Hate Crimes, Bullying and the Thought Police
And....the Real Story about Matthew Shepard
Are crimes against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people rising rapidly in this country? Are such crimes going unpunished? Are people getting away with more and more bullying of homosexual kids?
And are Christians and their beliefs to blame?
Please don’t read this article any further unless you want to think a little bit. Because the accusations frequently made are very serious. They attack and stereotype a whole group of people and lays at their feet blame for crime and violence. Wow—just throwing around such an accusation is a real slam on some folks. Do they deserve it?
The facts better be on the side of this accusation solidly—or else those making it are guilty of exactly what they are accusing others of: bigotry and discrimination.
To make it short and sweet, the answer is “no” to all of the above questions. This does NOT mean that the violence done to homosexuals, both criminal and bullying, is not important. It is. But these sad situations are being wrongly used to get people to accept homosexuality.
A few general questions:
“Hate crimes" laws already exist in some states and cities, but many do not include the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Federal law does not include "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" as punishable hate crimes.
Some states and school districts have “anti-bullying” laws, but many do not mention specific categories like “sexual orientation,” believing that all reasons for bullying are equally punishable.
Several proposals for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to hate crimes law have been introduced into Congress, but so far none has succeeded. (Barack Obama has pledged to pass such a law, by the way.)
The basic concept is that the crimes in question — which are already punishable by law — will have a layer of punishment added to the penalty, if the crime is found to be motivated by “hate” against homosexuals. To illustrate: if Ed beats someone with a club, there’s a certain penalty. If Ed beats someone with a club and shouts insults about homosexuality while doing it, he gets more penalties.
Let’s repeat a key fact: the offenses in question are already crimes. There is already punishment for murder, for vandalism, for assault, and so on. And there is no evidence that police are ignoring crimes against homosexuals.
Many public policy experts and commentators don't support the concept of “hate crimes.” When some crimes are punished more because of certain types, but not all types, of prejudice or animosity, this undermines the concept of equal justice under the law for all.
Punishment should be given for acts, not for thoughts.
Controlling free speech
Proposed “hate” laws are nothing new. They are a common strategy of groups wanting increased political power, but who have formidable opponents. The goal is to silence these opponents, often through false accusations. This is a tactic of intimidation, not persuasion. Our Founders were wise in their construction of the Constitution, however, knowing that its "freedom of speech" clause should provide an equalizing effect and prevent abuses of power.
Attempts at "speech codes" by universities are a related idea, but have produced a mountain of litigation, mostly over slurs or insults. These laws have been struck down as unconstitutional by courts throughout the country. Hate crimes laws and in schools, “anti-harassment” and anti-bullying policies based on sexual orientation, are just a back-door attempt to get the same goal accomplished: to use the force of law to elevate certain groups and individuals over others, to squash ideas and debate some find “offensive,” and to thereby legitimize questionable social behavior.
Adding Sexual Orientation
Homosexual activist groups are proposing the addition of the fuzzy terms "sexual orientation" and “gender identity” as protected classes to both federal and state laws. There are many problems with such proposals:
The goal has become apparent: to silence through intimidation those who may object to this behavior, and facts are irrelevant. Case in point: the Matthew Shepard murder.
The Truth about Matthew Shepard
The brutal killing in 1998 of Matthew Shepard, a student in Wyoming, has been used by homosexual activists in a calculated and manipulative manner that has lost all semblance of truth. There is no question that the murder of young people is always a tragedy. Yet the fact remains that Matthew Shepard was involved in high risk behavior, behavior that should not be exalted by our society. His murderers were brought to justice, just as the murder of anyone in a like manner should be punished -- severely.
But it doesn't follow that his death should make us sympathetic to homosexuality. His sad death is getting twisted in a harmful way.
The name-calling against Christians after his murder was totally unwarranted. Christian family organizations that had nothing to do with his death were held up as potentially "inciting" the Matthew Shepard murder!! By every measure of fairness, these groups were treated, ironically, with undeserved hatred, venom and intolerance. And when fanatic Fred Phelps showed up to picket with his messages of actual hate, the media tied him to conservatives. The reality is quite the opposite. He does not have a tie with any of the major Christian groups in this country. On the contrary, his approach is routinely denounced by them.(And we repeat that denunciation here, once more).
Groups that never advocate violence keep being wrongfully linked in some vague way to violence. GLAAD (the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) accused a number of pro-family groups of contributing to a climate of hate. And Katie Couric, then on the Today show, implied the same thing, as if Shepard’s two murderers were in regular touch with such groups. There is no evidence McKinney and Henderson went to church regularly or even knew anything about Christian pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family.
The investigation by ABC’s 20/20 found that Shepard’s murder was a robbery gone bad. The two killers were looking for drug money. The principal murderer, Aaron McKinney, had been high on methamphetamine for a week. It is also quite likely both knew Shepard, and reports surfaced that they had been previously seen at the same parties in Laramie. And two people, including an alleged male lover and McKinney’s former girlfriend, maintain that McKinney was himself a bisexual.(2)
So an “anti-gay” murder? Apparently not. Yet high schools and colleges throughout the country continue to perform the wildly distorted Laramie Project play. This is totally irresponsible and in fact, an act of bigotry against Christians and an act of affirmation for a high-risk behavior.
Hypocrisy and False Accusations
Labeling and unfounded accusations of “hate” against Christians also surfaced quite visibly after the Proposition 8 decision in California in 2008. Homosexual activists drummed up enough negative publicity that people were fired who donated to the Yes on 8 campaign, which simply upheld the laws on marriage as they had previously existed.
“Gay”plaintiffs filed suits to close churches and overturn the lawful vote by California citizens. The cry is for “equality” but that only seems to go one way. Far from being “hateful,” the only ones showing real concern for the long-term welfare of homosexuals are conservatives, who are willing to point out the continuing high HIV and AIDS rates among homosexuals and other well-known health risks. Christians also point toward an answer by highlighting the thousands of people who have exited the lifestyle.
Is there to be no further debate on homosexuality? All the questions are settled? That will come as big news to those who’ve studied this issue for years, and it doesn’t sound much like “tolerance” or “free speech.”
We believe that the primary motive for advocating hate crimes laws and even “anti-bullying” policies in schools that specifically name “sexual orientation,” is an attempt to silence legitimate concerns about homosexuality and to pretend that there’s only one “good” viewpoint. Why silence discussion if the conservative views are so flawed? Actually, that is precisely the reason they are stifled: because traditional moral principles are sound and deeply threaten the homosexual agenda.
Yet ironically, the Christian perspective points toward the most humane solutions of all.