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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Culture Wars Are In Fall Swing. Take Action Now --- If You Value Freedom of Speech

Did you know that in America there are now "protected classes of individuals" against whom no public criticism can be made? Both the Senate and the House have proposed legislation that makes this criticism a crime, punishable with a fine and long imprisonment. They are attempting to usurp the will of the American people and abrogate our traditional and cherished freedom of speech.

Our founding fathers had heated discussions while writing the Constitution. Some refused to affix their signatures unless the ten amendments of the famed Bill of Rights was included. The First Amendment to the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

H.R. 2662 A Bill: "To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes."

Sec. 3. Definition of Hate Crime.
"In this Act, the term 'hate crime' has the same meaning as in section 280003(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994(28U.S.C.994 note).

In the United States, speech is not a crime "unless it is tied to a criminal action." Until now. In the past, "criminal action," meant violence or inciting to violence. That was then. Now there are protected groups and classes against which no public criticism can be made. Although not a comprehensive list, these include: gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, and religion.

Defining a Hate Crime According to the Journal of Social Issues,
The federal government defines hate crime as criminal conduct motivated in whole o in part by a "preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation"(FBI hate crimes data cited in F.M. Lawrence, 1999, p. 35). The contributing authors of this issue emphasize various definitional aspects of hate crimes and hate speech that reflect both the range of harms and vagaries of social and political responses to this unique crime category...For example, some of the article suggest tat bias toward a hate crime victim is based on a perception of difference or "otherness" that is particularly significant to the perpetrator...These articles clearly depict the perpetrators' aversion toward the victim not as an individual, but as a representative of a group perceived as possessing a reviled set of characteristics...The primary aim is to send a clear message to the victim and his or her community. The message could be a simple as a message of rejection, for example, "I don't like you gays." Or the message could be more specialized, for example, "You Jews will no longer control the United States government;" If they add: "we will root you out and destroy you," advocating violence, it becoes a crime.

There is a difference between advocating violence and criticism. It is now a crime in America to say: "I don't like you." It is now a crime in America to say: "I don't want to associate with you because I find your behavior reprehensible." It is now a crime in America to simply criticize based on the characteristics of one in a protected class.

Is the "intent to subjugate the victim and his or her community--momentarily or permanently--to an inferior social and political standing?" What about the commentary that this and other websites make about our concern regarding the growing influence of Muslims and the effects of Islam here abroad? Should our critical speech be viewed and prosecuted as a crime?

H.R. 2662 and the Senate version, S1145 will have more than a chilling effect on free speech. Speech will be frozen. We might as well throw the Constitution out the window as it will have become just another piece of paper, a testament to a failed experiment, one that the American people voluntarily threw away.

Do a Google search and reac the message boards about this issue. There are many facets and possible consequences that were not covered here. If feel the chill on back as I do, contact your legislators before its too late.

Write Elected Officials.


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