The Finns aren’t the only ones having trouble with a chill wind blowing across their free speech rights — we’re about to face a big battle against the enemies of the First Amendment here in the USA, beginning tomorrow.
Mikko Ellilä is a Finnish blogger who has been summoned by the police for a hearing next week, all because of the content of his blog posts. Scroll down to our earlier posts for more information about his plight, or see posts one, two, three, and four on the topic.
Can’t happen here, you say? It very well may happen tomorrow, May 3rd.
This is why we should be afraid, very afraid of Democrat control in Congress:
The House Judiciary Committee passed a “hate crimes” bill last week.
All twenty-three Democrats voted in favor or it, and all seventeen Republicans dissented.
CNS news reported last week that —
every Republican attempt to amend the bill was defeated. Critics call it a “thought crimes” bill.
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592) would expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include violence against a person because of his or her “actual or perceived” sexual orientation or “gender identity.”
Under the bill, people who attack others out of “hatred” for their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability would be committing a federal offense.
This incredible closing down of the First Amendment is getting little coverage relative to its foundation-breaking ramifications. It opens the door to inequitable penalties for what we say or write and brings us closer to criminalization of what was formerly “free” speech.
The summary of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1592) is here. This is part of the wording, which has been worked and reworked in Committee, as to what constitutes hate crime and its prevention:
(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.
The camel with its nose under the tent is the part which requires that the crime be motivated by prejudice. Who gets to decide that? And how are we to know they’re correct in their assessment or just politically correct in their thinking?
For example, homosexuals are not immune from the “trash-and-dash” crimes so prevalent in cities today. If the perps are caught, and they disclaim any knowledge of their victim’s sexual orientation will they be believed, even though that’s the fifth, or the tenth attack in a month?
The protected minorities in this bill are the usual politically correct suspects:
Supporters of the bill, including homosexual activists, have described “hate crimes” as a pervasive problem. “The intentional selection and beating or murder of an individual because of who they are terrorizes an entire community and sometimes the nation,” the Human Rights Campaign says on its website.
But conservatives say the bill would punish “thought,” since most crimes are motivated by hatred. They say it offers special protection for certain groups.
“Despite what its advocates say, this is not about crime — it’s about special treatment,” said the Family Research Council. “HR 1592 would further carve out ‘tiers’ of victims, putting more importance on crimes committed against a Rosie O’Donnell than against her next-door neighbor.”
Others object to the idea of putting homosexuality in the same category as race, an immutable characteristic.
“Special treatment” is right. Old people are not covered under this bill, though they are frequently singled out. The military is not protected, even if they are attacked by crowds…
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Rep. Jim Jordon (R-Ohio) tried to add unborn babies to the list of protected classes included in the bill. (Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., ruled the amendment was non-germane.)
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) asked for a definition of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” but Democrats rejected the idea.
“They obviously did not want to define gender identity to include she-male, cross-dresser, drag queen, transgender, transsexual, etc.,” said TVC Chairman Sheldon.
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) offered an amendment to include military personnel as a protected class. He noted that troops in uniform often find themselves targets of hate and physical attack.
Republicans also proposed making senior citizens a protected class, pointing to crimes against elderly people. Likewise, why not extend hate crimes protection to pregnant women, who may be battered by boyfriends or husbands when they become pregnant, Republicans proposed.
Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida offered an amendment to give homeless people hate crimes protection.
All of it was in vain. It was in vain because this is a p.c. bill for one particular group:
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) proposed an amendment protecting freedom of religion: “Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution,” the amendment read, but that, too, was defeated.
Conservatives, including Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.), worry that religious leaders who denounce homosexuality as a sin may be charged with incitement under the legislation.
But I wonder if it is a hate crime for Christian preachers and Muslim imams, or if it’s just for the former. Somehow I don’t see the federal government going after mosques. In fact, CAIR is just waiting in the wings to get this going.
Here’s what Christine of Vigilant Freedom says:
Here are implications of passage of this bill, based on the views of the Center for Vigilant Freedom:
Potential Expansion to Hate Speech: The bill potentially criminalizes written or spoken criticism of any group, if anyone who reads or hears that criticism then commits a violent crime. The first tests to enforce this bill, if it passes, may come from Islamist groups such as CAIR. We anticipate a test of internet communications as “incitement speech” (and therefore not protected under the First Amendment) since they cross state lines, if a violent crime is committed and it is established that the accused read blogs critical of Islamist groups. A crime would come under HR 1592 if “Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such violence… Such violence is committed using articles that have traveled in interstate commerce.”
Trawling for Hate Crimes: This bill encourages trawling for “hate crimes” by any definition (remember, recently two pieces of bacon left in a Koran on a public sidewalk was treated by local police as a “hate crime,” and the FBI agreed to investigate it as such). A starter budget of $5 million is requested, with $100,000 going to each jurisdiction that claims not to have local resources to “investigate or prosecute the hate crime.” Those grants of course will then go to “nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs that have experience in providing services to victims of hate crimes” — sounds like a real opportunity for CAIR, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) chapters, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS) and Muslim Student Association (MSA)…
Bringing it to K-12 Education: The bill asks for ADDITIONAL funds “designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.” So that extra money could fund “hate crime education” programs in schools, and more “sensitivity” training for law enforcement. The grantees would be — wait for it — CAIR, ISNA chapters, MAS and MSA…
And here’s the meat of the bill. In addition to special protection for homosexuals, ironically, H.R. 1592 is set up to protect the very people who declare fatwas on homosexuals. More from Christine:
Religion = Race, now a law: The bill’s drafters work overtime to make sure you understand that religion and national origin REALLY have to be treated as race, even if that means we use 19th century definitions:
“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.”
How’s that for matter and anti-matter in one bill. Essentially, what it will provide for is silencing of such Christians who dare to speak out about homosexuality, while providing a bully pulpit for Muslims who also rail against it.
The rest of us think the whole subject has no place in governmental hands. The result will eventually look like — and be as expensive and inefficient as — what Uncle Sam managed to do with Social Security. A great many people will suffer needlessly for a few special citizens.
We become more like the EU every day. Sheep to the slaughter who never even notice the pens being set up around us.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. This monstrosity goes to the floor TOMORROW.
Please email, fax, phone or send a letter to your Representatives asking them to oppose H.R.1592.
Everyone can find their congressional representatives here.