I like Ed’s offer… It’d be nice if those making noises about the hate crime bill would put their money where there mouth is. If they sincerely believe that the hate crimes bill will be used to stifle the kind of hate speech* that is de rigeur from evangelical ministers from the pulpit, then why not pony up & prove it? If they don’t really believe it, what’s the purpose of their agitation? Trying to keep a foot on the neck of the gay? Or just trying to create phony outrage to get sympathy for their cause, and maybe sucker some well-intentioned conservative Christians out of their hard-earned cash?
I favor the hate-crimes expansion – it’s not exactly the right policy, but it is not unjust toward hate-criminals, and it does better than nothing at recognizing and trying to stop systematic victimization of certain classes of minorities. I’m conflicted about passing it as part of a military appropriation. In fact, I dislike that method of doing business in Congress altogether. But that’s another story.
*No, it isn’t usually really “hate speech” that preachers agitating against gays are involved in. It’s not far removed from it, though. The excuse of “just preaching the Bible” is mainly B.S. While a harmonized Bible does seem to forbid homosexuality (depending on how you harmonize “the Bible”, that being an extremely tricky task in the first place), it absolutely does *not* require the kind of pulpit-driven jihad against homosexuality that we see today. That, as with other forms of intolerance probably comes from – I regret the cliche, but – ignorance more than “hate”… It isn’t that most preachers hate gays – it’s just that they don’t care enough about them as people to be very reflective or caring about how they approach the topic, or very diligent to be sure what they say is the best and truest account of things – even though they know that gay people generally feel hurt and put-down by what they do say. The result is that their speech toward and about gays is justifiably received as hateful. Unfortunately, the few preachers – even theologically conservative ones – who *do* go the extra mile to be caring and loving toward gay people get painted as “liberals” and exist on the fringes of their denominations. But none of this matters. The law is about hate crimes. Hate speech, and other intemperate forms of speech, are still protected by the first amendment.