State’s ‘hate crimes’ code used against ‘pure speech’


[..] “When you start down the list of Western countries, Australia, Canada, Britain, France. Everywhere hate crimes plans have been adopted there are examples of problems. It’s gotten to the point even pure speech is being criminalized, with no actions or violence,” he said.

“That’s where hate crimes legislation inevitably has led in other Western societies,” he said. His organization has worked on a number of such cases already involving California’s own version of a “hate crimes” plan.

“The law of unintended consequences – or perhaps intended consequences cleverly disguised – is starkly illustrated by the ongoing federal case Harper v. Poway Unified School District,” he wrote in a summary of the problems. “In Harper, a student responded to the annual pro-homosexual ‘Day of Silence,’ which was being heavily promoted on his high school campus, by wearing a T-shirt which expressed his religious viewpoint that homosexuality was ‘shameful.’

“Instead of allowing a differing viewpoint, school officials pulled aside Harper, demanding that he change his expression or face suspension. An assistant principal even suggested to Harper that he needed to leave his faith in the car while at school, in order not to offend homosexual students,” according to McReynolds.

“Such a result clearly undermines basic Constitutional protections,” including free expression and religion, he noted.

“Incredibly, the federal courts in California upheld the school’s actions. In one of the most sweeping, speech-restricting opinions in recent memory, Judge Reinhard of the Ninth Circuit baldly asserted that Harper’s First Amendment rights – undeniably strong under Tinker and other Supreme Court precedents – were trumped by the need to protect homosexual students from an opposing viewpoint…”

“Not surprisingly, Judge Reinhardt’s decision cited California’s ”hate violence’ educational statute, Cal. Educ. Code §§ 201, 220, et seq. as justification for stifling a politically incorrect viewpoint – even though there were no allegations of violence against Harper. In concurrence, Judge Gould followed the same line of reasoning in labeling religious opposition to homosexuality – even when expressed peacefully – as ‘hate speech’ which he equated with ‘a burning cross’ or ‘a call for genocide,'” McReynolds continued.

He said such cases illustrate that once enacted, “hate crimes” legislation inevitably ends up being used as a justification for restrictions on pure speech, particularly against people of faith who raise religious objections to behavior they consider immoral. [..]

September 12, 2007 | 2 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. As you know, free speech is a bedrock of our democracy and freedoms. In the name of free speech all kinds of desecrations have been permitted.

    One exception has been put into law and that is the criminalizing of “hate speech”. This is speech which is likely to lead to violence.

    I once attended a fascinating debate between Dershowitz and Cotler. This was when Canada had criminalized hate speech and the US had not. Dershowitz argued for reliance on the market place of ideas. Cotler said the victims of hate speech had to be protected.

    Now apparently there are all kinds of restrictions on speech based on an appropriate “sensitivity” to the targets. No violence is needed. I find this intolerable. I want the right to offend. Truth often offends but it shouldn’t be sacrificed. I want to be able to tell the truth about Islam regardless of the sensitivities of the Muslims.

    You want to protect the sensitivities of homosexuals. Is it to protect their feelings or to forestall violence against them?

    The line is very difficult to draw. How can truth and sensitivity be protected at the same time. In the homosexual case, it is not a matter of truth but a matter of opinion. So you want to tell people what to think do you not?

    Hating homosexuals is akin to hating blacks. It is a form of racism. The targets have no choice in the matter. But how would you draft the legislation that protects them or punishes the speaker. Should blasphemy be a crime? I believe it is in Europe.

    See this post The truth must be told, even if it offends.

  2. I do not get this.

    I am opposed to all such legislation.

    But let us take the issue of this student wearing a teeshirt saying that homosexuality was shameful.

    What a horrific thing to say!

    That is pure Nazi Ted.

    That is exactly the line which was used by the Nazis against the Jews, Romany, Homosexual and Handicapped for many years and conditioned minds so that the Holocaust could be carried out.

    I am opposed to using the state, but I certainly would seek to organize against this character who thinks homosexuality is shameful.

    He is shameful in my book!

Comments are closed.