Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A note from the Constitution Party

Thought Police Strike Again Newest 'Hate Crime' Bill Violates Constitution: Attempts End-Run Around Free Speech

Lancaster, PA: The Constitution Party, the country's third largest political party in terms of voter registration, warns Americans that the latest federal 'hate-crime' bill introduced in the House of Representatives is a dangerous threat to Constitutionally protected rights.

H.R. 254, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, is another version of proposed legislation passed by the House in 2005 and the Senate in 2004. Only strong public outcry and a Republican controlled Congress kept this type of legislation from becoming law. Now that Democrats are in charge there's a tough fight ahead to keep this dangerous bill from passing.

H.R. 254 would make certain types of speech a federal offense. So-called 'hate crimes' legislation is dangerous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the blatant unconstitutionality of such laws. 'Hate crime' laws would allow federal "thought police" to interfere in the law enforcement authority of states and localities - something our founders were clear was NOT to be allowed.

H.R. 254 would require every state to pass and enforce 'anti-hate' laws. It would outlaw stating a "bias" against certain 'federally protected' groups such as homosexuals. Constitution Party National Chairman Jim Clymer warned "So-called 'hate crime' laws could mean the Bible would be considered 'hate literature' and preaching from it would be 'hate speech' because of references to religious teachings on homosexuality or other behaviors. The Orwellian implications of these types of laws mean Bible-believing Christians could become criminals simply because they spoke out about their beliefs."

Citing a 2004 case in Philadelphia, where 11 Christians were charged under a'hate-crimes' statute for peacefully protesting at a gay rights rally, Mr. Clymer, a practicing attorney, said "Law-abiding Americans became criminals because they exercised a right our forebears fought and died for"."By introducing the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) federal 'hate crime' bill into Congress for the second time, Rep. Jackson-Lee shows she's bound and determined to stifle your First Amendment Rights no matter how many times she has to make a run at it", noted Constitution Party Communication Director Mary Starrett who added: "The Constitution Party condemns H.R. 254 as an affront to our liberty. Today, ADL-inspired 'thought crime' laws are stripping nations of free speech."

In Canada and many European countries, it is a crime to use the internet to criticize 'federally protected' groups, such as homosexuals and Muslims. In England, two men who called Islam 'wicked' were indicted under Britain's 'hate crime' law and now face seven years in prison. Those horrors do not belong in America!"Referring to the group behind this bill, Clymer noted: "Congresswoman Jackson-Lee's H.R. 254 is being pushed by the same group, ADL, responsible for the British law that says truth cannot be used as a defense in court. only the complaints by members of specially protected groups who say their feelings have been hurt are being allowed. The reality of what these types of laws are doing and have done to people across the world should be a chilling reminder to Americans to oppose these laws while we still can" warned Clymer.

I'm with the Constitution Party all the way on this one. Outlawing speech because it could be offensive is about as unconstitutional as it gets and represents a very dangerous slippery slope. We'll be watching this one closely. While no one would support condone "hate speech", there is a major problem in legislating it, mainly because hate speech is loosely defined. Basically, anything that offends someone would be considered hate speech. This is dangerous, folks, right up there with the push to require equal time on all radio/TV broadcasts. Our government is overstepping its bounds in a huge way. I tip my hat to the Constitution Party.


Dan Trabue said...

Can you provide some support for this argument? In looking at the law itself, it appears to have to do with sentencing regarding actual violence done towards certain groups. I see nothing about speech in the HB 254, but then, it IS written in the legal language which can be hard to read.

If it's truly taking away speech rights (not including inciting to do violence), I think everyone would be opposed to it. Liberals are famously pro-speech and loathe to have the gov't telling us what we can and can't say.

Here seems to be the gist of the law:

"Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person"

Do you have anything to suggest that this law is about speech in any way?

Dan Trabue said...

In fact, this whole story smacks of World Net Daily-style reporting. DOES Canadian or European law not allow criticism of certain groups?

I could find nothing on the internet to back this up except for hyperventilating rightwing sources.

Show me the laws, I'm doubting more and more that this is reality.

John The Patriot said...

Dan, this particular law does specifically address violence, not speech. But the point is that violent crime is already illegal. Murder is illegal. So why the need for "hate crime" laws. Are we prepared to say that murder is against the law, but murder with hate is even more against the law? Is it more wrong to kill your spouse because she cheated on your or kill your spouse because she is black?

The point is, wrong is wrong. When we start saying that doing wrong while thinking wrong things is even more wrong, then we're flirting with legislating thought. The gov't has no business doing that.

The concern about the foreign laws is that it represents a slippery slope of what can become of hate crime legislation. We start with violent crimes, what's to stop us from banning hurtful thoughts or words? This HAS happened in Europe and Canada. Here is an excerpt from a Jewish magazine:

"In Canada and many European countries, it is a crime punishable by heavy fines and even imprisonment to make use of the internet to criticize federally protected groups, such as homosexuals and Muslims. A top Canadian “hate laws” senior policy advisor recently described the power of her country’s “speech crime” tribunal courts: “The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body. It can force a web to shut down or risk a $10,000 fine--$20,000 in extreme cases. If one ignores the Tribunal, one can be tried in federal court for contempt, and risk a 9-month jail sentence for a first-time offense.” (Karen Izzard, quoted in Jewish Tribune, Sept. 21, 2006)" http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/democratscontrolpasshatebill.html

Here is a blogsite with more examples:


And here is a commentary piece making more of an argument:


So murder and violent crime is wrong, there is no need in making it more wrong in certain circumstances. I think the Constitution Party is spot on with this.

Dan Trabue said...

Again, I found these sorts of right wing sites that you provided but nothing telling me exactly what the laws in Canada say. I suspect it's all bunk given the sources and lack of citations.

If you want to debate the wisdom of Hate Crimes, do so. You may have valid grounds and could make a decent case.

But don't make up a strawman argument to knock down. Don't say that HB 254 curtails free speech when it doesn't.

Strawman arguments only weaken your position and credibility - except with those who don't follow through to validate the claims. In their case, you'd be persuading them based on bad data - in other words, deceiving people to get them riled up. Surely you don't want to do that?

Given the title of your book, I suspect that you're a man of some decent morals who is above using deceit to try to sway an audience. When we allow that sort of thing to happen in the US, then evil truly would prosper.

John The Patriot said...

Wow. If there is one thing I advocate it's free thought. I don't have a problem with someone disagreeing with me, but suggesting that I may be distorting the facts for the purpose of persuasion? That's spin, and I don't do spin - It's one of the many things I despise about politics.

But perhaps I should clarify something. Reading my post, I realized that I might not have made it clear that the body of the post was a letter written by the chairman of the Constitution. I added my agreement and opinion. My point was that hate crimes legislation may sound good on the surface, but has potential for bad things. If I implied the proposed law calls for speech limitations, then I apologize.

Now back to the point. If I asked you to show me on the law books where it says "separation of church and state" could you do it? No. Yet, that is a major part of our law today. Hate crimes laws are comparable. They represent a jumping off point for worse things. First, we legislate behavior, then we legislate thought. Not to say that the law that "congress shall not pass a law establishing the practice of religion" is bad. It's not. In fact, it's necessary and so it should remain. But are hate crimes laws necessary? Where are we going with this? What purpose are we serving?

In Canada, they started with outlawing violent crime, and then moved to outlawing speech. The law, verbatim, is below with the link to the Canadian gov't website. They started off OK, but went too far. What's next for them? And is it wise for us to take the same first step as they?

Canadian Criminal Code Bill 250 Sect 319

(1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction

2)Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)
(a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.


Now, to be clear, this is NOT what's being proposed in the US but is a taste of what may come. And, yes, I understand there are exceptions to the "banned speech" but how concrete are those exceptions? Again, where is Canada going with this?

Dan Trabue said...

You said:

"My point was that hate crimes legislation may sound good on the surface, but has potential for bad things. If I implied the proposed law calls for speech limitations, then I apologize."

Thanks for the links and clarifications. I hope you can understand that when you said things like:

"I'm with the Constitution Party all the way on this one. Outlawing speech because it could be offensive is about as unconstitutional as it gets and represents a very dangerous slippery slope."

It sure seemed to be implying that THIS particular law was about speech.

There is a balancing act. I believe that we already have laws that say one can't incite to riot. And it's a good law - we don't want folk out there rallying people to violent riots for this cause or that.

But there is a line that may be difficult to determine. Where is someone just expressing opinions about laws they dislike and politicians they disagree with and where are they inciting riots?

I have no problems with hate crimes, myself AS LONG AS we acknowledge there is a fine line between indicting folk for violence against a specific group and merely having an opinion that is unpopular or ugly.

Darth Chaos said...

If anybody's thinking about starting a violent uprising over this thoughtcrime legislation, please do not because you will only be doing more harm than good. Adolf Bush and his fellow Nazis are counting on a violent uprising (whether authentic or government-staged) over this as an excuse to implement TOTAL martial law.