Hate crime legislation will target your freedom of speech
By Tom DeWeese
A battle has been waging during the opening months of the 110th Congress over proposed Hate Crime legislation. The main bill currently before the House is H.R. 254, titled, "The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act," introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX).
Opposition is growing to the legislation because hate crime laws would make certain types of speech a federal offense, allowing federal "thought police" to interfere in the law enforcement authority of states and local government. Such interference is blatantly unconstitutional.
HR. 254 would require every state to pass and enforce "anti-hate" laws, making it a federal crime to express bias against specifically federally protected groups. Some hate laws have been interpreted to mean documents like the Bible are hate literature and preaching from it is hate speech. Nowhere was this more clearly shown than in England under a similar law, where two men who called Islam "wicked" were indicted, and now face seven years in prison. The British law blatantly says "truth" cannot be used as a defense.
The main force supporting the bill is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This group was behind passage of the British law. The ADL is a radical organization, which routinely charges organizations more to its right, of hate speech. It appears that nearly any organization that does not accept the ADL's worldview is marked for advocating hate.
Freedoms of speech and hate crime legislation are not compatible. Many organizations who advocate hate crime legislation, such as the ADL, are pushing for control of the Internet to stop "hate speech." While most people would interpret hate speech as being on the lines of neo-Nazi white supremacy, in reality the ADL really means groups which advocate issues like free enterprise, property rights, gun rights, etc.
In 2005, the ADL targeted the Freedom 21 Conference as an advocate of hate speech. Prior to the conference in Reno, Nevada, the ADL sent out alerts about the gathering. Their premise that Freedom 21 was advocating hate was the group's advocacy of private property rights. The ADL believes ownership of private property is a social injustice that oppresses the poor.
Others are now advocating that skeptics of global warming theories be denied the right to speak out. Still others advocate making it a crime to use the term "illegal aliens." Reason and rationality are thrown out the window for political correctness under so-called hate speech.
To preserve freedom of speech in America H.R. 254 must be stopped. In fact, now that many are protesting the bill, supporters on Congress are trying a new tactic. While using H.R. 254 as a shield, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is quietly gathering support for yet another hate crimes bill entitled, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is actually worse than HR. 254. Both must be stopped. Call your congressman and demand he/she stand for free speech and against any hate crime legislation.
Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report.