CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Unleashing the Thought Police

Jul 18, 2007

Living in a democracy today is no guarantee we will live in one tomorrow. People in democracies do not always value or protect the freedoms they enjoy. Often, they are willing to vote away their freedoms. Recall that the Nazis were democratically elected in Germany in the 1930s.

Thus we must be eternally vigilant about the liberties we do have, lest they be lost or snatched away from us. We can lose our freedoms by our own apathy and short-sightedness. But it is not just a matter of our carelessness and indifference. There are plenty of groups working overtime seeking to whittle away our freedoms.

An activist judiciary pushing various radical political agendas is one such example. Often our unelected and unrepresentative judges are introducing legislation which is anti-freedom as well as anti-faith and anti-family. Consider the raft of equal opportunity laws, vilification bills, anti-discrimination legislation, and so-called hate crime laws. All can have the effect of curtailing freedoms and promoting various politically correct agendas.

Hate crime legislation is especially nefarious in this regard. These laws not only punish people for their actions, but punish people for their thoughts as well. And they require a slew of thought police to enforce such draconian legislation.

America is currently debating whether hate crime laws should be introduced there. Unfortunately a hate crime bill has already passed in the House and is awaiting ratification in the Senate. Charles Colson picks up the story:

“Never judge a book by its cover, so goes the old expression. But what’s true about books is even more true about legislation. For example, a bill pending before the Senate is titled the ‘Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.’ Since few people want to promote ‘hate crimes,’ preventing hate crimes sounds like a laudable goal. Right? Not if you read what’s between the covers: The title of this bill ought to be the ‘Thought Control Act of 2007’.”

He explains, “This bill would give the federal government jurisdiction over local criminal offenses believed to be ‘motivated by prejudice.’ Not just any prejudice, mind you, but prejudice based on ‘race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim.’ Watch those phrases sexual orientation and gender identity, because they tell you which groups are pushing hardest for this bill. The committee rejected amendments that would include other groups, like veterans, the homeless, and senior citizens.”
 
The real aim of this bill is to force all Americans to embrace the homosexual lifestyle, and never speak ill about it. “Do crimes against homosexuals go unpunished? Are people free to attack gays with impunity? Of course not. There are already laws against assaults on people and property. Moreover, according to the FBI, crimes against homosexuals in the United States have dropped dramatically. In 2005, out of 863,000 cases of aggravated assault, just 177 cases were crimes of bias against homosexuals – far less than 1 percent.”

“See, the bill is not about crime prevention or even civil rights. It’s about outlawing peaceful speech – speech that asserts that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. That’s why the House judiciary committee rejected an amendment stipulating that nothing in this law would limit the religious freedom of any person or group under the Constitution. We’ve seen where laws like this can lead: Hate crimes have been defined to include verbal attacks – and even peaceful speech. The Thought Police have already prosecuted Christians under hate-crime laws in England, Sweden, and Canada. And in Pennsylvania, 11 Christians were prosecuted under the state’s hate crime law for preaching on a street corner against homosexuality.”

Concludes Colson: “If we do nothing, the book under the seemingly innocuous cover will turn out to be 1984 – and it will no longer be fiction, but the law of the land.” Quite right. It is hoped Americans will do the right thing by the bill, and heavily lobby their Senators on this, urging them to vote no. And we in Australia also need to remain vigilant. The threats to our freedom and our values are many and insidious. We dare not let down our guard at this crucial time.

www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=6770

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6 Responses to Unleashing the Thought Police

  • SOUND THE TRUMPET : http://www.christian.org.uk/rel_liberties/cases/index.htm

    Ezekiel 33:1 Once again a message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3 When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. 4 Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. 5 They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ 7 “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9 But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Charles Colson didn’t refer to the Two Dannies case – does he know about it?

    We see another angle of attack against the family in the latest welfare reforms (see PM Media Releases and Mal Brough Media Releases pages for 14th July).

    The new measures are an extension of the draconian efforts made in respect of the aboriginal communities in crisis, and seek to deal with irresponsible parenting by diverting Centrelink payments out of the hands of such parents and over to the “proper payees” eg. utilities, groceries, clothing for children, education expenses.

    That is, such parents can’t be trusted, so they won’t be allowed to spend that government money (for a while at least).

    “Irresponsibility” will include what we now call neglect, plus any evidence of children not being in school. I have no doubt the devil will be in the details almost literally, as the definition will be expressed so widely that many actions now not thought of as irresponsible, will be caught as well.

    The States and Territories welcome the move as it will mean they can round up all the children not in school – both truant and non-truant as it happens, and boost their numbers (hmm, Federal education funding is on a per capita basis is it not…?).

    It just so happens that families with home educated students who are not “enrolled” or “registered” will miss out or be forced to change what they do.

    Administratively, a massive disaster is looming as, by some estimates, a large majority of home educated students are not “registered” – even in States with heavy penalties for un-registered home education (up to 90% in Qld, 70-80% in NSW for example).

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    John Angelico

  • A new Gedankenpolizei is a real possibility if Labor wins the federal election. Last time, they had a clear aim of introducing the same vile legislation for the whole of Australia as the Bracks Labor Government has for Victoria.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • What more is there to say?

    http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=1891

    David Skinner, UK

  • Greg Koukl has an excellent article, Why Hate Shouldn’t Be a Crime:

    The result of criminalizing malice under certain circumstances is that only certain types of people get protected. Will observes, “Surely Shepard’s assailants would deserve no less severity if he were not gay and their motive had been, as it may partly have been, pure sadism.”

    Yet this is not the case. In a state with hate crime legislation, penalties levied for an assault on me personally would be milder by statutory requirement than for the very same assault on a Matthew Shepard. Why? Because as a straight, white male I do not belong to a class protected by this law.

    Hate crime legislation, then, turns out to be not really about hate, but politics. It’s not hatred for the victim that is punished. That’s covered under existing statutes. Rather, it’s hatred for a protected class—African-Americans, Jews, homosexuals, etc.—that’s punished under hate crime laws. …

    These have joined a chorus of voices claiming that Christians, through their moralizing, are promoting a climate of hate. The phrase of choice is “less than.” By claiming homosexuality is evil, Christians demote homosexuals to a “less than” status. If a homosexual is “less than,” he is marked in a way that makes him an object of scorn, hatred, and physical abuse.

    This is twisted logic. In Los Angeles, KABC talk show host Al Rantel—himself a homosexual—noted that this kind of thinking would make Alcoholics Anonymous responsible every time a drunk gets beat up in an alley. It simply does not follow that moral condemnation of homosexuality encourages gay bashing any more than condemning Christian “intolerance” promotes Christian bashing.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I would like to revisit the two Dannies case, referred to by John Angelico with the article written by Amir Butler, whose warnings to the British government, not to introduce the Religious Hatred Bill into Britain at the beginning of 2006 fell on deaf ears, blind eyes and loss of reason. Due to a miracle, Islam’s evil plot to gag all criticism of its religion failed – no thanks to the then Home Secretary, Charles Clark, who was prepared to treacherously sell British liberties in payment for Islamic votes in the 2005 general election. What Amir Butler was saying applies to all these anti-hatred bills; they produce exactly the opposite result intended; far from creating unity and harmony within society, they raise tensions, create suspicion and fuel hatred. I believe the hatred laws will rebound on the homosexuals.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/767/

    David Skinner, UK

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