And Now, the Time Is Here . . .
Vol: 67 Issue: 26 Thursday, April 26, 2007
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)
This morning’s Worldnetdaily headline story concerning a proposed Congressional bill piqued my interest enough to do a little independent digging into the background. I wish I hadn’t. (Sigh. Ignorance truly IS bliss.)
The bill in question is HR 1592, sponsored by Representative John Conyers of Michigan. As soon as I read who sponsored it, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
Conyers has been a member of the House for something approaching 42 years. That long in an ivory tower is enough to give anybody delusions of grandeur. In Conyers’ case, it’s more a case of total disconnect.
Conyers came to Congress from Detroit at the height of the civil rights movement. Those of us mature enough to remember the Detroit race riots in the Sixties have some perspective on the conditions under which Conyers’ ascended to power.
Conyers came to Congress in 1964, as race relations had reached critical mass. The 1967 Detroit Race Riot was among the most destructive in US history, eclipsed only by the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles.
There was a lot of hate and injustice in those days, particularly against blacks, but evidently, being in Congress is like being stuck in a time warp. Conyers spent his whole 42-odd years in Congress still fighting conditions as they existed in the 1960’s.
But 2007 is not 1967. Most of America got over it. Conyers never did.
H.R. 1592’s ‘short title’ is the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.” Hate crimes legislation was necessary in 1967. The 1967 riots burned down large parts of the city, destroying more than 400 buildings. More than 2500 stores were looted.
Police made more than 7,000 arrests. Snipers shot at firefighters while they tried to fight the fires. Forty-three people died, another 467 were injured, and the dollar damage ranged from $40 to $80 million (in 1967 dollars).
Conyers attempted to calm things down personally, climbing atop the hood of a car to plead with the rioters to go home. Instead, he was pelted with rocks and bottles. One activist shouted, “Why are you defending the establishment? You are as bad as they are.”
That incident turned Conyers into an anti-hate crusader, which was a good thing, back in 1967. But Conyers (and ultimately, America) became a victim of his own successes. As existing anti-hate legislation gave way to improved race relations, Conyers was forced to find new victims of ‘hate’.
His bill expands a ‘hate crime’ to include; “prejudice, based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation gender identity or disability.”
Perpetrators of ‘hate crimes’ under the bill can be jailed for anywhere from ten years to life, depending on the victim.
As you have probably noticed, H.R. 1592 extends hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity and includes the words “perceived or actual.”
I am all in favor of protecting people from victimization, including gays and cross dressers. But under the provisions of this particular piece of legislation, it is possible that today’s column would be a criminal offense.
Why? Because of the words, ‘perceived or actual’.
H.R. 1592 would extend special minority protections to homosexuals and cross-dressers equal to the protections afforded racial minorities and foreigners. Here’s where I run the risk of being visited by the Thought Police.
People don’t choose their race. They don’t choose their national origin. But to say that homosexuality and cross-dressing is a choice rather than an involuntary condition inherited by one’s parents might be “perceived” as “homophobic” by a homosexual or transvestite.
Homophobia, if words are to have any meaning, is an ‘unreasonable fear of homosexuals’. I never understood the word ‘homophobia’ until I read HR 1592. If it passes, I will be very, very afraid of homosexuals.
Only that fear won’t be ‘unreasonable’. One need only denounce me as having said something offensive to put me in jail for ten years.
Heck, I offend people all the time. (I fled Canada for the US after it adopted similar hate-speech legislation.) There is an old saying to the effect that ‘the truth hurts’. And, like all ‘old sayings’ it became an ‘old saying’ because it is true.
So, if the truth hurts, under HR 1592, telling the truth can be a crime punishable by at least ten years in jail, if the person offended is a member of one of America’s protected classes.
Suppose I were to write, (as I have many times) that the Koran is the inspiration behind Osama bin-Laden’s al-Qaeda network and was the direct inspiration for the murders of three thousand innocents on September 11, 2001?
What if that is “perceived” by Muslims as ‘hateful’ either to their religion or national origin?
HR 1592 also expands the bill to include those acting under the ‘color of law’. (That should make things pretty interesting for members of the Border Patrol.)
Under HR 1592, any speech that is critical of Islam, homosexuals, transvestites, aliens, (legal or illegal) would be criminalized.
NC Representative Bob Etheridge (a Democrat!!!) wrote at Congress.org that this bill; “begins to lay the legal framework whereby Bible-believing Pastors, business owners and individuals can be persecuted and prosecuted.”
That includes, he writes, “Any remarks about homosexuality, such as reading Bible passages, preaching on these passages, telling a person they can come out of the homosexual lifestyle, etc. will be deemed critical remarks and will be ruled to be outside the bounds of First Amendment protections for pastors, business-owners and individuals.”
And not just pastors, business owners and individuals. Rep Etheridge explains:
“This also includes parents who refuse, for moral and religious reasons, to agree or teach their children that homosexuality, transgender, cross-dressing etc is normal and desirable.”
HR 1592, he writes, elevates homosexuality and transvestitism to the status of race under federal law.
The law will require the federal government to fund, “anti-Christian curriculum for children K-12, through the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to promote homosexuality and cross-dressing as normal behaviors.”
(I’m quoting Representative Etheridge directly. Did I mention that Representative Etheridge was a DEMOCRAT?)
It is worth remembering that, during the Roman persecution of Christianity during the first centuries of the Church Age, Christians weren’t put to death for embracing a different God. The Romans had a pantheon of gods — another god, more or less, didn’t make much difference.
What ticked off the Romans was that Christians claimed that Jesus Christ is the ONLY God, and that only followers of Jesus Christ would get into heaven. If only Christians could be saved, then, by extension, worshippers of Ceasar or Jupiter would be eternally damned.
To the Romans, that was ‘hate speech’, punishable by death.
HR 1592 doesn’t go quite as far as ancient Rome’s anti-hate-speech laws. In ancient Rome, preaching Bible truths meant death.
In kinder, gentler, enlightened America, the worst they can give you is life.