Saturday, March 29, 2014
A hurt crime?
Although I understand the intent, I have always been dubious about the idea of or definition of hate crimes. When are crimes not perpetrated by hateful people who scorn law, liberty, and life? So why do we call some crimes, the very same wrongs, "hate" crimes? Yes, I know what the intent is but the way it pans out is not always the way we intend. When crimes are committed by certain kinds of people against other kinds of people they are more often designated "hate" crimes than in other cases. I understand this. But I am not at all sure that such distinctions are helpful or reasonable or impartial (the law is supposed to be impartial).
It might not have been foretold but it seems that the natural conclusion of a "hate" crime is a "hurt" crime -- when those who find our words or our deeds hurtful... So, for example, some would insist that unless you agree with me, give me unqualified support, and work against any and all whom I deem to be my enemy, you cannot love me. This is the oft repeated argument against those who do not approve of gay marriage. You cannot love gays unless you agree with gay marriage. This line of thinking has been successfully pushed by the GLBT lobby for some time now. Those who would disagree are bigots not to be tolerated in business, education, or government.
One columnist with First Things suggested that because he is on record he could never get a political appointment, a job in government, or much of a job in industry. So effective is this lobby that hate has come to mean anyone who does not wholeheartedly and unreservedly support everything on the gay agenda. Another voice, Al Mohler, has spoken of “the rise of erotic liberty at the expense of religious liberty.” His point is that the sexual behavior of few has now become of greater value than the religious liberty of the many. Another columnist at First Thoughts spoke of an Iowa college president who was reprimanded and forced to apologize for her hurtful words that admitted ending sexual assault probably was not realistic “just given human nature.” The offense here was the supposed hurt some students might hear at the prospect of not being able to formulate a perfectly safe and just world.
When sin is no longer the subject of conversation, we replace it with that which ruffles our feathers, upsets our sensibilities, and hurts our feelings. When sin is no longer the domain of the Law, it is left to whatever seems right or wrong in our own eyes. Such is the sad state of affairs in Protestantism that we are more concerned about wounding someone's feelings than their eternal torment in hell. Or, to put it another way, when we shut up all talk of sin and death in order to talk of what we like and don't like. Truly they are blind who will not see. Lord, save us from ourselves. Literally.