die!” “Fags, burn in hell!” “Death to fags.” (Hint: this would be incitement.)
    Is that the kind of speaking up for something you believe in that you meant? (Don’t forget, Janet above believes we should be forced to follow all the rules of Leviticus. She believes in that. Even the stoopid parts. Do you, too?)

  • Your Name

    Quoting the Biblical commandment in Numbers 15:15 is not persuasive. The hate crime laws do apply to all people. Anyone who commits a hate crime will be prosecuted. As for citing the Bible, shall we not then stone adulterers to death, or kill disobedient children? The Book of Leviticus condemns homosexuality as an abomination. This has caused centuries of suffering for gay people and continues to do so. Bible worship is a form of idolatry. The purpose of hate crime legislation is make clear our values. That is not a harmful thing to do.

  • Sue

    I’m sorry, but I must disagree with the Rabbi here. The entire Holocaust was based upon a long series of Hate Crimes. Does the Rabbi not believe that there should have been some special category of law to prevent such a thing from happening?

  • Your Name

    Leviticus in no way condemns homosexuality. Rather it condemns any sexual activity connected directly with the worship of idols.

  • Nathan

    Deborah,
    Do you have any legal training? (I do). All those things you linked together with “equal” signs represent different concepts in criminal law, heck, they represent different things in the English language. Confusing them and blending them together doesn’t justify your stance, it undermines it.

  • Deborah

    Nathan said “Do you have any legal training? (I do). All those things you linked together with “equal” signs represent different concepts in criminal law, heck, they represent different things in the English language. Confusing them and blending them together doesn’t justify your stance, it undermines it.”
    Nathan I do not believe you have any legal training. I have read your previous blurbs and I found them most unconvincing in identifying motive and as Americans we can agree to disagree.
    Potatoes = Patatooos

  • Babs

    Make hate crimes = terror crimes? A legal macher here? Oye!
    Gays, lesbians and transgender Americans are demonized by religious fundamentalists and neo nazis much as Jews have been historically.
    This bill also provides financial assistance to local police to investigate and prosecute such crimes.
    I was honored to be invited to the White House to personally witness the President’s remarks flanked by the Shepard and Byrd families!
    The law is in reality mostly symbolic, but if the education and enhancement of our moral values that may result in innocent Americans not being beaten mentally or physically as a result… then this law will be a great act of tzedakah.

  • Pablo David

    This would be a good critique of a weak area of US and states’ law
    IF R. Hirschfeld were right about applying Torah standards of tzeddakah to civil law AND IF the Rabbi were right about the difference between hate-crimes “enhancements” to criminal prosecution compared to other criminal actions. Unfortunately, he’s not.
    It would be good if the mental state, motivation, and values milieu of the accused were truly irrelevant, but they are not in U.S. law, criminal or civil, common or constitutional. In point of fact, undetected motive can get murderers and thieves relieved of (by a sympathetic juror or two) of charges of homicide and robbery, just by raising “reasonable doubt”. I know of a case involving an acquaintance of mine in which the perpetrator, after being freed by doubt and thus relieved of double jeopardy, as much as confessed to my friend’s gay-bashing death, but it was before hate crimes law and the prosecutors could not bring his homophobia and related values in as part of the case. Today they could. The motive for an assault can determine the gravity of the beating and in Washington State at least we no longer have people successfully pleading out with 1 or 2 months of incarceration for beating up women and dykes and fags and leaving them for dead. The fact that they stole nothing no longer reduces the crime if it is determined by racist, homophobic or misogynistic comments at the time that it’s a hate crime. It is treated with the seriousness it merits.
    I for one am glad it is so and happy to see the perpetrators in prison for several years on each count. Aren’t you?

  • Mr. Incredible

    Your Name
    October 29, 2009 4:34 PM
    Leviticus in no way condemns homosexuality.
    ——————————————
    Only it does, and the condemnation is reiterated in Romans.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Is hate the crime, or is the crime, with intent, the crime?
    Up to this point, there were two elements to crime: illegal act and intent to do the illegal act.
    Now, there appear to be not two but three elements of crime: illegal act, intent and motivation.
    So, now, if I got motivation to do an illegal act, and I do it, though, ultimately, I didn’t intend to do it, of what am I guilty? Did motivation cloud my thinking and erase intent? What?
    Anybody knows that hate/rage may fuzz up thinking, and, so, one could claim “diminished capacity.” So, now what?

  • Your Name

    If hate is the crime, how long before we get a “Clockwork Orange” thang goin’ on all up’n here?

  • Moreleigh

    Myself I think it is a great law to be introduced. Those who love God as the Commandments says will have no trouble abiding by it. It is the same as having to lock your house when you go out so those who have the intention will have difficulty in doing the wrong thing.
    Those who worship God and are filled with His love will stand by any law that is introduced to protect the rights and equal opportunities of their brothers and sisters in this sphere of life in time.
    In Exodus God introduced the hate law when He said, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;”
    The more laws that deter Hate and envy the better, the world will become a more peaceful world and closer to becoming the Zion it should be.

  • Your Name

    I usually love the Rabbi’s column, but today I think he misses a crucial fact: no one is being punished simply for their emotions. ANYONE has the legal right to feel hatred (we won’t get into the religious “right”- or lack thereof- to do so) and the civil justice system cannot and will not prosecute them for those feelings. The same applies to those who believe that gays (or Jews, or anyone) deserve to be put to death….those beliefs are not in and of themselves a prosecutable offense.
    HOWEVER….when someone ACTS on those feelings of hate or those beliefs of extermination, then we are a civilized nation can and should take those factors into account when determining the severity of the punishment for their ACTION- not their feeling or their belief alone.
    And that is what the hate crime legislation does.

  • Mere_me

    There is not one place in the Tanakh that celebrates or encourages same-gender sexual acts.
    And in the Christian texts there is a loud denouncing of them from the immutable structure of marriage as a man and woman (Jesus referring TO the Tanakh), to the proper behavior acceptable for people that want to claim fellowship in that movement.

  • http://Abomination Your Name

    In transliterated Hebrew, the verse is written: “V’et zachar lo tishkav mishk’vey eeshah toeyvah hee.”
    And with a male thou shalt not lie down in beds of a woman; it is an abomination.
    There are two types of sin in the Mosaic Code:
    1. Zimah
    Moral sin is produced by rebellion against God.
    2. Toeyvah
    Ceremonial uncleanliness is caused by contact with a forbidden object or by engaging in a behavior which might be quite acceptable to non-Hebrews, but which was forbidden to the Children of Israel. Eating birds of prey, eating shellfish, cross breeding livestock, picking up sticks on a Saturday, planting a mixture of seeds in a field, and wearing clothing that is a blend of two textiles are examples of acts of ritual impurity which made a Child of Israel unclean. These were not necessarily minor sins; some called for the ancient Israelite to be executed or expelled from the tribe.
    Many would regard “abomination,” “enormous sin”, etc. as particularly poor translations of the original Hebrew word which really means “ritually unclean” within an ancient Israelite era. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (circa 3rd century BCE) translated “to’ebah ” into Greek as “bdelygma,” which meant ritual impurity. If the writer(s) of Leviticus had wished to refer to a moral violation, a sin, he would have used the Hebrew word “zimah.”
    This passage does not refer to gay sex generally, but only to a specific form of homosexual prostitution in Pagan temples. Much of Leviticus deals with the Holiness Code which outlined ways in which the ancient Hebrews were to be set apart to God. Some fertility worship practices found in early Pagan cultures were specifically prohibited; ritual same-sex behavior in Pagan temples was one such practice.
    “… rather than forbidding male homosexuality, it simply restricts where it may occur.” This may seem a strange prohibition to us today, but was quite consistent with other laws in Leviticus which involve improper mixing of things that should be kept separate. e.g. ancient Hebrews were not allowed to mix two crops in the same field, or make cloth out of two different raw materials, or plow a field with an ox and a donkey yoked together. A woman’s bed was her own. Only her husband was permitted there, and then only under certain circumstances. Any other use of her bed would be a defilement.

  • Your Name

    Dear ‘Mere’ (oh dear, ‘more mere’!)
    Too bad this post isn’t about “celebrat[ing] or encourag[ing] same-gender sexual acts”, eh?
    Maybe I’m dense, but when you type words about “proper behavior acceptable for people that want to claim fellowship in that movement”, it actually sounds like you’re ignoring the actual behavior that this Bill addresses, namely bashings, murders, you know – hate crimes. Tell us, is that the proper behavior acceptable for people that want to claim fellowship in that movement?
    Sheesh already.

  • David Warheit

    You ask “Does it matter to victims’ families why they are burying their loved one, or visiting them in a hospital?” The correct answer is as far as they feel about their loved one, of course not. But otherwise, it matters a great deal. It matters a great deal that a loved one was on the one hand a victim of an ordinary traffic accident and on the other a victim of a cold-blooded murder. Even in case of murder, it matters very much the reason for the murder: if one knew that the loved one was slain merely because he was a Jew, all of a sudden this isn’t just a loved one that is being grieved for, it is Nazi Germany all over again.

  • Mere_me

    If you study the history of pederasty you will see the foundation of homosexual activism.

  • Jay Trachman

    I can’t believe there are people in this thread arguing over whether homosexuality is a “sin” or not. That’s not what Rabbi wrote about. You may hate the behavior, you may consider it sinful, but that does not give you the right to kill, assault, or harm the people who practice it in any way. Are the people writing in here really Jewish?

  • Your Name

    “If you study the history of pederasty you will see the foundation of homosexual activism” Mere_ME
    WOW-
    You need to come out of the closet, me thinks you protest too much!!!
    You dwell on verbiage such as Pederasty and think way too long and hard on what Gay Men do when they are alone.
    Unbelievable…. Merde_me

  • http://ThusSayethMe.com Dr. Paul K. Fauteck

    It has been shown scientifically that sexual orientation is innate, not volitional. That’s inconvenient if we’re going to take literally the few scriptures that refer to lying with man as with woman as an abomination, but it won’t be the first time we’ve had to adjust our understanding of commandments to new realities. Now, does the intent behind the crime matter? In my opinion, it does indeed. It would be wrong to murder me because you think I’m a jerk, or because you want whatever money I happened to be carrying, or because your spouse for some bizarre reason found me attractive, but many times more wrong to murder me because I’m a Jew, or dark-eyed, or considerably taller than most Jewish men, or a native of Kansas, etc. Then it becomes a crime against all others who share the gratuitous trait, and, in fact, against humanity.
    Now please, we can disagree with each other here, but could we do it with respect? That’s the Jewish way, isn’t it?

  • Mr. Incredible

    Dr. Paul K. Fauteck
    November 3, 2009 11:50 AM
    It has been shown scientifically that sexual orientation is innate, not volitional.
    ———————————————————–
    Garbage. There is no conclusive, unbiased, uncorrupted, scientific, empirical evidence to show that.
    Dr. Paul K. Fauteck
    November 3, 2009 11:50 AM
    That’s inconvenient if we’re going to take literally the few scriptures that refer to lying with man as with woman as an abomination…
    ———————————————————–
    There’s more than just a few scriptures.
    Dr. Paul K. Fauteck
    November 3, 2009 11:50 AM
    It would be wrong to murder me because you think I’m a jerk, or because you want whatever money I happened to be carrying, or because your spouse for some bizarre reason found me attractive, but many times more wrong to murder me because I’m a Jew, or dark-eyed, or considerably taller than most Jewish men, or a native of Kansas, etc.
    ———————————————————–
    More wrong to YOU, but not the law. The crime is a crime is a crime. It isn’t aggravated, nor elevated, by motivation.

  • Mr. Incredible

    CONGRATULATIONS to the People of the Great State of Maine for turning back the legislative attempt to force so-called “same-sex ‘marriage’” down the throats of said People!
    See? This is why those who claim to be homosexual don’t want the People to vote on this issue, and why they shop around for a Lib judge to change our culture, society and country against our Will.
    Thank you, Maine! Great courage!

  • Mr. Incredible

    Jay Trachman
    November 1, 2009 9:09 AM
    I can’t believe there are people in this thread arguing over whether homosexuality is a “sin” or not.
    ———————————————————–
    Okay. I’ll settle it right now.
    God says that what we now call “homosexuality” is an abomination. This is reiterated in Romans.
    Settled.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Dr. Paul K. Fauteck
    November 3, 2009 11:50 AM
    It would be wrong to murder me because you think I’m a jerk, or because you want whatever money I happened to be carrying, or because your spouse for some bizarre reason found me attractive, but many times more wrong to murder me because I’m a Jew, or dark-eyed, or considerably taller than most Jewish men, or a native of Kansas, etc.
    ———————————————————–
    A person is robbed, then murdered.
    Another person is robbed, then murdered after the robber finds out he’s a Jew.
    Explain how the second is more of a crime, in real law, than the first.

  • Mr. Incredible

    ===..but many times more wrong to murder me because …==
    However, you don’t explain why this is. You only say it is wrong. How do we know it’s wronger than the first?

  • Your Name

    And God also says that what we now call “eating shrimp” is also “an abomination. Oooo, we’z quakin’ in our boots. Verily.

  • Your Name

    Actually, Miss Not-So-Credible, Dr. Fauteck did explain why it is more wrong. You just chose to ignore the reason:
    “because I’m a Jew, or dark-eyed, or considerably taller than most Jewish men, or a native of Kansas, etc. Then it becomes a crime against all others who share the gratuitous trait, and, in fact, against humanity.”
    And then you chose to bear false witness about it.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Your Name
    November 4, 2009 12:14 PM
    Actually, Miss Not-So-Credible, Dr. Fauteck did explain why it is more wrong.
    ———————————————————–
    Actually, he didn’t. All he said is that it’s wrong.
    Your Name
    November 4, 2009 12:14 PM
    You just chose to ignore the reason:
    “because I’m a Jew, or dark-eyed, or considerably taller than most Jewish men, or a native of Kansas, etc. Then it becomes a crime against all others who share the gratuitous trait, and, in fact, against humanity.”
    ———————————————————–
    All that explains is a hypothetical reason for the attack. It doesn’t explain the wrongness, why it is wrong.
    Your Name
    November 4, 2009 12:14 PM
    And then you chose to bear false witness about it.
    ———————————————————–
    Actually, no I didn’t.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Your Name
    November 4, 2009 12:00 PM
    And God also says that what we now call “eating shrimp” is also “an abomination.
    ———————————————————–
    And Christ says that those were born again I’m not the filed by what goes into the mouth, rather by what comes out of the mouth.
    What God said about eating shellfish is not for the new creature created by God, through Christ. Not eating shellfish was Jewish law, and God, seeing that men prefer to follow their own law, held them to it.
    Therefore, it is only those who are not born again, who reject the offer of Reconciliation God makes through Christ, who are beholden to the Law, even their own laws. Those were born again are not under the Law.

  • Mr. Incredible

    And Christ says that those were born again I’m not the filed by what goes into the mouth, rather by what comes out of the mouth. — – >
    And Christ says that those who are born again are not defiled by what goes into the mouth, rather by what comes out of the mouth.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Your Name
    November 4, 2009 12:00 PM
    And God also says that what we now call “eating shrimp” is also “an abomination.
    ———————————————————–
    Where is this reiterated in the New Testament?
    Lemme answer that for you: It isn’t.

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