A Hate Crimes Thought Experiment

One thing that never fails to amaze me about the Religious Right is its fundamental lack of concern about the truth of most of what it says and how outright lying seems to have become the foundation for many of its efforts.

It happened earlier this year with the stimulus legislation and it happened again recently with the DHS report where, in both cases, bogus information started floating around the right-wing echo chamber which was then amplified by every organization chiming it and repeating the same falsehoods.  Inevitably they all end up lying about it because they don't bother checking its veracity - and they don't bother verifying things primarily because they simply don't care whether what they are saying is true or not, so long as it seems to advance their agenda.

Case in point is this new column by Janet Porter on hate crimes legislation, which she calls "the Pedophile Protection Act" because it would, she claims, "give heightened protection to pedophiles."

I already addressed this sort of nonsensical claim last week, pointing out that things like pedophilia and bestiality are still crimes and passage of hate crimes legislation will have no impact on that because the two issues are utterly unrelated, despite the Right's insulting attempts to conflate the two.

But, believe it or not, that is not even the worst part of Porter's column:

Let me summarize. Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered, cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviant would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.

First of all, pushing away an unwanted advance does not even remotely meet the definition of "crime of violence" used in the legislation.  But more importantly, as I pointed out yesterday, the whole point of the current hates crimes legislation is to add sexual orientation to the list of existing protections for things like race and religion, because such protections do not exist.

Given that religion is already protected by existing hate crimes legislation, let's re-write Porter's paragraph accordingly to point out how absurd it is:

Let me summarize. Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the RELIGIOUS RIGHT's agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And CHRISTIANS and other RELIGIONS would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and gays would not.

Like I said, religion is currently protected by existing hate crimes law and attacks targeting someone because of their real or perceived religion are subject to increased penalties - this has been the law for more than a decade.

Yet, in that time, I know of not one instance where someone in this country who has rebuffed an attempt to proselytize or spoken out against the right-wing agenda has been charged with a hate crime.  In fact, I do nothing BUT rail against the right-wing agenda, so if anyone should be terrified of hate crimes laws, it should be me.  But I'm not, because I know that hate crimes laws don't shut down my right to free speech or get me tossed in jail for exercising it. 

As it stands at this moment, if someone violently attacked Porter because she was a Christian, they would get charged with a hate crime whereas if Porter violently attacked someone because they were were gay or she thought they were gay, she would not. 

The current law merely adds "sexual orientation" to the list of protections, along with things like religion, race, and color, which are currently protected. And, as the re-written paragraph above makes clear, nobody has being turned into a felon under current existing law for rebuffing the Right or speaking out against their agenda ... just as the Right won't be turned into felons if the new hate crimes legislation becomes law.