Obama’s New Hate Crime Legislation

In a Bloomberg news story linked by Yahoo! (see link below), it is reported that President Obama is signing into law new hate crimes legislation that adds homosexuals to the list of groups protected by hate crimes legislation. 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20091028/pl_bloomberg/axnv56zsyf4a

This means, in short, that those found guilty of committing a crime against someone because they are homosexual will be subject to more severe punishment. 

The discussion that is hiding in plain sight here is “how is the intent determined?”  What defines a “hate crime” now?  Let’s say a guy walks into a convenience store to rob it.  He’s caught, only to find out later that the owner/clerk happens to be homosexual.  Is he guilty of a hate crime now?  Who decides what his intent was?  Was it cash or hatred of homosexuals who own convenience stores?  A year in prison or publicly guilliontined?

Unless the convicted offender admits to the motive, we are wide open to all kinds of judicial gymnastics here. 

Additionally, what does this now do to the issue of “hate speech?”  With homosexuals federally protected, what are pastors to do?  Will they now become targets of hate crime legislation for sermons that acknowledge what the Bible clearly declares?

These are important questions, but no one in the public eye seems to be asking them.

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One thought on “Obama’s New Hate Crime Legislation

  1. Unfortunately, Christians have no credibility on this issue. All of your arguments here apply equally to hate crimes on the basis of religion. Hypothetically speaking, if a pastor preaches a sermon in which he says that Jews or Muslims are going to Hell because they don’t believe in Jesus, he could be accused of hate speech, in the same fashion as you suggest for preaching on homosexuality (this has already been happening in Europe). But those laws were already in place, and Christians generally said nothing. Having tacitly granted that the government has the authority to criminalize certain types of speech, Christians have surrendered the basis under which we could have objected to the expansion of hate law.

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