Indiana must not pass "hate crime" legislation

By Scott Tibbs, January 18, 2019

This is an open letter to Governor Eric Holcomb.

Governor Holcomb,

A man vandalizes a church with a swastika because he is upset that Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Another man paints a swastika on a Jewish place of worship because he is an anti-Semite. Two virtually identical actions, both designed to spread fear and inflame passions, would be punished differently under Indiana's law if you get your way. This is because state government deems one man more worthy of punishment because he holds opinions that state government does not like.

The hate crime case that proves we do not need hate crime laws is the murder of James Byrd in Texas. One of the men who murdered Byrd has been executed and one is sitting on death row. What exactly do you and other proponents of "hate crime" laws propose in terms of enhanced penalties? Should the killers be tortured before they are executed? Should we find a slower and more painful method of execution?

Racism is a sin, because all mankind is made in the image of Almighty God. But it should not be a criminal offense to hold racist opinions. Our First Amendment protects free speech and the right to hold even the most loathsome opinions because the founders wisely understood that government should not be the arbiter of what opinions are good and which are evil. A government that says racism is bad today could easily say that opposition to sex outside of marriage is bad tomorrow.

Make no mistake, you are proposing criminalizing opinions. The man who perpetrated the hoax and the anti-Semite committed identical crimes, and both intended to strike fear into people. But the anti-Semite would be punished more harshly because of his opinions. That is simply wrong and is deeply opposed to American traditions of free speech and freedom of thought.

The Fake News media pretends that we do not have a law against hate crimes. This is not only incorrect, it is a shameful lie. Murder, rape, assault and vandalism (among many other things) are already illegal. Whether someone physically assaults someone because of his victim's skin pigmentation or because the thug is just a degenerate, the deed has been done and should be harshly punished.

While we have been flawed in the implementation of this idea, our nation was founded on the idea that all people are all created equal. "Hate crime" laws create a special class of victim. If someone acts against a member of a protected class, he will be punished more than someone who just wants to hurt a random person. This should not be the case. Please reverse course on this destructive law.

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