You may remember the so-called “hate crime” in Brown County in 2016, when a swastika was painted on a church. After months of hand-wringing about possible extremist elements in Indiana, it turns out that the church’s organist vandalized his own church. We should be thankful that no harm was done beyond the property damage, because if an innocent person had been so much as arrested for the crime his life would be ruined, even if he was exonerated. The false flag was truly a damnable lie.
This was treated as an example of why we need laws against “hate crimes,” but passing a law based on an emotional response to fraud is the worst way to legislate.
Hate crimes are already illegal, of course. If someone commits arson, murder, rape, assault or any other crime for any reason at all, they are subject to the penalties of the law. Those who claim that we need a “hate crime” law to protect minorities are being dishonest, because they know full well that minorities are already protected by our criminal justice system.
Take the case of James Byrd in Texas. This horrific brutal murder was championed as an example of why we need “hate crime” laws in the states, and George W. Bush was demonized for opposing such laws. But the murderers were punished by the justice system. One has already been executed and another is sitting on death row – punishments that these monsters richly deserve. What kind of enhanced penalty can we give people beyond capital punishment? Should we torture them first?
“Hate crime” laws set up a special class of victims and punish beliefs, not actions.
Racism is a sin against God, who created man in His image. Racists call God a liar and defame His image in man. But while racism is evil, the right to hold and express racist views is protected by our First Amendment. We should not be punishing criminals extra because they hold views that are evil. We should not be punishing people for opinions. That is in direct opposition to the spirit of the First Amendment, and is opposed to American and Hoosier values.
If someone is the victim of a “hate crime,” the crime against him is treated as worse than a crime against someone motivated by greed or because the criminal is just an evil and sadistic person. Governor Holcomb wants to treat some Hoosiers as more valuable than others. But that only reinforces the same kind of mentality that drives racism, this time backed up by the force of the civil magistrate.
The fact that we are even having a debate about whether to pass legislation banning so-called “hate crimes” in the state of Indiana is frustrating and depressing, given that we have Republican super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature and a Republican governor. Why are Republicans so eager to give the Democrats what they want, when we are in no danger of losing and when much of the Republican base opposes this legislation? Should we really be discouraging our own voters?