Exodus Has it Wrong About Hate CrimesExodus has it wrong about hate crime laws, and unfortunately, I think they have it wrong intentionally. Check out this clip from Alan Chambers, Exodus' President, from a press release they recently issued:
Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, said, “Today, we celebrate a sacred right to freely practice our individual religious beliefs, and at the same time, Congress is debating legislation that could eventually destroy these freedoms. Hate crimes legislation does not prosecute illegal actions that harm others, it prosecutes beliefs about homosexuality that for many Americans, is consistent with their faith.”Sadly, Alan Chambers is playing a little too loose with the truth with this one. Is it just me or did he just imply that "freely [practicing] individual religious beliefs" and "beliefs about homosexuality that...is consistent with their faith" includes beating someone senseless because they are gay?
You see, hate crimes laws don't do anything to beliefs or thoughts or even practicing religion, and Chambers knows this. The problem with Chambers' argument is that hate crimes laws do nothing if your thoughts don't lead to violence. Don't hit someone, vandalize something, or kill someone, and you can think anything you want. Saying that "hate crimes legislation does not prosecute illegal actions that harm others" is patently false, period.
That's what the First Amendment is all about. It has nothing to do with protecting your right to go on a gay bashing rampage and for Alan Chambers or anyone else to imply that it does is absurd. I can't even understand why he would fight for the rights of violent criminals (because that's who these hate crimes laws apply to) at the expense of the victims and/or communities.
And, just for the record (because I know it will come up), we prosecute people more harshly based on the motives/thoughts/reasons behind their crimes all of the time already, so for people to say that hate crimes laws give special status to certain groups of people is nothing more than a smoke screen.
Check out Box Turtle Bulletin for even more holes in the Exodus argument.