Monday, August 27, 2007

Alaska Family Council's Jim Minnery Speaks Out Against The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act In Anchorage Daily News Column

On August 23rd, 2007, the Anchorage Daily News published a guest column by Jim Minnery, who is the founder and president of the Alaska Family Council. Entitled "Hate Crimes Legislation Is A Threat To Freedom Of Speech", he discusses two possible motives for this type of legislation and warns us of the possible detrimental effect on the First Amendment, citing examples from Canada to support his contentions.

Specifically, Minner takes issue with the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This legislation creates a new brand of criminal, applying harsher sentences based on what was believed to be going through perpetrators' heads when they acted. Minner's counsel not only echoes similar warnings issued by other like-minded persons nationwide, most notably Reverend Ted Pike of Truthtellers, but it shows that even in Alaska, which is not as racially-charged as other parts of the U.S., people are not unmindful of this threat to civil liberties.

Click HERE to view the text of the bill.

A summary of the bill is in order. According to Wikipedia, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA; sometimes called the Matthew Shepard Act), HR 1592, would expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The bill would also:

- remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
- give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
- provide $10 million in funding for 2008 and 2009 to help State and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
- require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).

The bill passed the House of Representatives on May 3, 2007, 237 to 180, with Barney Frank, one of two openly gay Representatives, presiding. Similar legislation is expected to pass in the Senate, but President Bush has indicated he may veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

On 11 July, 2007, Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the bill (S 1105) in the Senate as an amendment to the Senate Defense Reauthorization bill (HR 1585). The Senate hate crime amendment has 43 cosponsors, including four Republicans. After Republicans staged a filibuster on a troop-withdrawal amendment to the defense bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed the votes on the hate crime amendment and the defense bill until September or October, but commentators believe 63 to 65 Senators will vote for the hate crimes amendment. If the bill, with the hate crime act attached, reaches President Bush's desk, he would then be forced either to sign or veto the entire bill.

The primary motive for this legislation is that its proponents hold that crimes against certain groups -- those of a specific race, gender or sexual orientation -- have a wider effect on the community and should be treated more severely than ordinary assault. However, Minnery maintains that there are multiple motives for crime, to wit; revenge, fear, jealousy, ignorance, and greed, just to name the most prominent. He questions why hate, and hate alone, should be singled out for special attention, correctly asserting that the murderers of Matthew Sheppard in 1998 deserved punishment not because Matthew Sheppard was gay, but because Matthew Sheppard is dead - WRONGFULLY dead. Minnery's question: Shouldn't we all be given equal protection? Aren't all violent crimes hate crimes?

However, Jim Minnery correctly discerns a second, and much more sinister motive behind this type of legislature. He perceives that non-white racial lobbies, the gay rights lobby, and their sockpuppets want to use the law to silence opposition to their agenda. Let's pick up Minnery's own comments on this motive:

Some activists want to legally prohibit and punish those in the faith community for having and espousing traditional, biblical views on homosexuality. Hate crime laws have paved the way to religious persecution. How? If the hate crimes bill is enacted, the possibility of hate "speech" prosecution is immediately encoded into federal law through the federal aiding and abetting statute that says "whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal."

Let's say a pastor gives a sermon on the moral failings of homosexuality and then an imprudent church member goes out and assaults a gay person. The church member gets charged with a federal hate crime and the pastor could be charged as a principal for "inducing" the act. Does that sound far-fetched?

Where "hate crime" laws have passed, speech arrests have followed. In Sweden, a pastor spent 30 days in prison for speaking against homosexuality. In Wisconsin, a former homosexual was arrested and charged with a hate crime [back in 1996] for simply giving his testimony to a gay man. He was then ordered to attend re-education classes taught by a lesbian at the University of Wisconsin (Ed. Note: There is a bit more to the Wisconsin story - Ott was charged with disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancer. Read full story HERE). In Canada, a pastor is currently facing charges before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for simply writing a letter in June to a local newspaper calling the homosexual agenda "wicked".

The Truthtellers website also documents other instances of Christians being selectively persecuted for their beliefs, while Jews and homosexuals are often not held accountable to the same standards.

Of course, Jim Minnery, being a Christian activist, is understandably going to focus primarily on examples of religious persecution in the name of erasing "hate". That's to be expected. However, had he cast his net just a bit wider, he would have also found examples of people being legally persecuted for other ideologies, as well. The most noteworthy example that comes to mind is the judicial atrocity perpetrated in Salt Lake City against former National Alliance activists Shaun Walker, Travis Massey, and Eric Egbert. Further summarized from a Utah perspective on the Voice Of Deseret blog, these three essentially got convicted on Federal charges of "violating civil rights" and "interfering with a Federally-protected activity" just for getting into a couple of bar fights with non-whites nearly four years ago, despite the fact that the victims were not permanently injured and did not press local charges. Walker ended up getting sentenced to 87 months in prison. Imagine that - 87 months in prison - for a couple of petty bar fights!!! And that's without the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act - just imagine what would happen if this act becomes law.

The laundry list of lobbies supporting this legislation is too long to reproduce here. Of course, it includes the usual suspects - the NAACP, the SPLC, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, etc. It even includes some truly oddball groups like The Women of Reform Judaism, Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (wow, that's a mouthful - say that three times real fast).

However, it's been the Anti-Defamation League has been at the forefront of promoting hate crime legislation, issuing statements enthusiastically hailing the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act HERE and HERE. However, it is not merely "hate" that concerns them. Being a Jewish organization, they are most concerned with "anti-Semitic" hate. Consequently, they consider "anti-Semitism" the worst form of hate, and pushed for passage of the Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which promotes the idea that disagreement with and crimes against Jews are automatically worse than crimes against other people. Of course, this is nothing new; top Jews have also pushed for top billing for their Holocaust, claiming it was worse than any other form of genocide. However, the ADL recently got their circumcised pee-pees whacked for suggesting that Turkish genocide against Armenians did not rise to the level of a "Holocaust".

Nevertheless, although he didn't cast his net as far or as wide as I did, Jim Minnery is to be commended for grasping the threat to our civil liberties posed by this legislation and alerting Alaskans through the largest daily newspaper in the state. He has rendered us a valuable service.

Minnery concludes his guest column by reminding us that the law is clear and severe for those who decide to bring violence on others, regardless of the motive. He agrees we should go after those with full force who bring physical harm to innocent people. However, he believes that engaging the criminal justice system simply because you happen to disagree with someone's point of view or speech is not the solution. We're all guilty of reprehensible thoughts at one time or another, but we need to be on our knees for that, not in court.

Take action now! The Truthtellers website provides instructions on how to contact U.S. Senators and persuade them to change their minds. Of particular concern to Alaskans are the 14 Senators who voted for hate crimes legislation in 2004. Truthtellers believes 12 of them may be willing to change their mind, including...{drum roll}...Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. Contact information:

Murkowski, Lisa (AK)
P.O. Box 21247
709 West 9th Street, Room 971
Juneau, AK 99802
Fax 907-586-8922

Stevens, Ted (AK)
222 West 7th Avenue #2, Room 569
Anchorage, AK 99513
Phone: (907) 271-5915
Fax: (907) 258-9305

And they're both vulnerable. Tell Lisa you'll forget about her attempted Kenai River sweetheart land deal if she votes against the Matthew Shepard Act. And tell Ted you'll send him a bottle of wine to help replace the case of wine the FBI stole from his Girdwood home if he changes his mind also. Oops, wait a minute...maybe sending him a bottle of wine would be illegal. Well, think of something else. Just do it, and stop the further politicization of crime and the Sovietization of our country.

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