The Mind of James Donahue

HR 2662

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Assault Against Free Speech In America


By James Donahue

July 2005


If you think Americans haven’t already given away enough of their freedoms, consider the latest piece of proposed legislation floating around the halls of the U. S. Congress.


A proposed new house bill promoted by the Anti-Defamation League would make it virtually impossible for anybody to say anything negative about just about anybody in public for fear of being charged with a hate crime.


If it passes and becomes law, we can kiss good-by to free speech. The bill will bring an abrupt end to talk radio and television commentary (some of which will not be missed), and make all electronic media, including the films produced in the movie industry, so carefully guarded and edited, it will not be worth watching or hearing.


The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, identified as HR 2662, would make it a hate crime to make negative comments in public against or directly to Jews, women, homosexuals, transvestites, female impersonators, persons confused about their gender, pedophiles, witches, warlocks, Satanists and anybody else that petitions to be included as a group on the list.


If you think this is a crazy idea that will never get off the ground, consider this. Similar bills have become law in Great Britain and Canada and already is a state law in Pennsylvania. Why would we think our own extreme right conservative Christian legislators won’t get in lock step with our neighbors?


While careless and degrading commentary against any person or group is always inappropriate, there are times when frank and open discussion about the beliefs and practices of people can be healthy and informative. There also is such a thing in a free country as constructive criticism. This is the root of why talk radio is attractive to so many Americans. The commentator often has a political or social message that might sometimes offend certain members of society. That should not always be interpreted as a hate message.


One minister, the Rev. Ted Pike, expressed concern that preaching from the pulpit against practices that the church considers “sin” such as witchcraft and homosexuality would get men and women of the cloth charged with federal hate crimes. Indeed, if ever a bigoted group of people existed in this society, it would be the fundamental Christians who believe and practice this poppycock. Yet even they should have the First Amendment right to free expression of their beliefs, especially if it is said within the confines of the church buildings where they meet. If said on public radio and television, however, there is a gray area that might fall under question.


Pike worries that expanding the law beyond the borders of individual states and making certain free expression a federal crime, will make it so all-encompassing that it will, indeed, have a profound effect on public radio and television.


He wrote that “HR 2662 will provide immediate special FBI, Justice Department and local police assistance to protected groups that claim to have been offended. On the slightest evidence of bias, the police will descend upon Christians, pastors, talk show hosts and radio station managers, indicting them with trumped-up ‘hate crime’ charges and exorbitant penalties.”


Ironically, Pike notes that HR 2662 would also violate the 14th Amendment which prohibits government from favoring any particular group.


Pike worries that there is a danger that minority groups, and especially the Anti-Defamation League itself, will misuse the law, charging hate crimes when they hear statements projecting the slightest bias. Indeed, knowing the way lawyers feed on human greed, he probably is correct.


HR 2662 is a terrible bill and should be torn up in committee. Yet we have a sick feeling by the way the sheeple of America have been bending over since 911, even this horror will be accepted as a “necessary” step toward achieving a perfect society.


Picture everybody speaking and behaving like Stepford Wives for fear of being arrested for saying anything offensive. It would lead to some rather boring social intercourse. Real thoughts would be bottled up and whispered in bedrooms, hallways and employee restrooms.


The problem with this line of thinking is that we cannot force love through legislation. This kind of “love” for our neighbors is conditional, and consequently wicked.


“Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!” (From Liber al vel Legis 1:57)


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